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"Oi, Scorp, you all right?"

Sixteen-year-old Scorpius Malfoy sighed and warily gazed at his approaching best friend. Albus Severus Potter tentatively sat on the dewy grass near the Black Lake and lightly scowled at the Daily Prophet displayed beside the blond Slytherin. Mindlessly, Al drew out his wand and Incendio-d the bugger away, much to Scorpius' amusement.

"That must be the tenth you've burned today," the Malfoy heir pointed out.

"Eleventh, actually."

Scorpius snorted and plopped supine on the grass. His eyes gazed heavenward, trying to make up funny shapes of the drifting clouds. "Hey look, that looks exactly like Rose!" he pointed out. Albus shifted and also splayed down beside him, peering at the cloud he was pointing at.

"Nah, the hair isn't bushy enough," Al replied. "And I know what the bloody hell you're doing, mate. Refusing to talk about it isn't going to work."

He sighed and glared at the worried Potter beside him. "We don't have to talk about anything, Al," he interjected. "You've seen what the news already bore, anyway. What's left to talk about?"

"I talked to Dad. He said they're working on it, Scorpius. You shouldn't worry anymore."

"Ugh, Al, seriously." Scorpius rolled until he was facing away from Al's stupidly worried green eyes. It was the same shade of famous Auror Harry Potter's eyes and Scorpius was reminded once more of the inevitable. "The whole Wizarding World fucking hates my family. Your dad should champion other people worth saving because nothing is going to happen. I talked to Mum. She said everything's bleak. At least she has the decency not to sugarcoat her words."

He heard Albus sigh before tentatively placing a hand on his shoulder. "They're still speculations, you know," he continued. "Nothing's been proven yet."

"The Daily Prophet is having a bloody field day, Potter," he snarled. "I won't be surprised if they'd twist the story until my father is finally thrown to Azkaban and be given the blasted Dementor's Kiss the whole world's been crying about ever since the conclusion of the War."

Scorpius felt his blood boil with rage, his breathing growing rapid and shallow as the possibility of his father being thrown to Azkaban finally sank in.

Earlier this morning, while he was eating breakfast, the Daily Prophet came. Scorpius normally skipped immediately towards the Quidditch section for the latest sports news, but when his father's face greeted him on the front page, his heart dropped to his feet. Suddenly, everybody seemed to stop talking and were looking at him. Albus had worriedly gripped his arm but Scorpius already tore away from the Great Hall and back into the comforts of his four poster bed.

The news spoke of an unexpected ministry raid into the Malfoy Manor and the officials were able to seize illegal dark artifacts. Scorpius wanted to scream at someone, to blast them away, because he had spent most of his childhood summers painstakingly helping his father and mother and their bloody house-elves to clear these dark artifacts. It had taken them years before Malfoy Manor seemed liveable once again, the remnants of dark, residual magic long dispelled from the place he now felt comfortable to call home.

Therefore, he was undoubtedly sure these dark artifacts were planted in their home. His father, Draco Malfoy, was now rising as a respectable Curse Breaker. He was bloody brilliant in what he was doing and Scorpius had respected, loved, and admired his father. But despite all these achievements, the Wizarding World seemed to always see him as one thing alone – a Death Eater.

He had quite forgotten that the Wizarding World was cruel and unforgiving. Scorpius learned at a very young age that bearing the Malfoy surname was a curse. Five-year-old him always felt confused and heartbroken why his father refused to bring him to Florean's in Diagon Alley or buy him a new toy broom so that he could play Quidditch with his father in their vast lawn. His mother always soothed him with bedtime stories, peppering kisses on his forehead to abate his tears with promises of toffee candies and ice creams and all the desserts his little heart loved.

It was when he finally stepped foot in Hogwarts when he understood what it meant to be a Malfoy. Already, there were rumors that he was the Dark Lord's illegitimate son with his mother, Astoria. Which was a load of complete, fucking bullshit because he looked exactly like his father. Why can't people see that?

He had tearfully penned a letter home, telling his parents how the children had called him as such. It was still fresh in his mind how soaked their reply was with tears; until this day, Scorpius wasn't sure if it was his mother's or father's. Or maybe both.

He resolutely ignored their jibes, focusing on his studies and Quidditch to make his parents proud. Over the years, his father finally told him everything he had done in his youth. Scorpius had loved him all the more despite Draco's apprehensions that his son would hate him. Somehow, Scorpius was unable to bridge a connection between scornful, lonely, and arrogant sixteen-year-old Draco Malfoy with his respectable, loving, and admirable father.

But now… now this rubbish! The Wizarding World would be relentless now, Scorpius was sure. False news would resurface, claiming more ridiculous things to prove that Draco Malfoy was, and would always be, Voldemort's supporter through and through. His mother had already sent him a letter to brace himself because things didn't seem too okay.

Above all, he worried for his father. Scorpius had been a witness to Draco Malfoy's every day struggle for redemption. Astoria seemed to be the clutch his father desperately needed to get through each day and he'd been forever grateful his mother was wonderful and good for his father. It still pained his heart how everybody was close-minded with the fact that Draco Malfoy could in fact change for the better.

"Everything's going to be all right, Scorpius," Al whispered from behind him, snapping Scorpius off his angry musings. "Your father is… he's strong."


He had seen his father's breakdowns in the Malfoy Manor, away from prying eyes. He had seen his father drown himself in alcohol sometimes, reducing himself into an incomprehensible mess, blubbering about his regrets for doing what he had done in his life. He had seen his father close himself off during bad days – worst days – and his mother had no choice but to hold Draco tight until he came back to them.

Draco Malfoy wasn't strong. He was… he was barely holding on, and the only reason why he was still alive was because of his wife and son. He had said exactly the same thing to Scorpius during one of his drunken tirades.

Draco Malfoy wasn't strong. He was broken, mayhap broken beyond recognition, and Scorpius was afraid what this news would do to his father.

Scorpius then shot up from the grass and determinedly looked at the Black Lake. "I've got to do something," he declared.

Albus warily sat up and eyed him with a frown. "What are you planning to do?" he slowly asked.

"James once said Headmistress McGonagall hides Time Turners in her office, right?" Already, a plan was formulating and bloody fucking hell, it was brilliant. Perhaps a little too Gryffindor for a Slytherin like him, but it didn't matter for Scorpius right now. All he could think about was saving his father from his past misgivings and finally bringing happiness that was cruelly yanked from him at such a very young age.

"Scorpius, what are you planning to do?" his best friend repeated.

In spite of himself, Scorpius rolled his eyes. "I'm going to steal a Time Turner, Al," he said, the corner of his lips quirking up in amusement. "What do you think I'll do? Turn back into time and kill Voldemort myself?"

Maybe that was a brilliant plan, too, he thought. But then of course, Scorpius knew he was no match to the vilest and most powerful wizard who had ever lived in this world. Ever. What could an awkward Slytherin like him do against Voldemort? "I'm going to go back in time and warn my father about the possible consequences of the wrong choices he will make."

"Sweet Salazar, Scorpius, this is insane!" Albus barked as he jumped onto his feet.

"It isn't," Scorpius insisted. "Okay, so maybe it is ¼ insane, but I have to do this. It is the only way."

"It isn't the only way," his best friend interjected. "My father can always vouch for your father's innocence. Damn it all, maybe the Golden Trio can all testify for your father's behalf in his trial. Aunt Astoria will kill me if she found out I allowed you to do whatever the hell you are planning!"

Scorpius sighed and lazily stood up, all the anger in him draining away as his mind latched onto his plan. "No offense, Al, but the Golden Trio are shit people to my father," he said, grimacing. Albus scowled but hadn't retorted anything back. "They're not exactly friends, and I think you are quite forgetting that Ronald Weasley hated our very guts. He's the reason why Rose still doesn't like me!"

"Ugh, Scorpius!" Albus cried in exasperation. "I'm sure Aunt Hermione just won't stand aside and watch as your father was unfairly tried."

"Minster Granger-Weasley," he corrected, because honestly, the Golden Girl had never been Aunt Hermione to him, "has other matters to attend to. I'm sure the Wizarding World won't like it if she championed an Ex-Death Eater. It won't look good on her squeaky clean record."

Albus looked scandalized with his offhanded accusation and Scorpius actually felt a little remorseful. Minister Hermione Granger-Weasley had been nothing but wise, good and fair and wasn't tolerant of corruption and discrimination. Scorpius admittedly admired her for that and had hoped Rose had taken more from her pretty mother than her idiot father.

"Aunt Hermione," Al hissed in reply, "isn't like that, and you know it."

Scorpius sighed and tiredly ran a hand through his face. "Are you helping me or what?" he demanded.

Albus scowled and crossed his arms against his chest. "Damn you, Scorpius, you owe me," he finally replied.

The Malfoy heir released a monumental sigh and grinned. "Good, because everything will be botched up if you didn't agree," he easily replied. "I need James' Invisibility Cloak and Marauder's Map for this to come into fruition."

Albus fisted his hair in frustration and groaned. "I should have listened to my father when he said you were bad news," he retorted, clearly put out.

Scorpius laughed and swung an arm around his best friend's shoulders. "But who would patiently listen to your woes of being the son of the freaking Boy-Who-Lived?" he pointed out matter-of-factly.

"I hate you," Al said, roughly pushing him away and stomping back to the castle.

Scorpius cupped his hands against his mouth and shouted in reply, "I love you, too, mate!"

"This is going to seriously blow up, Scorpius."

"Thank you, Albus the Cynic, for choosing this day, of all days, to suddenly make an appearance," Scorpius sarcastically snapped underneath the Invisibility Cloak. He scowled when Albus none-too-gently elbowed him on his ribs. "Just shut up, Al. You can run the hell back to the dungeons if we caught the first sign of an authority."

As if on cue, the unmistakable shadow of Argus Filch grew larger and nearer. Albus cursed under his breath and was about to make a beeline back to the Slytherin dormitories, but Scorpius tightly latched onto his arm. "I was fucking kidding, you git!" he hissed under his breath.

"Damn you, Scorpius," Albus growled in reply.

"Who's there?" Filch cried, frantically waving his torch around.

Both Albus and Scorpius held their breaths and hastily ran towards an alcove to hide. Mrs. Norris suddenly appeared and started meowing in their direction. Scorpius tried to desperately shoo her away, but Albus held a hand against his mouth when Filch materialized behind his cat.

"What is it, my sweet?" the squib gruffly asked. "Can you smell rule-breaking students now?"

The Hogwarts caretaker suspiciously looked at their general direction. Scorpius even felt like their eyes had met despite the protection the Invisibility Cloak provided. His eyes widened when Filch raised his hand and tried to grab the cloak away. Scorpius and Albus pressed themselves further back and was only able to breathe in relief when Mrs. Norris bounded away, no doubt sensing another rule-breaking student.

They waited until Filch's steps faded. Scorpius immediately scrambled out of the alcove, consequently knocking his best friend to the ground. Albus weakly kicked Scorpius' shin in retaliation while Scorpius tried to give him the darkest glare he could muster.

"Let's just get this over and done with," Al muttered, urging him forward.

Within minutes, they finally reached the stone gargoyle that guarded Headmistress' McGonagall's room. "Catnap," Scorpius whispered. The gargoyle sprang to life and stepped aside, revealing a moving, circular staircase. Albus and Scorpius hopped on and only removed the Invisibility Cloak when they reached the top.

"Okay, you still have at least fifteen minutes to do your bloody thing," Al said, lighting his wand to glance over the Maruader's Map. Scorpius peered and saw the Headmistress' name somewhere in the Astronomy Tower. "I'll stand guard here and warn you if there's trouble."

"Thank you for doing this, mate, I mean it," Scorpius said, grasping onto Albus' arm to give him a grateful smile.

Although the Potter boy always told him he was a pain in the arse to be best friends with, Scorpius was thankful Albus had always stuck by him through and through.

"Wish me luck," was his parting words when he pulled the double, wooden doors open and stepped inside.

McGonagall's office was magnificent and impeccable – a place where he had been accustomed of due to years of serving detention under the Headmistress. McGonagall once told him he was the most troublesome Slytherin she ever had the pleasure of handling. Scorpius once joked if his father, an Ex-Death Eater, didn't count, earning him another week of detention and a sad, fond smile from the old professor. Scorpius once told Albus he thinks he was McGonagall's favorite, which Albus loudly disagreed because it was clear he was McGonagall's favorite.

Brandishing out his wand, he murmured a soft, "Accio Time-Turner." A drawer underneath McGonagall's desk rattled and Scorpius jogged closer to free the contraption. He caught the Time-Turner in his hands with ease and admired it under his wand's light.

"Tampering with time is a very foolish thing to do, young man."

Scorpius jolted in surprise and waved his wand around. He was unable to see any wizards or witches inside, which somehow calmed his loudly beating heart.

"Unless, of course, you plan on taking a lot of classes this year to further your education. I think that is quite admirable."

Eyes widening, he realized it was the very big portrait behind McGonagall's desk who was talking to him. He lifted his wand and illuminated the old, wizened face of the famous Albus Dumbledore. The said previous headmaster who shared his best friend's name looked down at him in amusement and curiosity.

"Err… I do plan on getting more classes this year," he slowly lied through his teeth. "I wanted to make my parents proud and all, Professor Dumbledore, sir."

The light might be deceiving him but Dumbledore's eyes twinkled. "I do not think you would risk breaking into the Headmistress' Office in the middle of the night to do such a noble thing, my dear boy," he lightly admonished.

Scorpius felt a little embarrassed as he sheepishly smiled. "Will you… will you report me to Headmistress McGonagall?" he inquired.

"My job dictates me to, I'm terribly sorry." Dumbledore shifted on his frame and intertwined his wrinkly fingers together. "Although, if I may ask, what are you planning to do with that Time-Turner?"

There was something in Dumbledore's eyes that compelled him to confess. By the time he was done talking, Dumbledore's eyes were impossibly twinkling more, if that was even probable.

"That is a courageous thing to do. Saving your father that is," he reverently said. "Absolutely foolish, of course. But very brave." His eyes warmed and softened as he regarded Scorpius. "A son's love for his father is a powerful little thing, young man. It may be terribly cliché, but love in all its forms is a formidable, magnificent thing."

Scorpius knew this, of course. The story about how Harry Potter vanquished the Dark Lord once and for all was basically about a mother's undying love for her son. Somehow, with this thought, Scorpius felt a new surge of determination to go back into time, warn his father or perhaps plead him to see reason, so that he would be spared from all this turmoil.

Scorpius loved his father very much. He knew he'd do whatever it takes just to make him happier.

He started to turn the knob of the Time-Turner, careful to count all the number of hours he'd go back. He planned on going back to his father's sixth year, knowing that it was when things started to become seriously fucked up for Draco Malfoy. Dumbledore still eyed him curiously, and maybe a tad worriedly, but hadn't said a peep now.

Scorpius fingers were starting to sting, but he continued to turn. Suddenly, however, the door banged open and in came an enraged McGonagall, holding a sheepish, pained Albus by the ear.

"Hello, mate, thought I might come in and say we're in trouble," Albus cajoled, but his green eyes were unmistakably peering worriedly at the still turning Time-Turner.

Despite the intrusion, Scorpius hadn't lost count and had been frantically turning more.

"Mister Malfoy!" McGonagall exclaimed, aghast. "What do you think you're doing?"

"Professor, please, he needed to do this," Albus pleaded. One scathing glare from the Headmistress clamped his mouth shut.

Scorpius grinned when he'd finally turned it completely. "I'm sorry, Headmistress," the Slytherin solemnly said. "I'll happily grace your presence during my break times for the rest of my stay in Hogwarts, but please, I have to do this." His eyes turned beseeching as McGonagall's grew horrified.

The Headmistress was fast enough and blasted the contraption away. Scorpius watched, seemingly in slow motion, as the Time-Turner flew away from his hands. Even his stellar Seeker skills were unable to save the Time-Turner as it shattered at his feet.

Dread bloomed in the pit of his stomach. Scorpius fell on his knees, aware that tears were slowly pooling in his grey eyes.

"I'm sorry, Mister Malfoy, but I cannot allow you to do this… this foolishness!" McGonagall exclaimed.

Saving his father now seemed a very impossibly thing. He could already picture his father, behind bars in Azkaban, begging for all the Wizarding World to hear his side. Even the Golden Trio would be helpless when the Wizengamot dictated him as guilty, already announcing his schedule for the Dementor's Kiss.

Scorpius could already see his mother, his poor mother, as she tried to keep herself calm. Her mother was strong, she had always been strong, and it was something he had admired in her. Without her, the whole Malfoy family would fall apart. Scorpius feared this was something his strong mother couldn't bear this time.

A lone tear slipped down from his eyes and splattered amongst the glittering sand of the broken Time-Turner. "I'm sorry, Dad," he mournfully whispered.

His brows furrowed when a flicker caught his eye. Confused, Scoripus looked down at the sand on his feet and gasped in surprise. The sand shimmered gold and slowly lifted from the ground. Scorpius watched open-mouthed as the sand swirled around him, at first slow before picking up a dizzying pace. The strange sands of time created a deafening whirlwind; he was unable to hear McGongall's and Albus' shouts of alarm for him to get away.

Scorpius was able to see their terrified faces, though, as they slowly faded before his eyes and everything turned black.

Chapter Text

He came to consciousness but still refused to open his eyes. Scorpius remembered all the fiasco that had happened back in Headmistress McGonagall's office and panicked. He recalled the weird magic the broken Time-Turner emitted and clearly remembered how the Headmistress and Albus' faces were fading before his eyes.

'Did it work?' he asked himself, eyes still tightly closed in alarm.

His nose twitched, trying to smell anything recognizable. He was unable to smell the telltale sterile scent of the Hospital Wing, so Scorpius deduced he might not be there at all. He was unable to smell the chamomile flowers displayed on his bedside table in the Slytherin dormitories; his mother, always a big fan of flowers and their symbols, thought the chamomile flower would best suit his hard life as a Malfoy. "Energy in adversity, my love," she had written to him one time. Ever since then, Astoria reverently sent him chamomile flowers.

Confused, he took a small sniff once more. His nose was invaded with earthy, deep cedar mingled with an expensive scent that smelled eerily like his father. 'Open your eyes, you dolt,' a voice inside his mind said, sounding suspiciously like Albus.

Scorpius then cautiously opened his eyes and was relieved to find he was alone. As he sat up, his eyes slowly took in the unfamiliar room he was in. The first thing he noticed was the soft bed underneath him, draped with the blackest silk he had ever seen. His hand practically melted every time he stroke the soft and rich blanket.

He was in some kind of a bedroom. There was a tall bookcase to his right, brimming with books he didn't bother to investigate. There was a handsome mahogany desk pushed up against the wall underneath a huge window. Outside, sunlight poured in and bathed the room with light. A door most likely leading to a bathroom was placed just to the left of his bed and opposite it was a huge wardrobe that rivalled his very own back home.

Scorpius' eyes finally landed on the double, oak doors of the room and recognized the Malfoy family crest. 'So, I'm in the Malfoy Manor?' he asked himself, baffled, as he slowly slipped down from the bed and strode closer to the door.

Upon closer inspection, the crest was unmistakable. He then noticed the engraved letters 'S' and 'M' underneath it. As Scorpius mindlessly traced his fingers on the initials of his name, he looked around the room once more, wondering how in Merlin's hell did this bedroom become his.

It was too cold, dreary and plain whereas Scorpius' room back home was plastered with numerous posters of his favorite band and Quidditch team. He did have the mahogany desk, but it was littered with a lot of picture frames of his family, his Quidditch team, his housemates, and Albus. He also usually requested for green comforters as adornment for his bed; black was specifically his father's signature color, not his.

His throat clotted with nerves. He seemed like he was in the Malfoy Manor after all. Scorpius decided to investigate further to really know.

Scorpius peeked his head outside his room and looked around. There was no one around as he fully pushed the door open and stepped outside. He instantly recognized he was in the West Wing of the Malfoy Manor, where his bedroom was. He glanced around, confused that his bedroom was right where it was supposed to be, and wondered when did Astoria agree to start rearranging his things inside. His mother knew he'd go ballistic if she'd order to depersonalize his bedroom without his consent.

As he aimlessly walked around, eyes roving all over the humongous house, Scorpius was finally convinced he was in the Malfoy Manor. It was somehow drearier and darker as opposed to the cheery and bright Manor his mother worked hard to maintain. A part of him thought that perhaps, he had been successful in returning back after all. Now, the next thing he should do was to find his father and get the hell away from here.

'But how?' he asked, remembering what had happened to the Time-Turner before he was whisked away in this weird version of his childhood home. Panic rose from his stomach at the prospect of having to stay here for a few more days before he was able to procure another Time-Turner.

A sudden pop resounded in the whole corridor and Scorpius swore. He glared at the newcomer, but then gasped upon recognizing his personal house-elf, Ditzy. The creature was slightly younger, though.

"Master Scorpius," Ditzy reverently said after bowing in greeting. "The Mistress Malfoy expects you in the East Wing Gardens."

"Mistress Malfoy?" Scorpius echoed, confused.

His house-elf eyed him strangely before slowly nodding his head. "Today is Master Malfoy's trial, Master Scorpius," Ditzy continued. "Mistress Malfoy expects you to be ready, Master Scorpius."

Scorpius paled. A trial. Today was Master Malfoy's trial. His head slowly swirled into a jumbled mess. If today was a trial, his father's trial, then perhaps he failed to go back into time and instead moved forward!

He suddenly couldn't breathe as he stumbled back in surprise. Ditzy squeaked and hastily held him upright. For a terribly small creature, he was surprisingly strong and Scorpius was thankful for his support. "Is Master Scorpius all right? Should Ditzy tell Mistress Malfoy the Master Scorpius is unwell?"

"No, no," he found himself breathlessly whisper in reply. "I… give me a moment, Ditzy. I'll just change my clothes."

His house-elf dutifully escorted him back to his bedroom and helped him dress up. To Scorpius' dismay, most of his clothes were black and gray. He blindly grabbed a random grey dress robe and wore it over his head, with Ditzy immediately brushing away some lint and smoothing over wrinkles.

His head was still fuzzy when Ditzy escorted him to the East Wing Gardens. Scorpius was expecting the huge array of different flowers his mother nurtured and cared for. It was therefore bewildering when rows and rows of rosebushes greeted his eyes. Astoria hated roses, said they were terribly dull and sad. She opted to plant many other colorful flowers to adorn the East Wing Gardens.

"Mistress Malfoy, Ditzy brings Master Scorpius." Ditzy the house-elf then snapped his fingers and disappeared with a soft pop.

Scorpius' jaw dropped when the Mistress Malfoy, Narcissa, stood up and greeted him with a tired, worn smile. His Nana Narcissa had been long dead since he was five years old and he did not really remember much about her. He had seen her pictures in the Malfoy Manor before and sometimes, he would catch his father sitting underneath her huge portrait near the East Wing Gardens, tearfully talking to her, oblivious his son was observing.

"Na - " He bit his tongue when Narcissa strode forward. She then held both of his hands and squeezed them tight. There were tears in her eyes and Scorpius was at a loss of what to do.

"I know you didn't want to come today, but… but your mother needs you, Scorpius," Narcissa whispered.

"M-mother?" he asked, aghast. Her shimmering, blue eyes grew confused and Scorpius hastily added, "I-I mean, yes, of course, Mother."

Narcissa daintily sniffed and Scorpius immediately fished out his handkerchief from his pockets. His Nana carefully dabbed her eyes with the cloth, but she was unable to stop her tears. Narcissa's hand shook and she choked out a sob, before launching herself into the arms of a surprised Scorpius and broke down against his shoulders.

"E-everything will be all right," he whispered, confused and worried with her distress. "Everything will be all right, Nana, you'll see."

His eyes widened at his slip but the woman in his arms was too distracted with grief.

"We should… we should go now, my love," Narcissa said after calming down. She slowly pulled away from his arms and worriedly brushed his cheek with her knuckles. "Will you be all right?"

He should honestly be the one to ask that question to her, but Scorpius merely nodded his head.

"We must go," she said, completely wiping away her tears. "The trial is about to start."

As her words sank in, Scorpius balked. If his deductions were correct, then the trial they kept on talking about wasn't of his father but… Scorpius' eyes widened in realization.

Holy Mother of Merlin, he was about to witness Lucius Malfoy's trial.

He was already familiar with the Wizengamot, having been here countless of times before due to many reasons. During his younger years, his father used to have a seat here in the Wizengamot as the Head of House of one of the Sacred Twenty-Eight, but this privilege was stripped off of him when Scorpius was about six. He had been here when he was ten-years-old to witness for the first time how his father was tried for having botched a raid in an old Pureblood House that wasn't clearly his fault. But then, an auror had died at that time and the ministry immediately pointed a finger towards Draco. The last time he had been here was when he was about fourteen-years-old, his father pleading to the whole Wizengamot to clear Narcissa's name for the nth time during the anniversary of her death because she had never been a Death Eater. Predictably, the Wizengamot refused.

Now, he was sitting stiffly on the audience benches, nervously waiting for Lucius Malfoy's trial to start. The whole room was packed with people, cameras going off every minute to capture each and every moment in the trial. There were other spectators, most likely ministry officials, who had hungry looks in their eyes. Scorpius hazarded a guess these were the ones who wanted Lucius Malfoy incarcerated the most.

If his suspicions were right, he was able to go back in the summer of 1996 after the Battle in the Department of Mysteries. Lucius Malfoy was one of the caught Death Eaters and had been found guilty for his crimes. Scorpius had merely seen clippings of this event in the Hogwarts library. He tried to ask his father once about his grandfather, but Draco always resolutely refused and had been tightlipped about his father. One thing Scorpius knew from these whole debacle was that no love was lost between the father and son.

Speaking of Draco, Scorpius was still unable to catch his father's familiar form. He craned his neck just to search for him, but his father was still nowhere to be found. Scorpius did not take that as a good sign.

"All rise," a balding, middle-aged Ministry official soon drawled and everybody scrambled onto their feet. A stream of ministry officials, all wearing signature plum-colored robes with an elaborate silver 'W' proudly displayed on their right breast, came inside and occupied the benches. Scorpius mentally counted them as almost fifty.

The last person to come in was an important looking official, also wearing the same ensemble as the other fifty, and sauntered to the right of a tall podium instead of sitting with the other Wizengamot members. Scorpius' eyes widened, recognizing Rufus Scrimgeour, the minister that had replaced that bumbling idiot, Cornelius Fudge.

Minster Scrimgeour motioned for them to sit down as he settled on the high chair beside the podium. Seeing that the minister wasn't the one presiding over the trial, Scorpius tried to rack his brain to remember who the current Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot was.

As if on cue, the doors opened once more. Scorpius' jaw slackened when Albus Dumbledore strolled in, his eyes twinkling behind his half-moon spectacles. He politely greeted Minister Scrimgeour and settled inside the podium.

"Bring in the accused," Dumbledore ordered. His voice was soft yet strong and imposing. Scorpius slightly shivered. He was in the presence of the only wizard Voldemort had ever feared. Scorpius admired him so much, having collected as many Chocolate Frog cards of the respectable wizard as much as he could. He had poured himself over Dumbledore's biography, devouring all the little facts and maybe some fiction that surrounded this enigmatic, powerful wizard. Al used to incessantly tease him about his obsession over the greatest Headmaster Hogwarts ever had.

In the middle of the room, a small chair materialized. Two guards then half-dragged, half-carried a dirty and scraggly man into the room and pushed him roughly onto the seat. Beside him, Narcissa whimpered and tightly gripped Scorpius' arm.

Scorpius felt his breath hitch at the sight of his grandfather. Lucius also had a portrait back home, but this man below him was a far cry from the imposing man in the Malfoy Manor. He was dirtied, tired, and emaciated. Clearly, Azkaban was unforgiving to him.

He swallowed a lump as the shackles magically bound Lucius to the chair. Scorpius blanched at how empty his eyes were and he was forced to look away.

Dumbledore then tapped the gavel twice, signaling the start of the trial. "Full trial on the 5th of July, for the offenses committed by Lucius Malfoy, resident of the Malfoy Manor in Wiltshire, England. Interrogators Rufus Scrimgeour, Minister for Magic, and Albus Dumbledore, Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot." He paused and tilted his head towards the minister.

Minister Scrimgeour stood up and strode forward, his eyes glued intently on the parchment in his hands. "Lucius Malfoy, you are hereby accused of bearing the Dark Mark, symbolizing loyalty to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and had participated in the Battle of the Department of Mysteries last 18th of June, consequently injuring minors by using Unforgivables to obtain the prophecy for You-Know-Who. How do you plead?"

Narcissa's hand were like vices around his arm, but Scorpius did not seem to notice. He held his breath as he watched Lucius slowly lift his lifeless eyes and directed it at Minister Scrimgeour. "Guilty," he sneered. Scandalized gasps ran rampant in the room, and Dumbledore had to tap his gavel sharply to put order in the court.

"Do you have any last words to say, Lucius Malfoy?" Dumbledore asked, his eyes losing its twinkle as he stared straight at the Death Eater.

Scorpius had never seen so much hate in someone's eyes. A maniacal grin grew on Lucius' mouth as he leant forward and snarled, "Long Live the Dark Lord."

Enraged shouts erupted in the whole room. Scorpius watched, horrified, as some even dared to pull out their wand, ready to blast his grandfather for speaking despicable words. Scorpius himself was shaken with his declaration; he remembered his father telling him that Lucius had been loyal to Voldemort until his last breath. It felt a little surreal to witness his zealotry firsthand.

Dumbledore had to rap his gavel sharply several times again until everybody calmed down. "Those in favor of conviction, a lifetime sentence in Azkaban, for the accused." He paused as most hands – Merlin, all hands - rose in the air. Dumbledore even lifted his hand, his eyes never breaking contact with Lucius'. Scorpius felt sick in the stomach and couldn't understand why Dumbledore had to ask for those in favor of clearing of all charges when everybody obviously wanted him convicted.

"Convicted," Dumbledore calmly replied, rapped his gavel once, and strode out from his podium.

Narcissa wailed in despair and desperately clutched Scorpius, unable to watch as the two guards escorted Lucius out of the court room to Azkaban. For one, heart-stopping moment, Lucius' eyes met his. Scorpius was bewildered at the fear in his grandfather's eyes, but Lucius immediately broke his gaze as the guards fully dragged him away.

The members of the Wizengamot slowly trickled away but Scorpius and his Nana hadn't moved from their seats. It was only when a ministry official tentatively approached them and asked them to leave did they finally return to the Malfoy Manor.

Later that night after Scorpius made sure his Nana was finally sound asleep, he took that time to explore the old Malfoy Manor. Despite the resemblance it bore, Scorpius did not feel at home. The lack of his mother's colorful flowers and bright lights made this place simply dreary and cold for the young Slytherin.

Scorpius' mind was still reeling from Lucius' trial this morning. He honestly expected to land in Hogwarts from his time-travelling mishap, believing that his father might be there. Judging from the day of the trial, a new term still had not started in Hogwarts and Scorpius was very, very confused.

He tried to ask about his father to Ditzy when they returned, but his house-elf merely gave him a confused look and excused himself.

He was starting to panic. Albus would have a field day if he discovered Malfoy the Unanxious was suddenly shaken to his core. Scorpius could not dispel the dread in his heart, no matter how many happy thoughts he conjured in his mind.

Such was his distraction he was surprised when his feet brought him towards the Malfoy family tree tapestry. When he was young, he would usually sit on the floor and happily trace his name with his small fingers. Astoria once caught him trying to color his name more prettily with the Muggle crayons he begged Ditzy to buy for him. Ever since then, he had been banned in this room if he were unaccompanied.

Wryly, he expected his mother to suddenly appear and scold him incessantly if he ever thought of defiling the family tree tapestry once more. He was somehow tempted to actually do it just so his mother would appear. But then of course, he was brought back into time and Astoria was most probably in the Greengrass Manor right now, oblivious that the son she would have ten years from now existed in the same timeline as she did.

Emotions welled in his heart and Scorpius felt homesick. He missed his mother and her unbelievably large collection of flowers. He missed his father and his brooding, smirking face. He even missed the Ditzy of his own time, always nagging him to eat more or to chew more slowly. He missed Albus and his stupid face. He missed Rose and her pretty hair and scathing remarks. Damn it all, he missed everyone back in his time.

Sighing sadly, Scorpius sat on the carpeted floor and sought out for his name. He gently traced it with his fingers, hoping that his parents didn't miss him too much now that he disappeared.

Scorpius then sought out for his father's name but frowned when he was unable to see it. Narrowing his eyes, he traced his name back and sputtered out in disbelief to see that he was the son of Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy, and not their grandson.

He scrambled back onto his feet and frantically searched for a 'Draco Malfoy' on the tapestry. Scorpius did this for almost an hour, desperately begging for the tapestry to quit its charms and show him the real Malfoy family tree.

It was only when he scoured for the fiftieth time when Scorpius begrudgingly accepted that Draco Malfoy's name was missing from the Malfoy family tree.

Chapter Text

He hadn't slept a wink last night, his mind still consumed with thoughts of the Malfoy family tree. The stark absence of his father's name in the tapestry did not bode too well. Scorpius mulled over this thought for hours and hours, trying to think of a possible explanation to this bizarreness.

'No wonder Ditzy does not recognize my father,' he had thought, tiredly running a hand through his face. His personal house-elf wouldn't forget Draco Malfoy. Merlin Almighty, Ditzy practically adored his father and did his bidding, declaring passionate words of loyalty and admiration hither thither. It was terribly amusing, especially how Draco always flustered with Ditzy's words.

He thought about his sudden change of parents, too. Lucius' and Narcissa's name branched out to his name, undoubtedly declaring him as their son.

Somehow, amidst all these confusing thoughts, Scorpius was finally able to conclude one thing – he had replaced his father. It was the only plausible explanation! With him as the Malfoy heir of 1996 and the nonexistence of Draco Malfoy, Scorpius believed he had botched up his time travelling. The thought that he had caused his father's sudden absence made him sick in the stomach.

"Master Scorpius?"

Scorpius peeked at the nervous house-elf at the foot of his bed. "What is it, Ditzy?" he asked, cringing at the exhaustion in his voice.

"Mistress Malfoy wishes for Master Scorpius to be ready now," his personal house-elf replied.

The blond glanced at the small clock on his bedside table and frowned. "It's still six in the morning," he complained. "Breakfast always starts at eight o'clock."

To his surprise, Ditzy started sniveling. Scorpius sat up from his bed and looked at his house-elf in confusion. Ditzy started wringing his impossibly large ears while big, fat tears streamed down from his tennis ball-eyes. He was clearly in distress over something and Scorpius was alarmed.

"Not breakfast, no, no, Master Scorpius," Ditzy whimpered. "Master Scorpius must make haste or he might get hurt. Ditzy urges Master Scorpius to prepare himself." He sniffed loudly and Scorpius looked at him with mild disgust. "He doesn't like to wait. Oh, Master Scorpius, he really doesn't. You must be prepared."

"I'm sorry, who?" Scorpius asked in confusion. "Who doesn't like to wait?"

Ditzy released a pained moan but didn't reply. Instead, he sauntered towards Scorpius' wardrobe and grasped the nearest wizard robe his tiny hand could grab. He then thrusted it into Scorpius' hands and the young wizard had no choice but to hastily don it, lest he was faced with the wrath of his house-elf. Ditzy was terribly docile, but Scorpius wondered if the house-elves even know what they were capable of. If they didn't love their current work too much, perhaps they could rise to power in this society.

His house-elf then wordlessly grabbed onto his arm and dragged him away. Scorpius tried to pry away his death grip, but this only made Ditzy hold onto him tighter.

By the time they arrived in the foyer of the manor, his arm already bore an ugly, red imprint of Ditzy's hand.

"Ugh, Ditzy, look what you've done!" Scorpius glared at his cowering house-elf, who placed a gentle hand on his smarting arm this time and healed it.

"Scorpius," Narcissa then said, announcing her arrival.

He looked at his grandmother – well, mother – and grimaced at her appearance. If it were possible, she looked more disheveled and gaunt today. Fear loomed over her head and Scorpius felt a little uneasy at the terror in her eyes. "Scorpius," she called once more as she finally reached him.

To his surprise, Narcissa threw her arms around his middle and tightly held onto him. "Oh, my sweet boy," she murmured against his neck. "My sweet, sweet boy, I am sorry. You must be brave. Your mother is sorry."

"What's going on?" Scorpius asked, confused. He shot a questioning glance at Ditzy, who squeaked and instantly disappeared with a pop.

Narcissa pulled away and Scorpius felt more worried and fearful. Without any warning, Scorpius felt the squeezing sensation of Apparation.

He stumbled a bit when they rematerialized and it was only Narcissa's death grip that stopped him from careening forward.

Scorpius lightly glared at his Nana for not warning him, but Narcissa was now resolutely looking away. He then took that time to survey around, noting that they were in some dilapidated house that had clearly seen better days. The air was musky with mold and dark, residual magic. Scorpius involuntarily shivered and hugged himself tighter to relay more heat to his body.

Three masked men with dark robes suddenly materialized. Scorpius' eyes widened, recognizing the unmistakable Death Eater mask from his History of Magic textbooks. He had one time seen a news clipping of his father wearing exactly the same thing and had nightmares about it ever since.

"The Dark Lord wishes to see you now, Young Malfoy," one of the Death Eaters spat.

"W-what?" Scorpius sputtered out, his blood running cold.

"He's pissing his pants, look at him!" another Death Eater exclaimed with glee. He then laughingly pried Scorpius away from Narcissa, who begged and cried and tried to reach out for him, but another Death Eater held her back.

Bile quickly rose from his stomach as panic gripped his heart. He was about to see the Dark Lord – the single, vilest, most inhumane wizard that had ever graced this very earth. Voldemort was still fucking alive and Scorpius wanted to die right there and then. Perhaps, he would be dead soon, anyway.

The Death Eaters then shoved him inside a dark, damp room. The evilness inside was unbearably nauseating and Scorpius had to clamp his mouth hard to stop hurling at Voldemort's feet.

"Scorpius Malfoy."

Everything in him froze in terror. For a moment, Scorpius forgot to breathe. Blood rushed into his ears and all he could hear was its loud ringing as he finally lifted his head and stared straight into the eyes of Lord Voldemort. His eyes were blood red and narrowed; his nostrils merely slits on his face. His mouth was stretched widely into a maniacal grin, bearing almost razor sharp teeth that could tear his throat in minutes.

Scorpius had heard and read a lot about Lord Voldemort. How could he not, really? Part of the curriculum in Hogwarts was to painstakingly study each and every aspect of Tom Riddle Jr.'s life to remind the next generation what would happen when someone fell too deeply in love with the Dark Arts. He had heard snippets about his reign from his parents sometimes, but Draco always shut himself down when they started talking about Voldemort. Although defeated, the Wizarding World still feared saying his name, solemnly referring him as He-Who-Must-Be-Named, their voices laced with fear and disgust, hoping that he would never come back.

Damn it all, Scorpius knew everything about him, but he was still reduced into a silence, shocked to face the wizard that singlehandedly ruined his father's life.

"Come forward, young Malfoy," Voldemort hissed.

Scorpius tried to stride forward, he really did, but he was too terrified to move. The Dark Lord sneered down at him and waved his wand. Instantly, Scorpius felt the most wonderful feeling. All the anxieties and fear from his mind were gently stripped away. It was like he was in a dream, a beautiful dream, and he was only vaguely aware that Voldemort was sitting right in front of him.

"Come forward, Scorpius," a melodic voice whispered inside his head. Scorpius found himself obliging easily, distantly aware of the sound of his footsteps. Once he was merely a few feet away from Voldemort, the wonderful feeling instantly went away. All the horrors and fear he were feeling came crashing down with a vengeance and Scorpius bent over in disgust, realizing that he had just been Imperio-ed by the Dark Lord.

Promptly, rage surged in his blood. Scorpius curled his shaking hands into fist, wanting to Avada this bastard away for even thinking of placing him under the Imperius curse. Scorpius then mentally cursed himself for even thinking this whole bloody plan of his might work. This whole thing was executed like a bumbling Gryffindor with no clear plan of action instead of the cunning, sly Slytherin he was.

Slowly, his hand crept into his robe pocket and tightly gripped the length of his polished wand. The urge to kill Voldemort grew, but then, Scorpius remembered that the Dark Lord was still immortal. If his timeline was right, the only horcrux that was destroyed was his diary. Dumbledore might have already destroyed the Gaunt ring, he wasn't sure.

'Dumbledore,' he thought, his heart turning into lead. The summer before his father's sixth year, Draco was made a Death Eater and given the impossible task to kill Albus Dumbledore. If Scorpius' hunches were right and he did replace his father in this timeline, then…

'No,' he stuttered. 'No, no, no.' Scorpius wanted to flee away and hide, to save himself from the inevitable. He bloody went back into time to stop his father from becoming a Death Eater. He did not fucking plan to get it instead. Panicked tears pricked his eyes as his breathing started to become harsh, loud, and shallow.

"Lift your head, young Malfoy," Voldemort ordered.

Scorpius tightly closed his eyes and took deep, calming breaths. If he wanted to get out of here alive, he should rein in his emotions and not give Voldemort the satisfaction of seeing the fear clearly etched on his face. The Dark Lord, after all, was ruthless and unforgiving; he would undoubtedly kill him right away if Scorpius showed any semblance of terror.

Slowly then, Scorpius lifted his head and stared straight into the Dark Lord's eyes. He instantly felt Voldemort's presence in his mind and Scorpius, with all of his might, desperately built up his walls and projected false memories he knew were his father's. He most especially projected Lucius' trial with utmost clarity, trying to relay to Voldemort how he felt during the whole ordeal.

Draco used to tell him Malfoys had a natural talent for Occlumency. Scorpius never really tried this before, seeing he had no use of it in the past… or future. Legilimens without consent was a terrible crime, after all. Therefore, he desperately begged to whoever could hear him now that he would be able to withstand Voldemort's probing.

His mind was starting to crack from the weight of another presence. Scorpius could see that his walls were slowly crumbling down, but he desperately held them upright, not wanting to reveal to Voldemort that he wasn't exactly from this timeline.

After what felt like an eternity, Voldemort receded. Scorpius was brought onto his knees, panting hard from the exhausting experience. Blinding pain shot through his head and he stifled a groan.

"I sense the deep disappointment you have for your father, young Malfoy." Scorpius shivered as his cold, biting words washed over his form. "I must confess, I am also terribly disappointed with Lucius. His task, after all, was quite simple but he'd let himself be defeated by a bunch of teenagers."

His voice was eerily calm, but Scorpius could detect the underlying hate and disgust in his voice. "With your father now gone, I want you to step in for him instead and continue your family legacy."

Voldemort slowly stood up from his throne-like chair and descended the dais. He stopped mere inches away from Scorpius and the young Slytherin found himself staring at the most grotesque feet he had ever seen. Voldemort jutted his foot forward and used it to lift Scorpius' chin.

"It is of highest privilege for a respectable Pureblood to earn the Mark," Voldemort continued. "You, Scorpius Malfoy, will be the first of your peers to receive the Dark Mark. You must be proud of yourself because you've been chosen amongst others."

Blood started to pool in his mouth as he tried to desperately bite his tongue down to stop himself from screaming.

"You are quite special, Scorpius, because I'll be giving you a mission of utmost importance already." Voldemort crouched down so his red eyes could stare straight into Scorpius' terrified grey ones. "I am giving you the task of killing… Albus Dumbledore." He let his words sink in first before continuing. "I have every faith in you to see this task until the end. Failure to do so will be dire for you and your family."

Scorpius tried to thrash away, to spat at this stupid, fucking monster that they both knew it was a suicide mission. The young Slytherin mourned for his father; he wondered how Draco had felt when he was exactly in the same position. With the thought of his father, determination surged through him like electricity. Scorpius resolutely held Voldemort's eyes and refused to be the first one to break his gaze.

The Dark Lord seemed pleased when he pressed the tip of his wand against Scorpius' forehead. He threw a Cruciatus Curse his way and Scorpius released a loud, pained cry.

Voldemort didn't stop with one Cruciatus. Scorpius could hear himself begging for him to stop, for Voldemort to end his misery, and for a few moments the unbearable pain would stop. But then, it would start again and again and again, until Scorpius was a whimpering, twitching mess on the ground.

Consciousness was slowly leaving him and he could barely keep his eyes open. The Cruciatus Curse had stopped, but Voldemort was now tightly gripping his left forearm. Scorpius wasn't able to catch the incantation he was murmuring, but all he could feel was pain, blinding pain, and he begged to receive the Cruciatus Curse instead.

He was retching the contents of last night's dinner after the pain stopped. His heart was seizing with pain, exhaustion, and fear. Through thick tears, Scorpius helplessly watched as Voldemort neared his mouth against his ringing ear. "If you failed this mission, I will kill you and your mother."

The Dark Lord was instantly on his feet and waved his hand in dismissal. Scorpius heard thundering footsteps as the Death Eaters approached.

The last thing he saw was Voldemort's glinting red eyes before everything turned black.

Scorpius was surprised to be alive when he woke up and found himself in his bedroom in the Malfoy Manor. He desperately wanted to at least be back in his own time, to see Astoria's lovely face nagging him to get out of the bed now, and see his father's amused, smirking face behind his mother. He desperately wanted everything that had happened with Voldemort to just be a harsh, terrifying nightmare but who was he kidding? The pain he felt was too real for everything to merely be a bad dream.

He shifted on his bed and instantly, Narcissa was by his side. His Nana was crying as she smoothed his hair, whispering sweet nothings under her breath, and that was when Scorpius realized he was crying, too. Wet streaks streamed down from his cheeks and he numbly allowed Narcissa to gather him into her arms.

"M-mum," he brokenly whispered, tightly closing his eyes and imagining this was Astoria instead. "Mum."

"I'm here, love. I'm here," Narcissa soothed through her thick tears.

Scorpius wanted to scream that no, Astoria wasn't here to comfort him. He wanted to scream that he was stupid for even thinking this whole adventure would be a success. But most of all, he wanted to scream because he felt like he had failed his father.

Narcissa shushed him and forced him to drink from a vial. The effects of it was instant and Scorpius realized it was a Calming Draught. His Nana laid him gently back onto his bed and lovingly pulled his silk comforter up to his chin. "I'm sorry, my love," she whispered, gingerly wiping his tears away. "I promise I'll do everything to protect you."

She was soon gone and Scorpius was slipping into darkness once more. Before completely surrendering to sleep, he slowly lifted his left arm from underneath his comforter and stared at it.

The last thing he remembered was the Dark Mark looking menacingly at him before he finally fell back into another fitful sleep.

Chapter Text

The remaining days of summer flew by and before Scorpius knew it, Ditzy was hauling him out from his bed to prepare him to board the Hogwarts Express. With mild amusement, he watched as his personal house-elf thrusted articles of clothing into his arms while carefully packing all of his things in his school trunk.

Scorpius tore his shirt away to don a clean set of wizarding robes, resolutely refusing to look at the Dark Mark on his pale forearm.

The days after his Marking went by in a blur for Scorpius. He mostly kept to himself, constantly questioning his life choices, and welcoming Narcissa's loving embraces. He had been wrecked with remorse for going back into time, perhaps ruining his life by getting himself Marked without any fight. His father would be horrified if he discovered his son bore the Dark Mark, too, like him.

Amidst all the suffocating guilt, Scorpius comforted himself into thinking that at least, his father had not experienced the painful ceremony of getting the Dark Mark. He was still trying to accept that Draco Malfoy was nonexistent in this timeline, but Scorpius at least was relieved his father did not have to go through everything. Maybe, his plan of going back into time and saving his father was a success after all. Now, the only thing that Scorpius had to work on was how to haul his ass back into his right timeline and get rid of the stupid, stupid mark.

"Master Scorpius must make haste!" Ditzy cried, snapping him off from his musings. "The Hogwarts Express will leave soon."

"Ditzy, really, you have to calm down," Scorpius cajoled, placing a gentle hand on his frazzled house-elf's shoulder.

Ditzy, with tears in his eyes, reverently held Scorpius' hands and bowed his head. "Ditzy will terribly miss the young master," he confessed. "Ditzy worries for Master Scorpius all the time. Master Scorpius must promise Ditzy to eat enough, chew slowly, and decrease his consumption of toffees!"

His heart warmed a bit and he chuckled. Despite in a different timeline, Ditzy was still the same. It had comforted Scorpius that his personal house-elf was familiar to him. "Yes, yes, Ditzy, I will miss your mothering, too," he joked, fondly patting Ditzy's head with a smile.

The house-elf sniffed and pulled away. He then snapped his fingers and instantly, Scorpius' school trunk disappeared. "The Mistresses Malfoy awaits in the foyer, Master Scorpius."

Scorpius took a last minute look at his full length mirror, smoothed some invisible wrinkles from his clothes, before striding out of the room he begrudgingly accepted as his own. He took a mental note of procuring posters of his favorite Quidditch team, the Tutshill Tornados, and plastering his bedroom walls with them. If he were to come back here in the break, then Scorpius should at least make it feel like home.

Narcissa greeted him with a smile when he stepped into the foyer. Scorpius couldn't help but grin as she fussed over his impeccable robes, smoothing and brushing and straightening until he latched onto her hand to stop her fussing. "Mother, really, you're worse than Ditzy," he joked.

His Nana's eyes widened with his words, prompting him to frown. "Is something the matter?" he inquired.

"Are you quite all right, my son?" she tentatively asked. "You're… different."

"Different?" Scorpius echoed.

Narcissa nodded and then smiled. "You used to get terribly irritated with me when I fuss," she explained. "Not… cajole."

Eyes widening, Scorpius realized that his father wasn't exactly the joking type. It was second nature for Scorpius, to tease Astoria when she was starting to mother him, and his mother didn't bother reprimanding him anymore for being an ungrateful, little boy.

So maybe he did replace Draco, but everybody he knew so far remembered him as the cool, calm and collected person. Enter Scorpius, who was absolutely a far cry from his father's personality, save from his appearances. Perhaps, Scorpius should start acting more like his father so as not to make people suspicious.

Scorpius then loudly cleared his throat and patted his mother's hand. "We should go now, Mother," he said, donning on a mask of icy coldness to project his father's everyday look. "The Hogwarts train will leave soon."

Narcissa gave him a bemused look, but wordlessly latched onto his arm and side-along Apparated him to the Apparition point near King's Cross. Ditzy appeared beside them with his school trunk. After stiffly thanking Ditzy, who started crying once more, Scorpius grabbed onto his trunk and pushed it towards the barrier between Platforms 9 and 10.

He ushered his mother to go through first before following behind her. Scorpius admired the Hogwarts Express for a moment, noting that its design had slightly changed over the few years. His eyes then swept around the platform, trying to see if he would identify any familiar faces.

His stomach churned at the thought of going to Hogwarts without Albus and his other Slytherin friends. He somehow lamented that lovely, fiery Rose wouldn't be there to insult him in every way that she could. Sighing, he knew that he would need a lot of adjusting so as not to make himself too noticeable. Besides, he still had the task of fixing the Vanishing Cabinet and killing Albus Dumbledore to occupy his free time.

With a firm nod to himself, Scorpius promised to be the quietest, most obedient Slytherin student Hogwarts had ever had. Even Al would not recognize him.

Narcissa then gave him a tight hug and a kiss on his cheek, whispering words of encouragement against his ear before pulling away. There were unshed tears in her eyes, and Scorpius gently smiled, assuring his mother that he would be well. "You must take care of yourself, though," he urged, underlying worry in his voice. He discovered a week prior to returning to Hogwarts that Voldemort chose to reside in the Malfoy Manor to conduct most of his meetings with his Death Eaters, forcing Narcissa to attend to him with his every beck and call. Scorpius feared for his Nana's life, knowing this was part of Voldemort's punishment for Lucius' failures and a silent warning for Scorpius to do his task. It still made him uncomfortable leaving Narcissa behind.

"Do not worry for your mother, my love," she said, brushing her fingers against his cheek. "Worry for yourself, instead."

Sighing, Scorpius embraced his mother again and imagined it was Astoria he was hugging. "I love you, Mum," he whispered. He felt Narcissa stiffen in his arms and Scorpius almost wryly smiled, imagining his father struggling to say those words to his own mother. Scorpius had always been an affectionate boy and it wasn't hard for him to express his affection for his parents. Astoria welcomed them with her bright smile and twinkling eyes. Draco always felt a little uncomfortable with Scorpius' words, but Scorpius knew his father appreciated them nonetheless.

"I love you too, Scorpius," Narcissa finally tearfully replied. When she pulled away, Scorpius sadly smiled at her tears. Narcissa gave him another wet peck on his cheek and pushed him towards the Hogwarts Express.

Scorpius immediately scrambled on board, pulling his heavy trunk behind. He enthusiastically waved his hand goodbye at his mother, who he had startled with his actions once more, but Narcissa merely smiled and gently waved her hand in return.

For a while, Scorpius was at a loss on where to sit. He peered at the different carriages and was dismayed that most of them were already occupied. Some would even look at him strangely, but he would hastily apologize and move on before he could dwell on their looks.

He was almost at the far end of the train when he finally saw friendly faces. A pretty student with short, black hair was motioning for him to come in. Scorpius slowly opened the carriage door and hesitantly pulled his trunk inside. There were three other occupants inside – one was a young man with bronze skin and black eyes, the other two were burly and almost identical. Scorpius could already predict he'd be messing up their names in the future.

"Scorpion King," one of the burly men greeted with a huge grin. "We've been looking all over for you."

Scorpius balked. 'Scorpion King?' he mentally asked himself, grimacing at the nickname. Back in his own time, people loved to call him by that name as a form of mockery for his name and his status in the Wizarding World. He had come to hate it and when Albus was feeling especially annoying, he would keep calling Scorpius as such until the said Scorpion King blasted him off with a spell. Rose, most especially, seemed to be fond of using that nickname, refusing to address him by his given name, and Scorpius had come to accept that. Albus pointed out he just thought she was too pretty and complained it was unfair he was letting Rose call him that title.

There was no malice in how the student said his infamous nickname, though. In fact, Scorpius was able to detect reverence… respect.

"Aren't you going to sit?" the bronze-skinned boy asked him. Scorpius detected an Italian lilt in his voice.

"Right, of course," he floundered. The pretty girl pushed the Italian away to make some room for him. Scorpius stared for a bit, heart speeding up at the thought of a pretty girl wanting to sit with him.

"Come sit beside me, Scorpy-pie," she cooed. Scorpius cringed at the awful nickname but obliged in the end.

"So, Scorpius," the other burly student said as he leaned forward. "Can you show us?"

Scorpius gave him a confused look. The pretty girl beside him sighed and looped her arm around his.

"Seriously, Crabbe, back off," she said.

He felt his jaw dropped in disbelief. This was Vincent Crabbe, who accidentally killed himself by a poorly controlled Fiendfyre in the Room of Requirement and unwittingly destroyed one of Voldemort's horcruxes, Ravenclaw's diadem. Scorpius then looked at the other burly man beside Crabbe and recognized him as the younger version of Gregory Goyle. He remembered seeing him in the Malfoy Manor sometimes, and his father didn't really like him very much.

'So if these are Crabbe and Goyle, then…' He turned his head at the girl sitting beside him and grimaced. Of course, how could he not recognize her? This was Pansy Parkinson. His mother hated her with a passion, seeing that she always threw herself at his father's feet, conveniently forgetting that he was a happily, married man.

The other man beside him must be Blaise Zabini then. He had occasionally dropped by in the Malfoy Manor, too, and he was one of his father's acquaintances he seemed to generally like. He wasn't sure if his parents noticed it, though, but Scorpius was damn sure Blaise Zabini had a humongous crush on his mother.

"Come on, Scorpius," Goyle urged, snapping him off from his musings. "We've been dying to see the Dark Mark."

He stiffened and instantly sneered. Goyle withered under his gaze and even Pansy pulled away from his arm. The carriage suddenly seemed thick with tension Scorpius was sure he could slice it with a knife.

Wordlessly, he shoved up his left sleeve to show them the Dark Mark. Blaise winced at the sight and immediately looked away. Pansy had paled and bowed her head down. Only Crabbe and Goyle were mesmerized with his dark tattoo. Scorpius yanked his sleeve down to cover his mark once more, his sneer still in place. "Happy now?" he snapped.

"Scorpius…" Panys murmured, placing a gentle hand on his arm.

"We'll be getting our Marks this Christmas break," Crabbe whispered. "My father and Goyle's already confirmed this with the Dark Lord." His eyes landed on the still silent Italian and glared. "I don't understand why you're fleeing the country by the end of sixth year, Zabini. Getting the Mark is of the highest honor for Purebloods like us."

Scorpius paled, remembering Voldemort's exact words to him.

"Shut up, Crabbe," Zabini replied, his dark eyes blazing with disgust and fear. "I don't care about all of these bullshit."

"Careful there, Zabini," Goyle drawled. "If the Dark Lord hears you saying those words, you'll be dead before you can spell 'magic'."

Blaise stared him down with a glare. "Not if I killed you first," he threatened. "But can you even spell 'magic' with that thick head of yours?"

Goyle snarled and pulled out his wand. Blaise was instantly on his feet, his own wand pointed directly underneath Goyle's chin. Pansy shrieked and tried to appease the boys.

Scorpius sighed, already feeling a headache forming. Why did his father hang out with these buffoons again? "Gentlemen," he drawled, "Withdraw your wands." Goyle and Zabini glared at each other for a few more minutes before they slowly lowered their wands and stowed them away. Scorpius was actually impressed with himself for successfully ordering them.

As they finally settled back onto their respective seats, Crabbe leaned forward once more. "So, how did it feel like?" he excitedly asked. "Did it hurt?"

"Like a bitch," Scorpius grumbled, having an illogical urge to scratch his Dark Mark raw.

Goyle, already mollified, nodded his head. "My father told me you're expected to faint," he said. "Did you faint?"

He wanted to tell them that he'd fainted instantly, but these two buffoons had nothing but respect for him. Scorpius thought it would be best to keep appearances now that he was their formidable Scorpion King. "Me?" he asked with a mock gasp. Beside him, Blaise snorted in amusement and Scorpius was trying his best to stifle off a grin. "Faint? Are you fucking barmy, Goyle?"

"O-of course not, Scorpius, I was just wondering," he quickly mumbled under his breath.

Scorpius was absolutely envious Blaise had no qualms of hiding his laughter away.

"Oh, Scorpy-pie, you were so brave," Pansy cooed, once again draping herself all over him. Scorpius' eyes bulged at how smooth and soft she was under his hands. Ooh, if Albus could see him right now, he'd be mercilessly teased.

"I-I'll be off," Scorpius said, mentally kicking himself for getting flustered under a witch's attention. But then again, he rarely had this opportunity back home. Witches normally regarded him as evil and dirty, and so he didn't really have enough experience with the opposite sex. He usually got punched and hexed by Rose, but he was sure those didn't count.

"Where are you going?" Pansy whined, latching onto his arm.

He desperately shrugged her away and stepped towards the door. "I need some air," he lied.

Blaise was instantly on his feet, a worried look in his eyes. "Do you need some company?" he asked. In spite of himself, Scorpius hid a small smile. No wonder he was one of the people his father trusted.

"Really, Zabini," he said with an exaggerated eye roll. "I don't need a chaperone to go to the loo."

Instead of getting offended, the Italian Slytherin sighed and slinked back on his seat.

Scorpius quickly shot out of the carriage in case some of his so-called friends started pestering him to come. He just needed some time to collect himself and think.

So far, he deduced that he was pretty famous in the school. No wonder people kept on giving him strange looks when he muttered apologies under his breath for stepping into their carriages. Scorpius knew that if he needed to blend in, he should channel his inner Malfoy to get through the year without arousing any suspicions. His father always pointed out he had too much of Astoria in him, which Draco didn't really mind. In fact, his father told him he was rather relieved Scorpius didn't take from him. Somehow, those words made him feel a little dreadful; if he at least acted like Draco Malfoy, then this time travelling escapade of his would be easy-peasy.

As he sauntered along the corridors and peeked through the windows, Scorpius somehow was able to recognize the younger versions of people he knew back in his time. He may or may not have recognized Neville Longbottom, his future Herbology professor, who was a total kickass. Scorpius, giddy, wanted to confirm if it really were Neville but was stopped in his tracks when a head full of bushy hair blocked his way.


Scorpius backpedaled, his eyes widening in surprise. "R-Rose?" he sputtered out before he realized that the bushy hair wasn't red and the glaring eyes directing at him weren't blue.

"What?" the girl snapped, her irritation palpable.

He tried his very best not to gape, but how could he not? She was the younger version of Minister Hermione Granger-Weasley and Scorpius felt his mind shutting down. She looked exactly like Rose it was uncanny, but he offhandedly thought her brown eyes and hair were lovely too.

"M-minister… I-I mean, Granger!" he exclaimed, biting his tongue hard afterward to stop himself from adding 'Weasley' to her name.

Hermione Granger wore a very disappointed frown on her face as she crossed her arms against her chest. Scorpius merely saw her in the Daily Prophet and seldom in his father's trials. Even at such a very young age, she already exuded an air of authority and respect. Scorpius was half-tempted to bow down just to appease the fuming brunette.

"Where the hell were you and Parkinson?" she barked.

Scorpius looked confused. "What?" he asked.

She gave him an odd look before expelling a deep, tired sigh. "Merlin, Malfoy, we still haven't stepped foot in Hogwarts but you're already ditching your responsibilities," she said, jabbing at a badge on his right breast pocket.

He furrowed his eyebrow and looked at the badge. A proud 'P' greeted his eyes and he blanched. "Prefect?" he asked in disbelief.

Hermione snorted and Scorpius was able to spy a similar red badge pinned on her school robes. "Even I question about the decision of making you one," she scathingly replied.

Admittedly, he was little hurt with her remark. Scorpius knew he would never be made Prefect by McGonagall, seeing his track record of detentions and other shenanigans. Besides, he wasn't exactly the most stellar of students. He was quite intelligent, if he was being honest with himself, but he was too busy wreaking havoc in Hogwarts with his best friend to actually study.

"Seriously, Malfoy, if you ever think of ditching your work in the future, I will report you," she threatened. "As Prefects, we should set an example to the lower years. You can always give up your title if you think you cannot handle becoming one."

Scorpius, at loss of what to do once more, merely gaped. The younger version of Minister Granger-Weasley was a swotty, goody-goody, know-it-all and Scorpius couldn't help but grin. Now he knew where Rose got her swottiness.

Hermione was looking at him strangely. "What are you smiling about?" she snapped with a frown. "Careful there, Malfoy. We don't want your title as 'Scorpion King' to be in jeopardy now, do we?"

"Of course not, Granger, that will be a shame," he cajoled.

Her frown deepened, clearly weirded out by his attitude, before shoving a piece of parchment into his hands. "Those are your patrol schedule," she said. "Parkinson's included there, too." Grumbling, she blew a frustrated strand off her forehead and glared. "I don't know what Davies was thinking, but apparently he thought it would be amusing to pair us off for nightly patrols."

His eyes almost bulged out from his eyes. Patrolling with the future Minister for Magic? If Albus were here right now, he would amusingly point out for Scorpius to tone down his geekiness.

"Are you quite all right, Malfoy?" Hermione asked, furrowing her brows. "You look a little… err… unhinged."

"What, yes, of course, Granger," he rambled.

"O-kay," she slowly replied, backing away from him slowly. "I don't really know why I asked because I don't care." Scorpius popped an eyebrow in amusement.

"Well, I'll be off." She swiveled around and took a few steps away from him. Scorpius was surprised when she suddenly stopped marching off and turned around again. "I won't think twice to report you if you think of skiving off in the future, Malfoy."

Scorpius gave her a mock salute, prompting her to roll her eyes.

He watched until she finally disappeared inside a carriage.

"What took you so long, Scorpy-pie?" Pansy whined as Scorpius slipped inside their carriage.

He ignored her question and plopped down on the space between her and Blaise, his mind still reeling from his meeting with Hermione Granger.

Anecdotes about their summers were exchanged in the carriage. Scorpius would occasional reply if he was asked a question, but most of the time, he kept to himself. Now that the excitement of meeting the future minister simmered away, he was plagued with thoughts of how he would survive this year.

Voldemort expected him to fix the Vanishing Cabinet and kill Albus Dumbledore. His grandfather – 'Father,' he corrected – was locked away in Azkaban. By the end of the year, he remembered Lucius Malfoy would be broken out of prison together with the other Death Eaters to join Voldemort's formidable forces. His grandmother – 'Mother,' he corrected – was left in Malfoy Manor to serve Voldemort and the Death Eaters.

It was all too much and Scorpius wondered how his father had handled himself this year. Draco always told him this was his darkest year. If he did truly replace his father, Scorpius knew he should get ready.

"Who do you reckon is the newest Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher?" Crabbe asked, loudly munching his pumpkin pasty. Scorpius shot him a disgusted look, but Crabbe didn't seem to notice.

"I won't be surprised if Dumbledore managed to hire a banshee this time," Pansy snorted, prompting the others to chuckle in agreement. "Old Dumblydore starting to get a bit barmy, don't you think so, Scorpy-pie?"

He absentmindedly nodded his head to appease the preening witch. 'Dumbledore,' he thought. One thing his father had greatly regretted during this year was that he did not ask for help. Scorpius suspected by now Narcissa already made an Unbreakable Vow with Snape, so the Potions Master would do everything he could to help him. But Draco told him he even pushed Snape away. He regretted pushing everyone away so that he could focus on his task. Until this day, his father wondered what would happen to him if he had gone to Dumbledore immediately and asked for his help.

Scorpius had decided by the time the Hogwarts train skidded into a halt. He would immediately go to Dumbledore and tell him everything – time-travelling, Voldemort's plan, and all. If Dumbledore knew about the plans and Scorpius asked for help earlier, then perhaps, this was the first step to saving his father.

Chapter Text

Scorpius mentally cursed himself for bounding towards the Headmaster's Office without any idea what his password was. "Catnap," he tried, but the gargoyle wouldn't budge. He tried more words like 'Power' or 'Phoenix' and even Dumbledore's ridiculously long name, but not one proved to be the right password.

He was half-tempted to turn around and run back to the Great Hall to seek for Hermione and ask for the password. The Great Feast just ended thirty minutes ago and students were already trickling back to their dormitories. He was thankful Pansy was his Prefect counterpart; Scorpius just had to give her a handsome smirk and beg her to cover for him while he went to Dumbledore. It still highly amused him how Pansy practically flushed and swooned with his actions.

"Dumbledore is Awesome," he lamely muttered, but the gargoyle still hadn't sprung to life.

He mentally cursed himself once more for forgetting to attend the Prefects meeting a while ago. The Heads usually provided the password for the Headmaster's Office should they need to report an emergency to Dumbledore.

Then, Scorpius remembered the patrol schedule Hermione Granger had shoved in his hands. He immediately pulled out the crumpled parchment from his pockets and thanked the stars above the password was scribbled on it. "Acid… Pops?" he asked. Instantly, the gargoyle sprang to life and jumped down, revealing the spiraling staircase leading to the Headmaster's Office.

Scorpius snorted at the silly password before jumping onto the staircase. Once he reached the top, he slowly sauntered closer to the imposing wooden door and took a deep breath. He wanted to say a lot of things to Dumbledore and the Slytherin had no idea where to start.

'Eh, I'll just wing it,' he thought as he straightened his back and smoothed his robes. From the books he had read, Dumbledore was kind and noble. Scorpius was sure he wouldn't be shunned away immediately. But then again, some of the history books could be exaggerating.

Shaking his head to rid of such thoughts, Scorpius grasped the door handle and knocked thrice. The wooden door creaked open and he carefully peered inside. To his relief, Dumbledore was sitting behind his desk, only he wasn't alone. As Scorpius stupidly stumbled inside and gaped, the hardened gaze of Severus Snape stared right back at him.

"Mister Malfoy," Snape snarled. "What brings you here?"

He was rendered mute, honestly humbled in the presence of the Master Potioneer. His father always told him Snape wasn't a really pleasant person, but it was because he had been through a lot. After his death, Auror Harry Potter made it a point to tell the whole Wizarding World how Snape had been brave, working as a spy for the Order of the Phoenix and being an instrument to Voldemort's defeat. Only a few knew of the real story behind his change of alliances, but Scorpius knew from Draco that Severus Snape loved Lily Potter very, very much and made it his life's purpose to protect Harry Potter.

"Speak, boy," his Head of House snapped and the noble image Scorpius painted of him instantly shattered. His father wasn't kidding when he said Snape didn't like people.

"P-pardon my intrusion," Scorpius started, "but may I please speak with you, Professor Dumbledore?" He shot a nervous glance at Snape and swallowed. "Alone."

Snape gave him a glare while Dumbledore looked highly amused. Scorpius felt a little dizzy to be in the presence of the two Headmasters that shared his best friend's name.

"We will continue our discussion for another day, Severus," the Headmaster finally said.

"But Headmaster - "

"Have a good night, Severus."

The Potions Master bristled and gave another accusatory glare towards Scorpius. The Slytherin paled and looked away. He held his breath as Snape brushed past him and walked out of the office.

Once they were alone, Scorpius did not know where to start. He debated whether he should start telling Dumbledore about Voldemort's plans first or maybe about his mission to kill him or about his time travelling accident. Words were threatening to spill out from him and he was afraid he wouldn't make any complete sense.

It didn't help that Dumbledore was looking straight at him, his eyes twinkling and amused. He shifted slightly on his desk and that was when Scorpius saw his blackened hand. 'So the ring had been destroyed,' he mused. Dumbledore seemed to sense where Scorpius' eyes were directed and instantly hid it under his sleeve.

"I know how that happened," Scorpius blurted out, jutting his chin at his concealed blackened hand.

The Headmaster looked a little surprised with his words and calmly smiled. "Interesting words, Mister Malfoy," he said. He then gestured at the seat opposite him with his unmarred hand and waited until Scorpius was settled down. He then grabbed a bowl of sweets – acid pops – and offered it to Scorpius. "Would you care for some acid pops? I'm terribly fond of these sweets."

Scorpius politely shook his head. "I… Professor Dumbledore… I have something to tell you," he stuttered out.

Dumbledore placed the bowl back on its previous place and gently smiled. "I assume you do," he said. "What plagues your mind, Scorpius?"

"I… I'm not from here," he said, finally deciding to start on the weirdest part of his story. When Dumbledore merely quirked an interested eyebrow with his words, he continued, "You see, it all started when I tried to use a Time-Turner."

The old man tutted. "Tampering with time is a foolish thing to do, young man," he admonished.

In spite of himself, Scorpius grinned. "Your portrait told me exactly the same thing, professor."


The Slytherin fidgeted and nervously rubbed the back of his neck. "You see, sir, I'm from the future," he explained. He waited for any reply from Dumbledore but the old wizard merely calmly stared back at him. "Twenty-seven years from now, to be exact."

"That is a long way from home, Mister Malfoy," he commented, his eyes twinkling brighter if it was more possible. "I assume you did not merely use a Time-Turner to have more classes during that year?"

Scorpius solemnly shook his head. If only that were the case, then he wouldn't be stuck here. "No, sir, no," he replied. "I… my being here wasn't exactly an accident."

"What do you mean by that?"

"I mean, I really did intend to go back into time, to this year, to save my father from his future." Scorpius ran a frustrated hand through his impeccable hair, still trying to make sense of what happened with him.

"Lucius?" Dumbledore asked, quirking an eyebrow.

"No, sir, Draco Malfoy," he corrected.

A small frown bloomed on the wizened man's face. "Draco Malfoy?" he echoed. "I'm afraid I haven't heard of that name yet. If you said you were twenty-seven years from the future, then I should have at least had the pleasure of teaching your father in this school."

"That was what I was afraid of," Scorpius said, grimacing. Now that even Professor Dumbledore confirmed that no Draco Malfoy existed in this timeline, then his suspicions were confirmed. "Everything is so complicated. There really was a Draco Malfoy during this time. He should have been in sixth year, too. But when I used the Time-Turner, or what was left of it really, I found myself replacing my father instead."

"Forgive me, Mister Malfoy, but I am getting quite confused," Dumbledore said, his frown deepening. "You sound as if something happened to your Time-Turner when you tried to get back."

Scorpius eagerly nodded his head. "While I was about to use it, I got caught and Headmis - Professor McGonagall blasted the Time-Turner away. It broke into a million pieces."

"It broke before you used it?"

"Yes, sir," the younger wizard softly replied. "The sand was scattered all over the floor before I was even able to punch the dial."

Dumbledore made a curious sound at the back of his throat and laced his fingers, not even bothering to hide his blackened hand anymore. He leant forward and thoughtfully placed his chin on top of his fingers. "That is most curious, indeed," he concurred. "Because since the Time-Turner had been broken, you shouldn't be here at all."

"I know," Scorpius grounded out, getting more flustered and frustrated. "Something happened, and the sand was suddenly whirling around me. Professor McGonagall's and Al… err… my best friend's face started to fade and the next thing I know, I've awaken in the Malfoy Manor and unwittingly replaced my father!"

Saying it aloud sounded more ridiculous. Scorpius wouldn't be surprised if Dumbledore didn't believe him.

"What exactly happened to trigger this event?" Dumbledore urged.

His cheeks colored a little, remembering how he had hopelessly cried over the broken Time-Turner, horrified that he had failed and would not be able to save his father anymore. "I may have, err, shed a tear or two," he muttered under his breath. There was no point in manning up in front of Dumbledore when it was obvious the Headmaster could see through his lies. "I saw a tear fall down on the sand and then it happened."

Something glinted in Dumbledore's eyes. "What caused your tears, Scorpius?" he gently asked.

"M-my father," Scorpius slowly said, unable to look directly into Dumbledore's eyes. "I thought of how I won't be able to save him anymore. I thought of how my poor mother would feel if my father was suddenly taken away from us. I just…" He paused and released a deep sigh. "I just wanted to save my father, to give him a happier life he deserved. The Wizarding World might be blind to his change of heart, but as his son, I can loudly vouch for him. My father may have done a lot of wrong things in his past, but he's a different man now. I don't think… I don't think an evil person can love his family very much."

His heart felt heavy once more at the thought of the world's injustice to his father. Scorpius was reminded of days when Draco would hold him tight when he got in a Quidditch accident. Scorpius remembered how his father would always make his mother smile when he would randomly give her flowers for no reason. Scorpius remembered how his father had shed tears during the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts, unspoken guilt and relief in his eyes.

It would have been quite easy if he just grew up and hated his father for making all of their lives miserable. But Scorpius couldn't, because he experienced his father's love. As he grew older and learned about the dark side of the Second Wizarding War, Scorpius couldn't find it in himself to fault his father, who had been one of the victims too.

"There is a sacredness in tears," Dumbledore suddenly said. Scorpius slowly lifted his shiny eyes and looked at the understanding on the Headmaster's face once more. "They are not a mark of weakness, but of power. They may be messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, but most of all, my dear boy, they are of unspeakable love."

Scorpius' brows furrowed, somehow already grasping what Dumbledore was trying to convey. "So… you mean to say my tears did this?" he slowly asked. "That my tears were the ones that triggered this… this thing and brought me here?"

"Perhaps," Dumbledore said with a serene smile. "Love and time had always been tricky things. The wisest of men could still not understand them."

"But it's still a Time-Turner," Scorpius protested. "Shouldn't my father and I exist on the same timeline? Last time I checked, a Time-Turner merely sends people back into time. Not replace them with another person."

"Ah, but your time travelling incident had been most peculiar in the first place," the Headmaster explained. "With a broken Time-Turner as your means for travel, things are bound to be different from normal. I think, the magic of time recognized your desperate wish of saving your father, and instead of creating a rift by letting you coexist with your teenage father and all the terrible mysteries of time, it decided to replace you with him instead. If my deductions are correct, your father may still not even be born yet."

His brain was already going fuzzy with all the information overload. "So, if I'm in my father's place then my father might be…" Scorpius' eyes widened in disbelief.

"In your place, in essence, yes," Dumbledore said as Scorpius' eyes grew wider. "With your presence here, things had already drastically changed. Or, well, will drastically change."

"Hoooly shit, am I in an alternate dimension?" Scorpius demanded, belatedly realizing he had spoken crudely in front of the professor. His cheeks colored, but Dumbledore thankfully did not reprimand him.

"In a way, yes," Dumbledore flippantly said, as if it was an everyday occurrence. "I believe everything your father had done for the past years are remembered by everybody, but instead of remembering his face, they see yours."

Scorpius felt sick at the idea of his father being best friends with Albus. Although he really didn't mind his son befriending his ex-nemesis' son, Draco still felt highly uncomfortable in Al's presence. "Merlin, this is a disaster," he bemoaned, hiding his face behind his hands.

"And yet, it may not be," Dumbledore assured. Intrigued, Scorpius peeked his eyes between his fingers and waited for Dumbledore to continue. "You must remember that your father isn't born yet. You wished to give your father a better future and time reckoned this is a better way to avoid any unnecessary confusions and changes if you were to exist on the same timeline as your teenage father. I think it is safe to say that any memories your father had in the past – well, our now – are completely wiped away from his mind."

"So, he doesn't remember being - " He widely gesticulated around, not finding the right words to say. "But shouldn't he know that something was wrong? Shouldn't time continue moving forward?"

The Headmaster sighed and tiredly smiled. "As I've said, time is a terribly tricky thing," he echoed. "I must confess I do not know enough about time travelling, Mister Malfoy, but I would like to believe that the future you've left had been frozen. It would only unfreeze and continue moving forward once you get there."

Scorpius moaned and clutched his head. "This is all so confusing," he said, feeling a headache forming. "Wait… Does this mean I cannot go back?"

"Oh, you can," Dumbledore said. "Most definitely you can. But your father might be thrusted back into this timeline and he might choose the same path that would lead to his future of regret."

"So basically, I'm stuck here," Scorpius murmured, eyes smarting at the thought of not seeing his beautiful family, of his best friend… his school mates.

"You have a choice of returning."

"No, I don't," he snapped back, a little irritated because he and Dumbledore both knew that he would be staying here if it meant sparing his father from his future full of turmoil and regrets.

Dumbledore surprisingly patted his hand for comfort. "It had been your profound love for your father that orchestrated everything," he said. "That is, frankly, the bravest thing I've ever known."

"I'm not a Gryffindor," Scorpius pointed out, cheeks turning red from Dumbledore's praise.

"Gryffindors aren't the only ones expected to be brave, Mister Malfoy," he said with a smile. "Now, I believe there is still something you wish to tell me?"

The Slytherin slightly narrowed his eyes, surprised that Dumbledore suspected that his tale hadn't ended. But then again, this was the greatest wizard ever. Scorpius shouldn't be surprised. "I actually came here to tell you about my…" He trailed off as he lifted his left sleeve and showed the menacing Dark Mark. Scorpius still felt a little sick at seeing it on his arm and instead chose to look at Dumbledore instead.

For a moment, he saw darkness and sorrow in the Headmaster's eyes. He looked as if it was his fault Scorpius had the Dark Mark, and the young wizard hastily hid it back under his sleeve. "Last summer, I've been Marked by Vol-Voldemort to punish me for my grandfather's… err… father's mistake in the Department of Mysteries."

Dumbledore continued to stay silent so Scorpius continued. "I actually came here because I needed your help, Professor Dumbledore." He paused and resolutely met the old man's blue eyes. "My father once told me his greatest regret was not asking for help. And so, I'm trying to change that by asking you to help me, Professor Dumbledore, sir."

"Of course, Scorpius," Dumbledore gently replied.

"He plans for me to…" He faltered and looked away. "He plans for me to kill you. I was tasked to also fix the Vanishing Cabinet in the Room of Requirement so when the time comes, Death Eaters will arrive and make sure I do my job."

To his surprise, instead of getting enraged, Dumbledore released a deep, tired sigh. Scorpius shifted his gaze back onto Dumbledore and gaped. "You knew?" he asked, surprised.

"I've known for a while now, yes," he confessed.

Disbelief colored his features before being replaced by anger. "You knew," he grounded out, glaring darkly at the old man. "You knew that my father was tasked to kill you but you didn't… you didn't help him immediately!"

"You very well know that those who do not wish to be helped cannot be helped, Mister Malfoy," Dumbledore calmly replied.

Scorpius deflated, knowing it was the truth. His father was a stubborn man; Scorpius didn't doubt his father's arrogance and pride paved way to his downfall.

"What do you plan to do then?" Scorpius then asked.

"There is a plan," Dumbledore evasively replied. "When the time comes, you'll know."

Scorpius rolled his eyes. Dumbledore quirked his eyebrow at his seemingly rude behavior, but the Slytherin was tired. "No offense, Dumbledore sir, but one of your greatest faults is that you're too secretive." The Headmaster looked highly amused, and Scorpius took that as a cue to continue. "The Golden Trio had to go through great lengths just to discover the existence of horcruxes – yes, Professor, I know about them too – and honestly, I always thought you should have told them before your… err… death." He looked away from Dumbledore's searching gaze. "The war might not have stretched far too long and wide, you know."

His tirade was met with silence and Scorpius felt warmth creeping to his neck. This issue had always been a subject of debate in school. Some believed that Dumbledore's decisions were wise and good, but Scorpius seriously thought if he'd let Harry Potter in his secrets before his untimely demise, then they wouldn't have been on the run and such. It was all just a waste of time, really.

"Thank you for your… enlightening words, Mister Malfoy," Dumbledore started, "but I believe there are things not worth divulging to others in order to protect them."

Scorpius sighed and sullenly nodded his head. "I know, I know," he said. "It's just…" He shyly looked back at Dumbledore but still steadfastly held his twinkling gaze. "Sometimes, withholding information may bring more harm than necessary."

He could see he had surprised Dumbledore and Scorpius didn't know what to do about that. He was reminded of how his father kept his mission from Voldemort a secret from those who could most likely help him. Now, look at where he was right now.

"Forgive me, but I would like to hear from you that we have won the war," Dumbledore said.

Scorpius' eyes widened. He wasn't expecting that. "Well," he said, gesturing to himself, "I'm here now, aren't I? I'm best friend's with Harry Potter's son and I'm practically going to Hogwarts with half of the new generation of Weasleys."

Dumbledore beamed.

"I know we haven't really participated in the War and all, but we've learned all about them in school in the future. We've heard stories from our parents and professors and…" Scorpius suddenly felt humbled, earnestly looking at the man that used to be the symbol of Light in the Wizarding World. "Thank you, for all the things you have done, just to make the Wizarding World a safer place."

The Headmaster's eyes twinkled as he fondly patted Scorpius' hand. "Those are touching words, Mister Malfoy, but we are not in the future yet," Dumbledore said. Scorpius' smile wavered, but Dumbledore edged on. "We still have to win a War for that safe future you described."

Scorpius' stare became hardened with determination. "I will do whatever I can to make that future realized immediately," he vowed.

"As I've said, you are very brave, Scorpius," the Headmaster said. "But for now, I suggest you live a normal life here in the year 1996. Do whatever Voldemort says so that you will not arouse any suspicions from him. I have another… intel on the other side, but your help is most appreciated."

"My grandmother - "

"Narcissa is in good hands," he reassured.

Scorpius solemnly nodded his head. "Will you tell Snape everything we've talked about?" he asked.

Dumbledore looked intrigued. "Why did you think I will tell Professor Snape?" he asked.

The younger wizard gave him a pointed look, prompting Dumbledore to chuckle. "I assume he's the 'intel' you speak of. He had been vital in this War, too, Professor," Scorpius said. "He was one of the bravest." He hesitated for a bit, but decided that Dumbledore should know about it, too. "I know about the Unbreakable Vow he had with my grandmother to protect my father. So that when the time came he'd be the one to kill you instead."

Dumbledore didn't seem surprised with his revelation anymore. Instead, he wore a solemn look on his face. "He is very brave, yes," Dumbledore echoed. "I do plan on letting him on in this current situation. He is, after all, the only one who can aid you every time Voldemort calls for a Death Eater meeting. That is, if you will allow me."

"My father trusted him with his life," Scorpius said. "I think I'll be more comforted if he knows."

"Very well, then," he said. The Headmaster glanced at the small clock on his desk and exclaimed, "Heavens, Mister Malfoy! It's almost curfew. I think it is already time for you to go."

Scorpius jumped down from his seat. "I… thank you for your help, Professor Dumbledore," he sincerely said. "I don't think I would have figured out what to do if I didn't come to you."

Dumbledore gave him a sad smile. "I just wished your father had done the same."

Mirroring his smile, Scorpius nodded his head. "I hope he did, too."

Chapter Text

Scorpius Malfoy was thankful the Hogwarts of Year 1996 wasn't too different from the Hogwarts of Year 2023. Hogwarts still wasn't quite fond of technological advancement, much to his relief. Though, Scorpius confessed that he kind of missed seeing smartphones in the corridors as the Muggleborn students tried to desperately spell them to work.

Still, it was too easy to blend in. The locations of rooms hadn't changed and Scorpius merely needed to stick close to Crabbe and Goyle to quickly get to his next class. What he was delighted above all was the fact that the curriculum was still the same. In their time, however, Muggle Studies was required instead of merely an option. Also, History of Magic was already taught by a living, breathing wizard, Professor Hobble, who provided more enlightening revelation about the Second Wizarding War and how it had changed the Wizarding World - past, present, and future.

Besides those changes, all the homework and lessons were the same. Since they were already half-way through the second term before he went back into time, Scorpius already knew about their lessons and had effortlessly aced his classes.

It was apparently a good thing, because as the famous Scorpion King, he was expected to be quite intelligent, too. Scorpius knew that his father was second of his batch, only behind Hermione Granger. Knowing this, Scorpius had no choice but to spend more times in the library to continue his façade of being the cool, handsome, and intelligent Scorpion King.

"What do you reckon will we study right now?" Goyle whispered to him as they sauntered inside the Transfiguration room and settled on the farthest seat from the front.

"Bird-Conjuring Charm," Scorpius mindlessly replied.

Crabbe and Goyle gawked at him in surprise. Scorpius mentally kicked himself for not thinking about his reply. He just remembered during the second week of classes that Professor Abbott, their new Transfiguration after McGonagall became Headmistress, taught them about the 'Avis' spell.

"You should read about the schedule before coming to class, idiots," he quickly snapped, masking his momentary panic with irritation. Goyle bowed his head in apology and went to sit on his other side. Scorpius thought he was lucky he was stuck with buffoons in this timeline. It was terribly easy to lie and manipulate them.

They were still ten minutes early before class would start so Scorpius took that time to idly observe the trickling sixth year Slytherins and Gryffindors. He was able to spy Pansy and Blaise, who both quickly sat on the desk in front of them.

"Scorpy-pie, I told you to wait for me," Pansy said, complete with a pretty pout.

"Right, sorry," Scorpius said, trying his best not to grimace. Pansy Parkinson might be a bloody pretty witch, but she was super annoying. Scorpius now understood why his mother hated her very, very much.

Speaking of Astoria, Scorpius had merely caught a glimpse of his mother from afar. She was quite young, still in her fifth year, but her straight, black hair, and warm blue eyes were unmistakable. He was swamped with schoolwork, Death Eater stuff, and Prefect work he hadn't really found the time to approach her.

"Swot alert," Pansy muttered under her breath. Blaise quirked a smile while Crabbe and Goyle snickered under their breaths.

Scorpius lifted an eyebrow as Hermione Granger came inside the room. She threw him a dirty look; seriously, he wasn't even doing anything! A Weasley quickly followed him inside, who flashed Crabbe a very crude gesture, and immediately sat on the desk beside Hermione. 'Ronald Weasley,' he instantly recognized, sneering a bit. He wasn't really a fan of Ron Weasley, even in the future. He was undoubtedly the reason why Rose seemed to still dislike him.

A boy then came inside, with the most impossibly disheveled hair and green eyes behind round spectacles. Scorpius' jaw dropped at the exact replica of James Sirius Potter, but when he tousled his hair a bit, making it messier, he was able to catch a glimpse of the infamous lightning scar. Scorpius balked when Harry Potter rolled his eyes at them and sat down beside his best friends.

Although he looked exactly like James, he acted like Albus. James always walked around as if he owned the whole school. Albus was terribly annoyed of his older brother's arrogance, basking under the fame his father had unwittingly passed on to his children. Al, however, tried to stay as far away from the limelight as possible. Scorpius could see how Harry Potter still seemed uncomfortable with the staring he received.

Scorpius felt a pang in his heart, immediately looking away from Harry's messy hair.

Mother of Merlin, he missed Albus so much.

"Please take out your Transfiguration books and turn it to page 400," came Professor McGonagall's familiar Scottish burr. "Mister Goyle, I'm afraid that is a Charms book you are holding."

The Gryffindors in front snickered whilst Goyle blushed and hastily grabbed his Transfiguration book.

"Today, we will be studying about the Bird-Conjuring Charm," the professor continued. "Does anybody here know what the spell to conjure birds is?"

Scorpius watched in amusement as Hermione's hand excitedly shot up in the air, managing to smack Ron on the shoulder. Weasley rolled her eyes while Harry snickered; Hermione was quite oblivious with their antics.

Professor McGonagall had very much seen Hermione's hand but judging from her eyes, she seemed to be hoping for another person to answer her question. Slowly, as if having a mind of its own, Scorpius' arm climbed up in the air and politely waited to be noticed.

Crabbe and Goyle ogled at his hand. Scorpius guessed he rarely recited in class, much less listened to McGonagall. Seeing that she was the Head of House of Gryffindor, their hate for that house apparently extended to Minerva McGonagall. Pansy elbowed Blaise and jutted her chin towards Scorpius, prompting his Italian friend to smirk in amusement.

"Mister Malfoy," Professor McGonagall called, clear disbelief in her tone. Hermione craned her neck and looked behind her, her eyes growing a little wide to see that Scorpius had his hand up in the air, too. "Is something the matter?"

"I know what the answer to your question is, Professor," Scorpius politely replied.

McGonagall raised a sharp eyebrow Scorpius had come to love from his favorite teacher. "Yes, of course," she said. "What is it?"

"Avis, Professor McGonagall," he answered. "The spell for conjuring birds is 'Avis'."

"Very good, Mister Malfoy," she said with amusement. "Five points to Slytherin."

Hermione looked highly affronted; it was as if he had stolen her thunder. Scorpius raised an eyebrow when she darkly glared at him and petulantly looked back at the blackboard.

"Way to go, Scorpy-pie," Pansy cooed.

Scorpius felt a little smug and sat straighter on his seat. He couldn't wait to tell Al he'd bested Hermione Granger in one class and she'd been totally put out by it.

His smile, however, faltered, when he remembered his conversation with Dumbledore back in his office. Professor Dumbledore said he could most likely go back to his timeline and see his loved ones again. But then, he would risk thrusting his father back into his original timeline and undergo the misery he had to go through under Voldemort's mercy.

The smugness entirely left him and he slumped down on his seat. 'There would be no Albus anymore,' he thought with a pained frown on his face. He looked at the back of Harry's head once more and imagined it was his best friend he was looking at instead.

'At least you got the original, you dolt,' a voice told him, one that sounded too much like Albus. This made him smile a little because at least, he was going to classes with Albus' father and he was learning under his namesakes.

Scorpius missed Albus Severus Potter very much, but he loved Draco, too. Al might be crushed that they would never wreak havoc in the corridors of Hogwarts anymore, but he would understand.

He always did.

During dinner that night, Scorpius tried to devise a plan on how to get close to the Golden Trio. He secretly called it "Operation: Sucking Up", because that was what he had to do. The famous Gryffindors hated his very gut, which admittedly stung a little. It was understandable, though, because his father had been atrocious to them. He doubted he would be able to magically earn their trust overnight.

If he wanted to bring Voldemort down and immediately end the war, he had to have the Golden Trio's help. Their role was essential in this war; without them, Scorpius would not be able to succeed, no matter how hard he tried. His father once told him he tried to be Harry Potter's friend, but he had botched it on his first try and forever ruined his chance. Scorpius wondered what could he possibly do to earn their trust.

Owls suddenly flew inside the Great Hall to bring forth evening letters and packages. The familiar owl of his grandmother hovered above and released a box of sweets for Scorpius to munch on. He grinned when he saw it was his favorite toffees and eagerly popped one in his mouth. To his surprise, another owl landed on the bowl beside him, managing to splatter some porridge towards a surprised Crabbe. Scorpius made a face when Crabbe calmly wiped the porridge away from his face with his finger and stuck it inside his mouth.

He then proceeded to untie the letter from the owl's leg. Scorpius unconsciously petted it before it flew away.

When he unrolled the parchment, he was surprised to see it was from the current headmaster.

Mister Malfoy,

Please see me in my office after dinner. We still have matters to discuss.

- A.D.

Scorpius lifted his head and sought out for Dumbledore. The Headmaster was already smiling down at him. The Slytherin nodded his head in agreement before Dumbledore went back to his conversation with Sybill Trelawney.

"Who was that from?" nosy Pansy asked, trying to snatch the parchment away from his hands.

"No one, Pansy," he quickly replied, crumpling the paper and stuffing it inside his pocket. A look of hurt flittered on the pretty girl's face, but Scorpius was already hastily standing up from his seat. "I have to go. Don't come looking for me."

Goyle choked on his pumkin juice. "Is the Dark - "

"Shh," Pansy hissed, elbowing the idiot by the ribs. Then, to Scorpius, she said, "Go on, Scorpius. I'll cover for your Prefect duties tonight."

He felt a little guilty at how worried they all looked, but Scorpius couldn't necessarily tell them he was meeting with Dumbledore. "You're the best, Pansy," he finally opted to reply. A lovely blush grew on Pansy's cheeks and he grinned, before swiveling around and jogging out of the Great Hall.

"There's seriously something off about Malfoy," Harry murmured under his breath, his green eyes following the Slytherin's back until he disappeared out of the Great Hall.

"Maybe he's gone a bit barmy now that his daddy dearest is locked up in Azkaban," Ron pointed out in the midst of chewing.

"Ron," Hermione admonished, half-annoyed and half-disgusted.

The redhead rolled his eyes. "What?" he exclaimed. He grabbed a fried chicken from the bowl in front and took a big bite from it. "Everybody knew how he lost it before fifth year ended."

"Still, that wasn't a very nice thing to say," she said with a glare.

Ron muttered under his breath that Scorpius Malfoy wasn't exactly nice either, but opted to busy himself with his fried chicken. Hermione made a face at the grease now dribbling down his forearm.

"Seriously guys, there's something wrong with him," Harry urged on. He started to rub his scar, more out of habit than pain, but Hermione still grew a little worried.

"Whatever do you mean, Harry?" she asked. "Malfoy's always been the same." But then, she recalled her strange encounter with Malfoy back in the Hogwarts Express. In just a span of five minutes, he'd acted so unlike himself. She brushed it off quickly, thinking that perhaps he was just stressed with his father's imprisonment.

"He's been… staring," her disgruntled best friend said. "A little too much, actually."

Ron snorted. "What? Do you think he fancies you now?"

Hermione rolled her eyes. "Shut up, Ronald, if you're not going to say anything sensible," she snapped.

"Geez, Hermione, what's got your knickers in a twist?" he snarled, before skidding away to engage in a Quidditch-related talk with Dean and Seamus.

"Okay… so maybe he is a bit different," Hermione whispered under her breath, worriedly darting a glance over the Slytherin table. "But don't you think it may be because his father's in Azkaban?"

Harry sighed and tiredly ran a hand through his hair, making it more disheveled. "Something's different," Harry insisted. "I just can't… I can't put a name on it." Darting nervously around, he leaned forward and murmured under his breath, "Do you think… err… you know, he's been Marked?"

"Harry!" Hermione gasped, loudly enough for those close enough to look at them curiously. Harry gave her a small glare, but Hermione brushed it aside. Mimicking his actions and leaning closer, she continued, "That is a grave accusation to make."

Harry's eyes hardened as he stubbornly refused to listen to Hermione's words. The brunette sighed, knowing that he was still too consumed with grief over the death of Sirius, thus Harry needed a new distraction. Unfortunately, he latched onto Malfoy and the ridiculous notion he was a Death Eater. He might be a vile, loathsome cockroach, but Hermione doubted he would have the guts to actually be marked.

"Whatever, I'm going to prove that I'm right," Harry said. Hermione sighed and tried to reason out to him once more, but Harry had already shut himself out.

Mentally groaning, she caught Ginny's worried glance and sadly shook her head.

This would be a long year for all of them.

Scorpius stopped dead in his tracks when he saw that Dumbledore was not alone in his office once again. Severus Snape gave him a calculating look, clearly surprised that the Slytherin was summoned into the Headmaster's office, too.

"Ah, Mister Malfoy, you came just on time," Dumbledore greeted.

"You called for me, sir?" he murmured. "You said about discussing… err… matters."

Professor Dumbledore gestured at the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, seemingly oblivious to Scorpius' uneasiness. "Yes, I think it is time to tell everything to our very curious Professor Snape," he good-naturedly replied.

Scorpius shot a look at Snape, who still seemed a little baffled with this meeting. The Slytherin nervously cleared his throat and lowered himself on one of the seats Dumbledore gestured. Dumbledore ushered Snape to sit on the other empty chair, but Snape politely declined and opted to stand instead.

"Go on, Mister Malfoy," Dumbledore urged.

"Err… okay," he said. He started with his time-travelling fiasco and how he had inevitably caused the nonexistence of his father in this time. It was the first time he had seen the Potions Master so frazzled, but Scorpius continued until he reached the part about Voldemort giving him the Dark Mark and giving him the task of killing Albus Dumbledore.

"I… know about the Unbreakable Vow between you and my grand… err… mother, Professor Snape," Scorpius revealed. Snape's eyes almost bulged out in surprise. "I know that you vowed to carry over the Dark Lord's deed in case I failed." Scorpius sighed and lamely gestured at Dumbledore's exposed blackened hand. "I know that Dumbledore is dying anyway, and he wanted you to kill him instead when the time comes so that you'll both save me and yourself."

Snape was seething, his dark eyes glaring down at the calm Headmaster. Dumbledore sighed and returned his angry gaze with a gentle one. "It is necessary, Severus," he appeased. "It is the only way."

"You should - " Scorpius slightly faltered when Snape now glared down at him. "You should know that in the future, after all you've done, the Wizarding World celebrated you and your bravery."

"I am not brave," Snape spat. "I am anything but brave, Scorpius."

"You are," the Slytherin insisted. "I heard a lot of things about you from my father. You may not know him yet, but he had regarded you with respect. You were his mentor during the darkest years of his life. Dad told me that if it weren't for you, he might have died years before."

His proclamation was met with silence. An unreadable expression appeared on Snape's face while Dumbledore smiled sadly at his colleague.

"My father never had the chance to thank you, for protecting him… saving him, despite being an ungrateful, little shit all these years," he continued, his voice cracking from emotions. He gave Snape a wry smile and continued. "So, I'm going to do it for him. I'm going to thank you, Professor Snape. Because you've protected my father until your last breath."

Snape sighed and looked like he wanted to correct Scorpius once more, but Dumbledore placed a hand on his arm and smiled. "Gratitude is a wonderful gift, Severus," he lightly admonished. "There is no harm done in graciously accepting it."

The Potions Master made a face and Scorpius tried his very best to stifle a smile. Snape shot a glare at his twitching lips, prompting Scorpius to tightly clamp his lips together.

"What are you planning to do now, Dumbledore?" Snape then asked, gesturing at Scorpius. "I believe our previous plan needs more revising, now that we have an… anomaly on our hands."

Scorpius lightly scowled at being labeled as an 'anomaly', but Dumbledore was already talking. "Merely hiding you and your mother away will arouse suspicion from Voldemort," he said. "If you give your consent, Mister Malfoy, I'd like to give you a special assignment myself."

Snape narrowed his eyes. "Albus…"

"You plan on making me a spy?" Scorpius asked, sounding both nervous and excited.

"In a way, yes," Dumbledore said, amused at his reaction. "I just want you to continue doing whatever Voldemort plans you to do and tell me anything you may deem as important. If we arouse suspicion from Voldemort, a premature war may happen even before we collect all the horcruxes."

"What will we do with the horcruxes?" Scorpius leant forward and frowned. "Even before we can defeat the Dark… err… Voldemort, it is essential to destroy them all first."

Dumbledore sighed and tiredly rubbed the bridge of his nose. Scorpius was surprised to see the normally cool and calm Headmaster exhausted. "We'll get to that soon," he assured. "But for now, I must warn you, Mister Malfoy. We are still at war and you have a very difficult and dangerous task ahead. I must beseech you, be careful. Inside Hogwarts, you are safe. But when Voldemort calls for your presence…" He faltered away and looked at Snape.

"I will keep him safe, Albus," Snape said with a resolute nod.

"Splendid," the Headmaster weakly said. Then, to Scorpius once again, he said, "I must warn you again to be careful, Mister Malfoy. If Voldemort discovers you are from the future and you hold all the knowledge about how the war would end, he wouldn't hesitate but to use you as a weapon against the Light Side."

Scorpius swallowed. He hadn't thought about that at all.

"Severus will help you strengthen your Occlumency," he continued. "It is quite a handy skill as a spy, after all."

He quirked a smile at Dumbledore's attempt to lighten the atmosphere. "I understand, Professor," he replied.

"This is a very noble thing you are doing, Scorpius," Dumbledore complimented. "Your parents will be very proud of you."

In spite of himself, Scorpius widely grinned. "Mum will nag my ear off for even thinking about putting myself in this position while Dad will hex my hands off in a fit of rage," he cajoled. "But, basically, they'll be proud of me, I'm sure."

Chapter Text

Scorpius hated himself once more for executing a half-assed plan. Now, he was stuck in the past, specifically the Hogwarts Library, trying to research on any spell to fix the Vanishing Cabinet. His father didn't exactly tell him how he was able to do it. The only thing Scorpius deduced was that Draco Malfoy was half-proud, half-disgusted with himself for successfully achieving a very difficult spell.

He tried to ask help from Dumbledore, because honestly, what did the Headmaster not know? But the Headmaster had been painfully evasive, constantly urging Scorpius that the library was always the delightful place to gain more knowledge.

If Scorpius' hunch was right, he'd say Dumbledore didn't want him to fix the Vanishing Cabinet immediately. It made perfect sense after all. Once the Vanishing Cabinet was fixed, the Death Eaters would travel into Hogwarts and make sure he'd kill Dumbledore.

So although he knew he should stall, it wouldn't be wise to report to Voldemort he hadn't been doing his task. Scorpius involuntarily shivered, remembering how it felt like to be under the Cruciatus Curse.

'Yep, congratulations, Malfoy, for a wonderful half-assed plan,' he snarled to himself. Scorpius sighed and leaned his forehead against the wooden table, trying to convince himself that everything he was doing was for the greater fucking good.

"Excuse me, but you're on my table."

Scorpius audibly groaned, recognizing the voice of the swotty future Minister for Magic. He deliberately lifted his head just to rile up the Gryffindor Prefect. He found out weeks ago that he was the one that almost always ruffled Granger's feathers. His Dad absolutely watered down his story when he said the brightest witch of her age didn't like him one bit.

"Breaking news, Granger, but this is a public library," he drawled as he draped his arms across his chair and smirked. "Last time I checked, your name isn't engraved on this table."

Loudly sighing, Hermione leaned forward and tapped on a brass plate he hadn't noticed before. Scorpius frowned and glanced at the plate, only to guffaw loudly to see that it had her name written on it.

"What the hell? Is this even legal?" he asked as soon as he calmed down. Her cheeks already colored with mild irritation and embarrassment, but Scorpius was too amused to be considerate.

"If you must know, I value my studies very much," she said. Scorpius snorted and bit down his tongue, stopping himself from replying that everyone knew about that. She glared and lifted her chin. "And Harry and Ron recognized that, so they specifically requested this table from Headmaster Dumbledore since it is quite secluded and quiet as a birthday gift. So yes, Malfoy, my name is on this table and you're sitting on it."

Scorpius gaped in disbelief. "You really are a teacher's pet, aren't you?" he lightly teased. "That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard, seriously!"

Hermione grew affronted and wrapped her arms across her chest. "Leave, Malfoy," she threatened. "You're on my table."

"No, Granger, I won't." He braced his arms tightly against the table and gave her a challenging look. "You can't make me."

Her wand hand shook and Scorpius tried to rein in his nervousness. As the brightest witch of her age, he knew her spells would be wicked and powerful. He had seen Minister Granger-Weasley in a battle before, too, and Merlin help him, he'd be shaking on his feet if he were standing right now.

Hermione finally expelled a huge sigh of defeat and scraped the opposite chair away from the table. The noise made him a little jumpy and she lifted an eyebrow at his twitchiness.

"What are you doing?" he demanded.

"Well, since you don't want to leave my table and I want to study, I believe I'm trying to compromise, Malfoy."

His eyes widened a little at the idea of sharing a table with the Golden Girl. His heart quacked with excitement and he tried his very best to keep himself from stupidly grinning.

"Unless, of course, you're afraid I'll infect you with my mudblood germs."

He winced at the insult and frowned. He was about to tell her off that she shouldn't call herself that, that she was far purer than any Pureblood he had ever met, but he remembered he was the infamous Scorpion King this time. Using 'mudbloods' and other insults should come as second nature to him.

Hermione gave him a strange look and Scorpius immediately busied himself with the book on his table. He waited until she was sifting through her textbook before taking a quick peek.

It still unnerved him how she and Rose looked uncannily alike. If he imagined really hard, he could already picture Hermione's hair as red and her lovely, hazel eyes as blue. His heart sped up a little at his scarily accurate imagination, wondering if it was really too good to be true for Rose Weasley to do her homework on the same table as him.

"What are you reading about, Malfoy?"

The red hair and blue eyes immediately disappeared as Hermione Granger stared right back at him. Scorpius was quite disappointed his fantasy was disrupted, but the Gryffindor already quirked an eyebrow, awaiting an answer. He then lamely gestured at the book in front of him and offhandedly replied, "Research."

She frowned and took a quick peek at the book he was pertaining to. "'103 Ways to Travel by Magic'," she muttered aloud. Scorpius was relieved he had grabbed onto a perfectly benign book rather than a Dark Arts one. "We're basically taking almost all classes together and I don't recall about a homework on magic travelling.

"I didn't say it's for a schoolwork, Granger," he explained. "This is more for an… err… extra-curricular."

"Extra-curricular?" she echoed, highly amused. "Since when does the mighty 'Scorpion King' do some extra reading?"

"You're not the only swotty, know-it-all in this school," he drawled in reply.

To his surprise, Hermione was fighting off a smile. "Of course," she said. "That was terribly presumptuous of me."

He lightly glared and gestured at the book she was reading. "What are you reading about, then?" he asked.

She lifted the book so that he could see the front cover. "It's the Ancient Runes textbook. I think this is the only class we don't attend together." She made a face and placed the book back on the table. "I still don't understand why you chose Divination over Ancient Runes, Malfoy. You're clearly more intelligent for that… that hogwash."

"Did you just compliment me?" he asked, quirking an eyebrow in amusement. He grinned when Hermione flushed. "You think I'm intelligent, Granger?"

"We might hate each other very much, Malfoy, but I'm not blind," she snapped back, trying to cover her embarrassment with annoyance.

Feeling wonderfully validated, he leaned back on his chair, his grin still in place. "I have too many things to do than attend Ancient Runes," he explained. "Divination, on the other hand, I can pass it with my eyes closed. And I mean it literally, because Professor Trelawney always yammered about finding the Inner Eye better with the eyes closed. I've been following her suggestion ever since, to be honest, and she thinks I'm brilliant."

To his utmost disbelief, Hermione leaned back her head and released a laugh. It was soft and lovely, and her eyes crinkled a bit.

Scorpius stared.

"And what, pray tell, are the other things you are busy doing to stop you from attending Ancient Runes?"

"Ah, but Granger, we aren't that close yet," he replied once he composed himself. "I'm not obliged to tell you."

Hermione sighed and shook her head. "Imagine the horror if we ever become close," she said with frown. Her eyes, though, were still smiling and Scorpius stared once more.

She then proceeded to gather her things and place them inside her bag. The Gryffindor quickly glanced at her wristwatch and said, "Don't even think about ditching me for our patrol tonight, Malfoy." Hermione stood up and shouldered her backpack. "My warning still stands: I will report you to Dumbledore."

Hermione gave him an odd look as he smirked. She rolled her eyes, her lips twitching upwards once more, before turning around and walking out of the Hogwarts library.

Scorpius' eyes widened once he was alone, the fact that he had just interacted with Hermione Granger finally sinking in. A disbelieving smile bloomed on his face, the books about magical transportation already forgotten.

"Where are you going, Scorpius?" Blaise asked as the blond stood up from the cozy, black couch in the Slytherin Common Room.


Pansy pouted. "You know that's with Granger, right?" she asked whilst scrunching her nose in distaste.

Scorpius became confused. "Err… yes," he slowly said.

Crabbe snorted, triumphantly smirking when a Gobstone blew all over Goyle's face. "But mate, you never went on patrols with Granger," he pointed out. "The Heads always tried to pair you up for some inter-house ridiculous shit, but you didn't really give a flying fuck for those things."

Scorpius stopped in his tracks and furrowed his brow. As Scorpion King, he should ditch Granger and do whatever the hell he wanted. But as Scorpius, he somehow would feel a little guilty if he didn't show up. Besides, Minister Granger-Weasley could be frightfully mean if she wanted to. Granted, this was her younger self, but still. She was the brightest witch of her age. Scorpius felt honestly nervous becoming the receiving end of her wrath.

"I'm bored," he quickly said as an idea came up. "I'd like to piss off Granger to pass the time."

Blaise lifted an eyebrow and Scorpius had a feeling he didn't buy his excuse. Crabbe and Goyle were already too engrossed with their Gobstone match to even bother waiting for Scorpius' decision. Pansy looked put out, but she harrumphed and looked away.

"Whatever you say, Scorpion King," his Italian friend drawled.

Scorpius narrowed his eyes before finally turning around and striding away from the Slytherin dungeons. He checked his wristwatch and was relieved to note that he still had five minutes to spare.

He broke into a jog to meet Granger in the Great Hall, but he immediately stopped in his tracks as blinding pain shot through his left forearm. Scorpius stifled a groan and panicked, immediately yanking his sleeve up to glance down at his Dark Mark. It stood stark and red against his skin; it continued to burn his arm raw.

Scorpius gingerly touched his Dark Mark. He knew from History classes that touching the Dark Mark would trigger apparation, but he was inside Hogwarts. Hogwarts: A History forbade anyone from apparating in and out of the school, unless he was the Headmaster.

Tears of pain already prickled his eyes as Scorpius desperately broke into a run. The pain was unbearable and he wanted it to stop. He was able to run throughout the great length of Hogwarts until he reached the front gates. As soon as he stumbled out of the premises of Hogwarts, he immediately touched his Dark Mark and was sucked into the void.

He rematerialized within seconds inside the dungeons of Malfoy Manor. Scorpius doubled over and gasped in relief, the pain on his forearm now receding into a dull throb.

"Young Malfoy."

Scorpius' blood ran cold as he slowly lifted his head and met the eyes of Lord Voldemort. He had busied himself for days just to keep his mind from the fact that he would inevitably meet this monster once more. He would demand some progress report from him and it was enough to keep him awake at night sometimes.

"M-my lord," he said, immediately falling onto his knees and bowing low. He wanted to hurl for even addressing Voldemort as such, but as a spy for Dumbledore, he knew he had no other choice.

"Arise," Voldemort ordered.

Scorpius hastily clambered back on his feet and strode forward when Voldemort beckoned him closer.

"What of the Vanishing Cabinets?" the Dark Lord inquired.

"I-I'm still working on it, my lord," he murmured.

Voldemort hissed and Scorpius flinched. "You must make haste, Scorpius," he calmly said, descending his dais to stride closer to the shivering blond. "Dumbledore must already die."

"Yes, my lord, of course," the young wizard quickly replied. "B-but forgive me. I… I have schoolworks to attend to and… and…" He faltered and bit down on his tongue, hard, because he knew he was rambling and spouting ridiculous things that would undoubtedly enrage Voldemort.

"Do you not prioritize your mission, Scorpius?" the Dark Lord hissed.

Fear gripped his heart when Voldemort pressed the tip of his wand underneath his chin and forced it up. "Do you not prioritize your life?" There was anger in his red eyes and Scorpius desperately wanted to run back to the safety confines of Hogwarts.

"I-I'm sorry, I shouldn't - " His words died down as his body suddenly felt on fire. Scorpius was brought onto his knees and was unable to hold back a scream.

He didn't know how long it lasted. He wasn't quite sure what spells Voldemort used. All Scorpius wanted was for everything to stop, for the pain to stop, and end his misery. He begged him to stop, uttering promises to be good. Scorpius begged Voldemort to end his torture and vowed that he would immediately work on the Vanishing Cabinets. But the Dark Lord was ruthless, and Scorpius wanted to die.

How did his father endure this? How could his father still be alive after being subjected to these horrors and pain?

Scorpius wanted to go home.

Scorpius wanted to see his Mum and Dad.

Scorpius wanted to die.

It had soon ended and Scorpius could barely keep himself awake. He heard voices he didn't recognize. He wasn't quite sure, but he thought he heard Narcissa's sob.

Somebody was trying to help him stand, but Scorpius cried at the pain on his left leg, and crumpled back onto the floor. He then heard whispered words and he instantly felt numb. The pain had blessedly disappeared and he wanted to cry in relief.

He was being brought onto his feet once more, but this time there was no pain on his left leg.

"Stay with me, Scorpius," a voice, sounding like Snape's familiar voice, whispered against his ear. Then, he felt the familiar tug in his navel, and he fainted.

Hermione was furious beyond belief, muttering curses for Scorpius Malfoy under her breath.

She should have known this, of course! She should have known that the irresponsible Slytherin Prefect would still ditch her for their nightly patrols.

Hermione felt a little stupid, hoping that he would show up this time. Malfoy hadn't really been acting like himself lately, and she thought he could be pleasant when he wanted to. Their interaction back in the Hogwarts library still felt surreal, but it was real, and Hermione dared hope that the stuck-up, arrogant jerk she went to school with for the last five years had finally became a civil, young man.

'That's it, Malfoy,' she snapped. She was going to report him to Dumbledore and beg for the Headmaster to strip him off from his duty. She was always big on giving second chances, in seeing the good in everybody. She had tried desperately to tell herself that Scorpius Malfoy was merely a troubled, misguided child, unfortunate to be raised up in a household that was very different from her own. But she still had her limits, and she really could not tolerate people who carelessly handle huge responsibilities.

"Acid Pops," she harshly replied. The gargoyle guarding Dumbledore's office jumped down from its place and revealed the spiraling staircase. As soon as she reached the top, she took a few, deep breaths to calm her furious heart. It would be sensible to speak with Dumbledore with a level head; if she barged in angry and incoherent, Dumbledore might not take her too seriously.

She was about to grab the brass knuckle and knock on the door but was surprised to see that the door was already ajar. Tentatively, Hermione pushed the door open and peeked inside.

"Professor Dum - "

Words had left her as she stared at the scene in front of her. Dumbledore and Professor Snape were bent over a bloodied and battered figure. Hermione released a gasp in horror to see that a huge amount of blood was already staining Dumbledore's rich carpet. She shakily backpedaled, recognizing that this was Scorpius Malfoy, and blanched.

He was battered beyond recognition, but his blond hair, although matted with blood, was unmistakable. The only indication that he was still alive was his breathing, but that too was shallow and quick. Terrified, she wondered what could have happened for him to become reduced in such a state.

"What are you doing here, Granger?!" Snape suddenly bellowed.

Hermione tore her eyes away from Scorpius' body to look at the enraged face of her DADA professor. "I… I just wanted to…"

Dumbledore slowly stood up and strode closer to her. His towering form had effectively blocked her view of Scorpius. "Miss Granger," the Headmaster said as calmly as possible. "Would you please be so kind as to bring Madame Pomfrey here immediately?"

She dumbly nodded her head, but her legs wouldn't cooperate.

"Immediately, Miss Granger," the old wizard repeated, his soft gaze hardening a little.

This seemed to snap Hermione off her stupor as she quickly tore out from Dumbledore's office and into the Hospital Wing. Madame Pomfrey had given her an earful for making a ruckus when she arrived, but Hermione had tears in her eyes and profusely begged the mediwitch to come with her to Dumbledore's office.

Madame Pomfrey had not said a word but she shot a worried glance at the clearly terrified Gryffindor. Hermione was unable to answer her questions, but merely urged her to run faster.

They had finally arrived and Madame Pomfrey gasped. Hermione noted that the pool of blood had been cleaned, but Scorpius Malfoy was stilly lying motionless on the carpet floor.

"What in Merlin's name had happened to him?" the school mediwitch cried as she fell on her knees and brandished out her wand. Fast incantations flew out of her mouth and Hermione breathed a little better when his breathing returned to normal and the swelling on his face started to disappear.

"Will he be all right, Poppy?" Snape gruffly asked. The worry in his voice was loud and clear.

"Yes, yes, I think he will - " Madame Pomfrey released a loud gasp and skidded away. Hermione tried to see what had caused her sudden distress and was able to spy the Dark Mark on Malfoy's pale forearm.

Hermione's blood ran cold, her eyes staring intently at the mark of evil on Scorpius. Harry was right, after all, but it didn't ease her mind. He was… he was just a boy. Scorpius was almost the same age as hers and for her to see someone marked by Voldemort… Hermione felt like she was going to get sick.

"Poppy," Dumbledore gently urged, "the boy needs your help."

"B-but Dumbledore, he - "

"He needs your help," the Headmaster firmly repeated, his normally twinkling, blue eyes now a steely grey.

Madame Pomfrey slowly nodded her head and started repeating her healing spells. Hermione watched as his cuts were sewn shut and the bruises disappeared. She still stood near the door and scrutinized until she was able to recognize Scorpius again, but her eyes could still not tear itself away from his Dark Mark.

"I believe it is best for you to leave now, Miss Granger," Snape stepped in, glaring down at her.

Hermione normally would have withered under his gaze, wanting to please her teachers as much as possible, but she needed answers. She resolutely held Professor Snape's gaze and lifted her chin. "Professor - "


"Severus," Dumbledore appeased, striding closer to the infuriated professor. He placed a gentle hand on Snape's shoulder until the Potions Master shrugged his hand away and scowled. Then, to Hermione, he said, "Miss Granger, I know you have a lot of questions right now, but I am afraid I cannot afford to answer them all now."

Her shoulders deflated, prompting Dumbledore to smile.

"I will call for you, Mister Potter and Mister Weasley soon to answer some of your inquiries," he assured.

"You're planning to tell them?" Snape hissed.

Dumbledore expelled a soft sigh and Hermione briefly saw a very old wizard instead of the celebrated, powerful sorcerer that was her Headmaster. "A wise man once told me that sometimes, withholding information may bring more harm than necessary," he quoted with a secretive smile. He glanced at Snape and continued, "I have thought about this for days, Severus, and I believe they should be let on in the plan already."

"You can't possibly tell them everything," Snape urged.

Hermione grew confused as they both shot a quick glance at the unconscious form of Scorpius.

"That is not my secret to tell, no," Dumbledore reassured. "But there are things that they should already know."

She wondered what secret that wasn't Dumbledore's he couldn't tell them about, but hazarded a guess that it had something to do with Malfoy.

"Miss Granger, I think it is best if you leave now," the Headmaster then said. "I will send you an owl if your presence is required in my office. For now, you should go back to your dormitories and rest."

Hermione hesitated and shot a quick glance at Scorpius. "Professor, will he be…"

"Poppy is trying her very best," he assured, placing a comforting hand on her shoulder. "Mister Malfoy is quite strong. He will be well soon."

She numbly nodded her head and slowly slipped out of the room. She gave Scorpius one last glance before completely closing the door behind her.

As she travelled back to the Gryffindor tower, Hermione mulled over the events that had happened tonight. She was still terribly confused of everything that was happening but one thing was sure – Scorpius Malfoy was in the middle of it all.

Chapter Text

"He's been missing the whole day."

Hermione stiffened, perfectly knowing whom Harry was pertaining to, and shot a quick glance over the Slytherin table. It was already dinner, but Scorpius Malfoy was still nowhere to be found. Hermione caught herself glancing at his empty seat in classrooms or the Slytherin table in the Great Hall, wondering what had happened to the battered and bruised boy she had seen last night.

"I'm sorry, who?" Ron, ever the oblivious prat, questioned while in the middle of shoving pieces of bread through his mouth.

The brunette rolled her eyes as The-Boy-Who-Lived gave his best friend a slightly disgruntled look. "Malfoy," he hissed. "I haven't seen him since breakfast. He wasn't in his classes too."

"Well, someone's been keeping tabs," Hermione snapped. Harry gave her a dark glare but she didn't look away. "Look, Harry, maybe something just came up at home and he was needed. It's not as if he's… you know." She paused, the image of the Dark Mark, startlingly stark against his very pale forearm, conjuring in her mind. Hermione involuntarily shivered and frowned, this time finally looking away from Harry's green eyes.

"What? What 'you know'?" Ron asked, skidding closer to his best friends with an excited glint in his eyes. "What are we talking about?"

Hermione didn't understand why she couldn't just tell her best friends about what she saw last night. She suspected that it might have been attributed to his mangled form and Dumbledore's reassuring words that he'd tell them about everything soon. Well, not everything, as he so clearly didn't want to divulge a secret that wasn't his to tell. Still, she knew they would be getting answers and she didn't want to blabber immediately without Dumbledore's permission.

"Nothing, Ronald," she hastily replied. "Go back to eating."

She internally groaned when Ron narrowed his eyes, already sensing that something was wrong. He shifted his questioning blue eyes on Harry and frowned. Hermione tried to silently convey for Harry to shut up, but her best friend didn't really listen to her most of the time.

"I think Malfoy's a Death Eater," Harry murmured under his breath for only Hermione and Ron to hear.

"I think that is completely stupid," Hermione interjected.

"I think that's bloody possible!" Ron exclaimed with an indignant look on his face. "He's the son of a Death Eater. Daddy dearest would have wanted to pass on his legacy to his son, after all."

Hermione bristled at the disgusted look on their faces, wanting to shout at their faces that they didn't know anything. The unbidden image of Scorpius Malfoy fighting for his life resurfaced in her mind again, prompting her to shoot up from her seat without thinking.

Harry and Ron stared at her in disbelief. "Where are you going?" Harry grumbled.

The brunette shouldered her bag and shot them a glare. "To the library," she spat. "At least there, I'll surround myself with facts instead of ridiculous speculations."

"You know that's possible, Hermione," Harry protested. "You know… you know I'm right."

'Oh, Harry, you have absolutely no idea,' she thought, but Hermione merely rolled her eyes and stalked out of the Great Hall.

Hermione had every bit of intention of going to the library to clear her mind. Books, old books most especially, always calmed her down, so it was her go-to place when she needed to clearly think. She also needed to finish a seven-feet long essay for her DADA class due next week and she was already running behind her schedule!

Which was why it baffled her immensely when her feet brought her in front of the Hospital Wing. She stared for a full minute in front of the infirmary, trying to debate deep inside if it was wise to come in or not. Scorpius might not be in the infirmary after all. He might be in St. Mungo's and that thought didn't help her already frazzled mind.

Decided, she took a deep breath and pushed the door open. Closest to the door was a slumbering Hufflepuff second year, her face decorated with numerous boils she undoubtedly got from a Potions accident.

Save from the unfortunate Hufflepuff, the infirmary was empty. Hermione felt slightly disappointed that Malfoy wasn't here, but her eyes caught sight of a billowing curtain at the very far end of the infirmary. She squinted and waited for the curtain to part and was finally able to catch a hint of blond hair behind it.

Slowly, she stalked closer, lest Madame Pomfrey came out and ordered her to get out of the infirmary. Madame Pomfrey also saw the Dark Mark on the Slytherin and she might deem him dangerous; she might not want Hermione to interact with him.

Hermione shot a quick glance at Madame Pomfrey's office and breathed a sigh of relief when she finally reached the farthest bed from the door. She slowly slipped inside the bed curtains and froze when Scorpius' surprised, grey eyes settled on her form.

"What the hell are you doing here, Granger?" he asked, his voice cracking a little from disuse.

She stared for a bit, pleasantly surprised to see that he was already healing. Any hints of bruises and scrapes were already gone from his milky, smooth skin. The remnants of his beating, or whatever he had went through last night, were finally gone.

There was something in his eyes, though, something haunted, and Hermione couldn't seem to tear away from them. She knew that he had grown up in a very troubling household; if Lucius Malfoy were her father, she didn't doubt one whit she'd become a snooty, arrogant, and insufferable Pureblood. She sometimes thoroughly thanked Merlin she was born a Muggle-born. But there was something in his eyes this time, something different… something she had never seen in this arrogant boy before.

"As much as I appreciate being ogled at, because let's face it, I'm nice to look at, I'd really rather be alone today, Granger."

She started at his words, eyes growing a little wide at his slight cajoling. One thing that also baffled her these days was that the Scorpion King seemed to lightheartedly tease her. Malfoy always went out of his way to insult her for her blood, appearances, and general swottiness in the past. But never tease. - the Scorpion King never teased. It was unnerving and confusing, and Hermione wished once more that Dumbledore would finally send for the Golden Trio so that she could have her answers.

"You didn't show up in the patrol last night," she found herself replying. Hermione tried her best to sound irritated, because that was how she always felt around him, but heard her voice to be shaky and confused instead.

Scorpius gave her a weird look before gesturing at himself. "I'm sure you realized right now that I'm currently indisposed," he drawled.

"Where were you last night?" she egged on. "Why are you here in the Hospital Wing?"

He lifted an eyebrow at her queries. "You're full of questions today, aren't you, Granger?"

'Merlin, you have no idea!'

She continued to expectantly look at him until the Slytherin sighed and looked away from her. "I had an… accident last night," he lamely started. "Yes, that's right, a Quidditch accident and so I was brought here in the infirmary to be taken care of by our lovely school mediwitch." He drawled the last part sarcastically, and Hermione wondered how Madame Pomfrey treated him, now that she also knew he was Marked.

Judging from his expression and words, he didn't seem to remember that she was in Dumbledore's office last night too and had witnessed him fighting for his life. But then again, he might not have known she was there in the first place.

"There were no Quidditch practices last night, Malfoy," she stated matter-of-factly. "I was assigned by Davies to hold the list of practice schedules, if you can't recall."

A scowl grew on his face as he glared down at Hermione. "Well, I was practicing alone, so are you happy now, Granger?" he snapped, already sounding painfully defensive.

Hermione's eyes unwittingly landed on his covered left sleeve, trying to push her luck if she could see his Dark Mark and catch him red-handed. "You can't fly over the Quidditch pitch past dinner, Malfoy," she reminded. "It's in the school rules."

"Salazar, Granger, can you be more insufferable?" he snarled.

"Is that a challenge, Malfoy?" she asked, quirking an eyebrow.

Scorpius blew a frustrated breath, letting his fringes fly off his forehead for a while before messily settling back on his head.

"What do you want?" he snapped. "If you're just going to nag me for ditching you last night again, go ahead, I don't fucking care. Just… just don't ask questions, Granger... you might not be ready to hear the answers."

She furrowed her brow at his confusing words, but Scorpius Malfoy was already looking away from her. Hermione wanted to demand what the bloody hell he meant, but the curtain was suddenly pushed open to reveal a startled Madame Pomfrey.

"Bloody hell, Madame Pomfrey, you're heaven-sent," Scorpius declared, not even bothering to hide his relief.

The mediwitch gave him a confused look before settling her gaze on Hermione. "Miss Granger, what are you doing here?" she asked. "Isn't it dinner time in the Great Hall?"

"I just had to make sure Malfoy's all right," she said, deciding to tell the truth.

Madame Pomfrey's eyes softened in understanding while Scorpius grew more confused. "Mister Malfoy is all right now, Miss Granger," she reassured as she placed the tray of potions on his bedside table. "You need not worry anymore. It's best if you run along now."

"You're worried for me?" he said with a gasp. Hermione gave him a withering glare and he returned it with a mockingly wounded look.

"I guess he really is all right now," she grumbled. Then, to Madame Pomfrey, she said, "Good night, Madame."

She stalked out of the bed curtains and didn't stop until she was out of the Hospital Wing. Once she stumbled out, Hermione pressed her back against the wall near the door and scowled. She went to visit Malfoy, unintentionally of course, so that she could at least get some answers her brain desperately wanted.

But now, all she was left with were more questions. Hermione couldn't wait for Dumbledore to call for them.

It was exactly three days after her visit in the infirmary when Dumbledore finally sent her a letter. Hermione already had an inkling it would be tonight, seeing that Malfoy was already discharged from the infirmary and had been attending meals and classes today.

Harry had been insufferable, too, trying to persuade Hermione and Ron to investigate about Malfoy's whereabouts. Ron, as usual, always jumped in every time there was an opportunity for an adventure, but so far, Hermione was thankful they'd been too busy scowling at her wet blanketness than actually planning something to catch Malfoy in the act.

"Come on," she tersely called, stalking closer to the couch where the boys were lounging on.

Harry gave her a withering glare, which she eagerly returned. "What?" he snapped. "Are you going to nag our ear off and convince Scorpius Malfoy is a bloody saint?"

Admittedly, she was wounded they were treating her as such. Although she had always been opposed to Harry's plans, she still could not get used to their cold shoulder every time she didn't agree with them. Sometimes, she wished that at least just for one row, one of the boys would side with her.

"We're being summoned by Dumbledore," she replied. "All three of us."

Harry and Ron exchanged a glance, intrigued. A silent conversation went through their gazes, before they both jumped onto their feet and followed Hermione out of the Gryffindor Common Room.

"What do you reckon will he tell us?" Ron asked, his blue eyes latched questioningly on her.

Hermione breathed a silent sigh of relief, thankful that their curiosity trumped over their irritation for her. "I'm not sure," she easily lied. "But the letter sounded urgent and it didn't give away anything."

"Maybe it's got something to do with Slughorn's altered memories of Riddle," Harry supplemented under his breath. He surveyed the corridors and after making sure they were alone, he pressed himself closer to his best friends. "Remember when I told you about this weird conversation Slughorn had with Riddle? Dumbledore was desperate to really know what the real memory was about. He said it was vital for Voldemort's destruction."

Ron's eyes comically widened. "Blimey," he said. "Do you think he's finally letting us in on the Order's plans?"

"I doubt it," Hermione immediately interjected with a frown. "You know how they wanted to keep us from the dark." Harry scowled with the truth and Hermione pressed on. "They all think we're too young to even be let in. It's honestly frustrating when we can actually help."

"Yeah!" Ron enthusiastically agreed. "Fred and George had been bloody proud to be officially inducted in the Order of the Phoenix and it's honestly annoying. And mum" – he groaned – "always yammering about how the meetings aren't for our young ears, that we should focus more on acing our exams and passing our NEWTs."

"Mrs. Weasley isn't entirely wrong, Ron," Hermione pointed out, prompting the redhead to roll his eyes.

"Well, there's only one way to find out," Harry said as soon as the Golden Trio stopped in front of the stone gargoyle. "Acid Pops."

The gargoyle jumped down and revealed the spiraling staircase towards Dumbledore's office.

Hermione's heart was beating loudly with anticipation, her brain already reciting all the questions she would like to ask to Dumbledore.

She immediately grabbed onto the brass knuckle and eagerly tapped it thrice. The door clicked open and the three quickly stumbled inside even before they could hear Dumbledore's permission.

"Professor Dumbledore, we've…"

Her words died down as she stared in shock. Sitting across Dumbledore was Scorpius Malfoy himself, who looked equally surprised that they arrived. Professor Snape stood beside Dumbledore and eyed the trio distastefully, but Hermione found it curious he didn't seem surprised with their arrival.

"Ah, students, welcome," Dumbledore greeted. He waved his hand and two additional chairs were placed in front of his desk. Harry and Ron immediately barreled towards the chair opposite the Slytherin and Hermione had no choice but to plop down on the empty seat beside Scorpius.

"What is he doing here?" Ron demanded, glaring darkly at the Slytherin. Hermione discreetly kicked his shin for being disrespectful and the Weasley immediately added a pained and meek, "sir."

Dumbledore, oblivious of the sudden tension in the room, grabbed his bowl of sweets and offered it to his students. Hermione couldn't help but roll her eyes when Ron eagerly helped himself.

"Sir…" All of them looked at Scorpius, who suddenly looked panicked. "I don't think - "

"Mister Malfoy," the Headmaster interjected. "I do believe I have to reveal some of our plans to our Gryffindors here." The Slytherin looked horrified, but Dumbledore gave him a reassuring smile. "I will not divulge everything. Only things that I think are necessary."

Hermione's eyes narrowed. Her suspicions were confirmed – Malfoy was really hiding something from them all. She highly doubted Dumbledore was pertaining to his Dark Mark, because she already had an inkling their professor would reveal it tonight, too.

"Now," Dumbledore said, his blue eyes settling on each and every one of them, "this meeting is highly confidential and I expect all of you to treat this with utmost secrecy. Do you understand me?"

The boys nodded their heads, but Hermione was unable to keep her mouth shut anymore. "Is this about what happened three nights ago?" she politely demanded.

Scorpius' neck whipped around so fast she was sure she had heard it crick. She could feel his utter surprise, but Hermione did not break her gaze away from Dumbledore.

"Yes, Miss Granger," he answered, his eyes twinkling a tad too brightly.

Then, Hermione slowly looked at the surprised Slytherin beside her, her gaze hard and determined. "I saw you, that night, in this room," she explained. "I saw you… I saw it." She bobbed her head towards his covered left sleeve and grimaced. "I saw the Dark Mark on you, Malfoy."

Ron was a sputtering mess while Harry jumped down from his chair in a rage. All blood drained from Scorpius' face and he looked clearly terrified.

"I bloody hell knew it!" Harry cried, pointing an accusatory finger towards the shell-shocked Slytherin. Then, to Hermione, he glared, "And you knew about it, but you were always adamant it wasn't the truth! HOW COULD YOU, HERMIONE?!"

She flinched at his outburst. "I didn't think it was my secret to tell," she honestly replied.

"Secret?" Harry demanded. "Hermione, I should know! His aunt killed Sirius. Sirius is… SIRIUS IS DEAD. How could you…"

"Harry," Dumbledore calmly said as he stood up from his chair and lightly pushed Harry back down on his seat.

Hermione's eyes stung a bit, her heart going out to her poor best friend who had lost too much. Harry's eyes were shining with unshed tears he refused to show, and angrily looked away from her. A lump formed in her throat, wondering if keeping this to herself was the wisest decision after all.

"You're right."

She looked at the Slytherin beside her in surprise. Scorpius wore an ashamed look on his face, but there was something more she couldn't quite decipher.

"I am branded," he grounded out through gritted teeth. "But I am on your side."

Harry scoffed while Ron seethed. Hermione neither did those, too dumbstruck with his words to actually make any coherent sounds.

"I highly doubt that," Harry snapped.

"Watch your tone, Potter," Snape, who had been silent during the whole ordeal, finally spoke for the first time. "You don't know anything."

The-Boy-Who-Lived gave their DADA professor a dark glare. "That's the problem, isn't it?" he sarcastically asked. "We don't know anything. We are always kept in the dark. I'm the bloody Boy-Who-Lived and I was prophesized to kill Voldemort. Why can't you just tell us everything?"

Dumbledore's eyes looked pained and guilty, which actually surprised Hermione.

"I confess that might be my wrongdoing, Harry," Dumbledore explained. "I wanted to keep you from knowing everything because I wanted to protect you." Harry curled his hands into fists and glared on the floor. "But… something happened. Something changed and I do believe it is time for me to tell you what our greatest weapon against Voldemort is."

Anger completely left Harry's face, replaced by utmost confusion.

"Harry?" Ron asked, wearing the same confused look on his face.

"Well, yes, Harry Potter is our greatest weapon, Mister Weasley," Dumbledore said with an indulgent smile. Hermione bit back a smile as Ron's ears turned into brilliant shade of red. "But what I meant to say was that we finally know Voldemort's deepest secret – the reason why he seemed formidable or, more fittingly, immortal."

"Forgive me, Professor, but I honestly don't know where Malfoy comes in in all of this," Hermione said.

Scorpius rolled his eyes while Dumbledore gave her a smile. "As what Mister Malfoy said a while ago, he is on our side," he explained. "Despite being branded, he is under my allegiance and has been acting as my spy ever since because of some reasons I'm afraid I cannot disclose yet."

"Why should we trust him?" Ron demanded with a glare. "He's a Death Eater. He should be in Azkaban instead, like his father."

The Slytherin sneered in disgust, but Dumbledore continued, "Because I give him my complete trust, Mister Weasley. I do wish you'll trust my judgment, too."

"And Snape? What is he doing here?" Harry snapped.

"He should be trusted too, Mister Potter," the old wizard appeased, giving Snape a reproachful glance for glaring down at the Potter boy. "In fact, everybody here in this room has my utmost trust."

Harry looked wholly unconvinced, but wordlessly slumped back on his seat.

"This secret of Voldemort's, sir, what is it?" Hermione hedged on, now that everybody had marginally calmed down.

"Horcruxes," Dumbledore simply said. "Have you ever heard of them?"

Hermione noted how both Scorpius and Snape flinched with the word. She, Harry, and Ron, however, shook their heads in unison.

A dark shadow cloaked Dumbledore's face as he calmly wove his fingers together on top of his desk. "A horcrux is a very dark object, said to house a fragment of a soul of a Dark witch or wizard, who has an intention of gaining immortality." Hermione shivered a little, disturbed by the definition of the said object. "In order to create one, a person must deliberately commit an act of murder, and we do know what it does to the murderer."

"It damages the soul," Hermione softly pointed out.

"Yes, Miss Granger, very good," he said with a strained smile. "The wizard or witch then takes advantage of this damage, casts a spell and rips this damaged part away from their soul, entrapping it inside an object and therefore making a horcrux. Only then can the murderer be defeated if the horcrux is destroyed, too."

Silence was thick as they mulled over this new information.

"But you said horcruxes…" Hermione's eyes widened at the sad smile on Dumbledore's face.

"Blimey," Ron breathlessly said. "He didn't only make one, did he?"

"Seven," Scorpius surprisingly replied. The Gryffindors' eyes widened in horror, whilst Scorpius grimaced. "Voldemort created seven."

Hermione couldn't understand why even Dumbledore and Snape looked startled with this revelation. Perhaps, although they knew that they existed, they still had no idea how many they were.

"Seven," Dumbledore echoed, looking deeply disturbed.

Scorpius slowly nodded his head. "Two are already destroyed," he continued. He then gestured at a destroyed book and ring sitting on top of Dumbledore's desk.

"Riddle's diary," Harry gasped in recognition.

"And this" – Dumbledore lifted the ring, its gem cracked in the middle – "is a family heirloom of Voldemort's. Tom has been terribly fond of treasures, I believe."

"How do you know all about this?" Hermione demanded with a curious glare at Scorpius.

The Malfoy heir stiffened and refused to meet his eyes. "I've heard… things," he merely said, and didn't elaborate further. Hermione highly doubted that was the only case. If even Dumbledore was surprised with this information, and surely Dumbledore knew almost everything, then Scorpius wasn't being completely honest.

"So, there are only five left," Harry said. Sudden clarity shone in his eyes as he steadfastly held Dumbledore's warm gaze. "And you want our help to find and destroy them all."

"Indeed," Dumbledore said. "This is a grave responsibility, Harry, but I want you to partake in it."

"But how will we find them all?" Ron asked. "Do we even know what all of them are?"

"There is one hidden in this school," Scorpius explained. "Well, two, but we'll get to that part later on." He shot a quick, nervous glance towards Harry and looked away. Her best friends seemed to not notice his peculiar look, but Hermione did.

Harry frowned and eagerly leaned closer to the table. Hermione could practically feel him brimming with excitement at the thought of going through another adventure, albeit a seriously dangerous one. "But, how will we be able to destroy them all?" he asked.

"Fiendfyre can," Scorpius explained, "but it is an advanced magic and it is hard to control. And, well, there's always the basilisk venom."

"I would like to destroy them, but I think it is fitting if you do the honors," Dumbledore said with an amused smile, the sides of his eyes crinkling. "I'm afraid I did not leave unscathed destroying the ring." He then deliberately hid his blackened hand under his sleeve, prompting Hermione to frown.

"We can go down to the Chamber of Secrets," Harry offered. The Slytherin beside her perked up in excitement, which he quickly stifled down upon Harry's glare.

Dumbledore nodded and clasped his fingers once more. "Helping each other in this task is of utmost importance, my dear students," he reminded. He pinned each and every one of them a stare, and Hermione felt herself withering a little from his strong gaze. "You may be of different Houses, but you all share a common goal. I trust that you'll leave the past behind and start working together."

Harry and Ron comically made a face at the prospect of working with Scorpius. Hermione expected that the Slytherin would mirror their expression, even loudly protest if he could, but to her surprise, he was gazing at them hopefully, at Harry to be exact. It was all too confusing for Hermione.

"Perhaps, it wouldn't hurt to ask for more help," Dumbledore suggested. "I believe Miss Weasley, Miss Lovegood, and Mister Longbottom are also part of the core team of Dumbledore's Army?"

"Yes, Professor," Harry murmured under his breath. Hermione furrowed her eyebrows at how Scorpius Malfoy's jaw dropped and almost radiated with excitement.

"Very well, then." Dumbledore clapped his hand and stood up from his chair. "I believe it's nearing curfew now and you still have some essays to finish." His eyes started to twinkle once more as all the students climbed down from their seats. "If you ever need something from me, you know where to find me."

He then herded them all out of his office and closed the door behind him. Hermione looked back and frowned, wondering what secret was left unsaid.

Scorpius immediately darted past them without turning back before Hermione could quiz him further.

"Git," Ron murmured under his breath. "I still don't trust him."

Harry sighed and ran a frustrated hand through his hair.

"Harry…" Hermione called as guilt clawed its way up from her stomach. "I didn't - "

"Save it, Hermione," Harry tiredly replied. Hermione tearfully peered at his lovely green eyes and was relieved to see that he wasn't mad at all. "I was just… you know… surprised. I think it was unfair in your part when I started blowing up at you."

She showed a watery grin and threw herself at Harry. Her best friend lightly laughed but held her tightly.

Their journey back to the Gryffindor Tower was filled with silence, as each Gryffindor processed the conversation back in Dumbledore's Office.

"Everything's going to change now, isn't it?" Hermione asked before she bid the boys goodbye.

Ron somberly nodded his head while Harry wryly smiled. "I think so," he murmured. "I bloody think so."

Chapter Text

For days, Scorpius waited, but he still hadn't heard any peep from the Golden Trio.

After their interesting meeting with Dumbledore in his office, Scorpius honestly thought they'd start warming up to him. Dumbledore loudly vouched for him and his loyalty, which made him tear up inside really, so he kind of expected that they would trust him now, albeit a little reluctantly. He understood it seemed weird that the Scorpion King they once knew had suddenly changed allegiances, but at least he was expecting some form of… acceptance.

Still, as the Slytherin breezed through his sixth year classes, the Golden Trio wouldn't give him the time of their day. Even Granger, who seemed to be the warmest of them all, hadn't thrown him a glance or two. He had reverently studied on Granger's table for days, but the Gryffindor never showed up. It was honestly annoying, especially now that he was anticipating to meet the DA Core.

Scorpius therefore busied himself with researching more about Vanishing Cabinets. Dumbledore finally gave him permission to scour the Restricted Section up to his heart's content. Madame Pince had been eyeing him suspiciously ever since, but he kept on waving Dumbledore's permission slip to keep her away from prying.

Thankfully, Voldemort hadn't summoned him ever since that disastrous night. Scorpius still had nightmares about unbearable pain and his Nana dying before his eyes, and it had called for more Occlumency lessons with Professor Snape.

'Snape,' Scorpius thought with a scowl. If there was one person in this whole school that knew everything about him, it would be Snape. Since he constantly used Legilimency at him, Scorpius knew he shouldn't be surprised Snape would finally find out everything about his life in the future.

There was a particular meeting with him, though, that had stuck with Scorpius until this very day.

A headache was forming and all of his energy were drained, but Professor Snape was relentless and had been wearing a disappointed frown on his pale face.

"The Dark Lord will not wait for you to compose yourself, Scorpius," he tutted as he glared at him.

"Merlin, Professor, have mercy," he lightly teased, easing himself up from the dirty dungeon floor. His knees buckled underneath him and he had to brace himself against the nearest wooden table. Pained, he started massaging his temples in hopes of easing the throbbing.

"Voldemort will not show you mercy," he snapped.

Scorpius flinched, his body reacting instinctively at the memory of the torture he went through under the hands of the vile monster. "I know," he murmured with a grimace. "I remember."

Professor Snape released a monumental sigh and tentatively strode forward. Scorpius almost smiled at the worried look on his face. The Slytherin Head of House always made it a point to look cool and menacing to everybody, and truthfully, he was successful most of the time. If only Snape knew how he was revered in the future, he'd kick up his menacing a notch just to overshadow the good deeds he really was doing behind the scenes.

"Fire away, Professor," Scorpius weakly said, spreading his arms out with a small smirk.


His mind protested at the added weight of another presence, but Scorpius desperately threw his walls up and projected false memories. He thought about mercilessly working on the Vanishing Cabinet, relentlessly searching for the proper spell to fix it. He imagined himself brooding in the Astronomy Tower, thinking about his life choices. He thought of hating Lucius with a burning passion – that he could imagine with ease, because those feelings were actually true. He continued to think of more benign memories that would please the Dark Lord and at the same time not make him suspicious.

Scorpius suddenly screamed and clutched his head. Snape had probed deeply and all the walls he had built were now shattering everywhere. Images of his childhood flashed through his mind. He conjured the memory of meeting Albus Severus Potter for the first time. He recalled the time Auror Harry Potter tried to forbid Al from becoming his friend. He saw the night when he first heard the rumor he was the Dark Lord's son, hiding in a dark corner in his bedroom, crying and crying, until Draco arrived and held him in silence. He remembered the unfair trials his father had to face, desperately begging the Wizengamot he was innocent. He remembered his father, his broken, crying father, clutching tightly to Astoria while Scorpius had no choice but to merely watch him break before his eyes. He clearly saw the Daily Prophet that bore the latest accusations to his father and Scorpius' determination to go back into time and save him from his past.

"STOP!" Scorpius cried, and Snape was immediately shoved away from his mind.

Scorpius was sobbing and shaking, his knees helplessly giving away underneath him. He fell on his knees and crumpled on the ground, tears of grief and sorrow continuing to pour down from his eyes.

"You weren't… you weren't supposed to see those," he sputtered, angry that the Potions Master had crossed the line and idly viewed his memories like a pensieve.

For a while, it was only his tears that was heard in the dark dungeons. His headache was becoming unbearable and Scorpius just wanted to sleep the pain and sadness away.

"You must have really loved your father," Snape quietly said, placing a gentle hand on his shoulder that was too tender to be attributed to the stoic Potions Master.

"Very much," Scorpius sniffed, slowly lifting his head up to look at Snape. He winced as a sharp pain shot up from his head and he groaned.

"I never intended to see too much," the older wizard gruffly said as he effortlessly pulled Scorpius back onto his feet.

The Slytherin could only give him a lighthearted glare and sighed.

"Perhaps it is best if we both retire for the night," Snape suggested. Then, he pulled out a potion from his robe pocket and gave it to Scorpius. "Drink this to ease your headache."

Their lessons continued, and Scorpius was actually becoming better. Snape never broke through his walls anymore, although there were a few times he almost did, but Scorpius was slowly becoming better in keeping his walls upright. The headaches also lessened, which Snape pointed out was a good sign.

Scorpius was just thankful Snape never raised those memories anymore.

He briefly glanced at his wristwatch and sighed. His patrol with Granger was nearing and he knew he'd get an earful if he ditched her again this time. Besides, this was a perfect opportunity for him to finally confront her about what they had discussed back in Dumbledore's office.

He somehow felt a little apprehensive if she would come, but Scorpius knew Hermione was too much of a goody-goody.

She would most definitely not ditch him.

"You should most definitely ditch him," Harry offhandedly offered with a careless shrug of his shoulders.

"It isn't that easy, Harry," she bit back.

Ron snorted and looked up from the latest Quidditch magazine he was browsing. "It is easy, Hermione," he grounded out. "Just stay here in the Common Room and don't think about him. There, done! Congratulations, you've ditched the smarmy git."

Admittedly, she was nervous interacting with him after their meeting with Dumbledore. She mulled it over for the following days, trying to make sense of their new mission for the Headmaster, and by extension, the Order. Hermione highly doubted the legit members of the Order of Phoenix knew about the horcruxes and what the role of the DA Core would be, especially because there wasn't any sign of a howler from Mrs. Weasley.

Until now, however, she still could not make sense of what was Malfoy's role in all of these. It was suspicious how he knew about the horcruxes. Blimey, it was bloody suspicious when it was revealed he had changed allegiances and worked under Dumbledore now. She had been in school with him for years, after all, and she could vouch that he was a Pureblood Supremacist through and through.

Hermione knew he had been always studying in her table. She terribly missed studying in the library, but she still wasn't ready to face him. Thus, she had to endure hours of studying in the Common Room and the incessant pestering from her best friends. She loved them both very much, but sometimes they really were just too annoying. And she missed her table so much it wasn't even funny anymore.

"Have you told Ginny and the others yet?" Hermione asked, quickly changing the subject. She glanced at her watch and bristled, noting that she only had thirty minutes left before her patrol with Malfoy.

Harry and Ron exchanged a glance. "I'm not really sure that's necessary," Harry slowly said.

"Why not?"

"Because this is dangerous," The-Boy-Who-Lived explained. "We can't… we can't afford to let Ginny in!" Hermione gave him a pointed glance, knowing about the secret crush he had been harboring for the youngest Weasley. Harry turned a brilliant shade of red and hastily added, "And the others."

"But Dumbledore said we should ask them for help," Hermione insisted. "You said it yourself - this is dangerous. I think we should get all the help we could."

Ron snorted once more. "It's already worse that he expects us to work with Malfoy, Hermione," he said. "I don't want to let my sister in in all of these things."

Hermione took a deep breath and sadly looked at her friends. "Guys," she softly started, "this is it. We're finally doing something for the Order to… to bring Voldemort down." She quickly darted her gaze around and leaned closer. "We can't afford to botch it now that we know about his weakness."

Ron looked hesitant and Hermione bit her lip, trying not to grin triumphantly. She knew she was getting through him. Harry, though, still looked highly unconvinced. "I don't know, Hermione…"

"The War can finally end," she continued. "We can finally go back to our normal lives. There will be no more Death Eaters and Dark Lords and danger and…" Her breath hitched with the thought of finally being free from all the atrocities of this stupid war. She gave them a watery grin and each held both of their hands. "I just want us to be happy and safe, you know."

Harry deeply sighed and finally gave her a tentative smile. "Fine, I'll talk to Ginny," he murmured.

"And the others," Hermione reminded.

The-Boy-Who-Lived blushed and grinned. "And the others." Harry ruffled his hair thoughtfully. "I think we can all meet up tomorrow in the Room of Requirement to start discussing things."

Ron nodded his head in agreement while Hermione said, "We should invite Malfoy, too."

Harry grimaced and Ron looked indignant. "Hermione, no," the redhead protested. "I don't care if Dumbledore trusts him or what, but I still don't trust him."

"I don't too," Harry concurred.

"I…" Hermione faltered, not sure if she trusted Scorpius Malfoy already. "I just think that he has enough knowledge about these horcruxes. Dumbledore trusted him so I think, maybe I do too, no matter how weird that sounded."

Hermione was silent for a moment before finally standing up from the couch. "Where are you going?" Harry called.

"Patrol," she merely said.

"You can't invite, Malfoy, Hermione! I forbid it!" Ron hollered back.

The brunette rolled her eyes at her best friends before stumbling out of the portrait.

"Look at that, I'm earlier than the Golden Girl."

The Gryffindor Prefect threw him a withering glare, prompting him to smirk. "Don't call me that," she snapped. "And I'm not even late."

Scorpius shrugged and shoved his hands inside the pockets of his trousers. "Whatever, Granger, let's just get this over and done with," he said. He bit back a smile when Hermione looked confused. Judging from her nervous shuffling when she arrived for their patrol, he knew she was expecting to be bombarded by questions about their mission for Dumbledore.

Deep inside, he was desperate to know what they were planning already. He even had tried to catch at least Luna Lovegood's attention to see if she had been let in in the mission already. Sadly, however, he spent an hour listening to the eccentric Ravenclaw about the wonderful effects of Nargle teeth despite being little buggers. Scorpius greatly admired the famous future magizoologist, but it was bewildering how amazingly eccentric she was during her younger years. At least in the future, she'd be studying real creatures and not those made-up magical creatures she seemed to be fond of.

Hermione threw him another confused glance and he smirked in return. He knew Hermione was still sizing him up, deciding whether to trust him or not. Therefore, he clamped down his enthusiasm and allowed himself to slightly suffer in silence.

Their patrol was silent and almost awkward. Scorpius desperately tried to come up with a topic to talk about just to dispel the awkwardness, but all he could think about were horcruxes and Rose Weasley. None were great topic starters, that much he knew.

"Are you still working on your extra-curricular requirement?"

Scorpius flinched in surprise and gazed down at the bushy-haired brunette. Hermione's cheeks were splattered with red and she was trying her best to avoid his gaze. In spite of the nervousness he was feeling, Scorpius quirked up a little smile.

"Yep," he then replied, loudly popping the 'p'. "The results are still abysmal, though."

"Will you tell me what this extra-curricular is for now?" she hopefully asked.

Scorpius snorted. "We're still not that close, Granger," he pointed out. "But don't worry, I won't knock you off the top rank. Even though I'm second in our batch, there's honestly a wide chasm between my grade and yours. I don't even bother trying to beat you anymore."

Her cheeks reddened more with his offhanded compliment, and Scorpius mentally kicked himself for teasing once more. He could not bring himself to call her a 'mudblood' or other stupid, idiotic insults because all he could see was Rose and how she'd be undoubtedly angry and hurt with his words. It was always a struggle on how he would act towards Hermione Granger.

"Can I tell you something, Malfoy?" she gingerly asked.

Scorpius frowned at the tone of her voice and casually shrugged in return.

"I think you've been really weird for the past few days."

He quirked an eyebrow as he did not expect that. "Weird?" he asked. "How so?"

Hermione blew a frustrated sigh and tugged at her curls. Scorpius' eyes widened a little because Rose did exactly the same thing when she was feeling particularly frustrated over something, mostly him. "It's just… you're different," she murmured. "I told myself countless times it might be because of your current… err… circumstances, you know, with your um… father and your…" She wildly gestured at his covered left forearm, much to his amusement. "But it's not that. There's something else. Something more." She threw an accusatory glare his way. "I feel like you're keeping a huge secret from all of us."

His throat clotted with her statement, nervous that she was almost near the bull's eye. She was bloody perceptive, he'd give her that. "What other terrible secrets does the Scorpion King hide from the world?" he joked. "I'm really sorry, Granger, but being mysterious is part of my charm."

"You see, that's another thing," she said, gesticulating wildly at his face. "You tease. You never tease me. You insult and snarl and mock and hurt. But never lightheartedly like that it's… it's utterly weird."

"You'd rather I mock you incessantly? Call you names? Insult your very being?"

"Ugh, I don't know," she cried and whipped around. Scorpius stopped dead in his tracks and glanced down at the frustrated witch. "Dumbledore trusts you and I am inclined to trust you too because I believe in our headmaster's judgment. I feel like Dumbledore also knows a lot and he's keeping it a secret from us."

Scorpius snorted and sidestepped around Hermione. "At least he'd stopped being bloody cryptic and start telling things to the Golden Trio already," he mindlessly stated. "If he'd done this before, the war wouldn't drag out for another year, honestly."

"What did you just say?"

His eyes widened, realizing what he had said, and nervously cleared his throat. The Gryffindor looked more confused and intrigued, and Scorpius mentally cursed his running mouth for spouting ridiculous, dangerous things.

"Like I've said, Granger, we're not close," he reiterated, desperately trying to change the subject. "I'm not obliged to tell you everything about myself."

She made an aggravated sound at the back of her throat and glared. "Merlin, you're infuriating," she spat. Scorpius grinned widely; Rose never forget to tell him that every day. "And to think I was starting to give you the benefit of the doubt."

His grin receded into a small, almost fond smile. "I really am on your side, I promise," he said. "I might have acted like a vile, loathsome cockroach to you lot, but, like I've said, I wanted this war to end, too."

Hermione deflated and conflicting emotions danced through her lovely face. She ran another hand through the tangled mess she called her hair and sighed. "Oh, Harry and Ron will kill me about this but" – she paused and took another deep breath – "There's a DA Core meeting tomorrow in the Room of Requirement and… wait, do you know how to go to that place?"

Scorpius grinned mischievously. Despite being burned beyond recognition during the war, the Room of Requirement had fixed itself and continued being an abode for lost, helpless students. Scorpius, Al, and some of their Slytherin mates mostly went to this room to lounge in peace, away from the noise outside the four walls of the secret room.

"Oh, yes," he finally said, seeing that Hermione was still waiting for his reply. He clamped his mouth shut to stop himself from adding that he also planned to go to this place soon and start fixing the Vanishing Cabinet.

Hermione eyed him suspiciously before resolutely lifting her chin. "I'm warning you, Malfoy," she threatened. "I know a lot of spells you have not heard of. Marietta Edgecombe still had to glamour her face to hide away the pimples I had given her last year."

Scorpius snorted. He still remembered his father's story about the horrible trick Hermione Granger gave to the traitor of Dumbledore's army. "I don't doubt your scary powers, Granger," he pointed out with a smirk.

"I'm inviting you to our DA Core meeting to discuss our… our mission from Dumbledore," she said. "Harry and Ron still didn't buy your current status in the Order, so maybe you should just tone down the arrogance so that there will be less fighting tomorrow."

The Slytherin casually shrugged his shoulders, not wanting to promise anything he might surely break.

"All right, okay, good talk," she commented. "I'll retire to my bedchambers now, so good night, Malfoy."

"What? Wait! Our patrol hasn't ended yet."

She gave him a withering look. "And I expect you to finish it until you've scoured all corridors and alcoves," she warned. Scorpius glared as she continued, "This is payback for ditching me the last time."

Scorpius' jaw dropped in disbelief. "Granger, I was bloody injured!" he protested. "I really meant to patrol with you that night but I got injured by… by…"

"Quidditch practice?"

"Yes, Quidditch practice," he repeated.

Hermione quirked an eyebrow and leaned a little closer. "Will you tell me the truth about your disappearance that night?" she asked.

He scowled. "Tough luck, Granger," he said.

"Then, goodbye, Malfoy."

"Isn't your Gryffindor goody-goodiness ashamed of ditching work?"

She laughed loudly, much to his surprise. "You have no idea how many school rules I've already broken, Scorpius Malfoy," she said as a mischievous glint sparkled in her eyes. He gawked, at loss of what to say. "Goodnight, Malfoy."

He watched her disappear behind a corridor and scowled. "Bloody witch," he murmured under his breath. "Like mother, like daughter."

Chapter Text

A hush fell when Scorpius cautiously took a step in. Harry and Ron tightly held onto their wands, their anger with his arrival emanating up to the door, and Scorpius nervously glanced at Hermione. The brunette, the only actual friendly face in the room, motioned for him to stride closer to the small group.

"Err… hi," he murmured.

''Hi', you imbecile?' Albus-The-Inner-Voice bellowed. Scorpius flinched and made a face, furiously shushing his inner voice lest it be heard by everybody in the room.

His eyes settled on the other occupants, the other members of the DA Core, and Scorpius' heart sped up in unbidden excitement. Luna Lovegood gave him a serene smile before gracefully plopping back down on the couch and proceeded to read a copy of 'The Quibbler'. Ginny Weasley wore a mixture of amusement and suspicion on her face. And finally, his eyes settled on Neville Longbottom.

Scorpius had always admired his Herbology Professor and usually engaged him in lengthy discussions about plants and sometimes, the older wizard's Hogwarts years. He was one of the people in Hogwarts who actually tolerated Scorpius and did not accuse him of being the Dark Lord's illegitimate son. The story of how he had bravely slain Nagini the Snake Horcrux had been one of his favorite bedtime stories and his father found it amusing that his once bumbling and idiotic classmate grew up to become a confident and well-spoken professor.

The Gryffindor before him was a far cry from the professor he greatly admired. Instead, this was the bumbling and idiotic student his father described standing before him. He was even able to detect a smidge of fear in his eyes. 'Pity,' Scorpius thought. 'You'd be magnificent in the future, Neville Longbottom, and you have no idea yet.'

"What the hell are you doing here, Malfoy?" Harry spat.

Scorpius furrowed his eyebrows, confused with his question. "I was invited. Didn't you…" The words died down from his mouth as his eyes widened a little. Both he and Harry shot an accusatory glare towards Hermione, who exhaled a deep sigh and rolled her eyes.

"I invited him over, Harry, because Dumbledore said so," Hermione grounded out, standing her ground and crossing her arms across her chest. "He is of great value in this mission."

"Okay, hold up, Malfoy knows about the mission?" Ginny butted in with surprise.

"He knows more about the mission," the brunette Gryffindor corrected, throwing a withering glare towards Scorpius. "Harry, Ron, and I only knew a few things about it."

Ron stomped forward and towered over him. Weasley was easily the tallest boy in this room, but Scorpius didn't back down. Maybe if he tiptoed just a little bit, then he'd be a few good inches taller than Ron. But then of course, he didn't do that because he'd look like an idiot and that didn't bode too well with the Scorpion King image he was trying to maintain.

"I told you not to invite him, Hermione," Ron snapped, though his eyes never left Scorpius' steely greys.

"Since when do I listen to you, Ronald?" The tall Weasley flinched and Scorpius smirked at how he deflated at Granger's tone, who by the way was a foot shorter than him.

Harry strode forward and stood beside his best friend. "I don't like him here, Hermione," he snarled.

"Well, I don't like him here too but we have to bloody work together now, yeah?" Hermione snapped.

Scorpius stared down the two Gryffindors, trying to look as menacing as possible. Normally, he wouldn't go out of his way to initiate a fight, but these Golden Idiots had made it too easy for him. He wondered what Albus would feel if he saw his father and his uncle picking a fight with him, his best friend. But then again, his father and his uncle never really liked him at all.

Harry was the first to break his gaze and stalked back onto his chair without a word. Ron made a rude gesture with his hand and soon followed his best friend, but thankfully hadn't spoken anything anymore. Hermione expelled a deep sigh of relief and gestured for Scorpius to take on the empty seat beside Luna.

Once he was settled, Luna placed her magazine away and dreamily smiled at him. "Hello, Scorpius," she greeted. "Have you thought about our conversation regarding Nargle teeth and their properties?"

"Err…" he started. "Yeah, sure."

The youngest Weasley shot him an amused look and he merely shrugged.

Scorpius leaned forward to peer at the nervous Gryffindor sitting beside Luna. "Hello, Prof – err, Neville, sir – err," he blubbered. Albus-the-Inner-Voice cackled loudly at him for being a blubbering fool and Scorpius could already feel his cheeks warming in embarrassment.

Neville gave him a confused and weirded-out look, and Scorpius opted to shift his gaze away, afraid to make a fool out of himself once more.

Hermione, perhaps the only level-headed and sane person in the room, strode at the front of the small group. She clasped her hands together, slowly glanced at each and everyone of them, and started, "Okay, now that we are complete, I think we can already start discussing about Dumbledore's mission for us."

"Operation: Destroy the Horcruxes," Ron seriously added.

Scorpius exclaimed a loud snort whilst Hermione threw a dark glare at her best friend.

"Honestly, Ronald, be serious," she snarled.

"Really, Weasley, is that the only thing you can think of?" Scorpius drawled, the infamous Malfoy smirk slipping on his face. "I think 'Operation: Moldy Voldy Must Die' seemed a better name for our mission."

Hermione gaped at him in disbelief. The Weasley siblings' eyes actually grew wide with his attempt to lighten the atmosphere. Scorpius felt a little triumphant when he spied Potter trying his very best to stifle a laugh.

"That's honestly more idiotic, Malfoy," Ginny supplemented.

"I think 'Operation: Moldy Voldy Must Die' is a very catchy name for our mission," Luna airily replied. "I like it."

"Thank you," Scorpius said, proudly gesturing at Luna.

Hermione expelled a huge sigh and glared at everyone. "Okay, can we all focus now?" she demanded, snapping her fingers to get their attention. She waited for a few minutes before straightening up. "Neville, Ginny, and Luna, we've told you some snippets of what Dumbledore told us a few days ago. But just to reiterate, we were given a task by Dumbledore to gather all of Voldemort's horcruxes and destroy them to finally render him as a mere mortal once more."

"And two were already destroyed," Neville said.

"Yes, thus leaving us with five more to search and destroy." Hermione pierced Scorpius with a stare. "Actually, Malfoy knows where all of them are because of reasons he cannot disclose."

All five sets of eyes settled on him and he sighed. "As what I've said back in Dumbledore's office, You-Know-Who made seven horcruxes," he slowly said. "One thing you should know about Voldemort is he loved collecting treasures before making them his own horcruxes."

He slightly leaned forward so he could look at everyone clearly. "Potter destroyed Riddle's diary in second year and Dumbledore already destroyed the ring earlier this year. I believe the horcrux that is in this school is Ravenclaw's diadem. The other horcruxes include Slytherin's locket, Hufflepuff's Cup, and that creepy pet snake Voldemort has, Nagini."

"What's the other one?" Luna asked.


"The last one. You said there are seven," Luna elaborated.

Scorpius bit his bottom lip and refused to meet anyone's eyes. "We'll get to that once we destroyed everything else," he quickly dismissed. He thought it still wasn't the time to tell everybody that Harry Potter was the unintended horcrux; even Voldemort believed he merely had six all in all.

"You said Ravenclaw's diadem is in this school," Ginny said. "But I remember…" She directed her blue eyes to the only Ravenclaw in the room. "Didn't you say it's been missing for centuries, Luna?"

"Oh, yes," the eccentric blonde replied. "Legend says Rowena Ravenclaw's daughter stole it from her mother, hoping to gain more knowledge and wit than our very founder. Until now, we still do not know its whereabouts."

"It's here," Scorpius insisted. "I mean, literally here, in the Room of Requirement."

Their eyes comically widened in unison before their eyes frantically scoured the whole room.

"There's no bloody diadem here, Malfoy," Ron grumbled.

Sighing, Scorpius tightly closed his eyes and wished for the Room of Requirement to show them the diadem. Judging from the gasps he heard, the whole room started to change into the room he had conjured.

Once he opened his eyes, save from the couches they were sitting on, they were surrounded by different knick knacks and forgotten things. The room was now practically a huge lost and found room and Scorpius instantly knew they were in the right place.

"I love magic," he declared as he stood up from the couch. Then, to the bewildered student, he said, "Start looking for a shiny diadem. We can't really use a Summoning Charm for it because the horcruxes are greatly warded from most basic spells, so I'm afraid we'll be searching for this the hard way. I must warn you not to touch it if you can, though. It's… horcruxes are really evil things. You might not know what it'd do to you if you touched it with your bare hands."

The group went separate ways to start scouring in different parts. Scorpius was able to spy battered Quidditch gloves, tattered textbooks, crumpled parchments and… 'Holy Merlin, is that a brassiere?' His eyes almost bulged out and his cheeks reddened, immediately scampering away in case somebody would see him ogling at a woman's underwear.

He continued looking around, but the diadem was still not in sight. None of the other students had any luck in finding it, too.

Finally, he came upon an imposing furniture draped with a dirty blanket that had seen better days. Intrigued, he pulled down the blanket and let it pool on the floor. His eyes, however, had widened upon recognizing a Vanishing Cabinet.

He was too immersed in searching for the spell to fix it he didn't really had the time to actually see it in the flesh - or, in its case, in the wood. Scorpius traced the intricate designs of the wardrobe, feeling some hums of magic emitted by the furniture.

He then tore the door open and peered inside, and wasn't surprised to see it was empty.

Scorpius circled the Vanishing Cabinet, trying to see if there were other secrets it hid, but had found none. It almost looked like an ordinary cabinet, but seeing this was the Room of Requirement, he was positively sure this was the one he should be working on.

All thoughts about Ravenclaw's diadem flew out of the window. Scorpius found himself slowly lowering down in front of the cabinet and silently staring at it for minutes.

'So this was the cabinet my father successfully fixed,' he thought, feeling emotional all of a sudden.

Scorpius wondered how many hours his father spent in this very same room, desperately trying to fix this cabinet. He wondered if Draco had always been alone here, or were there people with him. Was his mother with him here, too? He wondered how many times his Dad had broken down in tears, fearful that his attempt to fix it had failed once more. But most of all, he wondered if he could do it, too.

'I know you're still nonexistent, but I need your help, Dad,' he thought with a sad smile.

If his Mum were here with him right now, she'd scold him for giving up so easily. Then, she'd fondly pat his head, tell him she believed he'd be able to do it, and give him a loving peck on his cheek.

Seeing this Vanishing Cabinet made him miss home… the home he'd never see anymore.

"Malfoy, what are you doing?"

He jolted in surprise and immediately sprang onto his feet. Granger was looking at him weirdly and he tried to show a casual smirk on his face. "Resting, Granger," he easily excused. "I got tired."

"Well, everybody is expected to search for the diadem," she huffed with a frown.

Scorpius merely shrugged and brushed past her.

"Is something the matter?" she asked, sidling beside him and at the same time glancing around.

He looked down at the bushy-haired witch and smiled. "I'm a little touched with your concern, Granger, to be honest," he cajoled.

Hermione rolled her eyes and opened a box, but squeaked in surprise when a group of pixies darted outside. Such was her surprise she instinctively clutched onto his sleeve, which Scorpius found amusing. She quickly noticed where her hands were and blushed, immediately pulling away from him.

"I know witches can't keep their hands off me." Sometimes, Scorpius surprised himself with his words.

She made a disgusted sound and was about to retort something in reply, but Luna's exclamation stopped her. "I think I found the diadem, guys!"

He and Hermione exchanged startled glance, before jogging towards the general direction of Luna's voice.

They were the last to arrive, the others already gathered around Luna. Scorpius gingerly stepped closer and peered inside the box the Ravenclaw was pointing at. It was shaped like a silver eagle, with an oval sapphire at its very middle and two smaller sapphires hanging down from it. Etched on its surface were the words 'Wit beyond measure is man's greatest treasure'.

"That's it, that's the one," he said, his voice sounding strangely soft. Even though he wasn't touching it, Scorpius could feel the evil stemming from it.

"We should bring it to Dumbledore," Ginny suggested.

"I'll bring it to him," Scorpius volunteered.

Ron sneered. "No offense, Malfoy, but we don't trust you yet," he spat. "What if you bring that straight to your Dark Lord instead?"

Scorpius rolled his eyes and glared. "I don't need to prove myself to the likes of you, Weasley."

"All right, all right," Hermione said, lifting her hands to appease the two boys. She briefly glanced at her wristwatch and grimaced. "We can't afford to all bring it to Dumbledore since it's nearing curfew and Filch will surely have our heads." To the others, she added, "Why don't you all just go back and I'll accompany Malfoy since we're both Prefects and - "

"No," Harry interjected. "I'll be coming with him."

Scorpius furrowed his eyebrows at the determination on the Gryffindor's face.

"What?" Hermione looked a slightly worried. "No, Harry, it's okay, I can handle Malfoy if he starts - "

"I'll accompany Malfoy to Dumbledore's office," Harry grounded out, a tone of finality in his voice. Granger clamped her mouth shut but still looked worried. "Malfoy, let's go."

Scorpius glanced at Hermione, who merely shrugged her shoulders. "You should all go back to your dormitories," he ordered as he lifted the box where the diadem resided. "Filch will have a field day if he sees all you Gryffindors lurking around."

"And Ravenclaw," Luna reminded.

The Slytherin gave her an indulgent smile. "And Ravenclaw," he echoed. He somehow had this inkling Luna would creep Filch off with her talk of Nargles and Wrackspurts before the caretaker could even give her detention.

Harry motioned for him to follow him and with one last glance at the other DA Core members, he stepped out of the Room of Requirement and trailed behind The-Boy-Who-Lived.

Their trip to the Headmaster's Office was tensed and quiet. They were not exactly walking side-by-side and it made him a little uneasy that Harry was walking a few steps behind him. Scorpius was slightly afraid he'd suddenly stun him from behind and frame him for some stupid thing that would expel him from Hogwarts.

'Okay, Scorpius, act cool. This is just your best friend's dad,' he told himself, trying to calm his speeding heart.

"All right, Malfoy, what's your deal?"

Scorpius frowned. "I'm sorry?" He stopped in his tracks and craned his neck over his shoulder.

Potter was wearing a dark scowl on his face. Scorpius could see that the Gryffindor was tightly clutching the wooden box, his knuckles already turning white from his death grip. He was understandably suspicious, but Scorpius was already getting tired of explaining himself.

"I can't trust you despite what Dumbledore says," he bit back. "No, I don't want to trust you. You've been nothing but atrocious and antagonistic. Do you honestly think we'd immediately welcome you with open arms just because you're willing to help us?"

The Slytherin sighed and fully turned to look at him. "I don't bloody care if you trust me now, Potter," he sneered. There was a slight pang in his heart because the look on Harry's face looked exactly like Albus' every time they had a horrible row. It pained him at the distrust and disgust on his face, when all Scorpius could see was Albus. "Things had fucking changed and I want this war to end just as much as you do. I don't give a hippogriff's shit if you don't trust me, just as long as you're willing to work alongside me to destroy all the other horcruxes and kill Voldemort once and for all."

Harry narrowed his eyes. Even though he was a few inches shorter than him, Scorpius felt like the Gryffindor was staring him down. "I don't know what you did to Dumbledore to convince him to trust you, but you'll always be a Death Eater to me and nothing can change that."

The shorter boy slipped past him, even bumping him quite hardly against his shoulder, and continued to stalk closer to the stone gargoyle guarding Dumbledore's office.

Scorpius wore a wounded look as he stared at Harry's retreating back.

He felt truly honored to be working with The-Boy-Who-Lived, the savior of the Wizarding World, but he'd choose Albus over him without hesitation any day.

Dumbledore was surprised when they arrived. Scorpius had an inkling he was more surprised to see that he and Harry were the ones who delivered the diadem to him, actually.

"I'm quite impressed you already found the first horcrux," the Headmaster said, lifting the diadem off the box with the tip of his wand. He surveyed it under the dim light of his office, before placing it gently back on the small pillow inside the box.

"We thought it would be best to bring it to you first, Professor," Scorpius said. "It's… evil and I think it isn't wise if one of us brings it to our dormitories, lest a stranger stumble upon it."

"That is a wise decision indeed," Dumbledore said. "Although, I must confess, I am feeling quite bothered that another horcrux is in my office."

Scorpius eyed him strangely when Dumbledore looked anything but bothered.

"The next best thing to do is to gather a supply of basilisk fangs," Dumbledore suggested. "Once you have collected some, please visit me in my office once more and we will destroy it."

"Yes, Professor, sir," the blond replied.

"Now, why don't you both go back to your dormitories." He waved his hand and the door opened. "It will be terribly inconvenient if I have to explain to Filch that you were both in my office after curfew."

Harry stalked out without any word. Scorpius made a face at his retreating back before looking once more at Dumbledore. The Headmaster had an eyebrow raised and he quickly explained, "He still doesn't trust me." The Slytherin grimaced and added, "I think he will never trust me."

"Patience, Scorpius," Dumbledore said with a small smile. "I'm quite aware things weren't friendly between you and Mister Potter in the past."

"Which, I don't really know, mind you," he supplemented.

"Yes, but Harry doesn't know that," he continued with a smile. Dumbledore leaned a little closer to him. "You must remember that trust is a two-way street, Scorpius. Maybe you should start trusting him, too."

Scorpius frowned but Dumbledore was already dismissing him persistently. Sighing, he bid his soft goodbye and trudged back into the Slytherin dungeons.

Chapter Text

My Scorpius,

I have been doing brilliantly these past few days. I have maintained the manor well, despite your father's absence and the constant presence of the Dark Lord and his Death Eaters. These days had been difficult for the both of us, but worry not, my love, for I am happy and safe.

It has been a great honor to serve the Dark Lord and let him reside in our home. He had been nothing but a wonderful guest and of course, you know that your mother is ever the gracious host. The Dark Lord believes so too.

You must not worry about me and focus on your studies and mission. The Dark Lord constantly asks me about your wellbeing, and I always told him I am utterly proud of your achievements and progress. You must remember that the Dark Lord is a very impatient man, however, and I beseech you to hasten the reparation of the Vanishing Cabinet.

I miss you every day, Scorpius. Never forget that you are always in my heart.


Scorpius scowled, crumpling the sickening letter and pocketing it inside his school robes.

He knew his Nana meant well, but he hoped she did not sugarcoat her words. He knew from Snape, who never truly watered down anything, that Voldemort was terrorizing his grandmother and their home. It was only because of Snape's constant warding that Narcissa wasn't hurt.

Scorpius had raised this issue with Dumbledore once, reasoning out that despite not being his mother and not really knowing a lot about his Nana, she was family. Scorpius still worried a lot about her and wanted to keep her safe and away from Voldemort.

But Dumbledore said it would arouse any suspicions if Narcissa was suddenly brought under the care of an Order member. He had thoroughly assured him that Snape was capable enough to take care of Narcissa. Besides, Voldemort wouldn't dare touch her until Scorpius was able to successfully fix the Vanishing Cabinet.

"You are his only chance of accessing Hogwarts," Dumbledore said. "Severus might be the most skillful of you two, and would undoubtedly finish this task within a few weeks, but Voldemort fears he is too close with me. He did not want to risk Snape and chose you instead."

With these thoughts in mind, Scorpius eased himself out of the black couch he was lounging on and shouldered his bag.

"Going somewhere, Scorpy-pie?" Pansy asked with a frown on her face.

"Library," he said. "Professor Snape asked me to research more about… you know."

Pansy's eyes widened in understanding. "I can help you!" she suggested, already standing up from her seat.

"No!" he cried. The Slytherin girl looked wounded, and Scorpius hastily came up with an excuse. "It's… confidential and dangerous. I wouldn't want you to get involved in this, Pansy."

Her eyes lit up, delighted. "Oh, Scorpy-pie, you are sweet," she cooed, standing on her tiptoes to give him a peck on his cheek. Horrified, Scorpius backpedaled and Pansy almost toppled towards the floor.

"Right, okay, I must go," he said, already scampering away before she could latch on with her talons and refuse to let go. It was a pity, really. She was damn beautiful but so annoying. He wondered what he could do to stop her from deluding herself that they were the perfect match.

All thoughts of Pansy were forgotten once he strode inside the library. Madame Pince lifted an eyebrow at his arrival, but the Malfoy heir merely gave her a smirk. He then proceeded to saunter towards the Restricted Section and grabbed as many books with promising titles as possible.

His arms were already protesting by the eighth book, and Scorpius decided these books were enough for the day. His legs automatically brought him to the table he usually frequented – Granger's table – and unceremoniously dumped the thick tomes on the table. It was only when he relieved his aching arms when he noticed that it was currently occupied by the bushy-haired Gryffindor herself.

"You're on my table," she pointed out with a frown.

Scorpius shrugged and sat down on the chair opposite her, uninvited. "I like this table, too," he reasoned out. "It's secluded and quiet."

"Which was why I specifically requested for this table," she grounded out. "It's mine."

"Learn to share, Granger dear," he drawled with a smirk. "I'm not going anywhere."

Hermione bristled with his term of endearment but had thankfully clamped her mouth shut and went back to her essay. Scorpius peered at the parchment she was writing and snorted. "That isn't due until two weeks from now," he pointed.


"And, why are you doing it today?" he pressed on. "It's a bright and sunny afternoon, Granger. I think the Hogwarts grounds already miss its resident swotty know-it-all."

She mindlessly gestured on another parchment on the table. Scorpius glanced at it and couldn't help but smile in amusement. "I have it scheduled for the day," she explained. "And if you don't stop talking to me, I'll be late for my next task."

"Which is?"

"The Potions essay."

"Which is also not due until two weeks from now," Scorpius pointed out. "Merlin, Granger, live a little." It was amusing to see the future Minister for Magic like this. Although just as swotty, Rose at least knew how to have fun through Quidditch and generally insulting the hell out of him.

Hermione sighed and didn't bother replying to his statement. Amused that he was now dismissed, Scorpius shrugged his shoulders and started to browse through the first book.

It was a book about the darkest artifacts invented for the past century. Seeing that the Vanishing Cabinet was not exactly a dark artifact, – in fact, it was used by civilians before to hide from Death Eaters during the First Wizarding War – there was nothing about Vanishing Cabinets at all. The second book was just about dark, Wizarding nursery rhymes ('Merlin, why did I even get this.').

The third book proved to be a bit insightful. There was a single page about Vanishing Cabinets, its properties, benefits and disadvantages, but much to his frustration, there was nothing about repairing it.

Frustrated, Scorpius chucked the third book away and grabbed a fourth one from his pile.

"Those are particularly dark books."

Scorpius looked up from the book he was reading and frowned. "Yes, congratulations for noticing," he distractedly said, skimming the index to see if there was anything about the Vanishing Cabinets.

"What are you researching about that needs dark books?" she asked, slightly suspicious. "I thought you were working on the different types of Wizarding transportation."

"That's part of my research, ye – aha!" Scorpius immediately flipped the book to the page where Vanishing Cabinets were mentioned. His eyes darted through the words, the introduction mostly speaking about what he read in the previous book. When he reached the last paragraph, it spoke about that it was possible that a connection may be built using a spell. That was it; there was no mention of the spell itself, and Scorpius was bloody disappointed.

He chucked it away from the pile he labelled as 'Disappointments' and angrily grabbed onto the next book.

"What is this extra-curricular you are working on?" Hermione questioned, perhaps for the nth time. Scorpius wasn't really keeping tabs.

"And I told you, Granger, we're not that - "

" – close yet, I know." She surreptitiously looked around to see if there were eavesdroppers nearby, before leaning closer and whispering, "Is this for Voldemort?"

"Shh," he hissed, paling at the mention of the Dark Lord.

A smug smile appeared on her face despite his death glare. "It is," she triumphantly stated. "Does Dumbledore know about this."

Scorpius scowled. "Of course, he does," he snapped. "He's the first person to know about what I'm… I'm doing."

"Which is?"

"Touch luck, Granger."

"Come on. You told Dumbledore!"

"Which is the right choice, because I trust him," he drawled back, lips twitching when she frowned in concurrence. "Seriously, Granger, you should do something about that curiosity of yours. You might discover things you wish you didn't know at all."

Hermione crossed her arms across her chest. "Sometimes it is necessary to know so that we can properly plan for the inevitable," she reasoned out.

"And sometimes it isn't necessary to know everything because it's not your bloody business."

The Gryffindor witch scowled in frustration, and Scorpius couldn't help but to smirk at her antics. "Why do you need to know what I do?" he asked.

"Because there's something seriously different. About you. Your…" – she gestured wildly to pertain to his Dark Mark – "and your attitude. Your change of allegiances and your sudden vast knowledge about You-Know-Who's weakness when even Dumbledore didn't know he had seven of those horrible things he created. I mean, Dumbledore knows everything!"

Scorpius rolled his eyes. "Dumbledore doesn't know everything," he corrected.

"Yes, I know, because apparently you know more about things in this war than he ever did," she said. "There's something about you for these past few days. My brain gets… gets so itchy just trying to figure you out, but I can never make any connection. It doesn't make any sense." Her eyes narrowed accusingly. "You don't make any sense, to be honest."

The Slytherin mockingly placed a hand against his heart. "I am delightfully honored to know that the brightest witch of her age thinks of me as a difficult puzzle to solve," he jibed.

Hermione sighed and a stray curl flew from her forehead.

"Okay, Granger, I'll compromise," he finally relented. Watching Rose's mother losing her cool was absolutely amusing; he somehow felt a little guilty for making her frustrated like that. "We're not friends and that's a fact. I don't trust you yet and you most certainly don't trust me either. What if every time I tell something about myself, something not everybody really knew, you'd tell me something about yourself in return? One day, I might tell you about this… this mission I have for… you know. It's for me to decide whether I trust you enough already."

"How will I know you'll not use my secrets to blackmail me in the future?" she spat, eyes still narrowed.

Scorpius smirked and stretched out his right forearm. "Unbreakable Vow?" he asked.

Hermione's eyes widened. "You're barmy!" she exclaimed.

"Yeah, I know it's stupid, but it was worth suggesting," he said in the midst of chuckling. Granger glared, but he wasn't unfazed. "The look on your face when I even suggested it, ha! Merlin, Granger, do you honestly think I'm desperate to earn your friendship?"

Al-the-Inner-Voice snorted and unhesitatingly exclaimed, 'Hell yes'! 'Shut up, Al,' Scorpius mentally replied, cheeks coloring a little. The prospect of being the Hermione Granger's friend was too awesome to ignore. Scorpius finally found the perfect opportunity to gain her trust and he just wouldn't let it go.

"I'm not playing your stupid games, Malfoy," she then said in reply.

Scorpius shrugged. "Suit yourself," he said.

Hermione glared at him darkly and started gathering her things.

"Where are you going? You haven't even started with your Potions essay."

"You don't make me think in peace," she honestly confessed, shooting him another accusatory glare. "I'm sure you wouldn't relent if I tell you to leave, so I'll just be the one to do it."

Scorpius watched as she angrily shoved her things inside her bag and stood up.

"Oh, right, by the way," she tersely said. "The DA Core already decided to go to the… err…" She leant a little closer and lowered down her voice. "To the Chamber of Secrets tomorrow night to gather basilisk fangs."

"I'm still invited to this?" he asked as excitement churned in his stomach at the prospect of visiting the infamous Chamber of Secrets.

Granger gave him a pointed look. "You're part of this whether we like it or not, Malfoy," she said. "I think it's just logical to invite you to come with us in everything we do for the mission."

In spite of himself, Scorpius widely grinned. "Good decision, Granger."

"Yes, whatever," she said, now shouldering the strap of her bag. "See you tomorrow, Malfoy."

She swirled around and marched away from the table. Scorpius wore a bemused smile and went to back to perusing his book.


Surprised, he lifted his head to see that Granger came back to her table. Her cheeks were inflamed and she was trying her best not to meet his gaze. "I… used to be a ballerina," she sputtered out. Scorpius' eyes widened, realizing what she was doing. "I stopped when I broke the leg of Martha Jenkins with the use of accidental magic when she told me I wasn't the best girl to play Odette's part for 'Swan Lake'."

Scorpius snorted. "And how old were you during that time?" he asked.

"Five," she tentatively replied, reluctantly meeting his eyes.

"Five?" he exclaimed. "Blimey, Granger, even during your childhood years you were a menace."

This brought out a small smile from her face that made him stare a little too long.

"Okay, my turn," he said after he composed himself. Scorpius thought of a secret that could match Hermione's. "When I was young, my parents thought I'll be a squib." When Hermione's eyes widened in surprise, he continued. "You know, all these interbreeding mumbo jumbo produced a lot of genetic mutations that increased the chance of producing squibs in Pureblood families."

Hermione gaped. "I didn't know that," she said, almost breathlessly.

"Well, now you know," he said with a grin. "I didn't start showing signs of magic until I was eight," he said. "Almost made my Mum cry with tears of joy. Dad was absolutely relieved he purchased all my favorite ice cream flavors in Florean's, telling me incessantly he was proud to be my father. Mum nagged him 'til his ears bled when I grew sick the following day from all the ice creams I ate."

To his surprise, Hermione made a face. "Lucius Malfoy did that?" she asked. "No offense, but I don't really see him as the type of father who… err… dotes."

Scorpius furrowed his eyebrows and was about to point out that Draco Malfoy was his father, who most definitely dotes, and not Lucius. Thankfully, he remembered his tiny time travelling problem and merely shrugged his shoulders. "He's a man of many mysteries," he elusively stated.

"Like father, like son," she pointed out, prompting him to smile. Hermione sighed and lifted her bag over her shoulders once more. "Anyway, I've got to go," she said. She awkwardly waved her hand goodbye and left, leaving Scorpius staring amusedly at her retreating back.

Scorpius entered the abandoned girls' bathroom on the second floor with wide, excited eyes.

Back in his time, this room had been barred from any wandering students, lest they stumbled upon the Chamber of Secrets. Which, as what Scorpius still firmly believed, was entirely impossible because after The-Boy-Who-Lived, nobody knew how to speak Parseltongue. Scorpius and Albus tried to sneak in before, thinking that since Albus was Harry's son he would have the ability. Alas, the poor sods had merely gotten themselves in detention for breaking school rules.

He was actually quite surprised that this specific bathroom wasn't barred when everybody already knew a basilisk once resided beneath its floors. Scorpius wondered what had caused its sudden closure.

As he looked around, he realized he was the first person to arrive. Granger specifically told him they'd be meeting at seven o'clock, but Scorpius got too excited and stumbled in at six-thirty. Such was his excitement he shoveled down his food with newfound vigor, not minding if he chewed them all properly, and bid a hasty goodbye to his so-called Slytherin friends.

Scorpius tentatively took a few steps around, craning his neck for any suspicious activities. It made him slightly queasy to be roaming around in a girls' bathroom. Granted, it was an abandoned one, but still, it didn't ease his discomfort.

"Oh, hello, I have never seen you before."

He yelped and jumped an inch or two, before turning around to see who had interrupted his solitude. A girl – a Ravenclaw, based on the translucent badge on her school robes – was hovering behind him before gliding around with interest in her eyes.

"Moaning Myrtle," he gasped in recognition. He hadn't really seen her before, seeing she mostly took residence in the abandoned comfort room, but she was quite famous as the first person Tom Riddle Jr. killed.

"Oh," she coyly said, shyly tucking a strand behind her ear. "Why do you know my name?"

"Err…" he said, sidestepping away when she came barreling towards him. "I've heard stories about you."

"I hope they're good ones, pretty boy." She giggled and brushed his cheek with her translucent hand. Scorpius' eyes widened and he shivered with the feel of an ice cold wind biting against his cheek. "The last boy who came in here was Harry Potter. Do you know him? I heard he's quite famous, too."

Scorpius nervously cleared his throat. "Err… yes." He was becoming uncomfortable how her eyes seemed to twinkle with mischief and interest.

"Moaning Myrtle, really, get away."

He didn't bother hiding his relief upon hearing Hermione's voice. Scorpius turned around to look at her gratefully, but the brunette was glaring at the ghost. Beside her was Ginny Weasley, who gave him a bemused glance.

"Ooh, Hermione Granger, here to horde all the good-looking guys for yourself?" the ghost spat, suddenly turning shrill and murderous. Scorpius stared in shock as Moaning Myrtle glided closer to the brunette, who still stood her ground. "Oh, right, none for Myrtle because she's ugly and skinny and boring and dead!"

Moaning Myrtle burst into loud, shrilly tears, then proceeded to glide away and dive into a toilet. Scorpius grimaced when some toilet water splashed onto his expensive trousers.

Hermione then sighed and stalked closer to the entrance of the Chamber of Secrets. She muttered darkly under her breath, crossed her arms across her chest, and broodingly glared at the slippery bathroom floor.

"What's gotten into her?" he asked the amused Weasley.

"Ron," she merely said. Scorpius was surprised when the future Mrs. Potter stood beside him and lifted an eyebrow. "You're early today, pretty boy."

He felt his cheeks redden. "Don't call me that," he murmured and frowned. This only made her raise her eyebrow more in surprise.

Neville and Luna finally stumbled in, and after a few minutes Harry and Ron came. Hermione scowled when the redheaded Weasley came, but said Weasley didn't even notice. Scorpius wondered what the great buffoon had done to piss off the Golden Girl once more.

The whole DA Core, plus Scorpius, was finally complete and everybody was now expectantly looking at Harry Potter. The-Boy-Who-Lived, on the other hand, was worriedly looking at Ginny.

"Seriously, Harry, I'm fine," she grounded out. But, upon closer inspection, Scorpius noticed how she was actually a little pale, with beads of sweat forming on her forehead. She didn't look fine, and Scorpius remembered that Voldemort's teenage diary soul possessed her back in her first year.

"It's okay not to be fine, Ginny," the bespectacled Gryffindor softly said. "It's… it's also okay not to come with us today."

Which was actually a very bad thing to say because Ginny Weasley's eyes glinted dangerously. Harry's emerald eyes widened and he shrank back in nervousness. Scorpius had to clamp his mouth tightly, afraid that he would suddenly burst into loud, raucous laughter. It was strangely reminiscent of Albus getting told off by his mother and Scorpius found it all amusing.

"Harry," Hermione warningly said, placing a hand on her best friend's arm. "Let's just go."

Harry sighed, shot a petulant and nervous look at the youngest Weasley, before sauntering closer to the faucet with a carved snake. He started hissing and Scorpius watched, wide-eyed, as the sink split open and revealed a dark hole on the ground.

"Blimey," Neville spoke breathlessly, probably speaking for the other people who had never seen the Chamber of Secrets.

"See you on the other side," Harry said. He then jumped in, with Ron following behind him. Ginny, still pale-faced, hesitantly jumped down and disappeared. Soon, it was only him and Hermione left.

He gestured for her to go. "Ladies first," he said with a smirk. Hermione rolled her eyes but relented.

Now that he was alone, Scorpius shot one last weary look around the abandoned girls' bathroom before jumping in. It was quite a bumpy ride, literally, because he could feel rocks and crunching bones under his bottom. The pipes were also damp and smelly, a putrid smell of mold and blood making him slightly nauseous when he finally reached the ground.

"Come on, no time for dawdling," Potter snapped.

Scorpius scowled and immediately scrambled onto his feet, slightly cringing when he heard another breaking of bones. He disgustedly eyed the shed skin of the basilisk and littered rodent bones, then immediately jogged behind the DA Core.

His eyes almost bulged out when Harry led them into the chamber. Scorpius scrunched up his nose in disgust, the smell of rotting flesh greeting the group. He could see that he wasn't the only one bothered by the smell. But then, all of these thoughts left his brain when he beheld the sight of the large statue of Salazar Slytherin glaring down at the puny students.

"Wicked," he breathlessly exclaimed, walking towards the statue of the Founder of their house in a dream-like state. Their History of Magic classes spoke about the Chamber of Secrets; even the edited version of Hogwarts: A History was able to describe it in detail thanks to Harry Potter's contribution. But all of them paled in comparison now that he was actually here.

His heart jumped to his throat in excitement, gawking at the dead, rotting body of the basilisk. It was bloody huge and frightening. Scorpius stared at its eroding yellow eyes, shivering at the sight. If it were alive still, he would surely be dead by now, but strangely, he couldn't look away.

"Ugh, the smell is unbearable," Ron commented.

The others murmured in agreement as they one-by-one pulled out their wands. Murmured severing charms rang in the whole chamber and soon, the basilisk was toothless and the students have a bagful of venom-laden fangs.

They lingered for a bit, trying to explore each nook and cranny of the Chamber of Secrets. Scorpius found himself sauntering closer to Ginny, who looked worse than how she did back in the bathroom.

"All right, Weasley?" he casually called out. He was getting a bit worried, but he knew he shouldn't show it so as to protect his Scorpion King image.

"What's it to you, Malfoy?" she spat, petulantly glaring at Harry who was also looking worriedly at her.

Scorpius sighed and pocketed his hands. "Why do Gryffindors always make it a point to look brave even though they are obviously feeling anything but," he pointed out, rolling his eyes when Ginny directed her weak glare at him this time. "Honestly, if I were the one possessed by Voldemort's diary-self, I would have shat myself in the pants right there and then."

In spite of herself, Ginny snorted. "I wouldn't be surprised if you did," she commented.

He smirked and casually leaned against the pillar behind him. "You shouldn't be ashamed of feeling afraid, you know. Not everyone can face Voldemort and live to tell the tale, Wealsey," he said. "You should be proud."

Scorpius then turned away and was unable to see the surprised look that graced Ginny's face.

The DA Core plus Scorpius finally climbed back to the girls' bathroom, ignoring Moaning Myrtles wails for them to leave her alone.

With a few minutes to spare before curfew, they all scampered quickly towards Dumbledore's office.

"Well, I'm quite surprised you all came here," the Headmaster said with a beaming smile. He also seemed pleased that Scorpius was there with the DA Core, his eyes twinkling impossibly and bright.

Dumbledore then removed Ravenclaw's diadem from its box and placed it on his table.

"May I do the honors?" Luna solemnly said, striding forward with a clutched venomous fang around her hand. "I feel like this is something I must do in honor of our beloved founder."

The Headmaster gave her a smile and gestured at the horcrux. "Please, Miss Lovegood," he said.

Scorpius held his breath when Luna quickly plunged the basilisk fang into the diadem. The beautiful sapphire cracked into pieces and he mindlessly thought it was a waste of such valuable treasure.

The whole room was suddenly filled with tortured screaming and Scorpius had to place his hands against his ears to drown out the sound. A huge black cloud escaped, forming the face of Voldemort, before finally dissipating into the air.

As soon as it was gone, Harry hissed in pain and clutched his forehead. At the same time, Scorpius' Dark Mark throbbed and he snarled.

"Are you all right, Harry?" Hermione worriedly asked, scampering closer to her friend.

"Something's wrong with Malfoy, too," Ginny pointed out.

All eyes landed on him and he would have been bothered by their looks if it weren't for the unbearable pain on his left forearm.

"He knows," Harry gasped out. "He knows a horcrux is destroyed and he isn't happy."

"Maybe that's why I'm being summoned," Scorpius said.

He looked at Dumbledore in silent question, and the Headmaster placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder. "It is wise if you go, Scorpius," he gravely said, worry lines etched on his forehead. "Severus will be there to protect you. If something happens, which I hope isn't true, the professor knows to bring you straight into my office."

Scorpius nervously swallowed a lump in his throat. The last time he was summoned he had been almost tortured to death. If what Potter said was true, Voldemort was in a volatile anger and Scorpius wasn't sure if the Dark Lord would hold back with his cruel, dark spells anymore.

"You need not worry, my dear boy," Dumbledore said, catching onto his tumultuous thoughts.

It was a stupid thing to say, Scorpius thought, but he bit his bottom lip to keep himself from sarcastically replying. Instead, he said, "Well, wish me luck."

Before he dashed out of Dumbledore's office, he was able to survey the faces of the DA Core. Although they weren't exactly friends yet, it brought him great comfort to see that they were at least worried for his welfare, too.

Chapter Text

"You're still here?" Scorpius asked in surprise despite his exhaustion.

She was trying her best to look stoic, but there was unmistakable worry in Hermione's eyes. "Dumbledore said I should stay," she explained. "In case when you came back and… err… I needed to call for Madame Pomfrey."

"That is very… kind of you, Miss Granger," Snape deliberately drawled as he quirked an eyebrow in mild surprise.

"Indeed, Miss Granger has been gracious enough to offer her assistance if you did not come back unscathed, Scorpius," Dumbledore said with a wide grin. Scorpius frowned when he could feel that the Headmaster found the whole situation entirely interesting. It didn't help when Hermione's cheeks flared into a deep shade of red.

"Well, nothing happened," Scorpius slowly said and gestured to himself. He strode closer and lowered himself on the seat opposite the Headmaster's. "Like what Potter said, Voldemort knew his horcrux was destroyed. He didn't exactly say anything when we were summoned, but he was in a rage and started torturing people." He winced in memory of the meeting a while ago. "I was thankfully unharmed but I can't say the same thing about Yaxley."

Dumbledore's expression was mixed with relief for his welfare and disturbed with Voldemort's knowledge. "Perhaps a Sleeping Draught will help you?" he kindly asked. "Merlin knows what horrors you have witnessed a while ago, Mister Malfoy."

"Oh no, I don't think that will be nec - " He abruptly stopped talking when the Headmaster pinned him with his stare. He then discreetly shot a glance toward the Gryffindor in the room, and that was when Scorpius understood that he wanted to talk to him and Professor Snape alone. "Right, of course. A Sleeping Draught."

"Miss Granger," Dumbledore called. The witch instantly straightened her back upon being addressed. "Please fetch a Sleeping Draught from the Hospital Wing."

She wordlessly peered at the Slytherin, before nodding her head and leaving the office.

Once she was gone, the lightness in Dumbledore's eyes was snuffed out and was replaced with deep worry and graveness. "It is most troublesome that Tom feels it every time we destroy a horcrux," the old wizard continued.

"I think the most logical thing to do is wait for a few more months before destroying the next one," Snape supplemented as he strode closer to the desk and stood beside the Headmaster. "The Dark Lord ordered his most trusted Death Eaters to check on his horcruxes to see if they were still in place."

Dumbledore frowned and pensively intertwined his fingers. "As much as I want to destroy all the horcruxes already, I don't think Harry is ready to face the Dark Lord."

Scorpius became uneasy. "Headmaster… you do know that Harry is a horcrux, right?" he tentatively asked.

Snape paled while Dumbledore sighed, but none of them looked surprised at all. "We have deduced that, yes," he replied. "I was hoping he wasn't, but now that you have mentioned it…" Dumbledore trailed off and tiredly sighed once more. In place of the powerful, healthy wizard Scorpius had been accustomed of for the past months was a tired, old wizard that had burdened too much. It unnerved the student immensely.

"He will live," Scorpius softly added. "I guarantee you that. He will live. I am best friends with his son. He'll actually have three children and will be an auror and he'll be great. He will live."

"That is wonderful news," Dumbledore said with a small, sad smile. "But I am afraid it isn't wise to tell Harry yet that a piece of Voldemort's soul is sheltered in his scar."

Scorpius nodded in concurrence. "I thought so, too. I think… it is essential that Potter does not know at all."

Dumbledore looked intrigued and was about to say something, but the DADA professor had butted in.

"Potter deserves to know," Snape grounded out. Scorpius looked at the Potions Master in surprise, seeing the deep worry Snape had for The-Boy-Who-Lived everybody thought he resented. The Malfoy heir remembered his true story, his undying love for Lily Potter, and felt his heart throb.

"Soon, Severus," Dumbledore assured. "But not today."

Snape looked like he wanted to protest more, but the headmaster placed a comforting hand on his arm, prompting the greasy-haired wizard to sigh and silently scowl at his shoes.

"Now, the next thing to do is to find the next horcrux," Dumbledore continued. "It is unwise to destroy it immediately, yes, but I believe it is better to gather them as soon as possible. We do not want Voldemort to hide them in different places this time."

"Slytherin's locket is the best one to destroy next," Scorpius suggested.

Dumbledore smiled, pleasantly surprised. "Yes, I believe so, too," he concurred. "I already know where it is located."

The Slytherin wryly smiled and shook his head. "If you're suggesting to look in an isolated cave in the middle of the sea, Headmaster, there won't be any horcruxes there anymore."

The old wizard furrowed his eyebrows in confusion.

"It's a fake," Scorpius immediately explained. "Regulus Black was the first person to discover about Voldemort's secrets and stole Slytherin's locket from the cave. As we all know, he died trying to bring him down."

Snape's eyes had widened in disbelief. "Regulus Black?" he echoed. "His body was never found."

"Inferi," Scorpius said. Snape took a deep breath and swore under his breath. "The bowl that harbored the locket was filled with magical liquid that must be drank. The potion will drive the drinker mad with thirst, and he will have no qualms of getting water from the small lake surrounding the horcrux. The lake is infested with Inferi and the drinker will be rendered defenseless. Our History of Magic professor believed that was what had happened to Regulus Black. They did try to search for his body but…" He frowned and trailed off, knowing that they understood what his silence meant.

"That was a brave thing to do," Dumbledore gravely said. "Sirius will be very proud of his brother."

"But where is the locket now?" Snape added after composing himself. "If it isn't in that abandoned cave anymore, then shouldn't it be in the lake with Regulus?"

Scorpius profusely shook his head. "He was accompanied by his personal house-elf during his quest to replace the real horcrux with a fake necklace," Scorpius explained. "Before his untimely death, he made his house-elf promise to keep it and destroy it."

"Kreacher," Dumbledore said with clarity in his eyes. "I believe you are talking about Kreacher, yes?"

"Yes," he answered. "Since he is the Black family house-elf, I think it is safe to say that it is in the Black family house right now."

"Grimmauld Place?" There was clear disbelief in Snape's face. "The Order had been residing in that house for years and a horcrux is right under our noses."

Dumbledore was torn between looking amused and annoyed. "Well then, the Weasleys and some Order member will be present in Grimmauld Place for the holidays," the Headmaster said. "It will be best if we destroyed that locket during the Christmas break." Then, to Scorpius, he would say, "It will be wonderful if you are in Grimmauld Place for the holidays too, Mister Malfoy."

Scorpius frowned and mauled over his suggestion. "I don't think that is a good idea," he slowly said.

"You can tell the Dark Lord you're going to work with the Vanishing Cabinet over the Yule," Snape suggested. "Narcissa may not like this plan, but she knew she is powerless against Voldemort."

"Okay…" Scorpius replied, still feeling a little queasy about lying to the Dark Lord. "That might work."

"That is settled then." Dumbledore clasped both of his hands in finality. "I will talk to Arthur and Molly about the change of arrangements in Grimmauld Place this coming holiday."

Snape looked worried but was unable to say anything in reply when Hermione came in. She was clutching the Sleeping Draught in her hands and was looking at the small group in suspicion.

"I've brought the Sleeping Draught, Professor," she announced. Scorpius could see in her eyes that she knew she had interrupted something.

"Thank you, Miss Granger. Please give it to Mister Malfoy." He gestured his blackened hand towards the Slytherin, and Hermione immediately heeded his order. "Please take that potion before going to sleep, Scorpius."

"Yes, Professor Dumbledore."

"Now, off you both go," he said, making shooing motions with his right hand. "It is nearing midnight and today has been tiring for all of us."

Scorpius and Hermione excused themselves and immediately scrambled out of the office.

The Slytherin was thankful Hermione hadn't said a peep in their small journey. He knew she kept on darting curious, worried glances towards him, but hadn't commented or questioned anything. The words she only said were good night, before they went separate ways for her to go to the Gryffindor Tower and him to the Slytherin Dungeons.

His roommates were already asleep when he arrived, much to his relief. He was too drained to explain himself if ever they questioned his whereabouts.

Without changing his clothes, he drank the Sleeping Draught in three, big gulps and soon, he was slipping into a dreamless slumber.

Scorpius firmly believed that he had a lot on his plate right now. What he couldn't understand was why the universe found it very amusing to give him another problem – Astoria's birthday. Granted, he – or rather, Draco - was never really that close with the younger version of his mother in this time, or so he assumed because Astoria never seemed to catch his gaze every time they came across each other. Therefore, he knew it wasn't wise to just approach her out of nowhere, but the thought that she'd be celebrating her fifteenth birthday soon would not leave him alone.

Back in his time, he religiously gave his mother birthday gifts. Even when he was in Hogwarts, he would never forget to owl her things from Hogsmeade he knew she would love.

Although he was in a different time right now, the idea of not giving her a birthday gift this time did not settle with him very well. Which was why he had impulsively approached her on the afternoon of her birthday, logic and reason thrown out of the window.

She was thankfully alone, trudging towards the greenhouses for her Herbology class. Scorpius had a free time and thought it was the right time to finally give her her gift. He had no idea what the younger version of his mother would love at this time, and thus, he settled on a gift that he knew would never disappoint his mother.

"Astoria!" he called, jogging closer to the black-haired beauty.

The fifth year swerved around in surprise. "Scorpius Malfoy?" she tentatively asked. Scorpius had to brace his arms against his sides to stop himself from barreling forward and enveloping her into a hug. He had seen her countless times in the corridors and in the Slytherin Common Room; he actually congratulated himself from not coming up to her and confessing she was his future mother. But, now that he was looking at her face-to-face, the urge to hug her became too overwhelming.

'Okay, Scorpius, just give her the gift and scat,' he firmly told himself.

"Why is the Scorpion King talking to me?" Astoria asked, lifting an eyebrow in amusement.

Scorpius made a face. "Please don't call me that," he murmured. He could tolerate his classmates calling him as such but never his mother. The title may mean different in this time, but still. It sounded weird coming from Astoria.

"Funny, because you emphasized before that I should address you as such," she said, followed by an eye roll. "More like threatened to tell your father I was being disrespectful to you."

'Really, father, how much of an arse were you?' he mentally asked Draco with a groan. He wouldn't be surprised anymore if he discovered his father and mother didn't quite get along during their Hogwarts years.

"Right, sorry about that," Scorpius immediately replied. He nervously fingered his gift for her in his pocket, wondering if now was the right time to give it.

"Well?" Astoria said. "Sorry, Scorpion King, but I have class to attend to."

He cleared his throat and finally pulled out the flowers from his pocket. "Happy birthday," he said, offering the bundle of lilies of the valley to the stunned witch. "Err… I was strolling near Hagrid's hut yesterday and instantly thought of you when I saw these."

It was a complete lie. Scorpius had learned years before on how to perfectly conjure lilies of the valley, his mother's favorite flower.

"You know it's my birthday today?" she asked, almost breathlessly. She gingerly clutched the flowers in her hands and gave him a pretty smile. "Most people don't even remember it."

"Daphne told me in passing," he excused.

Astoria didn't look convinced. "Why did you give me a present today?" she demanded. "We're not even close, Malfoy. And… and this." She wildly shook the flowers in her hands. "I think it's even weirder you know that my favorite flower are lilies of the valley."

Scorpius panicked and tried to come up with a lie. But then, he knew it would be futile. Astoria was good in reading him, knowing when he was lying or feeling sad and such. It was what made her a good mother, and Scorpius missed her more and more each day.

Finally, he settled for the truth. "I know we're not exactly close," he started, "but I would really like to be your friend."

Astoria looked surprised. "My friend?" she gasped. "Are you all right, Scorpius? Do you need Madame Pomfrey right now?"

He chuckled. "I'm fine, I'm fine," he said. "It's just… it's been a busy and tiring term and I thought that maybe I need a friend." 'Please say yes, Mum, please,' he begged inside.

"You are absolutely acting weird right now."

Al-the-Inner-Voice started to berate him for being stupid and doing something wholly uncharacteristic of the Scorpion King. In Scorpius' defense, he just really wanted to befriend his mother now.

"It's… it's been a weird term, really…" He trailed off and internally groaned, thinking Astoria would think him creepy now and demand him to leave her alone.

She still looked unconvinced, but had started to mellow a bit. "Okay," she slowly said. "Only because you gave me lilies of the valley." A small smile appeared on her face as she took a whiff from their small petals. "Do you know what lilies of the valley symbolize?"

Scorpius smiled; how could he forget? He remembered their quaint little cottage in France, lined with lilies of the valley to adorn its field. That cottage was like a sanctuary for the Malfoy family, seeking happiness and rest when everything in Wizarding London was a mess. Astoria would always bring them to this place after a particularly stressful event in Scorpius' father's life.

"Return of happiness," Scorpius said with a smile, his heart aching at the memory of his family.

The way her eyes lit up meant she was surprised and pleased that he knew about their meaning.

Astoria always told him he was like a lily of the valley in the family. When she married Draco, she always wanted to give him back the happiness that he deserved despite his past misgivings. With Scorpius' birth, she was able to finally give that to him. Ever since then, Astoria made it a point to never let a lily of the valley wilt in the Malfoy Manor, religious tending to their needs and nurturing them with her love.

"Would you… would you like to go to Hogsmeade with me next weekend?" he blurted out before he could stop himself. He blushed red when Astoria's eyes widened in surprise. He just hoped that she wouldn't mistake this as a date, because heaven forbid if she would suddenly develop romantic feelings for him. The very thought of it made him want to hurl.

"That would be lovely, I think," she commented with a casual shrug. She then proceeded to stick the stem into her ponytail and brilliantly smiled. "I think something's definitely wrong with you, Scorpius Malfoy, but I'll be lying if I say I don't like this change."

Astoria bid him goodbye and sauntered towards the greenhouse. Scorpius had to hold back his tears at how beautiful she looked with the lilies of the valley in her hair.

"I miss you, Mum," he whispered into the air as soon as Astoria disappeared inside the greenhouses.

Hermione wasn't even surprised anymore when he placed the tomes of book on her desk. Scorpius actually braced himself for another banter with the Golden Girl. It still made him wonder why Madame Pince never sauntered towards this particularly desk to tell them off for being noisy students in the library.

Shrugging at her indifference, Scorpius immediately went to perusing the books he snatched from the Restricted Section. Somehow, he could already feel that he was nearing his discovery of the spell to fix the Vanishing Cabinets. He admitted he was starting to neglect his studies a bit; Professor McGonagall once commented that his essays were getting lower marks than normal. Granger even once asked him what the hell was wrong with him, but all he could say was his extra-curricular work was driving him insane already. He couldn't afford to get sidetracked now that Voldemort had an inkling his horcruxes were being destroyed.

Speaking of Voldemort, he called for another meeting two nights ago. It was quite uneventful, something that Scorpius was very thankful about, but the Dark Lord hinted that something was about to happen and they should all brace themselves for the future. Scorpius hoped to hear more about this 'big plan', but sadly, he wasn't part of the Inner Circle. Thus, he and Snape were sent off while he gathered the rest of the Death Eaters.

"Forgive me, sir, but I thought you were part of Voldemort's Inner Circle," Scorpius politely asked Snape as his professor side-along apparated them both in front of the gates of Hogwarts.

"The Dark Lord thinks I am too close with Dumbledore," was his mere reply. Scorpius pondered if Voldemort was starting to suspect things. He once caught a nasty bruise on the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor's arm one time, which he most definitely did not get from a fall.

"Professor Dumbledore said you're expected to be in… you-know-what this Christmas," Hermione suddenly said, snapping him off his musings.

Scorpius placed his book aside and looked at the inquisitive witch. "Yes, he did invite me over," he said with a casual shrug.

"Why?" she blurted out. "He didn't tell us."

He smirked at how frustrated she was starting to look. "It's a surprise, I think," he said. He figured Dumbledore hadn't told them anything about the locket lost in Grimmauld Place yet. "One that you'll discover once I get there."

She narrowed her eyes and placed her quill on the table.

"It wouldn't hurt to say that I expect presents from you lot, too, you know," he cajoled.

Hermione rolled her eyes and sighed. "Why does Dumbledore tell you everything?" she murmured petulantly. "Harry is clearly the most important person in all of this. Shouldn't he be the one knowing all the plans and information regarding… err… Operation: Moldy Voldy Must Die?"

He snorted at how she addressed their mission. "I told you, Granger. Sometimes you just have to mind your own business," he drawled.

Hermione bristled, but had thankfully bit back a scathing remark. Scorpius was actually impressed at her display of patience today. "Fine, whatever," she grumbled, angrily grabbing onto her quill once more and started to write viciously on her parchment. "I also just want to say that the DA Core are planning to convene in Hog's Head this Hogsmeade weekend to talk about the missing… artifacts."

"I can't go," Scorpius quickly replied. The brunette's eyebrows furrowed in confusion. "I have plans." He was still nervous on how that day would go by, seeing his mother was his companion for the day. Scorpius knew he couldn't afford to get distracted on that day. "Also, really? Talk in Hogsmeade about…" He wildly gesticulated his hands to convey what he was saying. "That's bloody irresponsible, Granger. Why can't you just meet in the Room of Requirement to plan?"

"Because it's Hogsmeade weekend and we want to go," she answered matter-of-factly, a little put-out that he called their plan stupid. "What's wrong with that?"

Scorpius snorted. "I don't know, maybe because there will be a lot of people around?" he snapped. "Remember last year, when students suspiciously entered the Hog's Head for a meeting with the Golden Trio?"

"Well, in our defense, there weren't any people around."

"Yes, which is more suspicious because nobody goes to the Hog's Head," he grounded out. "Don't be careless, Granger. This mission of ours is confidential. We don't want anyone getting suspicious at us."

"You're one to talk!" she accused, pointing a finger at the huge tomes of books in front of him. "Gathering books about Dark Arts. Ha! Careful there, Malfoy. We don't want people speculating about your secret."

Scorpius rolled his eyes. "Granger, really, I'm the Scorpion King," he lazily drawled, draping his arms at the back of his chair. "I have a reputation to uphold."

"Of being a wizard dabbling with the Dark Arts?" she retorted. "Malfoy, as Scorpion King, you're meant to be arrogant and sneaky and bloody annoying. People might think you're… you're… I dunno a Death Eater" – she murmured the name as lowly as she could – "Or the son of You-Know-Who."

Scorpius actually laughed at her statement. "I didn't know your imagination can run wild," he pointed out, silently impressed that she got the being-son-of-Voldemort rumor right.

Hermione growled. "I'm just saying that you should be careful, too," she reasoned out. "You are in a very dangerous position right now; even Dumbledore thinks you're handling a great burden."

"He said that?" he asked, surprised.

She shifted her gaze away in embarrassment. "Well, no," she corrected, "but I can see it in his eyes every time we're meeting with him." Hermione sighed and reluctantly met his steely grey eyes once more. "I don't know the extent of everything you're doing right now, Malfoy, but I think it wouldn't hurt you to at least be cautious about your actions. It's not… it's not hard to ask help sometimes, and not just to Dumbledore."

Scorpius stared at her in bewilderment. "Are you worried about me, Granger?" he breathlessly asked. "Because if you are, then I'm really, really touched." And he meant it.

Hermione blushed and furiously scribbled down on her parchment once more. "Shut up, Malfoy," was her lame reply.

The Slytherin spent most of his time distractedly shooting surprised glances at the working witch, all his mission for Voldemort momentarily forgotten.

"You're spending an awful lot of time with Granger."

Scorpius froze, masked his emotions, and coolly turned around to look at Blaise Zabini. "I don't know what you're talking about, Zabini," he slowly replied.

"Oh, Malfoy, I'm not dumb," he said, rolling his eyes and pushing himself off the wall. "I've seen you in the library, together, all of the time. It's honestly suspicious."

Scorpius cursed himself for not being too discreet. He knew hanging out with Granger in her library table was too risky, but he found himself he couldn't stop from seeking her company. It was starting to unnerve Scorpius. "So what?" he finally asked, crossing his arms across his chest defensively.

"Is something going on with you two?" he asked, raising a suggestive eyebrow.

The Slytherin felt heat creep up his neck and prayed to Merlin the redness wouldn't show on his face. "None," he interjected. "What the hell, Blaise?"

The Italian casually shrugged his shoulder and plopped down onto his bed. "Something's different about you, Scorp," he said. "I've been observing you since the start of the school year and something's changed."

Scorpius felt his blood run cold as Blaise gave him a weird look.

"You know, if you need someone to talk to, I'm here," Blaise finally answered. "If something's bothering you… I'm here to listen."

He gaped. "R-right," he sputtered out. "Thanks, Zabini."

Blaise gave him a tiny nod before draping his blanket over his form, hiding his face from the gawking Malfoy.

Chapter Text

Admittedly, Scorpius was quite disappointed Slughorn was the one teaching Potions this school-year. He was actually hoping Severus Snape would be the one handling the class and sometimes wished he had returned to his father's fifth year instead.

Slughorn wasn't entirely bad as a Potions Master. He was rather brilliant in his work, and he could understand why he rose to fame. Back in his time, Slughorn had already retired and was replaced by Theodore Nott, who was also quite a good professor and was fond of him.

"I heard Slughorn's recruiting students for his little club," Pansy whispered to their small group as they sauntered inside the dungeons. "Mother used to tell me how only the best are invited to join."

Scorpius had to bite his cheeks to stop himself from laughing at how she straightened primly and properly on her chair. It was obvious she wanted to be included in his club, really.

"Crush the hope of being included immediately, Parkinson," Blaise drawled, placing his backpack on their usual bench. "Slughorn won't even give you a single glance."

Pansy's cheeks reddened in irritation. Huffing in annoyance, she glanced at the Malfoy heir with her big, round eyes, hoping for him to counter Zabini's words. Behind her head, Scorpius glared when Blaise lifted an amused eyebrow at his current predicament.

"I'm sure it's lame," Scorpius finally said, channeling disinterest and haughtiness in his voice. "He's not even a good professor. I wish Snape still taught us Potions."

"Yes, I'm sure," she hastily replied. He had to stop himself from rolling his eyes when she pretended to look disinterested, too, when her eyes already spoke of her wish to be included. It was, after all, an exclusive group – people tended to feel important when they're part of such an elite group.

"I think he'll invite you, Scorpius," Goyle loudly offered, setting on the desk behind the trio. Crabbe flanked his other side, while Millicent Bulstorde, took the other open seat. "I mean, you're a Malfoy. I think that's enough reason for Slughorn to invite you to join."

"Riiight," he drawled. "Have you forgotten my father's in Azkaban right now? I'm quite sure Slughorn's not big on letting Malfoys join his precious club." Honestly, he had too much in his plate right now, and he didn't want to think about joining Slughorn's club.

"But you're brilliant," Pansy pointed out. "Brilliant people are irresistible to Slughorn."

Their conversation soon died down when the professor in question walked into the dungeons with a large, indulgent smile on his face. He rested his hands on his bloated stomach, beamed a little too brightly at Harry Potter, then walked towards the very front of the classroom. With a wave of his wand, a list of instructions appeared on the blackboard.

"Today, we will be brewing Draught of Living Death," he started as a greeting. "Does anyone know what this potion is?"

Predictably, Hermione's hand shot up in the air. Scorpius was unable to hide a small smile from his face quick enough; Blaise was already giving him a pointed look.

"Yes, Miss Granger?"

"As what the name suggests, this potion is an extremely powerful sleeping draught, sending the drinker into a deathlike slumber," she mechanically replied, most likely reciting that specific passage from their book through her memory.

Slughorn's eyes twinkled and he beamed. Scorpius hazarded a guess Granger would get an invite to his club soon. "Very good, Miss Granger. Ten points to Gryffindor." Hermione preened at his words and this time, Scorpius didn't bother hiding his small smile, Zabini be damned.

"Now, this is an extremely difficult potion to make," the professor continued. "I do not expect you to brew it to perfection on your first try. But" – he rummaged in his pockets and pulled out a little vial – "I think a little competition will not hurt. If you were able to brew an acceptable potion within an hour, I will award you with this potion."

"Sir?" Lavender Brown called. "What does that vial contain?"

Slughorn shook the clear liquid a little and merely said, "Felix Felicis."

Scorpius' eyes bulged out in surprise. "Liquid Luck," he murmured without thinking. He had read a lot about this potion before. Its brewing was strictly restricted by the ministry due to its possible dependency. Scorpius once read in the Daily Prophet about a man who framed himself to be locked in Azkaban, Felix Felicis rendering him too overconfident and giddy. Said man firmly believed he'd be able to break out of the Wizarding prison, but had obviously failed. Scorpius wasn't sure if the Ministry bothered to release him or not.

"Yes, Mister Malfoy, very good," Slughorn said. "Ten points to Slytherin."

"Take that, mudblood," Pansy smirked towards the bushy-haired Gryffindor.

Scorpius shot the witch beside him a withering glare, which Pansy wasn't able to see.

"Felix Felicis makes the drinker lucky for a short period of time," Slughorn continued. "Whatever endeavor the drinker attempts for that specific period will have a greater chance of becoming successful." He chuckled at the sudden interest in his students' eyes. "However, it's effects are very limited. For example, you cannot use this potion against powerful enchantments. Drinking a large quantity is also deemed deathly, which is why I am merely awarding the best student a small vial of it. Now, start brewing and let's see who will win this potion!"

He then proceeded to instruct his students to start brewing the Draught of Living Death.

As the students trickled towards the supplies cabinet, Scorpius couldn't help but smirk triumphantly. He already brewed this potion back in his time and he had to admit, it really was a difficult potion to brew. But, he had one advantage over his classmates – the Potion textbook of sixth year students of the Year 2023 was already revised to include the changes and commentaries of the late Severus Snape. And blimey, it was wonderfully helpful for the struggling Potions students.

After it was revealed that Snape was actually Dumbledore's man through and through, the media had a field day over the successes and tragedies in his life. Numerous articles and books were published to speculate about the true allegiance of Snape, emphasizing on his undying love for Lily Potter. Scorpius believed most of them were really embellished to satisfy the readers. One thing that they also discovered was that Snape, calling himself the Half-Blood Prince, excelled in his Potions classes during his Hogwarts years because of his brilliant revisions of their old textbook. Scorpius wasn't entirely sure how they found Snape's old textbook, though.

He glanced around the classroom and smirked at Granger, who was obviously having a hard time with her potion already. Her hair was extra bushier and if he squinted closer, he might already see electricity going through it. Hermione caught his smirk and glared in return.

His gaze then landed on the Gryffindor sitting beside her and he balked. The book Potter was holding was old and tattered, unmistakable scribbles and corrections made on the instructions for brewing the Draught of Living Death. Scorpius instantly knew it was Snape's old textbook, recognizing his Defense Against the Dark Arts handwriting.

Frowning, he wondered if Harry even realized he was using Snape's textbook. He doubted he would even be using it if he discovered it was owned by the professor he hated.

'No, I need to get that potion,' he told himself with renewed vigor to immediately finish his potion.

"You're doing it wrong," Pansy pointed out with a frown. "Our textbooks specifically told us to cut the sopophorous beans, Scorpius. Not crush them."

Scorpius merely shrugged and hadn't followed Pansy's suggestion. Her frown deepened, slightly offended he didn't listen to her. Blaise peered at his chopping board in confusion and was still struggling with his sopophrous beans.

"How many beans did you already use?" the Italian asked.


Blaise scowled and resorted to viciously stabbing his sopophorus beans instead. "How in Merlin's beard were you able to do that?" he spat in frustration. "And you should use twelve, Scorp. Not thirteen."

Again, he shrugged, his lips threatening to stretch into the infamous Malfoy smirk. "Really?"

All of the students were also struggling with their sopophrous beans, except for him and Potter. But he was faster than Harry, who was still peering at his textbook from time to time. Since Scorpius already memorized the revised instructions for making the Draught of Living Death, he managed to finish it in record time.

"Why'd you stir clockwise?" Blaise growled underneath his breath. "The book stated you have to only stir counter-clockwise seven times!"

"Is something the matter here?" Professor Slughorn asked with a disapproving frown.

"Professor, Scorpius is already done with his potion!" Pansy exclaimed in awe.

Slughorn's eyes widened in surprise. "Really now?" he said dubiously and peered at his potion. It was the perfect shade of pale pink and the professor was impressed. Scorpius had to stop himself at grinning widely like a madman.

The Potions Professor then conjured a small leaf and dropped it inside his cauldron. The leaf disintegrated and Slughorn gasped in surprise, delighted.

"Wonderful, Mister Malfoy!" he exclaimed, gesturing at his potion. All the other students stopped working and looked at him with wide and suspicious looks on their faces. "I believe you have earned this potion." He gave him the small vial of Felix Felicis. "Use it very wisely, my dear boy."

Scorpius allowed himself to smirk proudly. With a lot of responsibilities to handle this year, he knew he needed a little bit of luck on his side.

He darted his gaze towards the Golden Trio, his smirk widening in pride. Hermione was giving him a frustrated look; he knew he had shaken the brightest witch of her age for besting her today. Ronald Weasley was unsurprisingly glaring his way, obviously thinking he didn't deserve such a wonderful potion.

Harry, though, his expression was indecipherable. Scorpius could see surprise in his bright, emerald eyes, but there was something else. The Slytherin quickly looked at Harry's cauldron and saw that it was also the perfect shade of pale pink.

Scorpius suddenly felt a little nervous and shifted his gaze away from Harry. Instead, he looked at Slughorn who was still continuously praising him for his perfect potion.

'Maybe you shouldn't have showed off today,' Al-the-Inner-Voice whispered against his ear.

'I need this,' he firmly told himself, absentmindedly pocketing the potion. Still, he could not shake off the feeling of foreboding, Harry's look of curiosity and suspicion niggling at the back of his mind.

"You're late."

Scorpius rolled his eyes. "For two minutes, Granger," he drawled in reply. "No need to get your knickers in a twist."

The Gryffindor expelled a frustrated sigh and merely turned around. Scorpius had no choice but follow her, his wand already out in case he was able to catch mischievous students out of bed.

For the first few hours, their patrol was silent. They were already able to catch some fourth year Gryffindors doing Merlin-knows-what and Scorpius took pleasure in deducting House points from them. There was one Hufflepuff who just came out from the kitchens, hugging midnight snacks against his chest, and another Ravenclaw who lost track of time and spent too long in the library. There were two fifth year Slytherins, too, who were obviously doing some canoodling, and after Scorpius told them off lightheartedly, he sent them away, much to Hermione's annoyance.

"That's it?" she snapped, glaring at him through the dim lights of the third floor corridor. "They were out of bed, Malfoy. Why didn't you deduct points or… or give them detention?"

He shrugged. "Why didn't you?" he shot back.

Hermione bristled and scowled. "Because I thought you would," she snapped. "You had no qualms in deducting points from the other students. The two Slytherins were obviously doing… things" – her cheeks brightened with her insinuation – "and not… not studying like what they'd claimed to be doing before we caught them."

"Studying the human anatomy, no doubt," he claimed with a smirk, amused at how her cheeks reddened more with his claim.

She made a frustrated sound at the back of her throat, before wordlessly stalking off to continue her patrol. Scorpius looked at her retreating back with a huge grin; who knew the future Minister of Magic was such a bloody prude?

They scoured the Astronomy Tower in silence once more. It was only when they had finished patrolling all the corridors when Hermione finally broke the silence.

"How were you able to do it?"

Scorpius gave her a sideway glance. "Do what?"

"The Draught of Living Death," she explained as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.

"I followed the directions," he said with a casual shrug.

"No, you didn't," she corrected. When he lifted an eyebrow questioningly, she expounded, "I saw you crushing the sopophrous beans when the textbook clearly stated you should cut it."

"So?" he asked with a frown. "Those things were a menace and I figured if you crush it instead, you'd get the juice immediately. I don't see what the big deal is, Granger."

Hermione furrowed her eyebrows. "Harry was doing the same thing," she pointed out.

Scorpius' steps faltered, his eyes widening in realization. He was starting to understand what he had done wrong. "Well, maybe Potter got the same idea, too," he hastily excused.

She shook her head slightly. "He was following this old textbook with scribbled commentaries at the margins," she replied. Scorpius opened his mouth and was about to answer something in reply, but Hermione beat him. "I thought at first it was a coincidence, but then when you stirred clockwise…"

He mentally cursed himself for wanting to show-off a while ago. He then tried to mentally curse Granger for being too brilliant for her own good.

Scorpius tried to come up with an excuse to save himself, but came up with nothing. Panic rose from his stomach and climbed all the way to his throat, clogging whatever stupid gibberish he might utter and give himself away.

"Is this… is this another secret of yours?" she finally asked. Hermione completely stopped walking and instead turned around to look at him fully. "Perhaps you're a secret Potions prodigy or something?"

In spite of his panic, he smirked. "That's actually a pretty good excuse," he cajoled. "I should have thought of that first."

Hermione wearily looked at him and sighed. "You're full of secrets, Scorpius Malfoy," she said. She strode closer to Scorpius and looked at him squarely in his eyes. "I can't decide whether I should really trust you or not."

"I can't fault you for that," he said with a shrug. He ducked his head closer to the curious brunette and sadly smiled. "Maybe one day you'll know everything, Granger." He playfully tapped her forehead with his finger. "I must warn you, though. That pretty head of yours might not grasp everything by then."

She looked more suspicious and Scorpius was honestly tempted to reveal everything to her right there and then, if just to satisfy her curiosity.

"Good night, Granger," he said instead. He flashed the infamous Malfoy smirk and added, "Don't think about me too much before going to sleep."

Hermione was affronted he could even suggest such a thing, but the vivid blush on her cheeks made Scorpius wonder how much she thought about him every day.

Strangely, it made his heart flutter a bit.

"I told you you'll get invited soon," Goyle pointed out amidst chewing a muffin. Blaise eyed him distastefully while Crabbe snorted in amusement. It was only Pansy who didn't notice Goyle's lack of table manners, too busy eyeing the green envelope that bore an invitation for him to join the Slug Club.

"Maybe it's because he was brilliant during Potions yesterday," Crabbe offered.

Pansy pouted and glared at the same envelope Blaise was clutching. "I understand Scorpius getting an invitation, but why did he give you one too?" she demanded at the Italian.

"I'm not quite sure whether I should get offended or not with your statement," Blaise drawled with a smirk. "Also, unlike you, Pansy, I'm actually an intelligent student."

This time, Pansy directed her glare at Blaise. Then, to Scorpius, she asked, "You're not planning on joining right, Scorpy-pie?"

Scorpius frowned and shrugged. "I don't know," he said. He shot a glance at the Potions professor on the teacher's table, his frown deepening. His father wasn't joking when he said Slughorn really loved collecting brilliant students to build his network of connections. No wonder Slughorn was Sorted in Slytherin. "I still think it's a waste of time."

"Granger got an invite too," Blaise said with a glint in his eyes.

The blond immediately shot a glance at the Gryffindor table. Granger was also clutching an identical green envelope in her hands. Darting a quick look beside her, he was able to see that even Potter and the female Weasley have invitations to join. Ron, on the other hand, was sporting a look that was the same with Pansy's.

"Well, more reason for Scorpius not to join the club!" Pansy indignantly cried. "If Slughorn thinks our Scorpion King would affiliate himself with mudbloods and blood-traitors, then clearly, our Potions professor does not really know Scorpius."

"Right," Blaise said, pointedly glancing his way. "I don't know about you, Scorpius, but I think I'll give this club a chance."

Scorpius frowned at his friend. 'What the hell is he getting on?' he thought. "I'll think about it," he slowly replied.

Crabbe pointed out that Charms with Ravenclaw would start soon. The sixth year Slytherins collectively stood up from their benches and made their way out of the Great Hall. On their way, Scorpius spied a bushy hair amongst the crowd and had the sudden impulse to talk to the Gryffindors.

He made an excuse to go back to the Great Hall and hastily broke away from his friends before they could question him. Thankfully, most students were already rushing to get to their classrooms. Only the sixth year Gryffindors had a free time after breakfast.

"Hey," he casually said, quickly sidling close to the Golden Trio. "I saw you got an invitation from Slughorn."

"Great, even Malfoy got one!" Ron scowled and angrily stormed off.

Hermione glared at the retreating back of the redhead while Harry sighed.

"I take it Weasley didn't get one?"

The brunette directed her glare towards him this time. "What do you want, Malfoy?" she asked.

"I just wanted to know if you both will join," he said, waving his own green invitation in the air. "The younger Weasley, too."

"It's a waste of time," Harry pointed out. "We have other more important things to do."

Scorpius shrugged. "I think it's a great opportunity to build more connections for the future," he reasoned out.

To his surprise, Potter guffawed. "Malfoy, I'm the Chosen One," he drawled. "Connections were already built even before I learned how to talk."

Hermione smacked her green envelope against the cocky Gryffindor. Scorpius laughed at how shamefaced Potter quickly became. "Really, Harry," she tutted. She then turned to Scorpius and continued, "And I also think it's a waste of time. This is just an opportunity for Slughorn to collect us like trophies and boast to his future students he'd been affiliated with famous people."

"True," Scorpius said with a grin. "But think about it. Also, I'm sure Slughorn won't stop pestering you until you attend one dinner, especially because you're the Chosen One, Potter."

Hermione rolled her eyes while Harry was trying his best to bite back a smile. "Aren't you late for class, Malfoy?" she pointed out.

The Slytherin swore when he noticed he was already late for five minutes. "Right, shit, Flitwick will eat me alive."

"Well, fancy seeing you here," Scorpius greeted in surprise as he slipped on the chair beside Hermione.

The brunette made a face and lightly glared at the Gryffindor beside her. "Yeah, well, apparently someone got interested in going when he discovered Ginny decided to attend tonight," she drawled, loud enough for Harry to hear. Her best friend turned into a brilliant shade of red and looked away.

"Interesting," Scorpius said with a smirk. He gazed around the round table and noted that said Weasley was missing. "I don't see her right now, though."

"She's having some stupid squabble with Dean," Hermione explained with a worried frown on her face. "I hope she's all right." She then quickly glanced at the Slytherin beside her and lifted an eyebrow in surprise. "I see you've been invited, too, Zabini."

"Of course, Granger, as expected," Blaise said with his own smirk. Scorpius was surprised he was able to detect slight teasing in his voice. He gave his friend a dubious glance, promptly making his smirk widen.

Conversations were hushed when Professor Slughorn finally strolled in and settled on his own seat. His face was alit with happiness, a huge beam stretched widely on his face; Scorpius bet his cheeks were already smarting from the expression on his face.

Dinner was dull, with Slughorn constantly engaging the students around about their brilliance or famous connections. The food was quite good, though, and the blond Slytherin merely busied himself with eating instead of listening to the conversations exchanged.

He jolted in surprise when Hermione discreetly hit him on his ribs. Scowling, he threw her a glare. Hermione rolled her eyes and gestured at Professor Slughorn, who was expectantly looking at him. Scorpius' cheeks colored when he realized he had addressed him.

"Err… sorry, Professor, can you repeat what you've said?" he asked.

The smile on Slughorn's face faltered a bit, but heeded his request nonetheless, "I was just saying that this is the first time for years since I've seen a student perfectly brew the Draught of Living Death. I can only think of another person who'd done the same thing, actually." His grin came back full force as he set his cutlery aside and intently looked at Scorpius. "Tell me, Mister Malfoy, how were you able to do it?"

He instantly felt nervous as all eyes settled on him. Scorpius desperately thought of an explanation to his sudden Potions prowess, and finally settled on a lame, "I was actually told I'm a Potions prodigy."

Beside him, Hermione snorted behind her goblet of pumpkin juice. Scorpius was trying his hardest not to burst out into mad chuckling. The brunette, however, was very bad at hiding her amusement. Potter was already shooting her strange looks.

"Ah, I didn't know that," Professor Slughorn said as a delighted glint appeared in his eyes. "Well, I expect better potions from you in the future, Mister Malfoy."

Scorpius meekly nodded his head. Internally, though, he kicked himself because now he had to step up his game and do better in Potions.

Slughorn moved on to him and started talking to a curly blond boy beside him. He recognized him as Cormac McLaggen, a seventh year Gryffindor, and probably too arrogant for his own liking. His youngest son in the future, Timothy McLaggen, was in Scorpius' year and he didn't like that Gryffindor brat, too. He wouldn't be surprised if his father acted the same way as Timothy.

Midway through Slughorn's interrogation, the door suddenly opened and in came Ginny. Harry immediately scrambled onto his feet, much to his amusement. 'Gods, Potter, you got it so bad,' he thought with an eye roll, watching as the Chosen One furiously blushed and hastily sat back on his seat.

"Sorry for being late, Professor," the redhead excused. Scorpius noted that her eyes were red and puffy; she was obviously crying before coming to dinner. "I'm usually on time."

"No worries, Miss Weasley," Slughorn said with a smile. "Please take a seat."

Nothing exciting happened soon after, and Scorpius was already getting bored. They moved on to desserts now and he busied himself by observing all the people present.

He recognized familiar faces, remembering their future children in the process. As his eyes settled back on McLaggen, though, he noticed that he was lewdly staring at the Gryffindor beside him.

Frowning, Scorpius shot a glance at Hermione who was obviously uncomfortable with the stares she was receiving.

"Looks like Granger has a new admirer," Blaise whispered against his ear, prompting him to glare at his friend. The bronze-skinned Slytherin merely lifted an eyebrow at the sudden hostility on his face.

Scorpius spent the rest of dinner throwing daggers at Cormac. The older wizard seemed oblivious of Scorpius' glares, too busy making googly eyes at Granger.

The dinner had blessedly ended after another hour. The students clambered back to their respective dormitories, but Scorpius still had some nightly patrol with Granger.

"Looks like you've gotten yourself a new admirer, Granger," Scorpius casually drawled as they started perusing the first floor.

Despite the dimness of the corridors, he was able to see the blush on Hermione's face.

"What are you talking about?" she asked, self-consciously tucking a stray curl behind her ear.

"McLaggen," he explained. "He was too busy staring at your face to notice his ice cream." He scowled, unable to understand the sudden revulsion he felt. "I don't know about you, Granger, but I think he's bad news."

Hermione glared despite her inflamed cheeks. "He's always been like that," she pointed out. "I don't get why he's suddenly…" She trailed off, her cheeks growing redder with embarrassment. "Anyway, I can very well hex him into oblivion if he strayed out of line, Malfoy."

A grin broke out from his face, prompting Hermione to look at him weirdly. Scorpius suddenly felt self-conscious and nervously cleared his throat. "Anyway," he emphasized, "are you going to the Christmas Party?"

She made a face. "I think I don't have a choice," she said. "Harry seemed set to go, but mostly it's because he wanted to make sure that Dean wouldn't do anything iffy to Ginny."

Snorting, Scorpius replied, "The-Boy-Who-Lived got it so bad, but he's too much of a buffoon to actually acknowledge his feelings."

Hermione quirked a smile at his words. "I… plan on inviting Ron," she confessed, her cheeks blazing once more. Scorpius made a face, but Hermione continued, "That is, if he stopped being a jealous idiot. I mean, what's the bloody deal with getting an invite to this ridiculous club?"

Scorpius wanted to point out that Ron Weasley always had an issue about being overshadowed. From what he heard from Albus, Granger's appointment as the Minister for Magic had been one of the most frequent topics of fights between the couple.

"I don't honestly know what you see in him, Granger," he said with a frown. "He's… he's…" He made frustrated gestures with his hands, unable to find the right words. "Of all the guys, why Weasley?"

She quickly took offense, much to his disgruntlement. Can't she see she deserved so much better than Ronald Weasley? He had nothing against the redhead, except for the fact that he instilled in his daughter's mind that Scorpius was bad news. Besides, he thought he was actually a decent bloke, if he managed to control his emotions and voracious appetite. But honestly, he couldn't understand what Hermione saw in him. He thought going back in time might have given him an answer to this age-old riddle, but seeing their teenage selves now, Scorpius was still at a loss.

"What's wrong with Ron?" she protested.

"Save it, Granger," he snapped. "I don't give a hippogriff's shit about your love life."

She turned into a lovely shade of red, embarrassed and irritated at the same time. She chattered his ear off about the good qualities her best friend possessed, but Scorpius already tuned her off until their patrol ended for the day.

Chapter Text

Finally, finally, Scorpius was able to find the right spell to fix the Vanishing Cabinet. He thought it was quite amusing he came across from it in an old brochure about keeping safe during the First Wizarding War. Still, he couldn't believe his luck; now, the next thing he should do was to find some time to actually start fixing it.

Scorpius mentally thought about his schedule as the sixth year Slytherins and Gryffindors sauntered into the Potions dungeons. With the holidays nearing, the professors were extra ruthless with homework and practice exams. Scorpius was always swamped with an essay, furiously scribbling on his parchment away just to achieve the mandatory length. There was also the issue of the impending Hogsmeade weekend and Slug Club's Christmas Party.

All in all, Scorpius believed the next few weeks would be too jam-packed. Grimacing in disappointment, he had an inkling he wouldn't be able to start fixing until the start of holidays.

"Mister Malfoy, I know that you are currently my best student, but I still require you to listen," Professor Slughorn's voice suddenly cut through his muddled thoughts.

His eyes widened, not realizing that classes had already started. All eyes were latched onto him, and he tried his best not to blush upon seeing Weasley snicker behind his professor's back. Slughorn thankfully didn't look mad, only mildly amused, and merely lightly admonished his inattention and went back to explaining about the potion they would be making today.

Scorpius sent a scathing glare towards Weasley and was surprised to see Lavender Brown sitting beside him instead of Granger. His eyes landed on the said bushy-haired Gryffindor, who was wearing a dark scowl on her face. Curious, he looked back at Weasley and made a face when Brown gave him a wet kiss on his cheek.

As they walked towards the cabinets to gather for ingredients, Scorpius discreetly sidled beside Harry and whispered, "What's wrong with Granger?"

Harry frowned. "What's it to you?" he spat back.

Scorpius rolled his eyes. "Something's obviously wrong," he said, choosing not to answer Harry. "If Granger glared at her cauldron too long, I wouldn't be surprised if it started boiling."

The-Boy-Who-Lived sighed and shot a brief glance at his best friend. "After the Gryffindor vs. Slytherin match, which you missed by the way - "

"I had things to do," he shot back. He did want to watch the match, but Scorpius was strictly running out of time. On a brighter note, he was able to finally find the right spell to fix the Vanishing Cabinets.

"Whatever, I don't bloody care," Harry dismissed. "As I was saying, after the match, Lavender sort of threw herself at Ron and, ever since then they're inseparable." He made a face. "It's a bit sickening, to be honest. And Hermione… well…" He gestured weakly at her general direction. "Simply put, she isn't too happy about the new relationship."

"Ugh, way to go Weasley," Scorpius said with an eye roll. Upon seeing Harry's questioning glance, he explained, "He's annoyingly daft. I don't know what Granger sees in him."

In spite of himself, Harry cracked a small, sad smile. "You know what?" he started. "Me too."

A wide yawn tore away from his mouth as Scorpius blearily walked towards the Hogwarts library. He still had to finish a seven-feet essay for Transfiguration and complete his dream journal for Divination. Schoolwork seemed mundane now that he had other bigger responsibilities to do, but Scorpius knew he had no choice but to bask under normalcy to keep himself sane.

He still had not found the right time to venture back in the Room of Requirement. Snape's Occlumency lessons became more frequent, with the DADA professor insisting he should master it now that the day of destroying another horcrux was nearing. Thankfully, Snape said he was becoming better at it – in a reluctant, insulting way, of course – and the headaches he got after every Occlumency sessions were starting to be less frequent.

"Cormac, can I talk to you for a sec?"

Scorpius froze, hearing Granger's unmistakable voice, and immediately hid behind an alcove. He scowled at himself, questioning why he suddenly had the urge to hide. He didn't have enough time to dwell on his weird actions, and instead peeked at the two Gryffindors.

"Hermione," the seventh year wizard drawled. "I have all the time in the world."

Scorpius made a face and almost guffawed at the disgust on Hermione's face. He wondered if McLaggen was able to see the expression on her face, or chose to ignore it.

"Err… all right," she continued. Conflicting emotions danced through her face, before she took a deep breath and continued, "Have you thought of going to Professor Slughorn's Christmas Party?"

'Oh, fuck no, Granger,' the Slytherin sneered, noting how Cormac's face lit up like Christmas came early. Before he could register what he was doing, he pushed himself off the alcove he was hiding in and strode towards the two students. Hermione saw him first, as her eyes widened in surprise.

"Malfoy," she greeted, her voice a tad shrill and panicked.

"Gods, Granger, where the hell were you?" he snarled. "Davies called for a meeting."

She grew confused. "Meeting?" she asked. "What - " Her eyes widened at his pointed glance. "Meeting. Right… yes, yes."

A frustrated look grew on McLaggen's face and he latched onto Hermione's wrist. "We aren't done talking," he protested. "And if you must know, I do plan on going to Slughorn's Christmas Party, Hermione."

The buffoon looked stupidly hopeful, Scorpius almost felt sorry for him. "Granger, really, I have no time for your dawdling," he snapped.

"Fuck off, Malfoy," Cormac thundered.

Hermione hastily pulled her wrist away from Cormac and scampered closer to Scorpius. "Sorry, Cormac, but duty calls," she said.

She didn't wait for the older wizard's answer as she quickly latched onto Scorpius' wrist and dragged him away from Cormac. She pulled him quickly until they were inside the Hogwart's library. Madame Pince sent them off a curious glance, but Hermione paid her no mind.

She only stopped when they reached her table – well, their table, seeing that Scorpius frequented this, too, - and gratefully looked at the Slytherin. "Merlin, Malfoy, you have no idea how thankful I am for your intervention."

Scorpius snorted and placed his book bag on the table. "McLaggen? Really?" he asked. "I'm starting to think you have a bad taste on men, Granger."

She furiously blushed and plopped down on the seat opposite her. "I didn't know what came into me," she said, refusing to meet his eyes.

"Let me guess: Weasley's a bloody wanker so you wanted to invite someone else to make him jealous," he answered. When her cheeks inflamed, confirming his suspicions, Scorpius sighed. "Ding ding ding, ten points to Slytherin."

"Shut up, Malfoy."

Scorpius leaned forward and waited until Hermione looked into his eyes. "Weasley's a bloody wanker," he reiterated. "And McLaggen isn't too far behind from him. I don't know what has gotten into you for even considering that stupid Gryffindor."

"Ugh, I know," she snapped. "It was a momentary lapse of judgment."

"Tell you what, Granger," he said, casually leaning back on his chair. "Why don't you take me to the Christmas Party instead?"

Hermione gaped and Scorpius was tempted to copy her expression. 'Where the hell did that come from?' Al-the-Inner-Voice exclaimed.

"W-what?" Hermione sputtered out. She knitted her eyebrows and frowned. "What are you playing at, Malfoy?"

He shrugged and desperately quashed that stupid inner voice. "If you want to make Weasley jealous, take someone whom he absolutely hates. McLaggen might have fit that description, but please, Granger, at least spare yourself from the misery of spending with a buffoon for hours."

She lifted an eyebrow, amused. "And you think I won't be miserable if it's you instead?" she shot back.

"Fair point," he replied with a smirk. "But I don't see you preparing to scat now, do I?"

Hermione grew silent and contemplated his words. Scorpius nervously waited for her answer, desperately schooling his emotions behind his mask of indifference. He half-expected that she would reject his offer, but a small, tiny hope bloomed in his heart and it wouldn't go away.

"What will everybody think if the Scorpion King brought the Gryffindor mudblood to the Christmas party?" she carefully asked. There was no malice in her voice, only genuine curiosity, but still, Scorpius couldn't help but snarl at her words.

"Stop calling yourself that name," he snapped.

The witch's eyes widened in surprise. "What?" she asked. "Mudblood?"

Scorpius scowled and moodily looked away. "Yes," he curtly replied.

She furrowed her eyebrows in confusion. A question sat at the tip of her tongue, that much Scorpius knew, and he didn't know what to answer if she started asking questions that may reveal his terrible secret. Still, it did not sit quite well in him when the most powerful witch of their future kept on degrading herself like that. Granted, it most definitely did not bother her anymore, but Scorpius still felt uneasy with her casual offhanded insult.

"Okay," she merely replied.

"Okay that you agree to bring me to Slughorn's party or okay you'll stop calling yourself that ridiculous name?"

To his surprise, a small smile appeared on her face. "Okay to both," she explained.

"Wait… seriously?" he asked, thoroughly surprised. "You're actually agreeing to take me to Slughorn's party? Not that I don't want to, Granger, but I honestly thought my suggestion was really stupid."

Her grin widened as she copied his posture and leaned back on her chair. "Better anyone than McLaggen," she pointed out. He opened his mouth, but Hermione already answered, "Yes, Malfoy. Even you are better than him."

Scorpius snorted. "Huh?" he said. "Has the world gone mad?" Inside, he was doing a happy jig. Operation: Sucking Up was starting to progress.

She casually shrugged, then started taking out her schoolwork from her bag. Scorpius stared at her for a full minute before pulling out his own things to start working on his Transfiguration essay.

Exactly thirty minutes passed when Hermione broke the silence between them. "Malfoy?" she asked.

"Hmm?" he distractedly asked, messily scratching out a specific sentence that didn't quite belong in a paragraph.

"I… err… I used to be self-conscious about my two front teeth, so when you accidentally hexed me back in fourth year, I let Madame Pomfrey shrink them to a size that I wanted," she revealed.

Scorpius frowned and lifted his eyes. He'd heard this story from his father before, one he wasn't entirely proud of. Draco soon admitted the minister looked better with her teeth shrunken. "Why are you suddenly telling me this?" he asked.

Hermione rolled her eyes despite her inflamed cheeks. "I thought we're doing this 'I tell you a secret, you tell me yours' thing?" she replied back. She defensively crossed her arms against her chest and frowned. "I'm just living up to the end of our bargain."

"Oh, right," he said, lifting an amused eyebrow. "And that isn't a secret, Granger. Everybody knows you've let Madame Pomfrey shrink your teeth for your vanity."

"It wasn't for vanity, per se," she protested. "I just wanted to… feel good about myself."

Scorpius snorted. "Like I said, vanity," he said. Hermione scowled but didn't correct him this time.

He then placed his parchment and quill aside and smirked. "My turn then." He grew pensive and tried to think of another of his secrets to tell Hermione. "Aha!" He grinned. "Back in fourth year, I was hopelessly in love with the Weird Sisters and I tried to recruit some of my mates to build a band."

Scorpius fondly recalled how Albus was beside himself with happiness, thinking his plan was wicked. They recruited three more Slytherins to their band, the Oddballs they called themselves, and actually got a gig in Three Broomsticks during one of their Hogsmeade weekend. There weren't any gigs that followed, seeing that it was also that year when his family had another scandal to distract him from other things. It was a pity, now that he was properly thinking about it – they were actually quite good.

"A band?" Hermione gasped, aghast. "Sorry, Malfoy, but I can't really imagine you as that kind of person." She knitted her eyebrows and frowned. "Now that I think about it, I should at least have heard about your band or something."

"It fizzled immediately," he said with a casual shrug. "I have other priorities that year."

She still looked wholly unconvinced. "O-kay," she slowly said. "If you're just pulling my leg to humor me, though…"

"Believe whatever you want, Granger," he said with a smirk. "I'm just honestly being truthful to you."

Hermione snorted. "I highly doubt that, Mister-I-Have-a-Bloody-Secret-but-I-Can't-Tell-You-Yet-Becase-We're-Not-Close," she pointed out.

He choked out a laugh and had to immediately clamp his lips shut once Madame Pince's hawk-like eyes settled on their table. "That was a pretty impressive nickname," he pointed out, his eyes shining with mirth. "It has a nice ring to it."

She rolled her eyes, but was unable to suppress a small smile. "So, we're not close yet?" she asked.

"Tough luck, Granger," he said with a smile.

She sighed and went back to her homework. "I figured enough," she merely replied.

"You're spending an awful lot of time with Malfoy," Harry pointed out once Hermione settled on the Gryffindor bench. Ron gave her an accusing glare, while Ginny lifted an eyebrow in curiosity.

"No, I'm not," she snapped irately, annoyed at the accusatory glares of her best friend.

The-Boy-Who-Lived darted a quick glance at the Slytherin table before moving closer to the brunette. "Hermione, really, you and I both know he's bad news," he protested. "I know Dumbledore wants us to work with him, but he didn't say anything about becoming friends with the smarmy git. Have you forgotten what he did to all of us before? How can you easily trust him now? You're way smarter than that."

Ginny rolled her eyes at the pitiful Gryffindor, but Hermione wasn't able to notice it. Her eyes flared at his insinuation and she gave him the darkest glare she could muster. It didn't help that Harry withered under her gaze.

"It's not your bloody business if I start trusting him or not," she whispered irately. "You lot are just blinded with prejudice and ridiculous school rivalry to actually get to know him." She was still dubious with his revelation that he started a band during their fourth year, but his eyes were genuine when he was retelling this secret of his.

"Hermione," Ron whined. "He's called you a mud…" His words dangled as his cheeks colored.

"A what, Ronald?" she snapped, her eyes narrowing. "Say it."

He scowled. "You know what," he angrily replied. "He'd been nothing but antagonistic to us, but you're willingly giving him your bloody trust, Hermione." He mellowed a bit, his eyes shining with sincerity. "We just don't want you to get hurt."

Harry vigorously nodded his head, fully concurring with his best friend's words. Beside him, Ginny was slowly shaking her head.

"You idiots," the youngest Weasley called.

Having lost her appetite, Hermione abruptly stood up from her seat. "Well, I guess it's good to know that you don't trust me enough to decide about things on my own," she snarled. Harry and Ron flinched with her tone, but she didn't pay them any mind as she shouldered her strap and stomped out of the Great Hall.

"Way to go, you buffoons," Ginny sighed once she was gone.

Today was Hogsmeade weekend of the year and Scorpius Malfoy would be lying if he said he wasn't a bundle of nerves. He already excused himself from his friends, telling them that he was going to Hogsmeade with Astoria Greengrass. Pansy was aghast at his choice of companionship, pointing out that she was a weird, little thing unlike her older sister, but Scorpius merely gave her a smile and broke away from the group.

He was waiting for her at the gates of Hogwarts. The DA Core had passed by a few minutes ago; Hermione gave him a small smile, while Luna and Ginny voiced out their greeting. Unsurprisingly, Potter and Weasley were growling at him. Neville's expression was nervous, but he greeted him still, and Scorpius thought it was a nice change. His nose wrinkled in disgust when Lavender Brown was included in their small band, throwing him a suspicious glance.

"I'm sorry for being late," Astoria greeted, slightly out of breath. Scorpius brilliantly smiled at her arrival, marveling at the youthful beauty his mother exuded. His mother was always poised and calm, every bit the Pureblood princess she was brought up to be, and to see her relaxed was like a breath of fresh air for him.

"For you," he said, offering a single yellow rose to her. Astoria's smile widened and she tucked the stem to her ponytail.

Their stroll to Hogsmeade was a relatively silent affair, save from brief exchanges of pleasantries hither thither. Scorpius was admittedly distracted throughout the whole ordeal, trying to command his heart to calm the fuck down. His heart ached every time Astoria smiled, and it took great self-control not to throw his arms around her and cry.

Thankfully, they reached the Three Broomsticks and they immediately strolled inside. Scorpius grimaced upon seeing that the whole placed was jam-packed without an available table in sight.

"Maybe it's best if we go to another place," she suggested with an amused smile.

Sighing, Scorpius shrugged and allowed Astoria to direct him to another place. It was only when they entered the familiar rose-scented store when he realized she brought him to Madam Puddifoot's.

He balked and panicked, knowing that this place was notorious for couples. Astoria didn't seem to notice his internal panic, and Scorpius had no choice but to follow his mother to a place at the very back of the shop. He mentally cursed himself for not directing her to a better, less intimate place; his main goal for this whole weekend was to earn her friendship. It would be disastrous (and downright disgusting) if Astoria got a different message.

"How's Mistress Narcissa?"

His eyes widened in surprise at her question, but Astoria's eyes were already shining with concern. Scorpius found himself lightly smiling and replied, "Well, I believe. Though, my Na – mother keeps on sugarcoating her words to stop me from worrying for her."

Astoria smiled and gently patted his arm. "I'm sorry," she whispered. "About everything your family has been going through right now."

"Don't be," he protested.

Her smile turned forlorn. "It must have been a hard year for you, Scorpius," she pointed out.

He took a deep breath and cracked a wry smile. "Oh, you most definitely have no idea," he said.

The atmosphere between them soon became relaxed, and Scorpius found himself telling her about all the mundane things he was experiencing this year. He missed this – he missed talking to his mother about everything he could think of. Future Astoria always tutted, saying he never ran out of words, but she would steadfastly listen to him and offer some pieces of advice if necessary.

By the time they left Madam Puddifoot's, Scorpius' heart was already bursting with emotions. His eyes were stinging with tears, his mind already a jumbled mess as he stared at the beautiful, raven hair of his mother. He wondered what future Astoria was thinking about right now, what she was doing, and how she was feeling. He wondered if it really was wise for him to turn back into time and leave her to comfort his father alone.

"Scorpius?" teenage Astoria's voice cut through his musings. He flinched when she touched his cheek, and that was when he realized he had started to cry. Alarm flashed in Astoria's eyes and she hastily looked around. Thankfully, the few people on the streets were too distracted to notice the suddenly crying Scorpion King.

Scorpius allowed Astoria to pull him into a small, concealed land behind Madam Puddifoot's.

"What's the matter?" she worriedly asked, peering at his swimming eyes.

Unable to stop himself, he enveloped her into a tight hug and buried his nose in her hair. 'Mum,' he cried inside. 'Mum, I miss you so much.'

"Everything's going to be all right," she soothed, comfortingly patting his back. Scorpius tightly closed his eyes and imagined it was his future mother holding him close until his tears abated. "Hush, now, Scorpius."

He held her for minutes until he stopped crying. Scorpius could already feel his cheeks warming in embarrassment.

"Err… sorry about that," he croaked as he pulled away. He refused to meet her gaze, afraid of what he might see in them. "I did tell you it was a terribly tiring year."

Astoria grasped his hand and waited until his eyes met hers. He was surprised to see that there was no judgement in her eyes, only worry and warmth that was definitely his mother.

"I… I don't know what happened," she confessed. "I somehow think that something's changed. Something is definitely different about you, Scorpius, and I can't quite put a finger on it. But… but if you need a friend to talk to, I'm right here." A lovely grin grew on her face as she comfortingly squeezed his hand. "In fact, I'd like to spend another Hogsmeade weekend with you, if you like."

"That would be brilliant," he hastily replied, matching her wide grin.

"Although..." She made a face. "Just to be clear: We're just friends right?" Scorpius stared at her in horror. "I mean, I think you're good-looking blah blah blah, but no offense, Scorpion King, I feel a little queasy thinking about being more than friends with you."

His cheeks blazed. "Fuck, no," he quickly protested. When Astoria quirked an amused eyebrow, he added, "I-I mean, I think you're beautiful and wonderful, but it'll be totally awkward if things…" He faltered and blushed redder. "I mean, no offense, Astoria."

To his relief, she merely laughed. "I understand," she said. She lifted her hand and fondly touched her yellow rose. "I figured that you didn't want anything more when you gave me a yellow rose. I thought since you knew what lilies of the valley meant, you'd understand that a yellow rose meant friendship, right?"

Scorpius breathed a sigh of relief, thankful that Astoria got the right message when he gave her the flower. "Yes," he said. "I'm glad you understand."

Astoria touched his cheek, still wet from the tears he had shed a while ago. "You're really different," she said with a smile. "If you become that arrogant and stupid buffoon you were months ago, I won't just stand aside." Her eyes glinted warningly, prompting him to grin. "As your friend, I am obligated to slap your head to knock some sense into that thick head of yours."

His grin widened. "Really, Astoria, why did you think I was desperate for your friendship?" he asked.

She chuckled, fondly patted his cheek, and stepped away. The mirth in her eyes melted, replaced by sincere worry. "If something's bothering you, Scorpius, you know where to find me," she said.

His heart throbbed once more. "Thank you, Astoria," he whispered in reply. "That really means a lot to me."

Chapter Text

Scorpius stared at the imposing Vanishing Cabinet, wand raised and ready. Beads of sweat were already forming on his forehead, tired and spent from trying again and again, but he knew that he should persist.

He'd been in the Room of Requirement for exactly three hours now, and yet, there was still no progress from his part. He had tried to transport an apple for hours, but every time he whispered the spell and waited for a few seconds, the apple would still be inside the cabinet.

He was slowly growing frustrated. He actually planned on merely staying for an hour, knowing he still had essays to finish, but the disappointment of his failures urged him to stay.

"Harmonia Nectere Passus," he whispered for the umpteenth time. Scorpius closed his eyes and held his breath, praying desperately that this time, he would be able to succeed. He immediately wrenched the door open, but to his disappointment, the green apple was not transported.

'Okay, Scorpius, try for the last time,' he firmly told himself.

Scorpius took a sharp intake of breath, willed himself to focus on his task at hand, and whispered, "Harmonia Nectere Passus." His eyes almost bulged out from their sockets when he heard a soft whoosh inside.

Heart in his throat, hand slightly shaking, he wrenched the door open and almost cried at the emptiness that greeted him.

Scorpius closed the door once more, whispered the spell against the cabinet, and heard the same sound. He couldn't help but release a loud whoop when the green apple was back inside.

He grabbed the fruit, took a huge bite from it, and walked out of the Room of Requirement in better spirits.

"You're really going?"

Scorpius glanced at Blaise's reflection and shrugged. "I'm already dressed, so…" He trailed off and adjusted his cufflinks, smoothed down some invisible wrinkles on his handsome dress robes, and carefully parted his hair into a clean, fashionable style.

He gave himself another once over, before nodding in satisfaction. Scorpius wasn't quite sure why he was fussing over his look; back in his time, during charity balls his mother loved to throw, the blond wasn't entirely mindful of his clothes. Today, however, was strangely an exception.

"And you're really taking Granger?" his friend continued. Scorpius glared, seeing the smirk on the Italian's face.

"None of your bloody business, Zabini," he spat. He was thankful their room was dark. Blaise would have become more amused if he'd seen the blush on his pale cheeks.

"Well, have fun," he finally said, waving his hand in dismissal, then plopped down on his bed.

Scorpius frowned and left their room. He quickly darted out of the Common Room, spying Pansy's silky hair lounging on one of the couches. She'd been adamantly pestering him to bring her to the Christmas party, but Scorpius fervently refused, saying he didn't plan on bringing someone. He knew if she discovered he was taking Granger, well, all hell would break loose.

Hermione was waiting for him at the foot of the grand staircase, nervously looking around. Scorpius faltered in his steps as he took in her form. Eyes widening, jaw dropping, and heart quickening a bit, he beheld Hermione's lovely appearance and felt his mouth dry. She wasn't even wearing anything extravagant – just a pale, pink dress that wonderfully highlighted the brownness of her eyes. He noticed a hint of make-up on her face, nothing heavy unlike how Pansy always wore hers, and there was a simple necklace resting on the creamy expanse of her collarbone.

"Malfoy, we're late," she greeted with a frown.

Scorpius balked. Merlin Almighty, the future Minister for Magic was downright pretty. "R-right, of course, apologies," he hastily said.

She gave him a strange look and beckoned him closer. Scorpius hastily stepped forward until he was mere meters away. Up close, he clearly saw her this time, and cursed whatever light bathed the corridors for making her look prettier. Distractedly, he thought Rose's hair wouldn't look pretty enough with her mother's dress and decided that pale pink was definitely Hermione Granger's color.

"You look… you look nice," he whispered in greeting. Her cheeks colored until it almost matched her dress.

"You don't look bad either," she said with a small, shy smile.

Scorpius loudly cleared his throat and looked away. "We should go," he said.

Hermione nodded. Together, they walked towards the Slug Club Christmas party. Scorpius stiffly placed his arms at his sides, wondering if he should offer his arm. Decorum obligated him to do so, but a part of him – the Albus-the-Inner-Voice part - thought it would be a bad idea to do so. Why? He wasn't quite sure.

His internal debate continued until they reached the party. By then, Scorpius felt a little disappointed with himself for not offering his arm.

"Harry's not yet here," she pointed out with a frown.

Scorpius immediately spotted Ginny Weasley amongst the crowd, who gave them both a small wave. Dean Thomas quirked an eyebrow upon seeing Hermione's companion.

"Who's Potter's date for tonight?" he asked, mindlessly placing a hand at the small of her back to steer her towards the refreshments area.

"Luna," Hermione said, rolling her eyes. "Harry realized it too late that he could have asked me instead." A wicked grin appeared on her face, reminiscing. "You should have seen his face when he discovered I was going with you."

In spite of his nervousness, Scorpius smirked. "Gods, Potter is hopeless."

Slughorn immediately found them and introduced them both to a man that was clearly a vampire. Scorpius glared at how he hungrily stared at Hermione, more specifically her neck, prompting uneasiness from the pretty witch. He didn't even mind it when she tightly clutched onto his sleeve, mumbled a quick excuse, and pulled him away from the wolfish eyes of the vampire.

They predictably earned some curious glances, but Scorpius was surprised Hermione wasn't paying them no mind.

"People are staring, Granger," he pointed out, wondering if she even noticed them at all.

She casually shrugged her shoulders. "It's not everyday they'll see the Scorpion King fraternizing with a mud - " She caught herself, smiled slightly at him, then corrected, "a Muggle-born." Hermione sighed and absentmindedly tugged on her curls. "Let them stare. I don't bloody care."

Hermione then furrowed her eyebrows and frowned. "Well, does it bother you?" she asked back. "Being seen with me tonight might have sullied your reputation already."

Scorpius snorted. "To hell with my reputation," he stated. "I have far too many things to think about than some ridiculous thing." He knew that after he stepped out of this room, people were bound to talk. Scorpius already thought of an excuse, so as not to arouse any suspicions that may even reach the Dark Lord. What he wasn't really looking forward to, however, was Pansy'reaction. She'd be extra persistent and vicious; Scorpius was bloody sure of it.

She eyed him strangely, but her lips were smiling. "You're weird," she stated.

He gave her a charming smile. "Well, that's me – Malfoy the Madcap; Scorpius the Strange," he cajoled. The way she laughed at his joke made him stare a little too long.

'Damn the dress,' he thought. It was honestly doing something strange to him today.

Harry and Luna finally arrived in the party, and Scorpius gave Luna an amused smile at how she was dressed for today. Slughorn immediately pounced onto Harry and showed him off to the other Hogwarts alumni.

"I think The-Boy-Who-Lived needs saving," Hermione whispered to him after watching amusedly for ten minutes. Scorpius was tempted to hold back and let the Gryffindor become more uneasy under Slughorn's smothering, but Hermione was already pulling him towards her best friend.

"Harry!" she happily called. Potter's face broke into pure relief as he hastily muttered a half-assed excuse and dragged Luna away from Slughorn.

"How does it feel to be Slughorn's shiniest trophy tonight, Potter?"

Harry sneered. "Fuck off, Malfoy," he snarled. Then, to Hermione, he added, "Going here was a bad idea, Hermione."

Hermione snorted. "Well, whose idea was this?" she asked, pointedly looking at Ginny and Dean, both already swaying on the dance floor. Scorpius rolled his eyes at how Potter obviously blushed at the sight of the lovely Weasley.

"Harry, I think I'd like something to drink," Luna airily said.

"Err… sure, Luna, let me get you something," he said, absentmindedly ruffling his already impossibly disheveled hair.

Luna's bright, blue eyes settled on the blond and smiled. "Why don't you come with him, Scorpius?" she asked. "I think Hermione needs a drink, too."

Harry scowled at the suggestion, but Luna was already pushing Scorpius towards the Gryffindor. Scorpius had no idea what Luna was playing at, but the blonde Ravenclaw merely smiled and pulled Hermione towards the dancefloor.

Scorpius watched as Harry's scowl darkened, his green eyes staring intently at Ginny. She was boisterously laughing over something Dean had said.

"You know, Potter," Scorpius started once they finally reached the refreshments table. "I seriously think you should get your head off your arse and finally confess to the she-Weasley."

Harry's cheeks darkened, this time directing his scowl at the Slytherin. "That's none of your bloody business, Malfoy," he snarled.

Scorpius sighed and shook his head. "There's no need to deny," he pointed out. "It's obvious; I won't even be surprised if Ginny already knows, seeing that she actually has an intelligent head on her shoulders."

"W-what?" Harry sputtered out, now paling at the thought that Ginny most likely knew about his feelings.

"For someone hailed as one of the bravest wizard on earth for defeating You-Know-Who, you're actually a ninny when it comes to your feelings."

Harry made a face and glared petulantly at him. "Remind me again why I'm discussing my love life with you, Malfoy?" he spat back.

Scorpius grinned and casually shrugged. "Maybe because we're now friends?" Harry's emerald eyes dangerously flashed. "Or maybe not. Whatever tickles your fancy, Potter." Scorpius felt his grin widening, remembering the times when Al would be reduced to a blubbering fool every time Jane MacMillan talked to him. Apparently, Potters were bad with handling their love lives – well, except James Potter II, who had always been a bloody anomaly in the family.

"It doesn't matter anymore," Potter continued, grabbing onto the ladle and pouring drinks for both Luna and Hermione. "She's dating Dean. I'd rather not be a, you know - "

"Home-wrecker?" Scorpius helpfully supplied.

Harry snorted. "It wasn't the word I was going for, but basically, that's the general idea," he said, quirking a small, amused smile.

Scorpius warmed a bit at the sight of Harry's small smile. Perhaps, Operation: Sucking Up would actually be a success in the future.

"Malfoy!" Hermione furiously whispered, immediately appearing beside him.

"Granger, what - "

His words died down as she persistently pulled him onto the dance floor. Scorpius' eyes widened as she placed both of her hands on his shoulders. "Pretend like you're dancing with me," she hissed. The Slytherin merely stupidly gaped, prompting Hermione to sigh in irritation, and directed both of his hands on her tiny waist.

He could already feel a blush crawling from his neck up to his cheeks, but Hermione steadfastly held onto him and ducked her head down.

"What the hell, Granger?" he snarled after composing himself. "You could have just politely asked me if I wanted to dance with you."

Hermione, still tensed in his arms, blushed lightly at his comment. "Sorry about that," she murmured, lifting her head to look into his eyes. "It's just that…" Her eyes darted around and scowled, immediately ducking her head again. "Bloody McLaggen happened and he wouldn't just leave me alone."

"It's your entire fault for looking downright pretty today," he offhandedly offered. It was too late when he realized what he had said, because Hermione's owlish, brown eyes were once again connected with his. Blushing furiously this time, Scorpius cleared his throat and looked away. "I-I mean, no wonder McLaggen's insistent because of…" He faltered and lamely gestured at her.

Merlin, this close, he could already see the slight shimmer of her lips, the slight sparkling of her eyelids. His heart seized with an unknown emotion – something he had never felt before.

"Err…" Hermione nervously said, taking a step back, finally realizing how close they were. "Sorry."

Scorpius shrugged and looked over her head, determined not to look down at the witch in his arms. He cursed whomever for deciding to play a slow song now and wondered when the damn song would finally end.

"Thanks about this again, Malfoy," she softly murmured, her warm breath washing over his exposed neck. Scorpius involuntarily shivered. "I mean it. If you haven't appeared when I was about to ask McLaggen to be my date today, I would have hidden behind those curtains right now until the bloody bastard went away."

The Slytherin smirked and peered down at the crown of her curly hair. "I'm a little touched to know you aren't miserable in my company right now, Granger," he teased.

She sighed and pulled herself away to look at him squarely in his eyes. "You know, for a minute, I thought that you might really be a decent bloke," she started, "but then, when you open that stupid mouth of yours, I'm reminded of why I don't like you very, very much."

"Ouch, Granger, no need to be harsh," he said with a playful glare. He placed a hand against his heart and seriously looked into her eyes. "Is that a way to thank your savior?"

"Prat," she muttered, failing to hide the growing smile on her face.

"I know."

The slow song ended and a new, slower song replaced it, and neither Scorpius nor Hermione pulled away. Over Hermione's head, he saw Cormac McLaggen's glares, which he gratefully returned with a huge smirk of his own. His eyes swept around once more, and spied Potter and Ginny Weasley talking quietly at one corner of the room. The idiotic grin on Harry already spoke volumes of how he felt for the redhead; Ginny might be blind if she didn't see it.

"Does this mean we are close now?" Hermione whispered, breaking him off his musings. "Will you tell me your secrets now?"

Scorpius shot her a bemused look. It was starting to get harder keeping these thoughts to himself. The burden of being a time traveler, of not belonging in this time, almost drove him insane most of the time. It felt nice to know that at least Dumbledore and Snape knew of his true nature, but both were too busy with their own responsibilities. Besides, it felt weird to share his feelings with the two, legendary wizards.

Telling Hermione was tempting. The temptation grew more and more each day as he started to get to know the fiery Golden Girl. Although still wary of him, she was genuine. Scorpius highly doubted she'd reject him still if she finally discovered what great secret he was carrying.

"To be honest, I was hoping that things will get back to normal before you even discovered what was wrong in the first place," he confessed. Great Dumbledore already warned him of the possible repercussions if he went back to his timeline, and yet, he could not help but hope. By then, if ever, he'd be but a figment in everybody's minds – a bizarre phase in Draco Malfoy's life, if his father ever came back to his rightful timeline.

"You do it on purpose," she accused with narrowed eyes. "Talking vaguely and such."

In spite of his tumultuous emotions, Scorpius smiled. "Guilty," he answered. "I can't help but tickle the great Hermione Granger's curiosity. It's nice to see you struggle over things you don't know about."

Hermione sighed and gave him a pointed glance. "Honestly, though, you sound as if your sudden… difference is merely a delightful error," she said. "You try so hard to put up the façade of being the Scorpion King everybody in this school knows about, but what you didn't know, Scorpius Malfoy, is sometimes I can see through your bloody act."

He froze with her words, eyes growing a little wide.

"Why don't you just… you know, stay as you?" she asked. "Just… just… Scorpius. That's it. Just Scorpius."

He looked at her in surprise. "I'm… I'm not sure what to answer to that," he murmured.

Scorpius took a deep intake of breath when Hermione's eyes connected with his once more. "I know that you desperately want to earn our trust, Malfoy," she continued. "But, I think that will only happen if you start trusting us, too."

She didn't give him the chance to answer her as she broke away from his grasp. Scorpius was left stupidly gaping on the dance floor.

He thought things would go smoothly tonight. Despite his weird conversation with Granger in the dance floor, the night was actually fun and relaxing. Scorpius found himself flanking Granger's side most of the time – he firmly told himself it was because of McLaggen and nothing more – and even occasionally interacting with Potter and the Ginny.

It was the first time Scorpius felt at ease, like he was really some normal Slytherin Hogwarts student without a huge responsibility on his shoulders. He even fancied himself into thinking he belonged – in this time, this school, in this group of friends.

When the party ended, Scorpius and Hermione held back a little to make sure that students would go back to their respective dormitories. Hermione even volunteered to help Slughorn with the mess, much to Scorpius chagrin, and the Potions Master immediately assigned them different parts of the room to clean.

By the time they were done, they were the only students left in the room. Professor Slughorn thoroughly thanked them, even gave them some crystallized pineapple he loved so much, and sent them off.

"I'll walk you to your dormitories," he offered before he could stop himself.

Hermione eyed him strangely. "Why?"

Scorpius sighed and merely shook his head because honestly, he himself did not know why. "Just bloody walk, Granger," he grumbled, gesturing at the empty corridor.

The brunette frowned but followed nonetheless. Their journey was a silent one, mostly because they were dead tired from all the things that had happened for today.

They were half-way through the fifth floor staircase when Scorpius' mark started to sting. He hissed and faltered in his steps, right hand enclosing the covered Dark Mark in a futile attempt to stifle the pain.

"What's wrong?" Hermione asked, looking over her shoulder with worry in her eyes.

"I'm being summoned," he deadpanned. Dread bloomed in his stomach and climbed to his heart. What could the Dark Lord possibly want from him? The last time he was summoned, the Dark Lord was mad but Scorpius left unscathed. He knew he wouldn't be always that lucky.

The Gryffindor climbed down until she was standing in front of him. "Should we alert Dumbledore?" she asked. Worry lines now appeared on her forehead and despite the nervousness he felt, he smiled.

"Snape will be there in case something happens to me," he reassured. "Besides, he always brings me to Dumbledore if something… err… unfortunate happens."

She flinched. "Will you…" She paused and swallowed thickly. "Will you be all right?"

'Fucking hell no,' he screamed inside, but Scorpius forced himself to smile widely at the worried brunette. He didn't care if it was too wide or too strained. "You know, you should be careful not to care too much about me because that would be seriously weird and… and… dangerous."

Hermione's cheeks reddened and she glared. "Idiot," she hissed, unable to look into his eyes.

"Wish me luck?" he cajoled, still beaming.

She sighed and mellowed down. "Good luck," she whispered with a small, reassuring smile.

Scorpius waved his hand goodbye and left.

It made his blood freeze when he realized he was the only one summoned for the day. Normally, his mother would be in the same room, but after quickly scanning, he was able to deduce he was alone with the Dark Lord.

"Come closer, Scorpius," Voldemort quietly ordered, beckoning him with his hand.

Scorpius stiffly obliged until he was standing in front of the dais. "My lord," he greeted with a low bow.

Voldemort flicked his finger and the young blond immediately straightened up. "Narcissa told me you wished to stay in Hogwarts for the holidays," he continued.

Scorpius immediately built his walls and repeatedly thought about his progress with his task. "I wish to continue fixing the Vanishing Cabinet, my lord," he answered, steadfastly meeting Voldemort's red eyes.

He instantly felt his presence in his mind, sifting through his memories. Scorpius exerted more effort in projecting his memory of successfully transporting the green apple to and fro the twin Vanishing Cabinets.

By the time, Voldemort receded out of his mind, he wore a pleased smile on his face. "I see that you have progressed in your task, young Malfoy," he commended. "I admire your dedication to finish it soon."

"Of course, my lord," Scorpius replied, inclining his head.

"Very well," the Dark Lord replied. "I expect success immediately, Scorpius. We cannot afford to stall further." He then flicked his wrist and the door opened. "You may leave."

Scorpius tried his very best not to show his relief. He stiffly bowed again and turned around, briskly walking towards the door. All throughout, the hairs at the back of his neck were raising, knowing that Voldemort's piercing red eyes were following his every move.

It was only when he stumbled out of the room and the door closed with a click behind him when Scorpius finally took a huge gulp of breath. Narcissa and Snape were immediately beside him and he both gave them a reassuring smile.

"He merely wanted to know why I opted to stay in Hogwarts during the holidays," he explained at Narcissa's questioning gaze.

"He didn't…" His Nana's voice faltered, her eyes already shining with tears.

"I am all right, Mother," he reassured, patting her hand for comfort.

Narcissa threw her arms around him and gave him a tight hug.

"Narcissa, I'm afraid we have to go back to Hogwarts," Snape intervened.

His Nana reluctantly pulled away and gave him a watery smile. "No matter what happens, I'll always be proud of you, Scorpius," she said, squeezing both of his arms for comfort.

Scorpius placed a kiss on top of Narcissa's head. "Be careful, Mother," he beseeched. "If something happens, don't hesitate to tell Professor Snape or owl me."

"You must not worry for your mother," Narcissa said with a fond smile. "Now off you go, before somebody realizes you aren't in school."

Snape grasped his arm immediately and apparated them back to Hogwarts.

Chapter Text

Winter holidays dawned bright and early and Scorpius watched from the Astronomy Tower as his schoolmates one by one trickled out of the Hogwarts gates. A part of him felt a little jealous, knowing that he could not return to the Malfoy Manor to celebrate the holidays with his parents. But then of course, with no means of going back, it was totally pointless to feel like that at all.

He spied the Golden Trio amongst the crowd, his heart speeding immediately with the thought of spending the remaining of his break in Grimmauld Place. The idea that another horcrux was at hand made him excited, and he couldn't wait but see the looks on his classmate's faces when he revealed that Slytherin's locket had been under their noses all this time.

'All right, time to focus, Malfoy,' Al-the-Inner-Voice urged, prompting him to sigh and push himself away from the railings of the Tower. With enough free time at hand, he now did not have any excuse to put off his task of finally fixing the Vanishing Cabinet. The professors had been ruthless with giving homeworks over the holidays, but Scorpius had plenty of time; he knew he should prioritize properly this time.

Scorpius languidly walked out of the Tower and into the tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy, silently thinking of a place where he could fix the Vanishing Cabinet, and waited until a door materialized on the bare wall. Glancing at his watch, he still had a few hours before lunch would be served. But then again, he knew he wouldn't really be missed during meal times. He was the only Slytherin left behind in the castle and he doubted the three Gryffindors, two Ravenclaws, and one Hufflepuff would like to be friends with the Scorpion King.

He then strode purposively towards the Vanishing Cabinet, determination coursing through his blood. Scorpius was half-tempted to drink a few drops of Felix Felicis today just to push his luck, but decided against it during the last minute. He might have more use of it in the future after all.

The Slytherin pulled down the moth-eaten cloth to reveal the imposing Vanishing Cabinet. He then rummaged inside his pocket to brandish out his wand. "Avis," he whispered, pointing his wand towards an empty cage. Instantly, three birds materialized out of the tip of his wand and flew into the cage.

Scorpius grabbed one yellow bird and closed the cage. The animal in his hand twittered noisily and squirmed relentlessly. "Ow," he muttered with a frown as it nipped his finger twice. He felt a little sorry he was subjecting these animals into his stupid experiment, but it was essential if he needed to succeed.

"Sorry, little bird," he whispered, yanking the cabinet door open and shoving the bird inside. He closed it quickly before the bird could escape. Then, after taking a huge breath, Scorpius pressed the tip of his wand against the wood and whispered, "Harmonia Nectere Passus."

His heart raced when the twitterings inside the cabinet stopped. Scorpius opened the door and peeked inside, grinning widely when he saw that it was empty.

"Okay, okay," he murmured under his breath. He closed the door once more, took another deep, shuddering breath, and muttered, "Harmonia Nectere Passus."

He heard a whoosh from inside but felt his stomach drop when there were no bird noises inside. Scorpius tightly closed his eyes, prayed to whomever could hear him that he succeeded this time, then quickly yanked the door open.

To his disappointment, the yellow bird was inside, but obviously dead.

Sighing, Scorpius made the bird disappear and looked at the other birds inside the cage. Strangely, they had gone quiet. Their beady eyes were staring intently at Scorpius, as if understanding what their fate would be in his hands.

"I'm so, so sorry," he breathed out, hoping that at least one, if not both, of them would still be alive.

He went to the Great Hall in a really bad mood and he was thankful the other students left him alone. Since they were only few, everybody was forced to sit on one, small table. Perhaps, it was Dumbledore's urging for them to interact, to leave their prejudices behind for the sake of Yule. Scorpius appreciated the effort, really, but he'd rather be alone during his stay in Hogwarts.

The professors, or those who were left behind, were also seated on a small table near the students. He could already see that Professor Trelawney was a little tipsy from her wine, and he would have found it funny if he wasn't feeling disappointed with himself. The other professors present were Flitwick, Hagrid, and Sprout. Dumbledore normally stayed during the holidays, but Scorpius figured he was busy with the Order.

Scowling, Scorpius couldn't wait to go to Grimmauld Place.

He mechanically shoveled food into his mouth and was the first to leave the Great Hall. The other students eyed him suspiciously, which he paid no mind, and decided to stroll out of the castle and into Hogsmeade. Since it was the holidays, the professors had been lax and allowed sixth to seventh years to venture into the village anytime they wanted. Scorpius knew that if he wanted to lift his spirits, he could at least do some Christmas shopping for the people close to him.

Scorpius mindlessly strolled around, not really having a clear direction in his mind. Normally, he would make a list of gifts to buy for his family and friends back home, but that was the problem – he wasn't home. He thought it would be pointless to think what would Albus like for this Christmas, or buy a new weird animal for Lysander Scamander to love and cherish.

He decided to give gifts to the DA Core in the end. Although they still did not consider him as a friend, he thought it wouldn't hurt to give them something for the holidays. He doubted they even thought of giving him one, which he didn't mind. Ronald Weasley might accuse him of bribing them for all he cared; he just wanted to buy gifts for someone in this timeline to ease his aching heart.

He got sweets for the Weasleys, a new Herbology book for Neville, and a book of wizarding fairytales about nonexistent animals for Luna to adore. Hermione was the easiest for him to buy a gift; he knew she'd be unable to contain her happiness if she discovered he bought her the latest edition of Hogwarts: A History. Al once yammered to him that it was the Minister's most loved book, which she disappointedly didn't pass onto her daughter.

Buying a gift for Harry proved to be the most challenging of them all. Sweets were the safest choice, but somehow, Scorpius could not bring himself to buy one. Yearly, he would buy a new set of dragonhide gloves for Al. His best friend always pointed out it was a waste for him to continue doing so, seeing that his gloves were still in acceptable condition. All his protests fell into deaf ears; Al was serious about playing as Chaser, and Scorpius could witness how his gloves would always fall apart by the end of the year. He knew that his best friend appreciated the gloves nevertheless, and accepted them wholeheartedly.

Which was why Scorpius found himself in Quality Quidditch Supplies, gazing intently at the rows and rows of dragonhide gloves. He was about to mechanically reach for a Chaser's gloves, but then, he was reminded it was Harry Potter in this time and not Albus.

Scorpius' hands faltered back to his sides, his heart stuttering a little at the thought of his best friend, before quickly grabbing a set of Seeker's gloves and marching towards the counter. He paid it off immediately lest he changed his mind and as he walked out of the shop, he couldn't understand why his heart was beating very wildly.

He bought embroidered lace handkerchiefs for Astoria and Narcissa, and Scorpius already made a mental note of conjuring more lilies of the valley for his mother. He bought acid pops for Dumbledore and a new cauldron for Snape as gratitude for guiding him through this bizarre adventure. He almost forgot to buy gifts for his Slytherin friends, and opted to just buy sweets for Crabbe and Goyle, a nice perfume for Pansy, and a Wizard chess set for Blaise.

Scorpius realized he had spent most of his afternoon in Hogsmeade. His pockets were already full of Christmas gifts but he couldn't leave. Not yet, anyway.

He still had one last gift to buy.

He entered Scrivenshaft's Quill Shop with a heavy heart. It was blessedly empty because Scorpius honestly didn't trust himself that he wouldn't breakdown. The kind matron at the counter gave him a smile, which he returned with a small, awkward one.

Scorpius slowly sauntered at the expensive, swan feather quills his father adored so much. Typical goose feathers were the bane of Draco's existence; strangely, they always got ruined after being used once. Draco tried different types of feathers – eagles, hawks, peacocks, owls, and even turkeys – but none satisfied him. As the busy Head of Malfoy family, with many papers to sign and documents to revise, quills were an integral part of Draco's study. It was only when Scorpius bought a scarce, expensive swan feather quill for his father to try one time, when Draco finally found the quill that was perfect for him.

Draco preferred black swan quills over white, since white ones get messy immediately. Scorpius chose an intricately made quill with promises of self-refilling inks and automatic spell-checking.

When he brought it over to the counter, the old witch's eyes widened a little. "A fine choice," she said with a pleased smile. "Very expensive, but also quite durable. To whom are you giving this gift, lad?"

Scorpius swallowed down a lump in his throat. "My father," he croaked.

She smiled once more. "Your father is lucky to have a son like you," she said. Scorpius was reduced to silence as the matron carefully wrapped it into a silver paper, and even graciously tied a green ribbon around it for free.

When he went back to the street, instead of shrinking it like the other gifts and placing it in his pockets, Scorpius opted to tightly clutch his Christmas gift for his father as he sauntered back to Hogwarts.

Throughout the small journey, his heart felt very heavy.

Somebody was waking him and Scorpius groaned. Cracking one eye open, he scowled upon seeing the sour face of his favorite DADA teacher.

"Get up, Scorpius, we're leaving soon," Professor Snape hissed under his breath.

"It's not even six o'clock in the morning!" Scorpius protested, forcing himself to get out of his bed. He chanced a quick glance at the alarm clock on his bedside table and scowled more darkly. "Blimey, it's not even four o'clock!"

Snape roughly pulled him onto his feet. "I have no time for your idiotic complaints," he snapped. Scorpius rolled his eyes; apparently, Snape was in an even worse mood. He hazarded it was because he wasn't too happy with the ungodly time of the day too. "Dumbledore thought it was best to move you to Grimmauld Place before everybody realized you were gone."

Suddenly, Scorpius felt he was more awake. He remembered that today, he was to finally move into Grimmauld Place and see people he wanted to actually interact with. The Hufflepuff student had been honestly brave enough to engage him in a conversation or two, but Scorpius found him a little dull and most of the time tuned him out during meals.

"Go pack your things," Snape gruffly commanded. "We're leaving in five minutes."

He didn't need to be told twice. Scorpius brandished out his wand and waved it around. Books, clothes, and other things flew into his trunk. He only had a minute to spare when he was dragging his trunk down into the Common Room when he realized he was still in pajamas.

"Wait, I need to change!" he exclaimed.

"We have no bloody time," Snape sighed, grabbed a protesting Scorpius by the collar, and apparated without any warning.

Scorpius reappeared as a messy heap on the damp, cold pavement of the street. Scowling, he darkly glared up at his unapologetic professor. "Maybe a little warning next time wouldn't hurt, professor, sir," he drawled. Snape rolled his eyes and pulled him up onto his feet once more.

Snape then pulled him towards Number 11 and 13. Having been a witness of the wonderful magic that hid the ancestral Black House from the other muggles, Scorpius didn't flinch when the space between 11 and 13 started to stretch far and wide. The imposing Black House stood tall and proud, but Scorpius couldn't shake off the feeling that it was also drearier and darker.

The door flew open and a sleepy old witch greeted them with a small smile. Scorpius recognized the resemblance she shared with Ginny Weasley and knew she was the Weasley matron, Molly Weasley.

"Severus," she greeted. Her eyes settled onto the younger wizard and Scorpius felt a little self-conscious under her scrutinizing gaze. "And you must be Scorpius. I've heard a lot about you from my children."

"Hopefully good ones, eh?" he said. Molly quirked an amused eyebrow, and Scorpius knew the Weasleys were ruthless when describing him to their mother.

"Come in, come in," she then ushered. Snape billowed past Molly, Scorpius pulling his trunk in tow.

As soon as he came inside, Scorpius stopped dead in his tracks and gaped. The whole foyer smelled strongly of mold. The wallpapers were peeling off the wall and there were obvious holes on the ceiling and floor. Residual dark magic was very thick in the air and Scorpius had the sudden urge to start gagging.

Oh, his mother would have a heart attack upon seeing the state of this place! Scorpius clearly remembered the light, happy ambiance this place exuded back in their time. Sirius Black initially bestowed this house to Harry after he died, but Potter didn't want it. With no more Blacks in existence, this place was naturally inherited by Draco. Astoria had tried her very best to make this place livable, and ever since then, this had been a favorite go-to place of Scorpius and Al during holidays.

Grimmauld Place of 1996 was a far cry from the Grimmauld Place he loved and adored.

"I know, I know, this place is a disaster," Molly explained. She must have seen the horrified look on his face. "Not even the most advanced cleaning spells could fix this blasted place! I hope you don't mind that you'll start helping with the cleaning tomorrow, Scorpius."

Scorpius blinked and looked at the older witch. "Err… yes, of course," he muttered.

"Splendid," she replied. "Now, I've prepared a room for you at the farthest left room on the third floor. I would have placed you with Harry and Ron, but…" She faltered and shifted her eyes away. Scorpius immediately knew the two bloody Gryffindors loudly protested with the prospect of sharing the room with him for the rest of the holidays.

"Thank you, Mrs. Weasley," he politely replied.

She smiled and placed a hand on his shoulder. "I've heard everything you've been doing for the Order," she kindly stated. "Although I still think you are too young for such a huge role, do know that I think you are very brave indeed."

His heart warmed at her words and he found himself smiling in return. "Thank you, Mrs. Weasley," he repeated once more, this time with more gratitude.

She then dismissed him and ushered him up to the staircase once more. He craned his neck behind to see that Snape and Mrs. Weasley were already speaking in hushed tones, but Scorpius didn't bother staying behind and listening.

He found his room immediately, and the smell of mold was even thicker than outside. But he was dead tired and he didn't mind. He shoved his trunk at one corner and blindly plopped down the bed. Soon, he was asleep.

Someone was waking him up again and Scorpius was not having any of it.

"Please just let me bloody sleep," he groaned and proceeded to place a pillow on top of his head to drown any noise.

The pillow was mercilessly yanked off of him, prompting him to open his eyes and glare. A frustrated Hermione Granger stood towering over his form, and admittedly, he was momentarily distracted by how her curls seemed to shine from the sunlight.

"Get up, Malfoy," she snapped. "Lunch is ready."

"Lunch?" he echoed, groggily sitting up from his bed whilst rubbing his eyes. "It's noon?"

Hermione rolled her eyes and threw the pillow at him. It hit him squarely on his forehead, which made her smile a little. "Mrs. Weasley wanted to wake you up during breakfast but Professor Dumbledore told her to let you rest."

Scorpius made a face. "No wonder I'm famished," he murmured. He stood up from his bed and strolled towards his trunk. He was about to rip his pajama top off his head, but paused when he realized that Granger was still in his bedroom. "You plan on staying for the show?"

Her eyebrows knitted in confusion at his words, before realization dawned on her face. Her cheeks flared in embarrassment and she grew thunderous. Harrumphing, she stomped out of his room and closed the door a little too loudly behind her back.

Chuckling, Scorpius bent down on his trunk and selected a decent set of casual wizard robes for the day. He honestly missed wearing Muggle jeans and other clothes, but all the Scorpion King owned in this place were wizarding clothes. He was always tempted to buy a few pairs of Muggle attire in Diagon Alley, but he knew this would tarnish the reputation of the Scorpion King.

Scorpius fixed his bed first before finally walking out of his bedroom. Raucous chatters and laughter greeted his ear and he almost backpedaled in surprise. He had been cooped up in empty Hogwarts for a long time he almost didn't recognize the sound of conversation.

He smiled in spite of himself and proceeded to walk down the stairs. Potter and Weasley were the first ones to notice him. The twin glares they gave him made him falter in his steps. It didn't help when all conversation on the dinner table suddenly ceased.

Scorpius suddenly felt self-conscious, but he forced himself to lift his chin and stride purposively towards the table. The only vacant seat was the one beside Hermione.

"I trust you had a good sleep," Mrs. Weasley said, placing a plate of mashed potato and roast chicken in front of him. His mouth watered at the sight.

"Yes, quite good, Mrs. Weasley, thank you," he politely replied. Ginny hid a grin behind her hand and Hermione raised an eyebrow at his cordiality. Scorpius had to stop himself from rolling his eyes at their ridiculousness; he was born and raised as a Malfoy, anyway. He knew how and when to be polite, for Merlin's sake.

Reluctant conversations started once more and Scorpius was thankfully left alone. As he munched on his food, his grey eyes scanned the other occupations of the room. The only DA core members present were the Golden Trio and Ginny. Together with Mrs. Weasley were men he instantly recognized as the late Remus Lupin, the Minister of Magic Hermione preceeded, Kingsley Shacklebolt, and Arthur Weasley. Flanking Mrs. Weasley's side was another redhead, undoubtedly a Weasley, and beside him was a gorgeous blonde woman. Scorpius' eyes widened, blinking owlishly at the unmistakable Veela powers she exuded.

"So, how was your hols so far, Malfoy?"

Scorpius' gaze jerked away from the adults in the room and frowned at Ginny.

"Nothing exciting happened, Weasley," he shot back.

"Are you going to tell us now why you are here?" Hermione piped in. Her brown eyes were ablaze with eager curiosity.

Scorpius rolled his eyes when even Harry and Ron stopped their conversation and huddled closer to the Malfoy. "Isn't it too early for your curiosity, Granger?" he shot back. Hermione merely lifted an eyebrow, prompting him to sigh. "Can I please eat in peace for now?" he requested. "We have plenty of time to chitchat afterwards."

"Dumbledore said your presence here is important," Harry continued, ignoring his request. "Does this have something to do with… you know."

"Duh, obviously, Potter," he replied. "Why the hell do you think I'm here?"

Hermione moved closer and darted a quick look at the distracted adults in the room. "Is this about another horcrux?" she asked.

In spite of himself, Scorpius smiled. Trust Hermione Granger to already deduce about everything. But then, he didn't want to let them get excited immediately without confronting Kreacher the House Elf first. "Maybe I'll tell you everything after you let me finish my lunch?" He wildly gestured at his barely touched plate and smirked when Hermione blew a frustrated huff and left him alone.

Lunch afterwards was terribly normal and Scorpius was surprised Potter and Weasley didn't grasp the opportunity to start lashing out at him again. He figured they knew his presence here was important and it was taking them all of their willpowers to keep their questions inside. Scorpius was thankful for their amazing self-control.

He knew that, as promised, he would start telling them everything about the hidden horcrux in this house. But then, before he could usher them into the privacy of his room, Mrs. Weasley blocked their paths with baskets of cleaning supplies.

"Time for chores, children."

"But Mummm…" Ron whined, but was cut short when Mrs. Weasley grabbed his ear and dragged him to the room they were going to clean. Scorpius snickered and followed the other teenagers behind.

Mrs. Weasley brought them in a room somewhere in the topmost floor of the house. It was perhaps the worst place Scorpius had ever seen and he had to swallow down his lunch that was trying to make an appearance. Harry looked positively green while Ginny made a face and proceeded to also complain to her mother. Only Hermione seemed unbothered by the odd smell emitted by the room and started to grab cleaning supplies.

"Why the hell are you all right?" he hollered, stomping closer the brunette.

"Magic," she simply said and pointed to her nose.

"Swot," he muttered. Hermione rolled her eyes and pulled out her wand. She then pointed it at his nose and Scorpius stiffened.

"Scared, Malfoy?"

Scorpius scowled and stayed still when Hermione waved her wand. Instantly, he could only smell flowers and the breeze, strangely reminiscent of his mother's garden back home. Hermione looked very proud of herself at the stunned look on his face.

"Show-off," he sighed, bending down to gather some cleaning supplies into his arms.

"I'm surprised you're not making a fuss about cleaning," Hermione pointed out, ignoring his teasing. Scorpius trailed behind her as she chose a corner of the room and started scrubbing off the muck from the floor. The Slytherin followed suit.

"Mum makes it a point to make me do my own share of chores," he distractedly explained, concentrating on a particular spot on the floor.

Hermione snorted, to his surprise.


"Don't you have abundant house-elves in your manor?" she asked. "Why is the Scorpion King, Heir of the Noble House of Malfoy, tasked to do menial chores that is beneath him?"

Scorpius snorted. "Try telling that to Mum," he replied. "Let's see if you live for another day."

He once reasoned out to Astoria that they had abundant house-elves that could be under his beck and call. Both of his parents grew up privileged, but undoubtedly spoiled. Astoria thought forcing him to do chores would teach him discipline – one thing that she and most especially Draco misunderstood greatly during their younger years.

A sudden shriek from the opposite of the room startled them out of their conversation. Scorpius and Hermione were instantly on their feet, wands out and ready to hurtle a spell.

Scorpius gasped as a handsome, translucent boy circled around Ginny, whispering taunts and cackles against her ear. Terrified shrieks escaped from the youngest Weasley's mouth and beside him, Scorpius heard Hermione curse under her breath.

"A boggart," she snarled, jogging closer to the panicked witch.

He spied an opened old, rickety cabinet just behind the ghost, which most probably housed the boggart before being set free by Ginny. Scorpius snarled at the stunned looks on Ron and Harry's faces and immediately ran closer to the group.

"Ginny," Hermione called. "It's all right. It's just a boggart. That is not Tom Riddle. You're safe."

Scorpius' eyes widened as he beheld the sight of Voldemort's younger version. This young, handsome boy was a far cry from the slit-nosed, red-eyed monster he had become accustomed with for the past few months.

He then watched as Hermione pushed Ginny away and into Harry's awaiting arms. She rounded at the boggart, wand confidently poised in the air, before it morphed into an image of two bodies sprawled messily on the floor, lifeless with eyes staring heavenward. Hermione's jaw dropped at the sight of her parents, dead, and her wand hand shook.

"Granger, it's a fucking boggart," Scorpius snarled and this time pushed Hermione away. The brunette snapped off her stupor as she landed on her side.

"Riddik - " The spell faltered from his lips as the boggart slowly turned into an image of his father. His heart stuttered at his sight, his wand hand falling limply beside him. Scorpius bloody well knew this was a bloody boggart, but the sight of his father made him hesitate.

"Dad," he breathed out, emotions choking his throat. Then, to his horror, a huge dementor suddenly came and sucked out the soul from his father. "NO!" he cried. "Expecto Patronum!" Only a small, white mist escaped out from the tip of his wand. He tried again and again, to dispel the boggart away, but by his fourth try, the dementor was gone and Draco Malfoy was staring at him with a blank look in his eyes.

"No, no, Dad," he cried, crumpling on the floor. He crawled closer to Draco but before he could reach him, a booming "Riddikulus!" resounded in the room. His dead father suddenly sprang into life and sported a ridiculous, gaudy dress. The boggart then dove into the cabinet and Hermione firmly locked the door with a powerful spell.

Scorpius' heart was still reeling at the sight of his father's dead form. He wasn't surprised that was his greatest fear; every time a new scandal arose that involved his father, Scorpius spent every waking moment of his life worrying whether he would be receiving the Dementor's Kiss today or not.

He jerked in surprise as a small hand touched his shoulder. Scorpius slowly lifted his head and through his wayward tears, he could see the shocked look on Hermione's face.

"You called… you called him 'Dad'," Harry shakily whispered, breaking the heavy silence in the room. "But that wasn't…"

"That wasn't Lucius Malfoy," Hermione simply said.

Scorpius took a deep, shuddering breath. "No," he replied, knowing all too well that his secret was revealed and it was pointless to lie. "No it wasn't."

"But who - "

He pulled away from Hermione and haphazardly wiped away his tears. "I…" he started. He looked at all the stunned faces in the room and took a deep breath. He would tell them soon, he promised, but he still had something to do. "I'll be back."

Scorpius broke into a run out of the room. Thankfully, none of them stopped him until he reached his room. He accio-ed a parchment, quill, and inkpot from his trunk and placed them all on the dirty table in his room. The Slytherin then sat on the rickety chair and took a deep breath. He grabbed a quill, dipped the nib into the inkpot, and started to write on the parchment.

Dear Professor Dumbledore,

I think my secret is out…

Chapter Text

Dear Scorpius,

I have feared that the time for your secrets to be revealed will come sooner than we've hoped. But then again, we are talking about the Golden Trio; they do have a knack of knowing things that they shouldn't.

This is your secret to tell, my dear boy. If you deem it necessary to finally tell them everything, then I am powerless to stop you. I sincerely believe that with their newfound knowledge, the help you desperately needed will finally become realized.

Again, trust is a two-way street. Perhaps, if you trusted them with your secret, they can finally trust you and your allegiance.

Professor Dumbledore

P.S. The attic in Grimmauld Place is a delightful place for lost treasures and unexpectedly helpful things.

Scorpius sighed and daintily folded the parchment. He somehow wasn't surprised this was Dumbledore's response to his letter. He knew that despite asking for his advice, the decision to finally tell the DA Core would still fall onto his shoulders. He was a little confused about the postscript, though, but he didn't dwell on it further.

He didn't come down for dinner despite being invited over by Ron, of all people. Scorpius could see that Ron felt awkward in his presence, undoubtedly still reeling with the event that had happened earlier that day. He was thankful the Gryffindor didn't pester when Scorpius politely declined going down for dinner.

The Slytherin thought that today would come to an end in total solitude. He was honestly disappointed when Hermione Granger came barging in, her hands placed against her hips and a no nonsense look on her face.


"No, Malfoy, enough of your stupid secrets!" she thundered. Scorpius flinched at the tone of her voice. Hermione paused, took a deep breath, and deflated. A new emotion appeared on her face, and Scorpius knew that his resolve was dissolving. "I… well, we need to understand what happened this afternoon."

Scorpius expelled a humongous sigh and gave her a withering look. "Ugh, fine, you've always been too pushy," he pointed out, almost bordering whiny. She cracked a small smile and it made him feel a little better.

He then pushed himself off his bed and grabbed his wand. "Meet me in the attic," he said, remembering Dumbledore's letter. "Go bring the others."

"The attic?" she asked, confused. "Why?"

A wry smile appeared on his face. "I'm honestly not sure, too," he said.

Scorpius didn't wait for more of Hermione's pestering and instead travelled upstairs. He could hear the lull of soft conversations in the living room, the adult members of the Order of the Phoenix lounging around.

He had been in the attic numerous times with Al before. Dumbledore was right when he said that there were a lot of weird things inside. He could remember adventurous days with his best friend, spending the whole day discovering new knick knacks to tinker with.

The attic wasn't too different from the one he remembered. It was the room his mother hadn't really touched; thus, he wasn't too surprised nothing had changed.

Scorpius was at a loss of what Dumbledore meant when he hinted about finding something in the attic that could help him with his revelation. He mentally cursed the old wizard, thinking that he had no time for his stupid riddles. His nerves were too frazzled for his mind games; he honestly need some help right now.

"All right, Malfoy, we're here," Granger announced. Behind him were the other suspicious Gryffindors. He breathed a little of relief, seeing that they did not grab any adult Order members to witness his revelation.

"Why'd you choose the attic of all places?" Harry asked, grimacing at the cluttered sight.

He shrugged, chose a particular spot on the floor, and expectantly looked at the other people in the room. He gestured at the empty spots beside him. "I don't have all day," he drawled.

Hermione frowned and was the first to sit beside him. Ginny and Ron followed suit, and it was only Harry who was left standing.

"Harry, come on," Hermione urged.

"I think… I'd rather stand," the suspicious Boy-Who-Lived said, slowly pulling out his wand.

"Suit yourself," Scorpius said, rolling his eyes at the suspicion in Harry's eyes. He looked at each and everyone of them and started, "So what do you want to know?"

Ginny snorted, much to his surprise. "Honestly, Malfoy?" she started. "We don't really know what the bloody hell happened. So maybe the best thing to do is to tell us everything?"

"Everything," he echoed, a wry smile on his face. "I don't know where to start." It was the truth. He had undergone a lot of things for the past few months and he honestly didn't know which were the relevant ones anymore.

"Maybe start by telling us who that was?" Hermione helpfully offered. "The man that the boggart took form of. The one you called 'Dad'."

Scorpius sighed. "That was Draco Malfoy," he continued. It made his heart terribly ache at the blank looks on their faces. "He was… well, he had been prosecuted all of his life for all the wrong choices he made during his youth and everyday, I fear that he would unfairly receive the Dementor's Kiss just for following orders." He ran a hand through his face, suddenly feeling drained. "And yes, as what you've heard, he's my father."

"But isn't Lucius…" Ron faltered and knitted his eyebrows. "Ugh, I don't know what to think anymore."

"Lucius isn't your father. This Draco Malfoy is," Hermione repeated, a faraway look now on her face. She was gazing at the window in the attic and Scorpius could practically see the gears inside her head turning and turning. "But this Draco Malfoy… we have never heard of him."

"Because he doesn't exist in this world," he simply replied. "Not yet, hopefully."

Identical confused faces appeared on the others, but Hermione continued to scrutinize the window.

"Then how - "

"Because you're not from here," Hermione gushed out to cut off Harry's question, her brown eyes now widening in realization. "It makes sense. You act as if you weren't the arrogant, annoying Scorpion King we grew accustomed of because you are not him."

Ginny placed a worried hand on the brunette's shoulder. "That's preposterous, Hermione. I don't think - "

"I'm right, aren't I?" she demanded, this time staring squarely into Scorpius' steely, grey eyes. "Maybe you're from another timeline? Heck, even from another dimension! I know it's too farfetched, but I've read a lot about time-travelling and it's possible. It's the only thing that could explain why everything's been… been confusing and frustrating with you ever since the start of the school-year."

All eyes landed on him, this time horrified that Hermione's suggestion might actually be true. For his reply, Scorpius lightly smiled, his eyes never leaving Hermione's determined look.

"Once again, ladies and gentlemen, the brightest witch of her age did not disappoint."

"No fucking way," Ron breathed out. Harry was too stunned, plopping ungracefully on the floor. Although right, Hermione also looked surprised that her theory was actually true.

"You're from the future?" Ginny shrieked, her red hair suddenly becoming fiery with her disbelief.

Scorpius sighed and once again ran a hand through his head. "Close," he said.

"What do you mean?" Hermione inquired with a frown.

"What I meant was yes, I'm from the future," he said. "Twenty-seven years from now, to be exact. But it's not that simple. It's…" He paused and sighed, racking his brain for a simpler explanation for his anomalous presence in this timeline. "I did use a Time Turner, but it got broken in the process, but somehow, I managed to still travel back in time. The problem is, I seemed to replace my father – yes, he was supposed to be your classmate – and Dumbledore believed that I may have inadvertently made my father cease to exist in this timeline."

Hermione groaned. "That doesn't make any sense," she protested. "Time Turners are made to let people travelback in time, not replace people."

"I know that," the Slytherin snapped. "Which was why I was understandably freaking out when I realized that my own father doesn't exist and I'm the reason why he isn't."

"Okay, okay," Ginny said, obviously still reeling from the conversation. "Hold up. You said the Time Turner was broken when you used it. Correct me if I'm wrong, but a Time Turner should be working to bring people back into time."

"It's some complicated magical shit," Scorpius said, dismissively waving his hand. "I still honestly have no idea what the hell happened, but Dumbledore believed that my undying love for my father and my wish to save him was the reason why Time still permitted me to go back. Think of it in the same sense as how Potter's mother died saving him for love. A child's love for his parent is equally powerful, apparently."

Silence met his claim and Scorpius was at a loss of what to say next to convince them. He was afraid that with this revelation, they'd think he was barmy and would all decide he was too insane to actually help.

"We need proof," Hermione suddenly declared.

"How?" Scorpius tiredly asked, shooting her a withering glance. "If you must know, Granger, I have no means of - " His eyes widened, finally realizing what Dumbledore meant when he said that this attic housed some 'unexpectedly helpful things'.

Scorpius immediately scrambled onto his feet and ignored their questions. He scoured through the old trinkets, searching for an old cabinet he clearly remembered contained a pensieve before. "Aha!" he cried, relieved that the pensieve was still there. He pulled out his wand and levitated the pensieve until it sat in front of the Gryffindors.

"I can show you my memories," Scorpius said, directing his gaze at Hermione. "I think that is proof enough."

She wordlessly nodded her head in agreement.

Taking a deep breath, Scorpius closed his eyes and conjured all the memories he had with his parents and his friends, of the future Wizarding World, and all the good things these people in the room had done for the betterment of their world.

A thin tendril of whitish mist came out from his temple and Scorpius immediately directed it into the magical basin. His memories glowed and swirled around, and Scorpius could already see a distorted image of his father.

"See you inside," he murmured. He touched the magical water and was instantly transported inside.

Scorpius waited for his memory to materialize as the other Gryffindors appeared beside him. Then, the mist conjured an old image of his family, in the vast field of the Malfoy Manor, with a five-year-old Scorpius Malfoy riding his toy broom for the first time.

"That's it, Scorp, you're doing great!" memory Draco hollered as he cupped his hands against his mouth to increase the volume of his voice. Real Scorpius beamed as his younger self zoomed all over the field. He could see how his mother was very pale from the little tricks the child was doing.

His small family soon burst into white mist and formed another memory of little Scorpius, reverently staying beside his sickly mother beside her bed. Astoria had been sickly ever since she bore Scorpius, and he and Draco had religiously stayed by her side every time she fell ill.

"You mustn't cry, my love," memory Astoria said with a smile. "Mummy will get better soon."

"Your mother is Astoria Greengrass?" Ron half-shrieked, half-whispered.

Scorpius smirked. "The one and the same."

The memory disappeared replaced by another one, this time of eleven-year-old Scorpius proudly presenting the Hogwarts acceptance letter to his parents. It was Draco who first stood up from his chair and engulfed his son into a big hug.

The next memory was one in Hogwarts Express, and Scorpius instantly knew this was the first time he'd befriend Albus Severus Potter. He shot a quick glance at Harry, who was intently watching the scene unfolding before their eyes.

"Listen, I know who you are so it's only fair that you know who I am," memory Scorpius said, frowning at the thought that perhaps, if he revealed his true identity to this boy, he wouldn't want to be his friend anymore.

"You're Albus Potter. And I'm Scorpius Malfoy. My parents are Astoria and Draco Malfoy. Our parents…" He looked away and sighed. "Well, they didn't get together very well."

All eyes were on Harry Potter, because honestly, his resemblance with Albus was also uncanny. Potter's eyes, however, were boring onto him.

The next memory this time was a brooding Scorpius in the Slytherin dormitories. Albus was sitting beside him, a hand on his shoulder.

"I don't mind if you stop being my friend, Al," memory Scorpius said, trying to sound cheery. "You wouldn't want to be seen with the bloody son of Moldy Voldemort."

Memory Albus snorted. "I don't care if you're the next Dark Lord, Scorp," he pointed out. "You're my bloody best friend."

"But your dad…" Scorpius sighed and looked down his lap. "He isn't exactly fond of me."

"I'll take care of him."

He instantly recognized the next scene as the one in King's Cross, with his furious father confronting Harry Potter for all the spectators to see.

"I didn't know you can be petty for even thinking of separating two bloody friends, Potter," his father snarled. It was during that day when Scorpius realized that he truly, really, undoubtedly loved his father very much.

The following memory was of fourth year Scorpius Malfoy sitting on his bed, reading a letter from his father.

… Forgive me, Scorpius, but your father has been caught in another conundrum. Things may become difficult for us once again because of my past mistakes. Forgive me, my son…

Tears prickled Scorpius' eyes as the scene changed, this time of a memory of him and Albus near the Hogwarts Lake during that fateful day when he decided to go back into time to save his father.

"I'm going to steal a Time Turner, Al… I'm going back in time and warn my father about the possible consequences of the wrong choices he will make." Real Scorpius was half-tempted to shout that he was fucking insane for even thinking of that.

"Sweet Salazar, Scorpius, this is insane!" Albus exclaimed.

The next memory was of him being stopped by McGonagall, with a broken Time Turner, his tears mingling with the magical sand, and triggering a phenomenon that brought him back into time.

The last memory was of him waking up in his unfamiliar bedroom in the Malfoy Manor, before everything turned into mists and they were transported back into the attic of Grimmauld Place.

Tear tracks were still on his face and Scorpius immediately wiped them away. It was embarrassing enough to cry in front of the stupid Golden Trio, much less doing it twice on the same fucking day.

Silence was very thick while everybody digested everything that had happened. Scorpius could see that all of them were still reeling from what they had seen. He couldn't really fault them, but he hoped that showing his memories could at least help support his preposterous revelation.

"How would we know those aren't false memories," Ron slowly started, prompting Scorpius to scowl. Before he could defend himself, however, he was surprised when Hermione released a tired sigh and gave him a pointed glance. "What? I'm just being cautious."

"It would take a tremendous amount of skill to alter a memory, Ronald," Hermione snapped. Scorpius felt his heart flutter at the conviction in her voice. "It would be obvious if he altered his memories." She shot a quick glance at the Slytherin and frowned. "No offense, Malfoy, but I think you aren't skilled enough."

He shrugged, completely concurring with her words.

"Hermione's right." Scorpius' eyes widened as they landed on Potter. The look on his face was indecipherable. "I've seen Slughorn's altered memories. They're obvious; you'd instantly know if something's wrong. His memories, though…" His emerald eyes landed onto his form. "I believe they're true."

"Well then, Weasley, have I convinced you enough?" Scorpius snarled. Ron glared at his shoes but chose not to comment anything further. "Now that you know my terrible secret, everything's fine and dandy now, yeah? Maybe you could stop pestering me for today and leave me alone now."

Hermione stepped forward and tried to reach for him but he stepped back. "Malfoy…"

"I said leave me alone," he grounded out.

"Come on, Hermione," Ginny murmured, grasping onto Hermione's arm. Scorpius didn't look back at the door until he heard it close right behind them. By the time they were gone, Scorpius released a humongous sigh and looked at the pensieve once more.

He felt his tears build up in his eyes again as he slowly approached the basin on the floor. He touched the tip of his wand at his temple and extracted more memories for him to view. If he couldn't return back to his own timeline, then the universe shouldn't fault him if he would relieve them over and over again.

The days following his revelation went by in a blur. Nobody made a peep about their discovery and Scorpius was eternally grateful. Most of his nights, he would venture into the attic to view his memories in the pensieve. Perhaps, it was his way of saying goodbye to the people he had loved for sixteen years.

Soon, it was the night before Christmas, and Scorpius was found alone in his room. Mrs. Weasley's dinner was of course scrumptious, and the infamous Weasley twins had finally arrived to celebrate Christmas with the family the next day. Normally, he would have loved to interact with Fred and George Weasley, but he was still feeling under the weather. He knew the twins were also curious with his strange presence in Grimmauld Place, but had surprisingly left him alone ever since.

In his solitude, Scorpius took that time to start sending Christmas gifts. He owled his gifts for his Slytherin acquaintances, sent Narcissa's handkerchief with a letter beseeching her to be careful, and he also sent Dumbledore's and Snape's gift. He took deliberate care in owling Astoria's gift, bewitching her lilies of the valley to be everlasting so that she could keep it this time.

He also owled the gifts he bought for Neville and Luna, seeing that they wouldn't be in Grimmauld Place during the break. For the others, Scorpius reckoned it would be such a waste to owl it to them when they were living under the same roof. He would just wake up extra early tomorrow and place the gifts under the Christmas tree to avoid any awkward gift giving in his part. He was especially jittery about his gift for Potter, still mentally cursing himself for impulsively buying a gift that his best friend would undoubtedly appreciate.

It was nearing midnight when all of the gifts were sent. Scorpius was preparing to go to bed when he noticed the lone silver box still sitting on the table.

'Oh, right,' he thought as he slowly approached the gift and clutched it in his hands. His tired owl had finally come back from his last excursion, and he was about to go to sleep. Scorpius knew it was stupid for even thinking of sending it to his father and bothering the owl at the same time, but he couldn't stop himself.

"Sorry, mate," he murmured, stroking the rich feathers of his eagle owl, Apollo. "This will be the last one."

Apollo howled in protest and nipped his finger, but allowed him to finally tie the gift around his neck. His owl took flight and Scorpius watched from his window, wondering if anybody would even be there to receive his gift.

He was awakened by the streams of sunlight on his face. Scorpius groggily opened his eyes and sat up on his bed. For a moment, he took in the state of the moldy, smelly bedroom he had claimed as his own, before his eyes landed on the table beside his bed.

Apollo was slumbering on his bed, his gift for Draco still tied around his leg.

Scorpius heart sank as he stood up from his bed and untied the gift. Apollo hooted in annoyance at being disturbed, hiding his face using his humongous wings.

Sighing, Scorpius hid the box inside his trunk and sat back down on his bed, already deciding that this was the worst Christmas he ever had.

Chapter Text

Unsurprisingly, his schoolmates were quite surprised he even thought of buying Christmas gifts for them. Also unsurprisingly, they all embarrassingly voiced out they didn't buy him anything in return.

"I figured," he said with a nonchalant shrug. "It doesn't matter."

Granted, he received numerous gifts from his so-called Slytherin friends and even from Narcissa. They were all wonderfully expensive, but none were actually quite useful for the Malfoy heir. Narcissa gave him a new set of handsome black robes for his ever-growing collection. Blaise, Crabbe, and Goyle pitched in and gave him numerous piles of chocolates. Pansy, with a hint of her bloody perfume, gave him a new set of expensive ties that could go well with his new robes. Scorpius had a sinking feeling she connived with Narcissa so that she could supplement his grandmother's gift.

Apart from their gifts, he received abundant knick knacks from his admirers. Despite his bleak mood, Scorpius couldn't help but to snort in amusement. He could already picture Al unceasingly teasing him for having his very own fan club that would never happen back in his time.

While the others were busy exchanging gifts and opening them, Scorpius excused himself and went to his room to brood until Christmas ends. He ignored Granger's worried glance and purposively stomped into his room and closed the door behind him.

Scorpius was surprised to see two boxes on his bed. One was gaudy, with sickening glitters and even beads that was undoubtedly Luna. The other was a simple box wrapped in green. Scorpius chose to open the first flashy box and slightly smiled at the unmistakable Spectrespecs nestled inside.

He picked an equally gaudy card and read:


This will come handy to dispel the wrackspurts. You have plenty of them most of the time.


The Slytherin, recognizing the make-believe creatures the odd Ravenclaw loved to yammer about, smiled wider and placed his gift on the bedside table. Although weird, he couldn't help but feel touched that at least one of the DA Core remembered to get him a gift on this bloody day.

Scorpius then would grab the other, less flashy gift and inspected it in every corner. A small note fell onto his bed and as he opened it, he instantly recognized the neat handwriting of Astoria.


To be honest, it is hard to buy a gift for the great Scorpion King. I'm going to guess that you've received gifts far more expensive than mine, but this is truly the only gift I could only think of. After all, you seemed fond of these since you never seem to run out of them.

Merry Christmas! I hope you are having a great day.


He felt his heart seize at the thought that his mother at least remembered him on this seemingly tiring day. With slightly shaking hands, he tore the gift wrapper and opened the box. Inside were numerous toffees that could last him for a whole year.

The grin on his face stretched wide and long, and Scorpius was afraid his face would hurt soon. His mother never failed to pack him some toffees every time he left for Hogwarts and although Draco always scolded her for indulging his sweet tooth, Astoria never listened and managed to sneak a few boxes in his trunk.

'At least something good happened today,' he thought, feeling his eyes prick as he grabbed one toffee inside and tore the wrapper open.

As he popped the mouthwatering candy inside his mouth, a small tear slid down from his eye.

He was roused from his sleep due to the incessant knocking from his bedroom door. Groaning, Scorpius forced himself to sit up and glance at the small clock on his bedside table. It blared three thirty in the afternoon, and he was quite disappointed this day wouldn't hurry up and end.

"What?!" he snarled.

The intruder pushed the door open and Scorpius was honestly expecting to see an annoying bushy-haired girl at the other side. Instead, Harry Potter stood outside his threshold, an unreadable expression on his face. For a minute, Scorpius stared back at his best friend's father, waiting for Harry to at least explain his sudden intrusion.

"Well?" Scorpius snapped irately. "What the hell do you want?"

Harry invited himself in and closed the door behind him. There was something in his eyes that unsettled Scorpius immensely, but he refused to squirm under the Gryffindor's weird stare.

"Everybody's participating in a Quidditch game and we need another Seeker," Potter replied.

Scorpius' eyes almost popped out of their sockets. He wasn't expecting that from The-Boy-Who-Lived. "Well, isn't the Weaslette a decent Seeker?" he asked. "Why don't you offer that position to her instead?"

"Ginny insisted on being a Chaser," he grumbled, looking away in annoyance. "And you know how Hermione's irrationally afraid of riding a broom. She actually suggested that we invite you instead, seeing that you've been a Seeker for the Slytherin team before… Err… well, assuming that you're a seeker in your time."

The blond snorted, not surprised that it would be Granger's idea to include him in their little game. "And you're the one inviting me here instead because…?"

Harry glared at him darkly but Scorpius couldn't help but notice the red tinge on his cheeks. "Just because, Malfoy," he snarled. "So are you in or not? Or are you too afraid to lose against me?"

Scorpius rolled his eyes. "Really, Potter, I'm actually quite a brilliant Seeker in my time," he snapped back. "Because of me, the Slytherin team had been consistently winning the Quidditch Cup for years. In fact, if people aren't too blinded with the fact that I'm the bloody son of an ex-Death Eater, they'd acknowledge that next to you, I'm the second best. Even your bloody son could vouch for that."

He wasn't quite sure why he'd suddenly said all those things. Perhaps, now that the DA Core knew about his darkest secret, all the mundane things from his past – well, their future – just suddenly poured out from his mouth.

The irritation on the raven-haired boy disappeared, replaced by that unreadable expression on his face again. "So, are you joining or not?" he asked in the end.

Scorpius, actually bored out of his wits, knew it would be pointless to brood inside his room until Christmas Day ended. The least he could do was to distract himself and Quidditch was a brilliant distraction. He wouldn't let this opportunity pass.

"Let me just get my gear," he said, pushing himself off his bed and sauntering closer to his trunk. He half-expected Potter to leave now, but when he turned, all his gear hugged tightly against his chest, he was surprised to see that the Gryffindor was still standing inside his room.

Conflicting emotions raced on Harry Potter's face. They may not be close in this time period, but Scorpius had been around Albus to know that something was wrong. His best friend always had that same look on his face when he was about to ask something sensitive or announce a bad news. Scorpius wasn't sure which he wanted to hear more.

"What is it, Potter?" he finally snapped. "You look like you ate something really atrocious."

The conflicting emotions continued to run through Potter's face until only exhaustion and clear curiosity remained. He plopped down on the only decent chair in the room and looked at him squarely in his eyes. "When we viewed your memories in the pensieve, there's something that really bothered me."

Scorpius quirked an eyebrow, but did not say anything in reply. Instead, he expectantly looked at Potter and waited for him to finally confess whatever that was bothering him.

"There was a scene, of an older me, talking to… well, your father," Harry slowly started, knitting his eyebrows as he recalled that particular memory. "Your father said something about…" His voice faltered as his emerald eyes grew troubled. "He said something about me being petty because I separated two friends. He didn't particularly say any names, but I hazarded we're speaking about you and my… my son." He made a face, as if he still could not believe that in the future he would be a father.

"Well, the future would be harsh for the Malfoy family," Scorpius started, spreading his arms wide. "Which is why I'm here now, yeah?"

Harry didn't look amused. "But… I don't get it," he insisted. "Why would I do something like that? If someone told me I'd be forbidden to see Ron and Hermione, I'd rebel."

Scorpius snorted. "Al isn't exactly 'Son of the Year'," he explained. "If you'd want a model son in the future, you'll have James, really."

Harry's eyes widened. "I'll have another son?" he gasped.

"Yeah, and your youngest will be a girl," Scorpius nonchalantly shrugged. The astonishment on his face was comical. "Spoilers, I know, but you bloody know I'm from the future already so what the bloody hell?"

The Gryffindor ran a hand through his hair, still clearly in disbelief. "Blimey… I…" He cleared his throat and frowned at Scorpius. "I honestly cannot believe I'll be selfish enough to separate two friends. One thing I've realized in Hogwarts was that friendship could help you get through everything, through thick and thin, life and death. I figured from all of your memories that you have a bloody strong bond with my future son."

"You don't exactly like me, Potter," Scorpius pointed out. "Hell, you don't exactly like my family. I did warn your son our families didn't get along during first year. But stubborn Al stuck through and through. The bloke wouldn't leave my side, if you ask me."

Harry gave his wide grin a weird glance. "You're really that close?" he asked. When Scorpius nodded his head. "My son… best friends with a Malfoy. What has the world gotten into?"

"A brutal war, that's what," Scorpius said. When Harry looked questioning, he continued, "I've learned everything that happened during this time period, Potter. Things weren't exactly fine and dandy. I admit that my ancestors had been atrocious… blimey, Lucius was fucking insane for even thinking of bringing my family into all of this mess. I still believe that my father had just been unfairly dragged into all of this despite how the world treated him in the future. Which is why I'm here, sacrificing my own bloody life just so I could give him a life that he deserved."

He was looking at him as if he was someone different… someone he didn't know. But then again, Harry Potter didn't know him one bit. He only remembered him as the bully, an echo of what his father had been to them during his younger years.

"And you are best friends with my son…" He paused, a devastated look on his face. "Had I really been unfair?"

"You thought I was a dark cloud to your son," Scorpius said with a nonchalant shrug. "No hard feelings, Potter, really. There's been a rumor going around that I'm the son of the Dark Lord and I'd assume his position once I'm older. I couldn't fault the tired Boy-Who-Lived for being cautious."

Harry still looked distressed, much to Scorpius surprise. "My son… Al?" The blond nodded his head. "How was my… err… you know… relationship with him?"

Scorpius' quirked an eyebrow, surprised. "You want the brutal truth, Potter?" Harry paled, already guessing what he would answer. "Abysmal. Atrocious. Horrendous, Potter. You both don't exactly get along."

The Gryffindor ran a tired hand through his face. "And here I am, promising myself I'd be a good father to my children after having a particularly… difficult childhood. That I will build a great family I never experienced at all," he sighed, his face crumpling as he looked down at his hands.

Scorpius sadly smiled. "You want to know a secret though, Potter?" He waited for Harry to look at him once again before continuing. "You both are so bloody alike. It's stupidly uncanny."

Harry looked dubious, but Scorpius continued. "Remember, I've been best friends with the bloke for six years," he reminded. "I know Al like the back of my palm. You are alike more than you both cared to admit."

Somehow, this made Potter smile, although a little sadly, too. "Would you tell me more about my son?" he softly asked, his voice sounding more vulnerable than he had ever heard before. The way Potter's eyes were shining made Scorpius heart squeeze a tad bit, realizing that all the great hero of the Wizarding World really wanted was for a family to love and to cherish.

"I've spoiled too much about your future already, Potter," Scorpius said with an apologetic smile. "I think you've been itching to confirm who your wife would be in the future, but you and I both know that you already hazarded a guess. You have to experience handling Albus Potter firsthand to understand him, really. The bloke's quite a handful if you ask me."

Harry sighed, clearly disappointed.

"But, can I give an advice?" Harry frowned and waited for him to continue. "Your hero status is… will be particularly hard for Albus. Your eldest will bask under the glory of it all but not Al. I may or may not be exaggerating if I say that he'd hate it immensely. So, you know, be patient with him, all right? He can be difficult at times, but he's a really decent bloke. He keeps to himself most of the time, so I think if you'd nudge him in the right direction, you'd be able to let him open up to you."

Once he was done with his small speech, Harry was looking at him incredulously. "You really do know a lot about him, don't you?" he asked.

Scorpius snorted. "Potter, he's my best mate. I love him to bits and pieces and he knows it, no matter how much he tells me I'm a super sap about it most of the time. But he knows I'll do anything for him. People used to speculate that, you know, we might be more than friends" – Harry's emerald eyes widened in shock – "but blimey, Al knew I have a massive crush on R… err… his cousin. Besides, he likes to make googly eyes at Jane MacMillan. He has no time for a handsome lad like me."

To his surprise, Potter guffawed. Scorpius found himself grinning back, realizing that this might actually be the first time Harry Potter was relaxed in his presence.

"You know what, Malfoy? I should have known that you're not exactly the guy we know in the past because you most definitely do not act like the Scorpion King," Harry pointed out. "I knew that you'd been acting strange, but I thought it was just because of what happened to your family and… you know." He gestured at his covered Dark Mark.

"I'm actually an aberrance in a long line of coldhearted bastards," Scorpius said with a grin. "Lucius' portrait used to lament I have too much of my mother in me, which my father never forgot to gladly thank Merlin every day."

Harry was about to reply something in return, when Scorpius' bedroom door banged open. A disgruntled Hermione came inside and scowled.

"What's taking you both so long?" she snapped, crossing her arms across her chest. Both he and Potter exchanged an amused glance. "The others wouldn't stop pestering me until I retrieved you both out of this bloody room."

"We just had a deep heart-to-heart talk, Granger," Scorpius said, prompting Harry to snort in amusement.

"Yeah, okay, can you please continue that some other time so that I can go back to my reading? Thank you." She snarled, turned on her heels, and stomped out of the room.

Once she was gone, Harry said, "Please tell me Hermione will never change."

Scorpius grinned widely. "Oh, she never will," he said. "Trust me."

"Fina-fucking-ly!" Ron yelled as Harry and Scorpius arrived in the vast snow-covered field at the back of Grimmauld Place. "What the bloody hell did you both do that took you so long to get your arses here?"

"Ronald Bilius Weasley, if I hear another swear word from that mouth of yours, I will personally drag you into the kitchen and 'Scourgify' your mouth until they bled clean!" Molly Weasley exclaimed as she trailed behind the newcomers, balancing a tray of refreshments with her wand.

Ron paled at Molly's threats. "Right, Mum, sorry about that," he mumbled, immediately grabbing a glass of pumpkin juice and downing it with one gulp.

"Now boys and girls, I trust that you'll both be good. No breaking of bones or any shenanigans. You hear me?!"

"Aye aye, Mum, we're all adults here," Fred – or George? – claimed. "We promise to all be really good."

Molly narrowed her eyes. "I'm most nervous with you both," she said, pertaining to her twins. Then, to Hermione, who was lounging on a seat and busy reading a book, she said, "Hermione, could you be a dear and prevent any injuries or any fights?"

Hermione sighed. "Of course, Mrs. Weasley," she said, although Scorpius could detect that she'd be helpless in case any of those really happened. Grinning, Scorpius couldn't wait for the game to start, his adrenaline already coursing through his veins.

The Weasley matriarch soon left and they were all divided into groups. Harry was teammates with Ron and Fred, while Scorpius was teamed up with Ginny and George.

"We're short of members, so there'll be no Keepers in this game," Harry explained. "So… you know, improvise. Do whatever it takes to make sure the Quaffle doesn't get to the other team."

Scorpius quirked an eyebrow at the excited grins on their faces. He had a real feeling this game would be nowhere near clean and injury-free.

"So, Malfoy, we heard you don't belong here," Fred – or George? – piped in, sidling beside him.

Eyes widening, Scorpius threw a panicked glance at the other DA Core members. Ron was unable to meet his gaze while Ginny rolled her eyes.

"Ronald dearest wasn't able to keep his mouth shut," Ginny explained. "Don't worry; they're the only ones who know. So far, if Ron still plans to gallivant around and start sprouting secrets that wasn't his to reveal."

"I wasn't planning to, anyway," Ron said in defense.

Scorpius sighed, but warily gazed at the other twin. He wasn't quite sure who Fred or George was, but what he was most likely sure was that only George would survive the impending war. It unsettled him, seeing the twins together, and Scorpius didn't have the heart to converse with them, no matter how much he really wanted to. He was afraid he'd slip and reveal that there would be no Fred in the future.

Instead, he busied himself in staring at Harry Potter's broom and realized that he was staring at the one and only Firebolt.

"Blimey," he gasped, sauntering closer to admire the broomstick. "These things are ancient." He grinned and gestured wildly at the broom. "They're unbelievably rare in the future, but from what I've read, they're one of the bests."

"Only the best for our 'Boy-Who-Lived'," Ron proudly announced, prompting Harry's cheeks to redden.

"Nimbuses are also quite rare in the future too," Scorpius said, gesturing at his own Nimbus 2001. "I can't believe they stopped manufacturing them when it's actually a decent brand."

"Please tell me the broomsticks of the future would be wicked," Ginny begged, making a face at her second-hand Cleansweep.

Scorpius grinned, remembering his own Starsweeper XXIII. It was the love of his life, and he vowed to never part from it. However, of course, circumstances have changed and he missed it immensely. "Oh, they would be wicked, all right," he finally replied.

Harry then called for them to mount their brooms and get ready to play. With a flick of his wand, the harnesses were removed from the balls used in the game and Scorpius finally kicked off the snow-covered ground.

In the air, at least for a moment, he forgot all his present problems. For now, there was no Voldemort, no impending war, no saving of fathers and sacrificing of oneself.

For now, there was only Quidditch, and Scorpius was temporarily happy.

The ruckus from the living room was still loud and delightful. Scorpius found himself surprisingly engaging in conversation with the other occupants of Grimmauld Place for at least an hour when he thought he'd spend the remaining hours of this stupid day in his room. Perhaps the adrenaline from the Quidditch game a while ago lifted up his spirits, prompting him to interact with the others for a bit.

But then, the happiness fizzled, and Scorpius excused himself quietly, thankful that no one seemed to mind when he slipped out of the room. They were all decent company, really, but Christmas held too much meaning and memory for him; it didn't surprise him that he started missing his family once more.

Instead of going straight to his bedroom, Scorpius found himself wandering into a room Al and him used to venture back home. He made a face, noticing that the room was unkempt and bare; Astoria made this place lovelier and brighter, with quaint furniture stylishly positioned. But all that was left in the Family Tapestry Room was a moldy chair and dust-filled floorboards. The family tapestry though was impeccably clean. Scorpius figured Kreacher might have only religiously cleaned this tapestry that bore the Black Family he so loved.

Brandishing out his wand, he magicked a particular spot on the floor clean and sat down on it. For a moment, he let his eyes aimlessly wander throughout the tapestry, his eyes finally lingering on his name that connected immediately to Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy. Although he expected this, he half-wished that Draco's name would pop up somehow.

"What are you doing here?"

Scorpius blinked and gazed at the curious brown eyes of Hermione Granger. Her bushy hair was haphazardly held back into a high ponytail and there was this stubborn curl which she kept on absentmindedly brushing away. She looked positively tired, maybe a little intoxicated after drinking one too many eggnogs, since her face was flushed red.

"What are you doing here?" he shot back. He frowned when Hermione merely shrugged, brandished out her wand, and cleaned the spot beside him.

He watched as her eyes gazed around, clear surprise on her face.

"I didn't know this room existed," she said. Slowly then, she lifted her hands and brushed her fingers against his embroidered name. She traced the branches from his name back until her fingers hovered over Lucius' name. "Draco Malfoy's name isn't here."

"I did tell you I somehow inadvertently replaced him in this timeline," he pointed out.

The sadness in her eyes made his heart squeeze a tiny bit. "What's he like?" she whispered. "Your father?"

"He's… not exactly a great person," Scorpius started with a soft chuckle. "He did tell me that you punched him in the nose back in third year for being a foul, loathsome cockroach. Those were your exact words, I believe."

Her eyes widened in surprise. "But…" She pointed her finger at his pointy nose. "I punched you back in third year for being a foul, loathsome cockroach…" Hermione groaned and clutched her head. "Merlin, are you telling me every interaction we had in the past were actually with your bloody father?"

"Yes, Granger, magic is weird," he said with a wide grin. "All the Scorpion King memories you had were actually false." Shaking his head, he continued, "You know what? I was called 'Scorpion King' back in my time, but not exactly as reverently as how people in this timeline call me." Sighing, Scorpius shook his head and smiled. "It's strange, really, for everybody to have memories of my father, only with my face replacing him."

"Magic is weird," she echoed, prompting his smile to widen. Hermione tiredly rubbed her eye and then hugged her knees closer to her chest. Placing her chin on top, she continued, "So… your father. You said he's not a great man. Then, why sacrifice your life back home and return to this time period? Why return to a time when war is apparent and not merely a short chapter in your schoolbooks?"

"Because, despite not being great, my father is a good man," Scorpius replied with utmost conviction. He noticed the small smile that appeared on Hermione's face. "That despite his past misgivings, my father is actually good and he loves his family very much. I grew up witnessing how he tried to desperately right all the wrongs he had done, and not merely just to save face and continue to uphold the prestige our family name used to have. No, he tried desperately hard because he knew it was the right thing to do, but the stupid Wizarding World wouldn't just give the man a break and appreciate his efforts."

He yanked his left sleeve up to reveal the faint Dark Mark against his pale skin. Hermione frowned at the sight, maybe even flinched a little, but Scorpius didn't mind it.

"You know, in the future, this mark is almost faded," he continued. "My father can even wear short sleeves out; his mark can only be noticed if people looked really hard. But every time people looked at my father, all they could see was this Mark, faded, covered, or not."

Scorpius darkly glared at the tattoo and was half-tempted to claw it away until his skin bled red. "This mark caused unending misery and no matter how much love my mother showered to my father, he was still haunted by his past and I…" His voice cracked with emotion, and he paused to clear his throat. Hermione's hand instinctively rested on his arm. "I can't just stand aside and watch the world destroy my father. I knew I had to do something to help him."

"But in exchange, you have to leave your world," she whispered in reply.

Pain stabbed through his heart, but he managed to crack a shaky smile. "Who said I can't go back?" he lamely cajoled, but Hermione merely pointedly stared at him.

"I've done some research, Malfoy," she said. "About… time travelling and any strange phenomena involving it. It's… everything is still so bloody complicated, but one thing I understood is that if you tried to go back to your time, everything may reset back to however it was before you even time travelled in this timeline. Hence, if you tried to go back, your father might not be - "

" – saved," he finished, his shaky smile turning wry. "Blimey, Granger, five points to Gryffindor. How did you even find the time to research such things?"

She shrugged, a weak smile on her face. "I did tell you you make my brain itch," she reminded. "When you told me about your predicament, I knew that the only solution to answer almost all of my questions is to start researching."

Despite his heavy heart, he guffawed. "Gods, you need to get a life," he said, shaking his head.

Hermione rolled her eyes. "There's nothing wrong about research," she said. She jutted her chin at his Dark Mark and grimaced. "I also tried to research about removing any cursed marks on a person's skin, and until now, the results are nil."

Scorpius' eyes widened. "You're researching about the removal of the Dark Mark?" he asked, surprised. Her cheeks pinkened a little, but she nodded nonetheless. "What? Why?"

She shrugged once more and looked away from his searching gaze. "Well… I figured that after the War has ended and presumably we won, sooner if your assistance proves really helpful, you'd try to do everything that you could just to remove any signs of Voldemort on your skin. I thought… well… you know…"

"As a matter of fact, I was really planning on researching on how to remove the Dark Mark," he said with a disbelieving grin. "Before I made this stupid self-sacrificing act, I wanted to become a Master Potioneer so that I could invent a potion to permanently remove the mark for my father."

"Well, after we graduate, you can still do that for your own mark," she pointed out.

Scorpius made a face. "So I am stuck here forever," he said. He gave her a sidelong glance and sighed. "That is, if anyone is willing to take me under their wing just so I can become a Master Potioneer in the future, Granger."

"Well, there's always Professor Snape," she offered. "He might be dour and cranky, but I think he likes you enough to take you under his wing."

He merely smiled, not wanting to reveal that their current DADA professor was destined to live a short life.

"You know what, Granger," he said instead. "I wasn't really sure why I started confiding those things to you."

The smile she gave him was wide and brilliant. "Perhaps, because we're already close?" she suggested.

Scorpius snorted. "You wish," he replied. "If you get too close enough, Granger, you might not be ready to handle that the Scorpion King you loved to hate all your life is actually a clumsy, dorky bloke that loves his toffees too much. Al always pointed out that it was preposterous for me to be accused as the Dark Lord's bloody son because I'm throwing dandiness in my wake. It disgusts his brooding self most of the time."

To his surprise, she giggled, her eyes lighting up in amusement. "Merlin, Malfoy, you are bloody weird," she said. "Maybe if your past self – or your father? – acted a bit like you before, we might have been friends."

"Right, yes, befriending you was topmost priority ever since I went back in time," he joked. "Blimey, imagine being friends with the brilliant future Mi - " He abruptly stopped, grinning widely when he realized he almost revealed Hermione's future position in the Wizarding World.

"What?" she asked, narrowing her eyes. "Future what?"

"That's a secret, Granger," he said. "Maybe if we are close enough, I'd be able to tell you already."

She scowled, obviously annoyed that he was once again keeping secrets. "You're insufferable," she snapped.

"That's undeniable, yes."

Hermione rolled her eyes, but he noticed that she was trying her hardest not to smile in return. Briefly glancing at his wristwatch, he noticed that it was already past midnight. Eyes widening a little, he was surprised that he managed to talk to Granger for an hour in this dank room without noticing the time.

"I think it's best if we both retire for the night," he said. "It has been a really long day."

As if on cue, she released a wide yawn before sleepily smiling. "I think you're right," she said, already standing up from the floor. "Goodnight, Malfoy."

Scorpius also climbed up onto his feet as Hermione started to stride towards the door. Before she left, though, she craned her neck and called out his name.

"You know, for what it's worth, I think what you did was really brave."

The Slytherin scowled. "Why is everyone telling me that?" he snarled. "You make me sound like a bloody Gryffindor."

"You're going to be a decent Gryffindor, that's for sure," she said with a teasing grin.

"Please take that back, bloody hell."

Hermione's grin widened as she shook her head. "No scratch that. I think you're going to be a wonderful Gryffindor."

Scorpius made a disgusted sound at the back of his throat. "I'm going to pretend you never said those words ever, Granger. Good-bloody-night," he dismissed.

She chuckled under breath, bid him another soft good night, and retired for the night.

Once he was alone, Scorpius chanced another quick glance at his name on the family tapestry.

As he climbed back to his bedroom that night, Scorpius wondered if, wherever his father was right now, Draco might also think that what Scorpius really did for his family was brave and good.

Chapter Text

"Why are we in the attic again?" Ron Weasley asked as he, together with Ginny, Harry, and Hermione strode inside. Scorpius gave them a small smirk as they all settled down on the floorboards beside him, expectantly waiting for him to explain this sudden secret rendezvous.

"Okay, now that we are all here and the drama of my deep, dark secret has finally ended, I think it's finally time to tell you why I'm really here in Grimmauld Place for the holidays," he explained.

Harry quirked an eyebrow and leant forward. "You mean to say revealing your true origins wasn't part of your plan?" he asked.

Scorpius snorted. "Trust me, Potter, if that stupid boggart didn't appear, you might only know who I really am after the war," he clarified. "So no, that wasn't part of my plan for staying here in Grimmauld Place. The real reason is because there's a horcrux in this house."

"What?" Ginny shrieked, blue eyes widening in surprise. "And you only thought of telling us that now?"

The Slytherin nonchalantly shrugged as if it wasn't a big deal. "Hey, things had been hectic for me these past few days all right. So you should forgive me for momentarily forgetting something minuscule for the mission."

Hermione snorted in return. "'Minuscule' is a huge understatement, Malfoy," she pointed out with a frown. "You should have told us on the very first day that there's a horcrux in this bloody house. I mean, blimey, we've been staying here for years!"

"And ruin Christmas for you lot?" he asked, shaking his head. "I figured I'd let that jolly holiday pass first before I finally reveal the plan."

The identical scowls on their faces amused him immensely. Admittedly, he did forget why he was in Grimmauld Place for the past few days. All the drama revolving his final reveal consumed most of his thoughts; he had no room for other things. But then again, now that everything had died down, now that he could feel that the DA Core were starting to warm up to him, he finally remembered his mission.

"So where is it?" Harry demanded.

"And what is it?" Hermione piped in.

"It's with Kreacher, and it's Slytherin's locket," Scoprius answered both. "You do know about Sirius' younger brother, yeah?"

The others stiffened at the mention of the deceased wizard, but Harry remained thankfully stoic. "Yeah," he echoed. "Regulus Black. He assumed heirship when Si-Sirius ran away from home and got disowned." He cleared his throat and looked down at his hands. "That was, of course, before he went missing and was presumably dead."

"He is most definitely dead," Scorpius somberly replied. "And yes, his body was never found. But… well…. in the future, his heroic deed would be realized."

"Heroic deed?" Hermione echoed, knitting her eyebrows. "What do you mean? Isn't he a..."

"…Death Eater, yes," Scorpius said with a nod. "But what people during this time failed to know, it was Regulus Black who first discovered about Voldemort's secret to immortality. He knew that Slytherin's locket housed a piece of Voldemort's soul and was hidden away in an isolated cave to protect it. He died trying to retrieve it and switch it with a fake, which he successfully did, and now only an exact replica is sitting inside that secret cave."

He glanced at Harry and wryly smiled. "You should thank me, Potter, because I just saved you from some tedious, useless adventure with Dumbledore," he added.

Unsurprisingly, Harry looked confused with his words. But, instead of voicing it out, he asked, "And you're sure that the locket is with Kreacher?"

"Positively sure," he said with a resolute nod. "Regulus trusted his house-elf to destroy the locket, but as we all know, only Fiendfyre and basilisk venom could destroy it. Apparently, house-elf magic still proved powerless against horcruxes."

"Well, good luck on asking help from that menace," Ron spat, making a face. "He'd been nothing but horrendous to us ever since the Order occupied this house." Then, gesturing to Harry, he continued, "Harry could always try since technically, he owns Kreacher now, but the house-elf disliked listening to anyone that isn't a Pureblood."

Scorpius quirked an eyebrow. "I'm pretty sure you're a Pureblood, Weasley," he pointed out.

"Well, actually, we're Blood Traitors," Ginny corrected with a serene smile. "We still don't count, Malfoy."

The Malfoy heir shrugged. "We still could try," he said. "Regulus' dying wish was for Kreacher to do whatever it takes to destroy the horcrux. If Kreacher discovered we could help him, I'm sure he'd comply."

"We could do that, yes," Hermione said with a solemn nod. "But I think we should do that later at night." She looked at her watch and sighed. "It's nearing lunch and you know how Mrs. Weasley gets when we're late for lunch."

"All right," Scorpius said, resolutely nodding. "Let's meet up here again at 8 pm sharp."

8 pm came sooner than Scorpius had expected. Now, he found himself inside the cramped attic once more, this time with a delightful addition to his small group.

Kreacher was a far cry from his prim and proper Ditzy. The old house elf was dirty and smelly, the pillowcase covering his small body smeared with different stains Scorpius did not wish to point out. To complete his horrible appearance, a dark scowl marred his wizened face.

"You called for Kreacher, Harry Potter, sir?" the house-elf croaked, and Scorpius slightly flinched at how he spat 'sir' to address his reluctant owner.

Potter made a face and glared at Scorpius, silently telling him it was all his fault he had to interact with the annoying house elf. "Yes, well," the raven-haired boy started, "it has come to my knowledge that you possess Slytherin's locket, which was given to you by Regulus Black."

Unsurprisingly, Kreacher stiffened. A look of distrust colored his face, his narrowed eyes suspiciously glancing from one Gryffindor to another.

"Kreacher does not know anything about a locket, Harry Potter, sir," he snarled. "Great Master Regulus Black never left a locket to Kreacher, Harry Potter, sir."

"Cut the crap, Kreacher," Ron growled, annoyed with his defensiveness. He suddenly grabbed him by the collar and dragged him closer to him. "We know that you're hiding Slytherin's locket and we really fucking need it."

"Ron!" Hermione exclaimed, aghast with his actions. "Quit it!"

The redhead reluctantly let go of the frightened house-elf, who scrambled as far away from Ron as possible.

"Kreacher," Hermione called, this time with a level-headed voice. "Please, we really need that locket. We understand that your previous master asked you to destroy it, and we know that you've tried your hardest for the past few years. But then, the locket proved to be difficult to destroy and you've been reverently hiding it and honoring the request of your master."

Scorpius watched as the house-elf's eyes grew wide like golf balls, and he honestly thought Hermione had finally convinced him to cooperate, but to their utmost surprise, Kreacher spat at her feet and bared his teeth. "Kreacher does not let himself be ordered by mudbloods."

Harry growled and tried to grab hold of the insolent house-elf, but the brunette latched onto his arm. "Harry, really, it's not worth it," she said with a sigh.

"Kreacher does not let himself be ordered by blood-traitors, too!" the house-elf continued with his shrill tirade. "Oh, the Mistress Walburga will be aghast! Poor, poor mistress. Grimmauld Place is crawling with vermin!" His eyes filled with tears of guilt and disgust. "Forgive Kreacher, Mistress! Forgive Kreacher, Master Regulus!" He then started to hit his head unceasingly against the floorboards and Scorpius was starting to get nauseous with the sound he was making.

"Bloody hell, stop!" Scorpius cried. Everybody froze, including Kreacher. The house-elf looked at him with wide eyes, and the blond took that as a sign to continue. "I'm Scorpius Malfoy and my mother is Narcissa Malfoy, and I'm sure you know her as the daughter of Druella and Cygnus Black."

"Young Mistress Narcissa," he breathed out, finally calmed down. "Yes, yes, Kreacher remembers Young Mistress Narcissa."

Scorpius breathed out a huge sigh of relief. "So technically, there is Black blood coursing through my veins," he pointed out. "If you refuse to listen to blood-traitors and mud… er muggle-borns, then for the love of Merlin, Kreacher, at least listen to me."

The house-elf grew pensive, and Scorpius waited with bated breath. Finally, Kreacher walked closer to Scorpius until he was standing in front of him. "Kreacher does not understand why Young Mistress Narcissa's son is in the company of these blood-traitors and mudbloods, but Kreacher vowed to serve the Blacks until Kreacher's very last breath. What does Young Master Scorpius want from Kreacher?"

He saw the collective sigh the others expelled, prompting Scorpius to smile a little. "Like what that lovely woman said a while ago," he started, gesturing at Hermione, who raised her eyebrow at the adjective, "We know that Regulus Black left you Slytherin's locket and trusted you to destroy it."

Kreacher's eyes suddenly filled with tears once more. "Kreacher tried his very hardest, but the locket does not destroy," he wailed, his hairy, large ears dropping until the tips touched the attic floor. "Kreacher knew he failed Master Regulus. Kreacher is very much sorry, Master Regulus!"

His wailings grew wilder and louder, and Scorpius had to tightly grip his shoulder to snap him out of it. "Listen," he insisted, "we know how to destroy the locket."

"You do?" Kreacher asked with a gasp.

Scorpius resolutely nodded his head. "Yes," he said. "House elf magic is still weak against the locket's atrocious magic, but we have basilisk venom that is proven to destroy things like the locket. So please, Kreacher, if you cooperated, I'm sure you'll finally be able to fulfill your master's dying wish."

Kreacher contemplated for a while. Tensed silence rang in the attic as they waited for the crazed house-elf's decision. Finally, with a snap of his fingers, he disappeared. In less than a minute, he reappeared once more, this time holding onto a golden necklace with an 'S' carved on the pendant. The evil emanating from the locket was unmistakable and even Kreacher looked uneasy just holding the horcrux.

"Careful, Young Master Scorpius," he whispered as he slowly placed the locket on the rickety floorboard. "Kreacher feels evil."

"I know," he said. He then looked at Hermione and nodded his head. The brunette retrieved a basilisk fang from her small satchel and was about to destroy the locket, but Ginny latched onto her arm.

"Please," the youngest of the lot whispered, "let me destroy it."

Harry grew worried and was about to protest, but Ginny silenced him with her determined stare. "He possessed me in second year," she spat, prompting Harry to flinch, "and I've been traumatized by that bastard ever since. Let me do this. Let me destroy that horcrux to finally have my revenge against him."

Reluctantly, Potter finally nodded his head. Hermione encouragingly smiled at the younger witch and gave her the basilisk fang.

Ginny slowly approached the locket and eyed it distastefully. "This is for possessing me, you fucking bastard," she snarled as she forcefully stabbed the locket. Kreacher gasped loudly as a resounding crack was heard, and the familiar black, roaring mist escaped from the locket. At the same time, Harry hissed in pain and started massaging his forehead.

Scorpius waited for his Dark Mark to hurt with bated breath. But, even after the final remnants of Voldemort's soul dissipated into the tensed air, his arm was left unscathed.

All eyes were worriedly looking at him, but Scorpius smiled and shook his head. "Sorry to disappoint you, folks, but there's no summoning tonight." It made his heart swell a bit when identical relief washed over their faces.

To their surprise, Kreacher burst into loud wailing and fell on his knees. He gingerly nursed the broken locket against his chest and cried, "Kreacher finally did it, Young Master Regulus. Kreacher did not disappoint!"

"Shut up," Scorpius hissed, fear trickling into his heart when he could hear a commotion below the attic. "You're waking the bloody house up."

"Shit, shit," Ron whispered as Harry lunged forward and covered Kreacher's mouth with his hand.

The group held their breaths and strained their ears. They could hear footsteps approaching the attic and identical terror painted their faces.

"We are super fucked," Ginny murmured under her breath.

The door banged open and Scorpius may or may have not whimpered a little. Mrs. Weasley had been nothing but nice to him, but he had seen her temper and he'd rather not experience it during this lifetime.

Instead of Mrs. Weasley standing outside the attic, Fred and George peered at the group with surprise on their faces. They surveyed the room, from the terrified faces of the students, to the wailing Kreacher behind Harry's hand, and to the broken locket clutched tightly in his hand. They then looked at each other and menacingly grinned.

"Aww, look, George, we missed all the fun," Fred pointed out.

"Don't you feel a little wounded for not being invited, Fred?" George asked.

"Oh, most definitely, George, and I wonder what Mum would feel if - "

In a sudden flash of white, both twins stiffened and fell forward.

Wide-eyed, Scorpius looked at a resolute Hermione, her wand still pointed at the fallen twin. "I'd rather not be the receiving end of Mrs. Weasley's wrath, if I were you guys," she said.

Ron snorted while Ginny giggled behind her hands. Harry fondly shook his head.

"Blimey, you're really a force to be reckoned with, Granger," Scorpius said with a wide grin.

Hermione shrugged with a brilliant smile, and ordered everybody to retire to their rooms. Before she completely left, Scorpius watched as Hermione crouched in front of the petrified twins and whispered, "If you ever said anything to your mother, I would tell them how you've been illegally selling contrabands to first years in Hogwarts. Let's see which she'd focus on more."

Scorpius grinned widely at the matching fear that streaked their eyes.

"You scare me sometimes," Scorpius whispered as they walked out of the attic, Fred and George still petrified on the floor.

Hermione shrugged once more, bid him goodnight, and finally walked into her bedroom.

"Now that we've destroyed Slytherin's locket, what's next?"

Scorpius removed the book he was reading a while ago from his face and craned his neck to look at Granger. The Weasleys plus Potter were busy playing Gobstones in the living room and were oblivious of the conversation between the two of them. The other adults were in a meeting right now, so naturally, the youngsters were barred from attending.

"Rest a bit, I guess," he shrugged, then releasing a wide yawn.

Hermione, disgruntled, faced her whole body at him and frowned. "There's no time to rest when we're at war, Malfoy," she pointed.

The Slytheirn rolled his eyes. "Way to go and ruin our temporary comfort," he spat. When Hermione's eyes progressively narrowed, Scorpius finally sighed. "Fine, Granger, blimey. I've actually thought of the next horcrux to destroy and I think the next best thing to destroy is Hufflepuff's Cup."

"Which is...?"

"Hidden in dear Aunt Bellatrix Lestrange's vault," he said with a nonchalant shrugged. "No big deal."

Hermione frowned. "I think it's a big deal," she pointed out. "If it's in the Lestranges' vault, then I'm sure it's next to impossible to retrieve."

"Save from a fire-breathing dragon guarding the vault door, I'm sure retrieving it would be a piece of cake," he cajoled.

The brunette rolled her eyes. "This is not time for cajoling, Malfoy," she snapped.

"Oi, what's got your knickers in a twist?" Ginny called out. Harry and Ron also abandoned their game of Gobstones to questioningly look at the pair.

Hermione scowled and gestured at Scorpius. "Malfoy suggests that we destroy Hufflepuff's Cup next, which is hidden inside the Lestranges vault. You see, there's a fire-breathing dragon guarding the vault doors and I'm sure stricter measures are implemented by goblins, seeing that this vault is owned by one of the Sacred Twenty-Eight. Malfoy, however, thinks retrieving it would be a 'piece of cake'."

Scorpius snorted at her disgruntlement. "Relax, Granger," he said. "Between Hufflepuff's Cup and Voldemort's snake, the former is easier to get."

"What about the other horcrux?" Ginny asked. "Maybe it would be easiest to destroy."

"Trust me, Weasley," Scorpius replied with a shake of his head. "The last one is the hardest to destroy."

"You haven't told us the last horcrux yet, you know," Harry Potter, the last horcrux, replied.

The blond waved a dismissive hand. "Soon, Potter," he quickly replied. "Anyway, back to Hufflepuff's Cup. As what the brightest witch of her age had graciously described a while ago, the Lestranges' vault would be heavily guarded. Which is why I think the most plausible plan is for someone, namely me, to willingly enter the vault and leave unscathed."

"That's the barmiest plan I've ever heard," Hermione pointed out.

"Save from a half-assed plan of time-travelling and unwittingly replacing your father?"

"Ugh, the sarcasm is getting out-of-hand, Malfoy," Ginny whined, although Scorpius could see how she was trying to suppress a smile. Hermione, on the other hand, looked anything but amused. "I can't believe I'm saying this but I kind of terribly missed the Scorpion King persona."

Scorpius chuckled. "Whatever, you know that's a sensible plan," he continued. "Help me come up with a believable excuse so that my auntie dearest would have no choice but to accompany me inside her vault."

"I think it's a suicide mission," Harry supplemented, somberly nodding his head. "But I like it."

"Thank you for the support, Potter," the Slytherin triumphantly cried. Hermione bristled on her seat, prompting Scorpius to smile. "We have plenty of time to plan because we've just destroyed Slytherin's locket. Dumbledore specifically told us to wait for a few weeks before destroying another horcrux to keep Voldemort at bay."

Hermione pursed her lips. "He knows another horcrux have been destroyed," she pointed out. "I can't help but think the next one would be harder to destroy."

Her words seemed to dispel the seemingly light-hearted atmosphere in the living room.

"Like I said, there's still plenty of time to thoroughly plan," Scorpius interjected. "Besides, I'll be going back to Hogwarts tomorrow, so I would be currently unavailable for any concocted plan."

"Already?" Harry asked with a frown. "The holidays haven't ended yet."

Scorpius placed a mock hand over his heart. "It warms my soul to know that I'll be missed, Potter," he said. Harry's cheeks tinged pink and scowled. "But, if you must know, duty calls."

"Dumbledore asked you to do something without us?" Ron asked, disappointed.

"Nope, Voldemort did," he corrected. He then looked at Hermione and smiled. "Remember the 'extra-curricular' I've been yammering about for the past few months, Granger?"

Recognition lit her hazel eyes. "Well, yeah," she said.

Scorpius leaned forward. "Dumbledore didn't exactly forbid me to tell you about the plan, so I think it wouldn't hurt to reveal it to you lot," he said. He ran a hand through his hair and continued, "As punishment for my grandfather's – well, father's – failure, as you all know, I've been marked. At the same time, Voldemort gave me the task of fixing a Vanishing Cabinet found in the Room of Requirement. So that, when the time comes, Death Eaters can pass through it and infiltrate Hogwarts."

Despite how nonchalant he revealed his task, all of them wore identical expressions of horror on their faces. "Rest assured I haven't fixed it yet," he quickly added. "Bloody cabinet's been a menace ever since. But Voldemort demands progress and it was actually my excuse when I told him and my mum I wouldn't be able to go home this Yule."

"Blimey," Ginny breathed out, her eyebrows slowly knitting together. "I… didn't know…"

The horror on their faces brought great comfort to Scorpius. "Welcome to originally my father's but now my life," he lamely said, complete with a wry smile.

Hermione was about to retort something back, but the adults suddenly trickled into the living room.

"It's lunch time," Mrs. Weasley said, suspiciously darting her eyes at the huddled group. "Come help me prepare, Ginny and Hermione."

The brunette clamped her mouth shut, shot one last worried look at Scorpius, before nodding her head and scrambling up.

Hermione really didn't know what had gotten into her when she announced after dinner that she'd be leaving for Hogwarts tomorrow, too. She hastily explained that she still had a lot of holiday homework to catch up on, which the boys thankfully bought.

Ginny was a different story, though.

As Hermione carefully packed her things later that night, Ginny watched her suspiciously.

"Ginny, seriously, if you have something to say, just spill it," Hermione exclaimed in exasperation.

The redhead stood up from her bed and sat down on the floor across Hermione. "He's not your new pet project, Hermione," she tutted disapprovingly.

She paused on her packing and frowned. "I'm sorry, who?"


Her frown deepened. "Malfoy as my new pet project?" she asked with a snort. "Don't be ridiculous, Ginny."

The younger witch sighed and scooted closer. "I get it, his past is very sad and your golden heart has been moved, but he's not a house elf or a poor creature that needs your saving, Hermione," he pointed.

Hermione grew affronted. "What gave you the idea that I want to save him?" she snapped.

Ginny pointedly looked at her half-packed trunk. "You've finished your holiday homework even before the holidays began, Hermione," she said with a small smile. "My brother and Harry are both buffoons, but I'm not. I know that the reason why you wanted to go back to Hogwarts was to accompany Scorpius Malfoy and maybe help him with his task."

Her lower lip jutted forward. "All right, so maybe I lied and let's pretend what you said was actually true," she snottily said, "but I don't see him as my new 'pet project', Ginny. He needs… help. Not saving but help."

Her eyes clouded with worry at all the things that were revealed for the past few days. She would be lying if she said her thoughts did not mostly revolve around Scorpius Malfoy. What he went through was undeniably atrocious, and she doubted any sane person would be able to survive it.

"I think…" She paused and swallowed a forming lump in her throat. "I think he needs a friend right now, Ginny."

Ginny sighed and enveloped Hermione into a hug. "You have a ridiculously huge heart, Hermione," she teased.

Hermione chuckled. "Scientifically speaking, that would mean I have cardiomegaly and that doesn't bode well," she joked.

"I have no idea what you just bloody said, but I'm assuming it was an intelligent joke and I'll just pretend to laugh." Ginny heartily laughed, all right, and Hermione couldn't help but to playfully swat her arm.

"Send my love to him," Ginny joked, "but I'm sure he'd want yours instead."

Hermione knitted eyebrows. "I'm sorry?" she asked.

A conspiratorial grin bloomed on Ginny's face. "Nothing, Hermione."

Chapter Text

"I actually went here to get away from you, Granger."

Hermione craned her neck and sheepishly grinned. She then hastily stood up from the dusty floor. "I was bored, Malfoy, so I thought it wouldn't hurt to help you with your task today," she explained.

Scorpius shrugged and brandished out his wand. He then proceeded to remove the moth-eaten blanket and revealed the imposing Vanishing Cabinet. Hermione remembered him staring at it before on the day they destroyed Ravenclaw's diadem. 

They just got back from Grimmauld Place and Scorpius already excused himself for the night. Hermione suspected he'd be back at fixing the Vanishing Cabinet and went ahead of him.

She then watched as he waved his wand and whispered, "Avis.". Three birds materialized from the tip of his wand and settled inside a birdcage. "I've successfully transported an apple before, so now I'm trying to experiment on sending living creatures to and fro."

He grabbed one bird and placed it inside the cabinet. "Harmonia Nectere Passus," he said. Hermione's eyes widened when the twittering inside the cabinet disappeared. She peered inside when Scorpius opened the cabinet door.

"You did it!" she exclaimed. "The bird's gone."

"Don't get too excited, Granger," he said. "The real challenge is returning the bird alive." He took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and said, "Harmonia Nectere Passus."

Hermione heard a soft whoosh but failed to hear any twittering sound. She was highly disappointed to see that the bird was dead when Scorpius opened the cabinet door. The Slytherin, on the other hand, did not look surprised at all.

"You know, you're pronouncing 'Nectere' wrong," she finally pointed out. "It's not Nek-te-REE, it's Nek-te-REH. The last 'e' is a short e."

His eyes comically grew wide. "The brochure I got the spell from never said how to pronounce the spell so I just assumed… blimey, Granger, who knew that big brain of yours could actually help."

She proudly grinned and gestured at the cabinet. "Why don't you try it now?" she offered. To her surprise, he shook his head.

"That's enough progress for today," he said. "Dumbledore actually wants me to stall, so let's use that handy information next time, yeah?"

She knitted her eyebrow in confusion. "But, I thought you said Voldemort expects progress? Wouldn't it be better if you reported to him that you're able to successfully transport a live bird to and fro?"

Scorpius was shaking his head. "Which means the Vanishing Cabinet is already working," he pointed out. "We can't afford an infiltration yet, Granger. We need to get and destroy Hufflepuff's Cup first before I try fixing the cabinet again."

"But what if you get summoned?" she insisted. "I've never met him, but I'm sure he can detect if a person is lying to him."

"Which is why pleasant Professor Snape had been giving me Occlumency lessons," Scorpius said with a grin. "Don't worry, Granger. Besides, the holidays have not ended yet. Don't think about this too much."

"Okay," she finally said with a sigh, although still not convinced. "If you come back wounded beyond recognition after a meeting with Voldemort, don't say I didn't warn you."

Scorpius chuckled. "Noted with thanks, Granger."

It was New Year's Eve and Scorpius didn't understand why Hermione Granger was barging into the Slytherin Common Room. Granted, he was the only Slytherin in Hogwarts right now, but it still unnerved him to see her, a bloody Gryffindor, nonchalantly strolling inside their common room.

"How in Merlin's name did you know where our common room is?" he demanded as he hopped down from the rich black leather couch he was sitting on to stomp closer to Hermione.

The brunette briefly admired the stark difference between the Slytherin and Gryffindor common rooms before answering him, "I've known its location since second year." She shook her head and invited herself over to sit on one of the couches. "Did you seriously think only Slytherins know where your common room is?"

Scorpius harrumphed and sat across Hermione. "Well, Hogwarts: A History never really mentioned the location of the common rooms and I've never seen anyone from another house before, so I assumed the location of common rooms are top secret."

Hermione merely shrugged and leaned forward. "Anyway, do you have plans tonight?" she inquired.

"What about tonight?"

She rolled her eyes. "It's New Year's Eve, Malfoy," she said. "It's sad if you plan on being cooped up inside your dormitory for the whole day."

"And what is wrong with that?" he demanded, slightly affronted. "This year had been a serious fuck up so I'd rather call it an early night and sleep the fucked up year away."

"Like I said, sad," she tutted with a shake of her head. "Why don't you come over the kitchens tonight? The house elves can whip up a wicked hot cocoa."

Scorpius cocked an eyebrow. "I thought you're a firm believer of house elf rights and welfare and made that ridiculous spew?"

Her cheeks reddened in embarrassment and annoyance. "It's S.P.E.W. and I've long accepted the fact that what they love to do the most is to serve other people," she spat with a frown. "Besides, they're well-compensated by Dumbledore and he even allowed me to give them as much knitted clothes as possible!"

"All right, all right, geez, no need to get your knickers in a twist," he said, the infamous Malfoy smirk on his face. "And fine, I'll accompany you in the kitchens later tonight since the lady wishes it."

"Good," she said, jumping back onto her feet.

"Where are you going?" he asked, confused.

Hermione swiveled around. "Well, I'm catching up on some reading so see you at 7 pm in front of the portrait of fruit bowl. You can get to the kitchens if you - "

"I know where the entrance to the kitchens is, Granger," he cut her off with a mischievous smile. "I've known since I was a first year."

"Why am I not surprised?" she asked with a sigh. "Anyway, see you later, Malfoy."

"Yeah, okay, see you."

"You're early," Hermione said with a smile.

Scorpius shrugged and pushed himself off the wall. "I've got nothing to do, if you must know," he said.

"You're done with holiday homeworks?"

The Slytherin made a face. "We still have five days to go," he pointed out. "There's plenty of time."

He watched as she bristled and was about to retort something back, but it amused him when she merely clamped her lips shut and took a deep sigh. "Whatever," she murmured under her breath, then proceeded to tickle the pear on the painting of the fruit bowl. The fruit giggled before a doorknob materialized.

Scorpius followed her inside and was instantly greeted with the bustling noises of house elves, banging pans, chopping, and boiling. He took a deep breath and grinned; everything smelled delicious and his mouth started to water.

"Miss Hermione!" a house-elf squeaked. Scorpius blinked as a familiar house-elf, clothed with impossibly bright socks and hats - emphasis on socks and hats because Merlin, what a pile - came bounding towards the brunette. The little tutu he was wearing sparkled when he moved, and Scorpius couldn't help but snort in amusement.

This caught the attention of the house-elf, who backpedaled in fright. "M-Master Scorpius," he stuttered, immediately bowing low until the tips of his ears touched the squeaky clean floor of the kitchens.

"Dobby," Hermione said, straightening him back. "It's okay. He's not the one you used to serve."

Dobby directed his confused wide eyes at Hermione, but thankfully did not probe further. Instead, "What does Miss Hermione want from Dobby, Miss Hermione?"

"Some nice dinner will suffice," she offered with a brilliant smile. "It's New Year's Eve, you see."

He was already excitedly bobbing his head and dragging Hermione towards one of the small tables in the kitchens. Scorpius had no choice but to catch up to the brunette and sat across from her.

"Who was that?" he asked once Dobby was out of earshot. "He's… familiar."

"Dobby," Hermione explained. "He used to serve the Malfoys."

Scorpius' eyes suddenly widened in recognition. "I remember now! My father used to tell me about one of their house-elves that had gone rogue and chose to serve Harry Potter instead."

"Yep, that's the one," she said with a brilliant smile. "Your family, specifically your grandfather, had been awful to him and I'm glad he left your godforsaken household."

"Hey, hey, don't get mad at me, I wasn't here yet," he said, raising his hands up defensively. "And if you must know, we treat our house-elves right and my own personal house-elf adores me. He's like a brother or playmate or nanny I've never had… and that sounded really weird."

Hermione chuckled and placed her elbows on top of the table. She then leaned her chin thoughtfully on her palms and said, "Speaking of futures, what will happen to me?"

Scorpius quirked an eyebrow. "Seriously? You really want to know?" he asked. "Where's the fun in that, Granger? The thrill of anticipating for the unknown?"

She sighed. "I told you it is sometimes necessary to know something in order to prepare for the inevitable," she pointed out.

"What makes you think that it would still be inevitable?" he asked with a frown. "My mere presence here, as what Professor Snape once graciously pointed out, is an anomaly. I may or may not have created some butterfly effect shit that have brilliantly caused a lot of changes in the future."

"Which is why it wouldn't hurt but tell me about my future now, yeah? Well, my future in your previous future, that is."

"Why are you so interested to know?" he asked with narrowed eyes, but Hermione merely shrugged. "Fine, all right, if you must know, you'll be the first female Minister of Magic."

Her eyes widened and jaw dropped, and for a moment he thought she looked annoyingly endearing, but Hermione immediately snapped out from her stupor and pointed an accusatory finger at him. "No way, you're just pulling my leg," she said, wagging said finger at him.

Scorpius rolled his eyes. "What makes you think it'll benefit me to lie to the future Minister of Magic?" he seriously asked. "Merlin, your face will be constantly splattered across the Daily Prophet as you announce another law that would help the marginalized and whatnot."

Her pointed finger slowly fell back to her side and Scorpius grinned. "Your advocacies will be realized," he reassured. "And you'll still be hailed as the brightest witch of her age. My father still doesn't like you, but I'd lie if I say there's no reluctant admiration in his voice when he speaks about you."

Her cheeks became painted with red and her eyes sparkled with her possible future. Scorpius sincerely hoped that despite his sudden intrusion in this timeline, and a possibility that he might have messed with all the futures of this generation, he at least wanted Hermione Granger to still become the Minister of Magic. The Wizarding World would be lucky to have her as a leader, really.

"Will I get… err… well… you know… married?"

He was surprised with her next question, her cheeks this time redder than before. Scorpius lifted another eyebrow, and Hermione immediately blubbered, "Well, I do plan on having a family, too, if you must know."

"Well, yeah…" he said, scratching his chin in contemplation. "Err… you'll marry Weasley."

Was it just his imagination or was she not surprised? It somehow annoyed him how her cheeks became as red as a tomato, and he did not even know why.

"You'll have two children – Rose and Hugo. I don't really know much about Hugo, except that he's annoyingly smart like his mother. But Rose, well, she'll be in my year and she'd be the most brilliant and wonderful witch I'd ever known in my whole 16 years of life. That is, until I met you, and I agree that nobody could top Hermione Granger."

Merlin, was he gushing? It didn't help that Hermione's eyes were narrowed suspiciously.

Scorpius defensively raised his hands and nervously chuckled. "Okay, so maybe I'm sporting a teeny tiny crush on your future daughter, but what was not to like?"

Hermione frowned. "Are you two… you know?"

"Merlin, no!" he sputtered out with a disbelieving laugh. "Rose doesn't like me. At all. She firmly believes I'm a privileged brat and the spawn of evil, since I'm the son of an infamous ex-Death Eater."

He didn't understand why the brunette across from him looked surprised and bothered. "I would never allow my daughter to discriminate other people based on their past or family," she vehemently replied. "Especially since her mother had experienced the exact same thing during her youth."

Scorpius smiled. "I know that," he said. "I know that because I know you're a champion of the poor and downtrodden, like the Malfoys in the future, really. It was Ronald Weasley's doing. I… confess I didn't really like him, even in the future. He's the reason why Rose still doesn't like me at all, even though I've tried so very hard to at least be her friend. Al can vouch for that."

"I - " Hermione pursed her lips and grew solemn. She directed her eyes on the tabletop and refused to look at him. "I would never marry a prejudiced man."

His eyes widened at her claim, and then chuckled. "Sorry, Granger, but I think love doesn't really work that way," he pointed out. "I think you'd fall in love with someone even though circumstances dictate that it would be impossible, disastrous, or just…" She lifted her eyes and connected with his, and Scorpius was confused with the feelings that suddenly bubbled in his heart "… wrong."

"Sorry for the delay, Miss Hermione!" Dobby suddenly cried, banging scrumptious plates of food in front of the students. Hermione broke her gaze away and unceasingly thanked Dobby, despite the house-elf's embarrassment.

And Scorpius… well… Scorpius was very, very confused.

Thirty minutes before the new year, the two decided to spend the last minutes of 1996 in the Astronomy Tower to watch the fireworks from Hogsmeade. Hermione bewitched warm cloaks and a warm blanket for them to sit on while they waited. Scorpius placed the basket of snacks Dobby eagerly prepared for them so they could munch on something while they waited.

As Scorpius poured some hot cocoa for the both of them, Hermione suddenly said, "Please, please tell me we will really win this war."

He grinned and passed the steaming cup to Hermione. "Why the bloody hell are you still doubting when my mere presence here is already a testament of our victory?" he asked, shaking his head. "Relax, Granger. You lot will win this war."

"Sooner, I hope," Hermione murmured, absentmindedly drawing circles on the rim of her cup. "Things are not exactly fine and dandy right now. If things had become worse, I… I plan to obliviate my parents so that they'll forget about me, and the attached danger I bring." The brunette frowned and looked down at her drink. "I'm not even sure why I said that. To you, of all people." 

The grin on his face instantly fell. Dread filled his heart, but he knew she must know. "You… you did it," he replied. "Wipe away your parents' memories of you, that is."

She slowly looked at him.

"But, you're really a bright little thing, yeah?" he asked, trying to lighten the atmosphere. "Back in my time, Al told me your memory spell had been powerful enough and you still haven't found a way to reverse it."

She suddenly looked grief-stricken and Scorpius hastily placed his hot drink aside and held both of her hands.

"It's for the best," she tearfully replied.

"Hey, I'd do everything so that Voldemort will be destroyed as soon as possible," he promised with utmost conviction. "This is the reason why we're destroying horcruxes now; if the war stretched on for another year, a lot of lives would be lost and damn it all, we do not want that."

She gave him a small smile while a tear slipped down her eye. At the same time, the first firework illuminated the dark sky.

Both became distracted with the show, momentarily forgetting the looming war ahead.

"Happy New Year, Malfoy."

"Happy New Year, Granger."

"What's this?"

"A gift."

Hermione frowned and looked at the silver-wrapped box in her hands. "But you already gave me a gift last Christmas," she replied.

Scorpius shrugged. "Well, it's New Year now, so it's a New Year's gift," he corrected with a handsome smile.

The frown never left her face. "You really shouldn't have bothered, Malfoy," she mumbled. "And I haven't given you anything in return!"

The Slytherin absentmindedly scratched his chin and looked away. "I really don't mind," he nonchalantly replied. "And, well, it wasn't a bother, you know. Err… I bought that gift impulsively for my father."

Her eyes grew wide and she tried to return it to him, but Scorpius pushed it back to her. "Granger, really, I think you'll appreciate this gift more than anyone. Besides, you and I both know it was a stupid thing to do since my father is technically nonexistent right now. It's a shame if it stays cold inside my trunk."

"But… it's for your father," she reasoned out, still wholly unconvinced. "I'm sure it's special to you."

"Which is why I know it'll be you who will treasure it the most," he continued. "Please, Granger, my father will appreciate it if you accept it on his behalf."

"Yes, well, I'm sure based on your stories, your father doesn't like me one whit."

Scorpius chuckled. "That's right, but I did say he admired you the most," he replied.

Hermione sighed and finally relented. She eyed the box and shook it once, but Scorpius latched onto her wrist and shook his head.

"Careful there, it's expensive."

Her eyes widened and she tried once more to return it, but Scorpius chuckled. "Open it, for Merlin's sake."

Hermione scowled but did it anyway. As soon as she beheld the swan quill nestled inside the box, her eyes widened in disbelief. "Is this… is this from a swan?" she asked, awed. She brushed the tips of her fingers on the feather, and if it were more possible, her eyes widened more. "It's so soft."

"Yep," he replied. "Father liked swan quills the most because of their durability. I'm sure you'll treat it with care."

"This is too much, Malfoy," she said. "I don't think I deserve to own something like this."

"Ugh, Granger, just bloody accept the quill," he snapped with an eye roll. "I'm sure if I gave it to buffoons I call 'friends', they wouldn't be as awed as you are right now. Just… it's yours. No more backsies."

Hermione chuckled, her eyes now impossibly twinkling like the stars in the velvety sky. To his bewilderment, the brunette stood on her tiptoes and gave him a chaste kiss on the cheek. "Thank you, Malfoy," she said with a brilliant smile. "This is a wonderful gift."

Scorpius swallowed a clot of nerves and merely nodded his head, not trusting himself to speak.

He was back in his dormitories, but Scorpius still could not sleep. His cheek, the one Granger kissed a while ago, still felt tingly even after hours had passed since their encounter.

'Okay, you're merely acting like this because she looks like Rose,' Al-the-Inner-Voice tutted.

"Shut up, Al," he grumbled and turned on his bed for the umpteenth time. "Very unhelpful."

Their resemblance was uncanny, but Scorpius already knew how to tell them apart. Whilst Rose's hair was fiery and her eyes were the bluest he had ever seen, Granger's hair was impossibly bushy and her eyes the warmest brown. Whilst Rose was constantly annoyed by him, hurling insults like there was no tomorrow, Granger was witty and kind and nice and bloody warm. They looked so much alike, but they were nothing alike, if that even made sense.

As Scorpius continued to spend his days with the Golden Trio, it was becoming clear to him that Rose took more from his father than Granger, which was a shame. Granger obviously offered better, wonderful traits. He wished Hugo would at least be more like Granger than that stupid git they called father.

'Rose and Hugo,' he thought, all his thoughts stuttering into a sudden halt. Musing about his feelings was stupid and futile, because he knew in the future that Granger would still choose Ronald Weasley above all else. Their two lovely children were enough proof of the love they had for each other.

His thoughts were wrong. These ridiculous feelings were wrong. Scorpius should not upset the balance in this timeline all the more just because he had stupid thoughts and stupid feelings. He should focus on more pressing matters – that is, to bring Voldemort down and finally relieve his father from the guilt he had been burdening until the present day. Scorpius had no time for dawdling and feelings; he had too much on his plate right now, anyway.

Strangely, this made him a little mad, and somehow, maybe just a tiny bit, he hated Ron Weasley all the more.

Chapter Text


Scorpius looked from Neville to Luna, waiting for their reaction to his revelation. He honestly expected some gasping and eye widening, and although Neville was able to fulfill the latter, they were generally less aghast than how the other members of the DA core reacted to his secret.

Neville subconsciously scratched his head and cocked his head to the side. "Well, I guess that explains why you're willingly hanging out with us, Malfoy," he finally said. "I mean, the Scorpion King we knew hated the very path we are walking. I knew something was definitely off when Harry and the others revealed you're finally working with us to bring You-Know-Who down."

The Slytherin frowned and looked at Luna instead. "And you?" he asked. "What do you feel about this, Lovegood?"

She dreamily smiled and waved her hand over his head. Scorpius flinched and looked above, wondering what she was swatting around, but predictably, he found none and Luna was just being her usual weird self. "I knew you didn't belong here the first time I saw you this year, Scorpius," she replied. She hummed to herself and continued swatting around. "I haven't seen these breed of Wrackspurts swarming around your head before. Father used to tell me Wrackspurt species change every decade."

Luna peered closer at the invisible creatures flying over Scorpius' head. "Seeing we're still at 1997, your Wrackspurts are the only thing that is different from all the Wrackspurts I've seen in Hogwarts."

"O-kay, thank you for your wonderful insight," Scorpius responded, pushing Luna back onto her seat. He shot a look at Neville, who merely shrugged his shoulders, also used to Luna's weirdness. "Well, that was terribly anticlimactic. Weasley's reaction was rich! You should have seen it."

"So, if you're from the future, how will you go back?" Neville asked, ignoring his previous comment. "I mean, now I understand why you're trying to help us destroy these horcruxes to bring Voldemort down. But after the war, what then? What are you planning to do?"

Scorpius sighed and leaned back on his seat. "Time's a bitch, Longbottom," he lazily drawled. "Suffice to say, I believe I'm stuck here forevermore."

Before the Gryffindor could respond, the rest of the DA Core came walking into the Room of Requirement. Scorpius quirked an eyebrow upon seeing that Granger and Weasley were in a middle of a heated row. He tried to understand what they were arguing about, but all he could understand was 'Ron, you're an idiot' and 'That's stupid, Ronald'.

"What are they fighting about now?" Scorpius asked as Ginny plopped down on the couch beside him. Harry took Ginny's other side and sighed.

"Ron suggests that Lavender should be included in these meetings," Harry replied. The young witch between them made a face. "He thinks she has the right to know where her boyfriend gallivants off to most of the time."

"Yeah, mostly it's just to get her off his back since the woman is a jealous bint and believes Ron and Hermione are having an affair behind her back," Ginny supplemented in irritation. "Seriously, I don't really see why Ron chooses to be with her. She's a pain in the arse!"

Scorpius snorted. "Too many secrets are already revealed," he pointed out. "I'm afraid Brown would have a hard time catching up."

"Try telling that to Ron," Ginny replied.

Hermione finally sat across Scorpius with a huff. Ron, still irate and clearly the one who lost the argument, decided to stiffly stand beside Harry.

"Okay, now that we've agreed including Lavender Brown in the DA Core is a load of bollocks" – Scorpius cocked an eyebrow at her choice of words – "Let's discuss about important things now, like how to help Malfoy infiltrate the Lestrange's vault."

The said Malfoy made a face. "It's the first day of a new semester, Granger," he grounded out. "I thought the purpose of this meeting was to tell Longbottom and Lovegood that I'm a time traveler from the future."

"Yes that, and the fact that I already have a plan," she said, frowning at his whining.

He would have loved to protest more. After all, it really was the first day of the new semester. Admittedly, he may be stalling a bit because the idea of infiltrating the Lestranges' vault and retrieving Hufflepuff's Cup greatly unnerved him. Bellatrix may have been already long dead during his time, but history books and stories from his father made him scared shitless of the woman. The fact that she was actually living and breathing this day, and still undoubtedly insane, made his stomach churn.

Finally, he decided it was futile to argue with Hermione Granger. The little row she had with Weasley a while ago was enough proof. "Fine, let's hear it," he said.

She nodded her head and sat up straighter. He would have found it comical, but he was too nervous about the plan she had concocted.

"You should owl your aunt and tell her there is an artifact housed in the Lestrange vault that could aid you in fixing the Vanishing Cabinet," she started.

"That would have been a nice plan, if only there is an artifact that could do that," he pointed out.

"Oh, there is," she stated matter-of-factly. Hermione rummaged in her robe pocket and pulled out a sheet of paper. She passed it on to Scorpius and he peered at its contents; the other members of the DA Core also looked at the paper out of curiosity.

On the paper was an image of a golden quill, with it waving around and emitting golden sparks out of its nib. "The Golden Quill of Evanora," he murmured aloud. Knitting his eyebrows, he looked back at Hermione. "And how, pray tell, will this help me in my task of fixing the Vanishing Cabinet?"

Hermione shrugged her shoulders. "It won't," she said. "It's just a pretty and useless, albeit priceless, quill possessed by the Lestranges. As the name implies, it was once owned by a rich witch, Evanora Dispera, the inventor of Vanishing Cabinets."

Scorpius absentmindedly nodded. He came across her name one too many times during his research.

"That quill is merely for show, but Bellatrix does not need to know that," she continued. "You can tell that if you retrieved that quill from the Lestrange vault, it would help you immediately fix the Vanishing Cabinet since the quill was once owned by the inventor herself. I don't really know much about Bellatrix, but I do know that she's a fanatic of your 'Dark Lord'. I'm sure she'd buy your excuse, since she is eager to please her beloved Lord."

"She may be insane, but she's not stupid, Granger," Scorpius said with a frown. "What makes you think she'll agree to my plan?"

"Because," she started, "your family had fallen out of glory and she'd do anything she could to bring you back into Voldemort's good graces. These are dark days for the Malfoy family."

Scorpius scowled, but pocketed the paper anyway. "Fine, all right, I'll send a letter to my mother tonight," he said. "If this did not work, I'm going to blame you, Granger."

"Oh trust me," she replied with the most confident smile on her face. "This will work."

Scorpius skipped dinner that night and went straight to his bedroom. He immediately grabbed a blank parchment, his quill and an inkpot to pen a letter to his mother.

Dear Mother,

I have researched that a certain artifact can help me aid in fixing the Vanishing Cabinet. The Golden Quill of Evanora is found inside the Lestranges' vault and I beseech you to help me ask permission from Aunt Bellatrix. I'm sure if she heard that this could help me in immediately fixing the cabinet, she would agree to it.

I am well, by the way. Things had been quite busy, but I still find the time to fix the Vanishing Cabinet. I hope you are well too, mother. Our misery will end soon. Do not worry.



Satisfied with his letter, he attached the picture of the Golden Quill Granger had given to him before tying it to one of Apollo's talons.

Now, he waited for a reply.

He woke up extra early the next day due to his complaining stomach. Since he skipped dinner last night, Scorpius was absolutely famished.

After having a quick shower and donning his school uniform, he walked out of his dormitories and toward the Great Hall.

There were still a few students inside when he came in. Unsurprisingly, he spied Hermione sitting on the Gryffindor table, nose buried behind a book. She was absentmindedly drinking a cup of coffee and Neville, another early bird, had to give the cup of coffee to Hermione's reaching hand countless times, lest she accidently drank a jar of marmalade or butter.

Neville gave him a small smile of greeting before going back to his breakfast. Scorpius smirked, thinking the bumbling Gryffindor was already warming up to him. Operation: Sucking Up was starting to look promising.

He was already finished with breakfast when the other students started trickling in. At the same time, the morning post courtesy of the owls came swooping in to drop packages and letters in front of their rightful owners. As for Scorpius, besides receiving the usual Daily Prophet, he also got a letter from Narcissa.

Nervous and giddy at the same time, he broke the seal off and pulled out the letter.

Dear Scorpius,

I have talked to your aunt and she agreed to accompany you to the vault to retrieve the Golden Quill of Evanora. I also requested to come; knowing my sister, I do not trust her to be alone with you. You will floo through Headmaster Dumbledore's fireplace so that you can meet us in the Malfoy Manor. I already sent a letter to Dumbledore requesting for you to be excused this Saturday.

It is good to hear that you are well, my love. Your mother is well, too. You need not worry about me and focus on your tasks and studies.

I love you,


"Who's that from?" Pansy asked, trying to snatch the letter away from Scorpius, but he already hid it inside his robe pockets.

"My mother," he replied. "Just the usual letter."

He sought for the DA Core in the Gryffindor table and caught sight of Hermione's eyes. Apparently, she had been watching him and noticed the letter he received. Hermione silently lifted an eyebrow in question, and Scorpius gave the teeniest nods. He couldn't stop himself from rolling his eyes when a triumphant grin spread out through her face, a silent 'I told you so' exchanged between the two of them.

"Who are you looking at?" Pansy asked and tried to follow his line of vision.

Scorpius immediately broke his gaze away before he was caught. "No one," he hastily replied. After glancing at his wristwatch, he scrambled up from his seat. "Come on, you lot. Transfiguration starts in a few."

"I've received a letter from your mother, but I am afraid I do not know the reason for this sudden excursion."

Scorpius, together with the other members of the DA Core, were gathered in Dumbledore's office later that night. After he relayed Narcissa's reply to the others, they all agreed it was best to tell Dumbledore what their plan was. It somehow slipped off Scorpius' mind that Narcissa already sent a letter to Dumbledore, asking permission to borrow Scorpius for the weekend.

"It's to get Hufflepuff's Cup, Professor," Hermione replied. "We're sorry we forget to tell you about our plan immediately. Malfoy already penned a letter to his mother asking permission to retrieve an artifact in the Lestrange vault and at the same time steal Hufflepuff's Cup."

Dumbledore laced his fingers and rested his bearded chin on top. "I cannot deny that this plan might work," he continued. His bespectacled eyes landed on Scorpius and asked, "But are you sure this is safe? Forgive me for doubting, but we are talking about Bellatrix after all. She is, for lack of a better word, unhinged."

Scorpius smirked at his choice of word. "You mean crazy?" he asked. The corner of Dumbledore's lips lifted into a small smile. "I think you don't need to worry, professor. Granger thought of a brilliant plan."

Said brunette's cheeks warmed at the praise.

"It's what Hermione does best," Harry helpfully supplemented with an encouraging nod.

"So, according to that letter you've received from my mother, my aunt agreed to accompany me to her vault," he said.

"How will you be sure that you'll be able to get the cup without arousing suspicion?" Dumbledore asked with a quizzical look. "I'm sure there is enough warding spell inside, much less outside, the vault to fend off any possible thieves. I believe luck must be an essential element to trick Bellatrix and her keen eyes."

Scorpius showed a small smile. The others peered at him curiously, also asking the same thing. After all, they had faced off against Bellatrix before, and the witch was insane and scary. Scorpius would need luck to be on his side to trick her.

"Which is why I'll invite as much luck as I can on the day of the retrieval," he announced, pulling out the small vial of Felix Felicis in his pocket. Dumbledore's eyes twinkled at his suggestion. "I knew this would come handy in the future."

"That is not a bad idea," Dumbledore concurred. He then proceeded to grab a spare parchment and his quill, ready to scribble down his reply to Narcissa. "I expect you to be here at 8 am sharp on Saturday, Mister Malfoy. Do not be late and be ready."

"Of course, sir."

It was a Saturday, but the DA Core plus Scorpius Malfoy were already gathered in the Room of Requirement at 7 am. Remnants of sleep were still visible on their faces, but Scorpius felt anything but.

Now that the day of his little field trip with Bellatrix and Narcissa dawned, adrenaline pumped through his veins. He admittedly couldn't sleep well last night, and he maybe only slept for a few minutes. The next thing he knew, he was on his feet, took a nice, short shower, and already donning his best wizarding robes. He double checked the vial of Felix Felicis in his pockets before he bounded out of his dormitory and into the Room of Requirement.

They all agreed it would be best to gather here before Scorpius left for his mission. The Slytherin pointed out it was useless, since all they were going to do was watch him drink the Felix Felicis, but Hermione was adamant. Potter and Weasley actually concurred with Scorpius, but they couldn't do anything anymore once Hermione had her mind set on things.

"Now that we are all gathered," Scorpius somberly started, "I would just like to say that you lot have been really nice to me. It's still super weird that I met the younger version of the parents of my friends, enemies, and even my professors, but it was totally wicked I got this opportunity."

The others made a face at how he was making light of the situation. "Just drink the bloody potion, Malfoy," Ginny grumbled, annoyed by his antics. "And for Merlin's sake, you won't die today."

"That isn't for you to decide, Weasley," Scorpius pointed out.

"And yours too," Hermione interjected with a disapproving frown. "Our plan with the addition of Felix Felicis is solid. Everything will go on smoothly today."

"I'm flattered you think highly of me, Granger," he cajoled. "What makes you think I won't double cross you and return to Moldy Voldy's side."

"Because you're too much of a ninny to become a full-fledged Death Eater, that's what," Ron shot back. Harry snorted beside him, prompting the blond to shot death glares at their direction.

"Just drink the bloody potion," Neville suddenly blurted out, much to the surprise of the people inside the room. Wide-eyed, Neville realized what he said and darkly blushed. "Err… please."

Scorpius snickered and finally took two, big gulps of the potion. For a while, he blinked, waiting for the potion to take its effect on him.

"Well?" Luna dreamily asked. "How do you feel, Scorpius?"

"Nothing's ch - " Instantly, he felt a rush of euphoria and giddiness; bloody hell, he felt like he could do anything and fucking wing it. "I feel bloody brilliant!" he exclaimed, opening his arms wide open. "Merlin, I feel like I could really get that Cup and destroy it! Ha!" This feeling paled in comparison back when he got Imperi -od by Voldemort. It felt like he was invincible and he could actually do anything.

He felt brilliant, dear Merlin. Scorpius was tempted to drink a few more gulps of Felix Felicis to let this feeling last, but Hermione had already grabbed the vial away from him. Shame.

"O-kay, he's become weird," Ginny murmured under her breath.

Hermione vigorously nodded her head. "No, that is a good sign," she added. "Giddiness and overconfidence are some of its side effects." Then, to Scorpius, she said, "Malfoy, let's go. Dumbledore's waiting for you in his office now."

They all agreed that Hermione would escort Scorpius to Dumbledore's office, lest he got sidetracked due to his sudden overconfidence and bound off to Merlin-knows-where and save everyone from their little misfortunes.

"Wish me luck!" Scorpius hollered over his shoulder as Hermione started dragging him out of the Room of Requirement. "Oh wait, never mind. I have abundant of it!"

He cackled while the others shook their head. "I feel a little nervous," Harry voiced out as soon as Scorpius and Hermione were out of the Room of Requirement.

"Don't worry, Harry," Luna said, the only unworried person in the room. "Felix Felicis never failed." She plopped down on one of the plush couches in the room and started reading the Quibbler. "Unless, of course, the endeavor was futile in the first place."

Harry and Ron both made faces. "Thanks Luna, that was entirely helpful," Ginny retorted sarcastically.

"Oh, you are most welcome, Ginny," the Ravenclaw replied with a smile. The redhead shook her head and sat on another settee, praying to whomever could hear her that Malfoy would be successful in his mission.

"Trust me, Granger, this mission will be accomplished!" Scorpius yammered, perhaps for the umpteenth time, as they finally trudged into the second floor where the Headmaster's office was located.

Hermione sighed through her nose and merely nodded her head. Who knew a person under the influence of Felix Felicis could be a pain in the arse? Malfoy already had a huge ego; with the added overconfidence given by the said potion, Merlin was he unbearable.

"Just be careful, Malfoy," she murmured as they finally reached the stone gargoyle guarding Dumbledore's office. "Acid Pops."

The gargoyle jumped off and the spiral staircase came into view. She hopped inside and ushered Scorpius to follow suit. The Slytherin followed her command and as they got off the staircase, Hermione was surprised when he suddenly latched onto her wrist.

"Say, Granger," he started, "If I got away with this stupidly dangerous mission alive, will you go to the next Hogsmeade weekend with me?"

Her eyes widened in surprise. "W-what?" she sputtered out, her cheeks coloring into a lovely shade of red.

He gave her an easy, handsome smile that made her heart leap a tiny bit. Sure, he was different from the Scorpion King that she grew up with and loved to hate, but it was hard to forget all the bullying his weird doppelganger – his father? – did to her when they were young. But then, this time traveler proved to be a nice person, heaven help her. He was enjoyable to talk to with, too. She couldn't recall a conversation she had with him that bored her so. It didn't help her one bit when she realized that this stupid Malfoy was stupidly handsome too.

Hermione scowled. She blamed all these weird feelings she suddenly had during their weird interaction on New Year's Eve. Inviting him for dinner was an impulsive thing to do, but she didn't regret it one bit. It made her heart feel things when she saw how lonely he was; undoubtedly, he missed home and she at least wanted to accompany him on this day. Her poor heart couldn't handle the thought of a sad person on a supposedly happy holiday.

'Bollocks,' she thought. 'Maybe he is my new pet project?'

Sighing, she shook those thoughts away. Turns out, everything boiled down to Ginny and her stupid words. Hermione took a mental note of confronting the young witch later, after she safely delivered Malfoy into Dumbledore's office.

She was snapped out her thoughts when Malfoy suddenly chuckled and shook her wrist to get her attention. "Merlin, Granger, I was merely asking a simple question. You don't have to overthink it," he pointed out.

The thing was, she had to overthink because this was Scorpius Malfoy they were talking about and he had made her life a living hell before.

'Not the same Scorpius,' she reminded herself once more.

Taking a deep breath, she frowned. "Okay," she finally said, thinking it wouldn't hurt to accept his proposition.

"Your reply says 'yes', but your face says 'no'," he said, quirking an eyebrow.

"Ugh, bloody hell, Malfoy, I said yes. Now get your arse into Dumbledore's office so that you could finish this stupidly dangerous mission," she snapped.

Scorpius grinned widely, rapped the door thrice, and burst inside even without waiting for Dumbledore's permission. Hermione trailed behind him, a little shamefaced with the Slytherin's overbearing audacity, but the Headmaster merely looked amused.

"I take it Mister Malfoy already took a few gulps of Felix Felicis?" he asked, eyes twinkling at how Scorpius puffed out his chest in confidence.

Hermione wordlessly nodded her head, tired with his antics.

"Mister Malfoy," the wizened wizard addressed. "The floo powder is right beside the fireplace. In case something arises, please send your patronus."

"Nothing's going to arise," the younger wizard reassured. He shot a brief wink at Hermione, prompting her to roll her eyes. He then strutted closer to the fireplace, grabbed a handful of floo powder, and threw it into the fireplace. The fire roared emerald green and before Scorpius could step into it, he craned his neck and beamed. "See you later."

He vanished through the emerald fire and silence soon followed his departure, save from Fawkes' soft snoring.

"He'll be all right," Dumbledore reassured.

He may have seen the face Hermione made when Scorpius left. Hermione, a little tired of denying the worry she felt, directed her hazel eyes at her professor.

"Headmaster," she started, "you do know that Felix Felicis is useless in futile missions, yes?"

"I see you've done your research," he said with a small smile. Hermione merely stared at him, waiting for his reply. "Yes, Felix Felicis had proven to be ineffective in impossible situations, but I do believe that this mission will be a success. We just have to trust Scorpius, Miss Granger."

Hermione sighed and weakly smiled, hoping that he was right.

Chapter Text

Scorpius perfectly landed on the carpeted floor of Malfoy Manor, soot free for the very first time. He always envied his father, who always travelled by floo impeccably. Sometimes, he honestly thought if he was adopted – but then again, he looked exactly like his father, so that was a stupid thought.

'All right, Felix Felicis is already at work,' he thought to himself. Ditzy, his personal house elf, excitedly appeared to greet him.

"Young Master Scorpius!" he squeaked. If decorum didn't restrain him, Scorpius was sure his house elf would have barreled towards him and gave him a hug. Feeling particularly dandy, Scorpius did just that and scooped Ditzy into his arms. The house elf softly shrieked in surprise until the Malfoy let go of him.

"Hello Ditzy," he said with a wide grin. "Long time no see."

"Err, yes, Young Master Scorpius," Ditzy said with a reverent bow. "It's been a long time." He then gestured out of the foyer. "Mistress Malfoy and Mistress Bellatrix Lestrange are waiting in the East Wing Gardens, Young Master Scorpius."

He nodded his thanks and trailed behind the house elf. Scorpius took that time to survey the state of the Malfoy Manor. As the current lair of the Dark Lord, he was honestly expecting that residual dark magic would be thick and suffocating. He was also expecting some random blood streaks and lifeless bodies scattered about. But to his surprise, the manor was spotless; it looked exactly the same the last time he was here.

"Is the Dark Lord here?" he whispered lowly, lest the snakey bastard was actually here and listening.

"The Dark Lord is away, Young Master Scorpius," Ditzy replied. "Only Mistress Malfoy and Mistress Lestrange are present in the Malfoy Manor."

Scorpius lifted an eyebrow and couldn't believe his luck. One thing he'd been nervous about this whole ordeal was confronting Voldemort in the Malfoy Manor. "Thank you, Felix Felicis," he murmured under his breath, the smile on his face stretching far and wide.

"Young Master Scorpius?" Ditzy asked, craning his neck to look up at his master.

"Nothing, Ditzy. Just keep leading the way."

They soon arrived in the East Wing Gardens and Scorpius sighed in disappointment. Bushes of roses of different colors greeted his eyes; he terribly missed Astoria's wonderful assortment of flowers.

"Scorpius," Narcissa greeted, standing up from her seat and greeting her son with a gentle hug. "It's good to see you."

"You too, Mother," he said, patting her back. "I see you've been well."

It was the truth, much to his relief. He gave her a quick once-over and found her to be bruise-free. Unless of course, his Nana was good with glamoring charms. Still, she looked well and that was all that mattered.

"Ah, Scorpius, it's been a while."

Despite the giddiness the liquid luck gave him, Scorpius still couldn't help but shiver at the sound of Bellatrix Lestrange's voice. Narcissa let go of him but stood in front, seemingly shielding him from her sister. Scorpius found it a little humorous, really.

"Aunt Bella," he greeted with a nod. He watched as his crazy great-aunt stalked slowly, her black, beady eyes never leaving his form.

Scorpius merely remembered her through the portraits in Malfoy Manor. Back then, her younger version was well-dressed and prim; she actually exuded the famous beauty of a Black. She could even rival Narcissa's youthful beauty. But history books showed a different side of Bellatrix Lestrange. He remembered the maniacal glint in her beady eyes, the wildness of her raven hair, and how the media always painted her as the die-hard Dark Lord fan.

It was unnerving, to say the least, to see her in the flesh. She stalked closer and closer, sizing him up like he was prey and she was the predator. Scorpius held his breath until she was mere inches in front of Narcissa.

"You've grown taller the last time I saw you," she purred, twirling one of her curls with the tip of her wand. "You look more and more like Lucius everyday." She sneered with her words, and Scorpius was sure he mirrored her face. He refused to believe he looked like that monster. The person he believed to look like was his father and no one else.

"I think it is best if we go to Gringotts now," Narcissa butted in, a warning glint in her eyes. "It's the weekend and I'm sure Scorpius is busy with his school works."

Bellatrix hissed and neared her face to her younger sister. Scorpius marveled how Narcissa did not even bat an eye. "His tasks of fixing the Vanishing Cabinet and killing that mudblood-loving headmaster of his are the priorities, sister dearest. Both of you should remember that."

"Of course, Aunt Bella," Scorpius calmly replied, discreetly pulling Narcissa away from her sister's baring teeth.

The crazy witch narrowed her eyes and took a step back. "Let's go," she snapped, then proceeded to apparate.

Narcissa released a humongous sigh before turning to look at her son. "Are you sure about this, Scorpius?" she asked, concern in her blue eyes. "Is there no other way?"

Scorpius sadly shook his head. "This is the only way, Mother," he replied. "I have to do this."

She looked like she wanted to probe him further, but Narcissa merely sighed once more and side-along apparated him without asking for his permission.

When they reappared, now in Diagon Alley, Scorpius was frowning. "Mother, you do know that I can apparate now, yeah?" he asked with a sigh.

For her reply, Narcissa gave him a sharp look and Scorpius had no choice but to silently trail behind her and his impatient aunt.

Scorpius was tempted to survey every corner of Diagon Alley of 1996 after spying stores that were not present during his time. He briefly saw the famous Ollivander wandshop; although still alive during his time, the wandmaker had retired after the Second Wizarding War. A different wandmaker now manufactured wands for new witches and wizards. His parents used to tell him Ollivader was the best, and Scorpius was admittedly curious.

"Come on!" Bellatrix snarled, snapping Scorpius off his musings.

Sighing, Scorpius lamented at the wasted opportunity but obediently followed the two witches.

In contrast to the Diagon Alley as a whole, Gringotts hadn't changed much. The sour goblins still attended to the financial needs of magical people hither thither. It was thankfully bare, save from the working goblins. Bellatrix purposively walked towards the goblin seated at the very front of the bank.

"I'd like to visit my vault," she gruffly commanded.

The old goblin peered through his round spectacles and sneered. "Mistress Lestrange, what a pleasant surprise," he greeted. He eyed her other companions and greeted them both. He then jumped off the small dais he was stepping on and ushered the three to follow him.

He directed them to hop onto a cart and despite the effects of Felix Felicis, Scorpius instantly felt dreadful. He hated this ride. The last time he went to Gringotts was when his father brought him to finally show the family's riches. He had immediately forgotten the unpleasant ride once his eyes beheld the Malfoy family fortune – and boy was it vast – but now that he was here again, the memory came back with a vengeance.

"Hold on tight," the goblin ordered. Scorpius braced himself as the cart started moving and went into a sudden drop. Scorpius couldn't help but release a loud shout whilst Bellatrix cackled delightfully beside him. Narcissa was amazingly silent, although her white knuckles spoke of the nervousness she felt.

The ride felt like ages and Scorpius wanted it to stop. Thankfully, they went through the Thief's Downfall unscathed. He had voiced out his nervousness about going through one of Gringotts' security measures, but Hermione had incessantly assured him that Felix Felicis didn't count as an enchantment.

He still felt giddy and overconfident by the time the cart skidded into a screeching halt. They hopped out of the cart and followed the goblin's orders to stand behind him.

Scorpius watched with wide eyes as a white Ukranian Ironbelly bared its teeth at the newcomers. The goblin immediately rang the clankers he was holding and the dragon flinched and wailed, hiding behind his wounded and shackled wings.

The Slytherin felt sick and thought it was utterly barbaric, how the goblins conditioned a dragon to expect pain with just the sound of the clankers. Back in his time, there were no dragons guarding any of the vaults in Gringotts anymore due to the inhumanity in it. Minister Granger-Weasley made sure of it.

He remembered from one of his books how it recounted the Golden Trio's break-in into the Lestranges' vault. He recalled one of its passage how they freed the said dragon and rode it away to escape their captors. It was one of his favorite adventures, and thought it was a shame it wouldn't happen anymore.

Narcissa hooked her arm around his to force him to start walking. The goblin led them in front of an imposing golden door. He then raised his tiny hand and placed his entire palm against the door. Instantly, it melted away to reveal a cavelike opening that housed thousands of gold and silver, of armors and swords, of vials and potions, and of silk and impossibly smooth cloths, all precariously piled up until they touched the vault's ceiling. The amount of riches was tremendous, he admitted, but the Malfoy vault was still something else.

Bellatrix suddenly yanked him away from Narcissa and roughly pushed him inside. "The Golden Quill is found at the farthest right of this vault. You'll easily see it since it is enclosed in a silver box beside a skull with a crown."

Scorpius stiffly nodded his head and carefully trudged at the cleared path in the middle.

"Don't try to touch anything else," Bellatrix called out once he was midway his destination. "Everything here is cursed by the Geminio curse. Careful, if you do not want to be buried alive by gold and silver, young Malfoy."

He scowled but did not reply anything in return.

Scorpius was nearing the place where the Golden Quill was placed. He shot a quick glance at his mother and aunt, and was relieved to see that they were busy inspecting an emerald necklace. The goblin was nervously darting his eyes towards the huge dragon guarding the vault, constantly rattling his clankers to keep the creature at bay.

Thankful for their distraction, Scorpius sought out for the familiar Hufflepuff's Cup. It only took him a mere minute to locate it – it was displayed at the farthest back of the vault, placed on a dais that made it look important and valuable. 'Wrong move, Auntie Bella,' Al-the-Inner-Voice snickered, prompting Scorpius to smirk.

He immediately grabbed the Golden Quill and made his way towards the cup.

"Hurry up, Scorpius!" Bellatrix hollered. "What's taking you so long?"

"Coming, Auntie Bella," he shouted in return.

His eyes then intently trained themselves on Hufflepuff's Cup. Blood rushed to his ears and his breathing turned ragged. This was the fifth horcrux and he could not fuck this up!

Such was his concentration he was unable to see a wayward sword blocking his path. It was already too late when he noticed it; Scorpius tripped and in an attempt to break his fall, he grabbed onto the nearest object, a large vase. His eyes widened, realizing his mistake, as the vase started to duplicate itself exponentially.

Scorpius took a step back and unintentionally touched other treasures, activating the Geminio curse. Above the ruckus, he heard Bellatrix' shriek of anger, but Scorpius could not see her, nor his mother anymore.

"Bollocks!" he cried, cursing his bad luck. Perhaps, the Thief's Downfall really did wash away the magic of Felix Felicis.

'Wait,' he thought, as he stood still for a moment despite the crazy duplication that was happening around him. He craned his neck and the duplicating treasures were obscuring him from his aunt and mother. This meant, he could effortlessly grab Hufflepuff's Cup without being noticed.

His mouth stretched wide into a giddy smile as he slowly walked towards the glinting cup, whistling a merry tune at the same time. Scorpius touched a few more treasures and waited for them to duplicate enough so that they could lift him up and he could reach the cup.

Scorpius pulled out his handkerchief and grabbed Hufflepuff's Cup, which thankfully didn't duplicate with his touch He then rummaged inside his robe pocket and pulled out Granger's beaded handbag, bewitched to have an Undetectable Extension Charm. He crammed the cup inside, closed the bag, and silently placed it inside his robe once more.

Scorpius then beheld the sight of the mess he had triggered and grinned. He pulled out his wand and boomed 'Finite Incantatem.'

Instantly, the duplication ceased. Scorpius carefully cleared a path for him to walk onto and by the time he reached the entrance of the vault, Bellatrix was fuming and Narcissa was distressed. The goblin was angrily shaking his head and pushed Scorpius aside, while he pulled out his own wand and magicked the duplications away.

"Oops?" he asked with a nonchalant shrug. This seemed to snap Bellatrix off her fuming silence and hurtled a Cruciatus Curse his way. Much to Scorpius delight, her aunt's wand snapped into two due to the ruckus; her spell took a different direction, hitting an innocent charm bracelet, triggering the Geminio curse once more.

Bellatrix angrily stomped and tried to slap Scorpius, but Narcissa tightly held onto her wrist and glared. "Touch my son, and you will regret it, Bella," she spat.

Scorpius was impressed at the venom Narcissa Malfoy was able to show. So far, she had been nothing but sweet and docile. Apparently, his grandmother also had the infamous Black temper.

Her older sister snarled and snatched her wrist, stomping away from the mother and son.

"Are you all right, Scorpius?" Narcissa immediately asked as she held on to both of his cheeks and inspected for any wounds.

"I'm all right, Mother," he said with a small smile. "Everything's fine. Wonderfully fine."

Voldemort was still blessedly gone by the time they returned to the Malfoy Manor.

"I expect some progress by next week, Scorpius," Bellatrix haughtily ordered before turning around and stalking out of the foyer.

Scorpius made a face, which he didn't bother hiding despite his mother watching.

Instead of scolding him, Narcissa wore a worried frown. "Scorpius," she whispered, "was today merely for taking that golden quill? Because I tried to research its properties and I found out that it is… useless. I am your mother and I had this inkling that you've stolen something else."

He quirked a small smile, surprised that his Nana resolved to that. Scorpius decided not to deny her claim and at the same time not give away the whole truth. "You need not worry, Mother," he reassured instead. "Everything will be over soon – Voldemort's stupid tyrannical reign, our fear…"

Narcissa's eyes watered with fright and worry, but she wordlessly engulfed him into a big hug and held him for minutes.

"Please stay for dinner, my love," she then requested, but Scorpius was already shaking his head.

"I'm needed back at Hogwarts, Mother, I apologize."

Narcissa sighed disappointedly but did not argue any further. She then enveloped him into a big hug and murmured, "Write to your Mother, Scorpius."

He placed a gentle kiss on top of her head and bid her goodbye.

Scorpius was surprised to see that the DA Core were gathered in Dumbledore's Office when he came back from his mission.

"Ah, Mister Malfoy, I see you came back unscathed," was Dumbledore's warm greeting.

Hermione was instantly on her feet, prompting him to smile. "I'm unscathed," he reiterated as he pulled out the atrocious beaded handbag from his robe pocket. He then used his handkerchief to pull out Hufflepuff's Cup. Instantly, the atmosphere felt thick and heavier, the cup now exuding an evil that was most definitely Voldemort's.

"I'd like to destroy it," Neville volunteered, but Scorpius vigorously shook his head in reply.

"No, no, Longbottom," he cried. "Back in my time, you were famously known as the Snake Slayer. The only thing that you should destroy is Voldemort's beloved pet. So better luck next time, but this Cup should be destroyed by another person."

"I'll do it," Hermione volunteered.

Neville frowned, still looking unconvinced, but thankfully relented and passed the basilisk fang to Hermione.

The brunette took a deep breath before lunging forcefully into the cup. It cracked open in the middle as the dark mist of Voldemort's soul came seeping out of the cup. Scorpius found out that Felix Felicis was a good antidote for the unbearable darkness and despair a horcrux brought in.

Predictably, Harry's scar started hurting once more. "He's angrier this time," Harry said. "And I think… I think I detect some panic in him."

Scorpius scowled when his Dark Mark started smarting, too. He shot a panicked glance at Dumbledore, who instantly lost the twinkling in his eyes.

"You must go, I'm afraid."

The Slytherin took a deep sigh. "I guess my luck is already running out," he joked, but none of his schoolmates laughed.

Scorpius' gaze landed on Hermione and his heart gave a weird leap upon seeing the worry in them. He still could not believe he asked her out on Hogsmeade weekend. He did not specifically say it was a 'date' per se, but of course he knew that was implied. What surprised him the most was that she agreed.

"I'll be back," he said, both to appease her worry and to reassure himself.

Hermione wordlessly gave a nod as Scorpius ran out of Dumbledore's office to heed Voldemort's call.

He reappared in one of the Death Eater hideouts in the outskirts of England.

Voldemort was seated on one of his marble thrones once more on top of a dais, his red eyes silently scrutinizing Scorpius as he stepped closer to the Dark Lord.

He thanked the heavens above the liquid luck still hadn't lost its effect; it somehow helped him calm his nerves.

As Scorpius trudged closer, he tried to decipher Voldemort's look. It was undoubted that he knew one of his horcrux was destroyed, and Potter did say he was angrier and panicking. However, his face neither showed those, and this just made Scorpius more nervous.

"You called, my lord?" he greeted with a respectful bow.

"I trust your little excursion to the Lestrange vault had been successful?"

Dread bloomed in his heart and tried his very hardest not to scowl. He fervently wished Voldemort would never get wind of this field trip, but then of course, it was Bellatrix they were talking about. Scorpius knew she'd take the opportunity to boast their loyalty to Voldemort as much as she could.

"It had been successful, my lord," Scorpius finally answered, willing his eyes to never stray from Voldemort's red, calculating eyes.

"And the Vanishing Cabinet?"

"With the aid of the artifact I've retrieved from the Lestrange vault, I'll be able to fix it in no time, my lord."

Voldemort grew silent after his answer. He then slowly stood up from his throne and walked down the dais, his eyes never leaving Scorpius' eyes. The young wizard then felt the telltale sign of Legilimens and he instantly projected his memories of retrieving the Golden Quill and blocked with his very might the fact that he, too, snatched Hufflepuff's Cup from the vault.

Scorpius fed him more mundane and benign memories that would never implicate him. To his disgruntlement, Voldemort was more persistent this time, probing and probing until he gave up and finally came up with none.

By the time the Dark Lord went out of his mind, Scorpius could feel the calm anger emanating from him. Clots of nerves started clogging his throat, but he still stood his ground. He tried his very hardest not to look guilty.

"Tell me, Scorpius," he started, his voice dangerously silky with suppressed anger, "have you retrieved other treasures from Bellatrix' vault?"

'So, he suspects,' he thought. "No, my lord. I only got the quill."

"Then tell me this," Voldemort suddenly snarled. He bared his teeth and neared his face towards Scorpius, and the Slytherin congratulated himself for not flinching at all. "Why is one of my treasures destroyed on the same day you retrieved an artifact in the Lestrange vault?"

"My lord, I do not understand what you are talking about," he whispered in reply.

Scorpius honestly expected he would be slapped or Crucio-ed with his insolent reply. But to his surprise, Voldemort merely calmly moved away from Scorpius and walked back to his throne.

Voldemort's red eyes were still calculating by the time he sat down on his throne.

"If, and only if, Scorpius," he continued, his voice now more levelled and eerily calm, "I got wind of any treacherous acts, do know that I do not hesitate in giving away punishments."

He discreetly swallowed down the clot and replied, "Of course, my lord."

Voldemort waved his hand dismissively and by the time Scorpius was out of the room, he did not waste anymore time and apparated back to Hogwarts.

He was panting by the time he reached Dumbledore's office. The DA Core were still convened inside, and this time, Scorpius wasn't surprised anymore.

The adrenaline of today's mission and meeting Voldemort had already taken its toll. Now that the effects of Felix Felicis wore off, he unceremoniously collapsed on the carpeted floor and took deep, panicked gulps.

Everybody was instantly on their feet, but Scorpius merely held up his hand to stop them from clamoring towards him. "Give… give me a minute," he breathed, and clutched his heart to try to calm himself down.

Of course, it would be Granger who would defy his request, because she was instantly on his side and helping him gulp down a potion without protesting.

"Calming Draught," she answered when he questioningly looked at the potion. "It looked like you needed it."

He nodded his thanks and Hermione helped him back onto his feet. The potion had blessedly started to take effect and the panic that rose up had finally ceased. By the time he was seated in front of Dumbledore, he felt nothing but deceptive calmness.

"What happened?" Dumbledore worriedly asked.

"I think Voldemort is starting to suspect," Scorpius replied. "He called for me to ask about my excursion regarding the retrieval of the Golden Quill. But then, he demanded why at the same time, one of his prized treasures was destroyed."

Dumbledore looked troubled while Potter suddenly paled in fear.

"Excuse me for being pessimistic, but I think the Battle of Hogwarts is looming," he confessed.

"But there are still two horcruxes," Hermione interjected. "We must destroy both of them soon!"

Scorpius' gazed at Dumbledore's eyes, and he slightly shook his head.

"We know that, Miss Granger," the old wizard started, "but I believe, Mister Malfoy had enough… excitement for today. I think it would all be better if we retired for the day and stack up with as much rest as we could."

The DA Core wanted to protest more, but Scorpius was really tired. They reluctantly relented and together walked out of Dumbledore's office.

A/N: Drop a review!

Chapter Text

He had been awake and ready since 7 am that morning, and yet, Scorpius could not get his arse out of his bedroom.

His roommates had already left for Hogsmeade weekend and although he still had fifteen minutes to spare before he had to meet Granger in front of the gates of Hogwarts, he just could not bring himself to leave. It was like his legs weren't cooperating with him today, too paralyzed by a fear he did not understand.

'It's a simple Hogsmeade weekend!' Al-the-Inner-Voice exclaimed in his mind. 'It's not as if you'll be going to war.'

Scorpius scowled. 'I feel like I'd rather go to war instead,' he thought. His eyes widened, though, upon realizing what he said and hastily took it back. It was not the right time to think about stuff like that, now that he was sure war was looming and Voldemort would surely realize that Scorpius had been disloyal to him ever since he was branded.

Sighing, he finally dragged himself out of his bedroom and even congratulated himself when he was able to stumble out of the Slytherin dungeons. Blessedly, Pansy and his other friends were already out of Hogwarts. Pansy had been begging him incessantly to come with them, but he had to hastily reply that he couldn't since he was taking Astoria to Hogsmeade once more. The look of shock on her face was priceless, and Scorpius was thankful for Blaise, since he managed to drag Pansy away from him before she made a scene.

The corridors were almost deserted, save from students below third year who couldn't go out during Hogsmeade weekend. Scorpius had been silently praying that Hermione had forgotten about his stupid suggestion and had ditched him to be with her friends. He was, after all, under the influence of Felix Felicis; she might think he was just an overconfident, smarmy git who believed he could do anything.

But no, oh no, by the time he reached the gates of Hogwarts there she was, patiently waiting for him.

Hermione still had not seen him and Scorpius took that opportunity to slow down and just quietly observe. From this angle, he could easily mistake her as Rose, what with that wild, lioness-like hair of hers.

Scorpius once again tried to convince himself that the reason why he was just doing this, asking her to accompany him to Hogsmeade out of the blue, was because she looked like Rose. Somehow, it made him remember of home, and although just for a little bit, it made his homesick heart at peace.

He mindlessly stepped on a twig, its resounding crack alerting Hermione of his approaching presence. She swiveled around and saw him, a relieved smile stretching widely on her face.

The Slytherin took a sharp intake of breath, and the image of Rose was shattered.

Now, all he could see was Hermione, and dear Merlin, was she beautiful.

"Godric, I thought you weren't coming!" she exclaimed once he finally reached her side.

"I came just in time," he replied as soon as he found his voice once more.

Hermione merely sighed and ushered him to start walking.

As they arrived in Hogsmeade, most of the students were inside shops. There was a new product being endorsed by Zonko's, so students were predictably crowding that shop. Honeydukes also boasted of new creations and the lines outside the shop were almost a mile long.

"Can we go to Flourish and Blott's first?"

Scorpius didn't bother hiding a small smile. Trust Hermione Granger to prioritize her beloved books over any new crazy inventions by the other shops.

"Of course."

There were a few people inside when they entered. Thankfully, there was no one who would instantly recognize the two. Which was a feat, seeing that she was one-third of the Golden Trio and he was the Scorpion King. Anywhere they go, they would surely be recognized.

Scorpius, not really needing anything from the shop, silently trailed behind Hermione as she snatched one book from another. She also bought some new parchments and inkpots and other studying materials she would surely need for the impending end-of-term exams.

"You do know that there is a high chance that the Second Wizarding War would be happening soon, yes?" he asked, amused at how things started to precariously wobble in her arms. He immediately rescued her shaking arms by relieving her off some of the materials. "Dumbledore might cancel the end-of-term exams, you know."

Hermione skidded into a halt and Scorpius peered at her face. Horror was clearly etched on her face, prompting him to chuckle.

"No," she squeaked. "I didn't think of that!"

She contemplated loudly whether she should continue buying these new materials, and Scorpius insisted that these things may actually come in handy by the time they started planning for the imminent battle.

By the time they left Flourish and Blotts, Hermione was somber.

"Err… sorry," Scorpius said, massaging the back of his neck in guilt. "I shouldn't have brought up the… erm, you know… when we're supposed to be relaxing and not thinking about serious, adult matters today."

Hermione smiled and shook her head. "It's all right," she said. "I needed that since I'm getting ahead of myself."

She had been quiet ever since and Scorpius had no idea how to dispel the suddenly distressing and awkward atmosphere.

To cheer her up, he suggested of drinking butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks, which she thankfully agreed to.

The Slytherin knew there would be lesser people now, seeing that the long lines in both Honeydukes and Zonko's were still present, but as he went inside the famous pub, he skidded into a sudden halt. His eyes immediately settled on a small table, where Pansy's unmistakable shiny hair and Goyle's atrocious table manners greeted him. It was only Blaise who saw him, and he was about to call him over, but Scorpius vigorously shook his head to stop him. Blaise frowned, peered at the person behind Scorpius, before realization dawned. Rolling his eyes, Blaise shooed him away and Scorpius did not need to be told twice. He ushered Hermione out of the shop once more and firmly closed the door behind him.

"What's the matter?" Hermione asked with a frown. "Is it crowded inside?"

He shook his head and pulled her as far away from The Three Broomsticks as possible. "No, no, it's just that… err… my friends are inside," he explained. "I kind of told them I'll be meeting Astoria instead."

Scorpius expected Hermione to blow up in rage and accuse him of still prioritizing his Scorpion King reputation above all else. But then, to his surprise, she merely sighed and shook her head. "I knew it," she simply said.

He was confused. "Knew what?"

"That you weren't exactly serious about this… this… whatever the hell you call this thing." She frowned. "I shouldn't have trusted you back then, especially since you're under the influence of Felix Felicis."

"What?" he asked, bewildered. "No, Granger, I was serious. It's just that - "

"Your Scorpion King image will be marred?" she helpfully supplied.

Scorpius scowled. "No, it's because you've never been friends with prejudiced prats and I'm sure if I told them whom I'm really taking to Hogsmeade today, they'd go ballistic, owl their parents, and inevitably tell Voldemort." He tiredly shook his head and sighed. "Blimey, now I understood why my father had a terrible childhood."

Hermione started laughing, and Scorpius was confused. "You're not mad?" he asked.

"Of course I'm mad, because I'm seriously hungry and I really want to drink butterbeer," she protested in between fits of laughter. "But I empathize. Thank Merlin I'm a mudblood."

"Ugh, are we at it again?" he complained. "It's Muggle-born, for heaven's sake. Back in our time, anybody caught saying that stupid name will be branded as a Voldemort-loving bastard."

She just grinned prettily it was annoyingly distracting. "Come, I wasn't kidding when I said I was hungry."

Scorpius trailed behind her, not really minding the direction they were going into. They were nearing Madame Puddifoot's, and he thought Hermione would continue walking forward, but when she turned and entered the said shop, he balked.

"We're eating here?"

Hermione stopped and craned her neck. "Well, yeah, because I'm sure there will be lesser, annoying people inside," she pointed out. "Besides, despite their sickening sweet desserts, they actually make a decent hot meal."

Scorpius had no choice but to comply, knowing that with Hermione's growing hunger, he'd be the receiving end of her wrath if she wasn't fed sooner.

Like what she had predicted, there were lesser, annoying people inside. He spotted some couples, already lovey-dovey with each other, and Scorpius could feel a blush creeping up from his neck. Although he felt the same when he brought Astoria here last time, the awkwardness between was dispelled immediately because they really didn't have romantic feelings for each other.

But with Hermione… well, bollocks.

She led him to the farthest booth and immediately placed her order. Scorpius mechanically ordered for their roast beef and some iced tea, and was almost sorry when the patron left their booth. Now, without any intrusion, an awkward atmosphere hung above their heads.

"Err… will Madame Puddifoot's still exist in the future?" she asked, breaking the silence.

The Slytherin slightly breathed a soft sigh and was thankful for a non-dangerous conversation topic. "Yes," he replied. "In fact, almost all of the shops in Hogsmeade will still be standing in the future."

"Good," she hummed. "That's good to hear."

Silence settled between them once more, and Hermione started humming under her breath and tapping her fingers on the table.

As Scorpius discreetly wiped off the forming sweat on his forehead, he couldn't help but think that the mere fact that he was going out on a date with Hermione Granger might already be changing the future. What was worse was that he was terrified with the idea that Rose and Hugo might cease to exist, just because he was stealing their mother away from Ron Weasley.

Come to think of it, how was Draco Malfoy supposed to be born? The mere idea of canoodling with Astoria made him sick to the stomach, so that was out of the table. This whole damn situation was super twisted, and suddenly, the future generation ceasing to exist was all he could think about. Perhaps his addition in this timeline would have disastrous results, and Scorpius felt dreadful that James Potter II or Lorcas Scamander would not be born at all because of him.

"Are you all right?"

Her soft voice broke through his panicked thoughts. Scorpius tried to calm his bloody heart just to not worry the brunette across from him.

"Err… yeah," he stuttered.

Hermione narrowed her eyes, clearly not convinced. "Sure?" she asked. "You looked like you're having a panic attack or something." She frowned and leaned forward. "Is this because you're really not serious about asking me out on Hogsmeade weekend?"

Despite his nervousness, he managed to roll his eyes. "And like I said, I was serious," he interjected. "Why do you keep on believing that this is just a mere joke?"

She shrugged her shoulders, her frown still in place. "I don't know," she said as she broke her gaze away. "You always gave an impression that you don't want to get too close with us."

"I do?" he asked, surprised.

Hermione nodded her head. "And I get it," she said. "I get it because… well… this isn't your home."

Scorpius wryly smiled. "Hogwarts will always be home," he lightly cajoled, but Hermione was already shaking her head.

"No, you know what I mean." She tugged her curls in frustration. "Even after we discovered who you really are and what your agenda is in helping us defeat Voldemort, you haven't changed. You still keep us at arm's length."

"Granger - "

"If what you said were true, that you could never go back to your own time because things might reset back to normal and all would be for naught, then maybe at least you should, you know, start opening up to people." She gave him a small smile in return. "I mean, isn't that what your father failed to do before? Open up to people? It's… terribly lonely."

Somehow, her assumptions made him a little angry. "You bloody don't get it," he snapped, surprising Hermione. "You have no idea how it feels like, knowing that your mere presence in the past may inevitably cause some of your classmates, your bloody friends, to cease to exist." He jammed a finger against his chest and leaned forward. "I'm an anomaly, Granger. You and I both know that that possibility isn't far off from reality."

A tensed silence met his tirade, and the waiter took that time to deliver their food. Scorpius took that short time to calm himself down, gulping down the panic and distress that were starting to claw their way out of his throat.

"Is this about Rose and Hugo?" Hermione whispered as soon as the waiter was away.

His eyes widened and he refused to look at Hermione.

"You think… you think this" – she wildly gesticulated between her and him – "would cause them to cease to exist."

"You're supposed to marry Weasley, Granger," he spat. "Not go on a stupid date with me."

She answered his claim with silence, and Scorpius actually felt bad with his tone. Expelling a deep sigh, he started, "Look Grang - "

The words left his mouth as Hermione's small hand enclosed his big one. Surprised, he directed his grey eyes at her warm, smiling, brown ones.

"Time's a bitch," she whispered.

Scorpius found himself almost snickering at her words. "I actually concur," he replied.

Her lips stretched into a small smile. "Okay, so maybe this thing going on between us is awkward, mostly for you, but I'd like to think that somehow, someway, Rose and Hugo would still be born in the future. Just… just in a different way, you know. I mean, Draco Malfoy for example! I'm sure you don't want to canoodle with Astoria, your bloody mother, just so he would still be born."

"Gross, of course not!"

Hermione chuckled and retrieved her hand back. Scorpius had to stop himself from reaching out once more. "And well, look at you," she said, gesturing at him. "You existed in this timeline with a different set of parents. Your family tapestry is testament to that."

Scorpius' eyes widened, realizing what she was saying. "That actually made sense," he replied. Then, narrowing his eyes, he accused, "You've read this in books now, didn't you?"

She shook her head, her wild curls flying around her face. "Just hazarded a guess," she corrected with a smile. "I mean, that's the only explanation I could think of, seeing now that you're suddenly the son of Narcissa and Lucius Malfoy."

His troubled mind and heart quietened with his words. "Thank you, Granger," he quietly replied, prompting her to merely smile in return.

After that disastrous conversation, Scorpius started warming up to Hermione. The awkwardness between them were dispelled and he was able to talk to her about almost anything under the sun.

As he was almost finished with his meal, a surprising visitor dropped by their booth.


The familiar voice of Astoria snapped him off a conversation he was having with Hermione about a particularly embarrassing memory of Al. "Astoria," he greeted with a huge smile, immediately standing up from his seat to give her a huge hug.

"You're with… someone," the younger witch said, eyeing Hermione curiously.

Scorpius couldn't help but blush at the tone of her voice. He remembered the time when he introduced a girl to his parents during the summer of fifth year. Astoria was surprisingly besides herself and had been twittering around the girl, peppering her with questions out of curiosity. Scorpius still somehow blamed his mother for chasing her away, to be honest.

"Err… yes," he finally replied.

"Hello," Hermione greeted with a smile. "You must be Astoria."

The Slytherin silently nodded her head. "And you're Hermione Granger," she merely pointed out.

"So, you want to join us?" Scorpius asked, because it was seriously the only thing he could think of right now.

"Oh no, no, terribly sorry to intrude," Astoria said with a dazzling smile. "I just came here to say hi and I didn't realize you were in a… date."

"It's not a date," he protested. Horrified, he chanced a glance at Hermione, who merely looked amused with his claim.

"It's 'whatever the hell this is'," Hermione corrected in jest.

Astoria giggled, much to Scorpius' surprise. "I'm sure it is," she replied. Then, to Scorpius, "Sorry, I can't stay. My friends are waiting for me outside. I actually came here to thank you about my lovely Christmas gift. And also to remind you not to eat your toffees in one sitting. Merlin, I bought enough to last you a year!"

Scorpius chuckled. "Yes, you did," he replied.

"Anyway, that is all," she said, waving her hand in goodbye. "Have fun in your 'whatever the hell this is'."

She bounded away, prompting Scorpius to sigh in relief.

"She doesn't know she's your mother, yeah?"

Scorpius looked at Hermione like she was barmy. "Merlin, no, that would be super weird," he replied. "Especially since I'm clearly a year older than her. Imagine the humiliation I'd get if I told her she was my mother and… and tell her I miss her so much." He scowled and grumbled at his plate. "I bloody miss her so much."

Hermione once again held his hand and it comforted him a bit.

"I'm the tiniest bit devastated my father won't be able to meet her," he lamented. "She was… she was the single, guiding light in his dark, bleak life."

"She sounds lovely," she supplemented. "She sounds like she really loved your father."

"Oh, she really did," Scorpius said with a soft chuckle. "My mother used to joke that my father only married her for Pureblood's sake, you know. Especially because the Malfoy family's name was dragged into the mud and of course a strategic wife would be beneficial. Then, Dad would remind her that she accepted him despite everything that he did in the past. Loving her was inevitable."

He sadly smiled, the nostalgia in his heart blooming. "I was really lucky to grow up having parents like them," he claimed with a sigh. "I kind of pity my father for growing up under Lucius' scrutiny. I mean, thank Merlin the bastard's in Azkaban when I travelled back to this time. And also thank Merlin my father didn't turn out to be like him."

"You seem to love your father very much."

"I'm here now, aren't I?" he said, gesticulating at himself.

The smile on her face was quite sad, he thought.

Hermione suggested going back to Hogwarts after eating.

"So that we can avoid anyone we know," Hermione reasoned out, prompting Scorpius to blush and apologize profusely again. She merely laughed and waved her hand dismissively, beckoning him to start the short trek back to Hogwarts.

Like what she had predicted, there were less people in the corridors. Scorpius was able to accompany her until in front the portrait that guarded the Gryffindor Common Room.

The Fat Lady had been snootily eyeing him and Hermione had no choice but to pull him away until they were hidden in one of the alcoves of the seventh floor.

"She could be awfully meddlesome," Hermione complained. "I'm a little afraid she'd start blubbering about it to anyone who wishes to climb inside the common room."

Hermione then proceeded to rummage inside her robe pocket while Scorpius watched curiously. She pulled out a keychain of a miniature Hungarian Horntail, able to breathe out fire. He placed his finger against its mouth as it once again breathed fire, and he snickered, merely feeling warm and ticklish.

"Err… so I know it's late as a Christmas present," she started, "So maybe a Happy New Semester gift?"

He knitted his eyebrows. "A gift?" he asked.

She placed it on his open palm and replied, "It reminded me of your father – Draco… the Dragon." She shifted her gaze at the small dragon and smiled. "You know, dragons were once renowned as gentle, intelligent creatures of magic. They only turned ferocious due to the corruption of wizards and witches alike."

"Now where did I hear that story before?" he joked, prompting Hermione to chuckle. "Thank you, Granger. This is brilliant."

"So, I think this is the right time to ask you once more if we're already close?"

She asked this jokingly, but there was something in her eyes that were hopeful. Scorpius did not hesitate anymore when he answered, "Yeah… well… if it's what you feel, too."

"Yeah," she said, prettily smiling once more.

They started at a ruckus outside, signaling the return of students, and this broke them away from their little moment.

"I… uh… I'd better go," she said. "I had a wonderful time today, Scorpius, thank you."

His eyes widened at how she addressed him. "I… err… I was afraid you'd label this as one of your worst dates ever," he confessed, albeit lightly.

"I've never been on too many dates to compare this."

Scorpius laughed and shook his head. "You know what? Me neither," he revealed. "But… but I had fun today, too. Thank you… err, Hermione."

Her grin stretched wider and to his surprise, she stood on her tiptoes and gave him a quick peck on the cheek. "See you," she bid as her goodbye.

Scorpius stood rooted on his spot even after minutes she had gone. The small dragon on his palm was already nudging his fingers to get his attention.

Groaning, he lifted the dragon until it's small, yellow eyes were levelled with his. "Bloody hell, she shouldn't be too sweet to me because my heart is swayed too easily," he grumbled. The dragon breathed a small fire, prompting Scorpius to sigh. "She's not making the situation between us easier. At all."

He finally pushed himself off the alcove and journeyed back to the Slytherin Common Room, his thoughts mostly consumed of Hermione Granger and her pretty smile.

Chapter Text

He knew it was stupid, but Scorpius had been avoiding Hermione ever since.

Call him a coward, all right, but he honestly did not know what he would do with these new realized feelings. Despite Hermione's words that had put his mind at ease, he still couldn't help but feel that something was not right. He was damn sure Time permitted him to go back into this period despite a defective time-turner because his love for his father was great and powerful. Scorpius believed having feelings for the future Minister of Magic, much less the mother of the girl had been crushing on for years, wasn't really part of the plan.

Conflicted and annoyed, Scorpius thought of the only way that could put his mind at ease – flying. After one of his Occlumency sessions with Snape, he asked permission if he could use the Quidditch Pitch the very next day. Thankfully, the professor didn't ask too much questions and merely gave him a permission slip.

As soon as he mounted on his Nimbus 2001, Scorpius felt marginally better. His current broom paled in comparison with his own Starsweeper XXIII back home, but it still did its job.

Scorpius meandered through the pitch, doing some maneuvers that would make Astoria nervous. But now, in the open field, with no one to see him or tell him what to do, Scorpius actually felt… free.

It was a shame he had too much on his plate this year; he would have undoubtedly signed for Quidditch. But then of course, Voldemort would be enraged and accuse him of not placing his task above all else. Scorpius doubted that one session of painful Cruciatus curses would suffice for the Dark Lord.

Now, he had been flying for maybe a few hours – Scorpius had already lost count. His worries and fears had managed to fly away from him too and he was able to appreciate that much needed break from all the craziness of this time period.

"Hey Malfoy!"

He almost toppled out of his broomstick upon hearing his name. Scorpius scowled and wanted to pretend he heard nothing; he could easily blame the wind for not hearing that sound. But the one who had called him used a Sonorus charm. He probably meant business.

The Slytherin peered down on the field and spied the unmistakable messy hair of Harry Potter. His glasses were askew and he was in full Quidditch gear. Firebolt was slung over his shoulders and he looked like he was about to practice, too.

Scorpius swooped down and landed gracefully on the ground, the scowl still in place. "What are you doing here, Potter?" he snapped. "I asked permission from Snape to use this field today. Alone."

The-Boy-Who-Lived merely shrugged his shoulders. "I saw you from the Gryffindor tower," he explained. "And I was bored. Hermione's been hounding on and on about doing my homework on time, but I just can't seem to find the energy to start doing them. So, I'm here."

"I want to fly alone, Potter, thank you very much." He pulled out his permission slip and neared it to his bespectacled face. "If you keep on insisting, I will be forced to deduct points from you."

"Oh, wow, look, the Scorpion King is back!" Potter cajoled, prompting Scorpius to glare. They should seriously, seriously stop addressing him as such.

Upon seeing the look on his face, Harry raised his arms in surrender. "Hey, hey, I think there are a lot of things going on your mind, so I bring a perfect distraction." He pocketed his hand and pulled out a small, glinting, golden ball. It suddenly sprouted wings and of course, as a Seeker in his own time, Scorpius instantly recognized the Golden Snitch.

"You said you used to be a brilliant Seeker, even rivalling me, so why not put that to a test?"

Scorpius admitted it wasn't a stupid suggestion. Hell, he was curious as to how great the Harry Potter really was at Seeking.

"Fine," he said. "What's in it for me?"

Harry quirked an eyebrow. "Err… fun?" he suggested, but Scorpius was already shaking his head.

"Ehh, too boring," Scorpius said with a dismissive hand. "Whoever loses surrenders his remaining stack of sweets to the winner."

The Gryffindor made a face. "I just recently bought sweets from Honeydukes," he protested. "They included the new products they were selling."

"Hey, Potter, if I lose, I'll be giving up my toffees," Scorpius interjected. "And mind you, I'd die for those things."

"Fine, it's a deal then." He offered his hand and Scorpius clasped it none-too-gently.

Harry finally released the Golden Snitch and it swiftly zoomed high above the sky. Scorpius had already lost sight of it as he quickly mounted on his broom and kicked off the ground. His opponent followed suit and soon, both he and Harry were circling around the sky in search of the swift ball.

Harry easily won, much to Scorpius disgruntlement. He even accused The-Boy-Who-Lived of cheating, seeing that he was the one who had the Golden Snitch prior to releasing it.

"Blimey, Malfoy, just concede," Harry snorted in amusement. "And admit that I'm bloody brilliant."

Scorpius wrinkled his nose and plopped down on one of the benches in the Slytherin stand. "Fine, Merlin," he spat, particularly feeling dreadful now that he had to give up his stock of toffees. He scowled when Harry was starting to gloat. "Ugh, seriously, you're acting like James right now."

"My father?" Harry asked, confused.

"No, your son," he corrected. "He always gets like this when he snatches the Golden Snitch before me."

Harry's eyes comically grew wide. "My son will become a Seeker?" he breathed out in surprise.

"Well, yeah," the blond replied. "Actually, all your children are Quidditch players – Al is Chaser for the Slytherin team, Lily is also Chaser for the Gryffindor team, and as we all know, your beloved eldest is Seeker for the Gryffindors." Scorpius snorted at the still-comical look on Harry's face. "Well, what do you expect? They're children of yours and Ginny Potter, a professional Quidditch player of the Holyhead Harpies. Quidditch skills would undoubtedly run in the blood."

To his surprise, Potter's cheeks turned into a brilliant shade of red.

"What?" he asked. "What did I say that made you like that?"

"Err…" Harry shifted his eyes away. "You said that Ginny…" He left his words dangling, but it was clear what he was trying to say.

Scorpius rolled his eyes. "I think you've deduced that already, especially after you saw a glimpse of your future when we viewed my memories. Which is why" – he turned his whole body to look at Harry, mustering up all the seriousness on his face – "you should quit being a ninny and get the bloody girl, Potter. I will never forgive you if Al would never be born into this world."

Harry glared. "I'm working on it," he grounded out through gritted teeth. "And look who's bloody talking, Malfoy."

The Slytherin knitted his eyebrows. "What do you mean?"

Harry gave him a meaningful glance. "You and Hermione."

"And what about us?" he demanded, feeling defensive all of a sudden.

The-Boy-Who-Lived expelled a huge sigh and shook his head. "There's no point in denying, Malfoy," he started, "because Merlin, it's so obvious. I'm surprised that shrilly friend of yours, Pansy Parkinson, who had been loudly declaring her love for you ever since, hadn't attacked Hermione yet."


"Merlin, need I spell it out for you?" Harry cried in exasperation. "You like Hermione. I'm sure everybody in the DA Core knows that. Well, maybe except for Hermione. I'm not really sure. I haven't really understood her brain ever since we became best friends in first year."

Scorpius blanched, horrified with Potter's words. "I didn't realize…" He trailed off, wondering how obvious he was that even Harry Potter, famously known for being daft most of the time, could notice the budding feelings he had for the brunette.

Then, with a scowl, he continued, "This is bloody different, Potter." When Harry merely raised an eyebrow, Scorpius sighed. "I'm not sure if it escaped that head of yours but I'm an outsider here. My mere presence has already changed a lot of things for sure. I shouldn't act on things I know I can prevent; disastrous consequences may arise."

"You don't know that," Harry said, but even he was doubting himself.

"I've known all your children," Scorpius reasoned out, already a little exasperated. "I went to school with all your children. Hell, I've had a crush on Granger's daughter for years. And then, this stupid time traveling thing happened, and I found out I'm never going back to the present, and… and Granger is probably the most wonderful person I had ever had the privilege of knowing… and yeah, I'm rambling now so I better shut up."

Silence met his claim and Scorpius silently cursed Harry. The reason why he started flying in the first place was to forget everything about his feelings and Hermione for a while. Stupid Potter had to ruin everything.

"So… Hermione will really end up with Ron?"

Scorpius wasn't expecting it, but he nodded nonetheless. "Wait… how did you know?" he asked. "My memories of her family weren't projected in the pensive."

Harry shrugged. "Wild guess, I suppose," was his reply. "I always somehow felt that they'd end up together."

He then made a face, much to Scorpius confusion. "Why do you look like that?"

The Gryffindor was silent for a while, before finally replying, "I don't know… it's just, it doesn't feel right, despite how everybody thinks them ending up together is inevitable."

"And why do you say that?"

"Because, I think Ron will never really suit Hermione," Harry said with a sigh. "I love them both so much and they mean the world to me, but… I don't think they'll make each other very happy." The-Boy-Who-Lived leaned his head against the railing of the Slytherin stand and gazed ahead, almost unseeing. "Hermione needed someone who could talk to equally. With that big brain of hers, I knew it should constantly be challenged to never stop working. And that, bloody hell, is what you do to her, Malfoy."


"Yeah," Harry said with a smile. "I've watched you interact and Merlin, it was super weird seeing Hermione all so fired up and… and happy. Ginny and I even made a bet on who would crack first."

"You… what?!" Scorpius exclaimed, aghast.

"Rest assured I was betting on you," the Gryffindor cajoled.

Scorpius scowled. "Very mature, Potter," he replied, prompting Harry to shrug his shoulders. "And if you must know, I'm surprised you're shipping us both."

"Shipping?" he asked with confusion.

"Well yeah, it means when you want two people to be together and stuff." When Harry still blankly stared at him, Scorpius sighed. "I guess that word hasn't been coined yet."

"Kids these days," Harry said while scrunching his nose. "Anyway, so yes, think about what I just said, Malfoy. If what you said before was true, that you can never go back to your own timeline, then I'm sure it would be best if you settled in and, you know, think about your own future here."

"Which includes wooing one-third of the Golden Trio?" Scorpius asked with a raised eyebrow.

Harry grinned and shrugged once more. "Whatever tickles your fancy, Scorpion King," was his mere reply.

Scorpius sighed and rolled his eyes. Despite the uncomfortable topic of their conversation, he somehow couldn't help but feel like he was talking to Albus once more.

That thought made him feel better more than flying.

"You've been avoiding me," Hermione accused as soon as Scorpius arrived for their nightly patrol. Undeniably, she was sure he would ditch her tonight, seeing he'd done his best not to cross paths with her for the past few days. Imagine her surprise when Scorpius actually came, and on time too.

"I'm not," he pointed out with a frown, but the way his eyes were refusing to meet hers already spoke volumes.

Hermione merely sighed and shook her head, then started to walk around without saying a word.

Somehow, she had this inkling why Scorpius was acting this way. The memory of their Hogsmeade trip was still fresh in Hermione's mind, with the Slytherin's little 'breakdown' in Madame Puddifoot's the freshest of them all.

The dread in him, of somehow being the reason why some people would not exist in the future he knew, was understandable. After all, the mere fact that he was the reason why his father did not exist in this time yet was enough proof of his feelings. And Hermione, despite how sure she was that they would exist in some other way, was truthfully not confident herself.

The attraction between them was undeniable, though. Hell, she hadn't felt this way before. True, she did like Ron for a very long time, but then Scorpius Malfoy came into her life and Merlin, the feelings that had burst inside her were like wildfire.

"I'm sorry."

She started a bit, surprised to hear his voice so suddenly, before craning her neck to look at him. "For what?" she softly asked.

"You were right," he said as he nervously rubbed the back of his neck. "I was really avoiding you."

Hermione still found it odd to see the Scorpion King looked so unsure of himself. 'Not the same, Hermione,' she reminded herself, perhaps for the umpteenth time. "Okay," she finally replied.

Scorpius looked confused. "You're not even going to ask why I was avoiding you in the first place?" he asked.

The brunette sighed and skidded into a halt. "I know why," she replied. "Or I somehow get the gist why. It doesn't really matter, Scorpius. It's all good."

Well, it was not, because Hermione admittedly felt a tad hurt with his actions for the past few days. But she knew he was struggling with his feelings, trying to sort out his priorities, and she respected that. She just wished that after all his contemplation, she would still be part of his life.

Merlin, she really liked him very much, didn't she?

He still looked troubled, and Hermione was tempted to reach forward and smooth out the worry lines on his forehead. But she stopped herself and curled her hands into fists instead.

"I like you."

Hermione's eyes widened as Scorpius' cheeks reddened.

"I really like you, Hermione," the blond repeated, his gaze strong and unwavering. "For most of my teenage years, I only knew how to like Rose, and Rose alone. And then, all these time travelling mumbo jumbo threw me into your path and Merlin… dear Merlin, you're… you're wonderful and nice and pretty and… and… I'm rambling like an idiot again."

Despite his sweet confession, Hermione frowned. "This isn't some weird projection you're doing, right?" she said. "The fact that you're stuck here forevermore. And you won't be able to see Rose anymore, so you're projecting your feelings for her to me."

Scorpius ran a frustrated hand through his hair. "I tried to convince myself incessantly that the only reason why you made me feel things was because Rose looks exactly like you," he grounded out, absentmindedly reaching out to tug one of her brown curls. "But after months of staying here, of spending more time with you, I've finally came into a conclusion that Rose is nothing like you. You only share the looks, but you're… you're different."

Hermione's cheeks reddened and boldly, she stepped closer to him. "So, what are going to do now?" she asked.

"I honestly don't know," he said, now a little distracted by their close proximity. "A war is looming, and we still have horcruxes to destroy. I know that I came here back in time to save my father, and by extension to help you lot in defeating Voldemort as soon as possible. This thing" – he gestured between the two them – "wasn't part of the plan, and I still don't know what to do. I just… I just want to focus on bringing Voldemort down and finally freeing this world from his evil clutches."

Somehow, she was disappointed because she already knew where this conversation was going. But then again, she was best friend's with The-Boy-Who-Lived. Keeping Harry alive had been her topmost priority ever since he accepted her as one of his friends; it wouldn't do her some good to lose sight of that.

Sighing, because she knew Scorpius was already struggling on how to tell her to wait, Hermione slowly lifted her hand and gently placed it against his warm cheek. He slightly jerked in surprise but thankfully didn't pull away.

"I really like you, too, Scorpius," she said. Hermione smiled when she felt him warmer against her hand. "But you're right. We should focus more on bringing Voldemort down before we even discuss trivial matters, such as feelings and whatnot."

'This isn't trivial,' a voice whispered from within, but Hermione desperately tramped those words away.

"This isn't trivial," he corrected. Hermione's eyes widened, surprised that he voiced out exactly what she thought of. "We just need more time to think, perhaps me especially. I'm actually surprised that sensible brain of yours hadn't been protesting about how illogical this situation is between us."

Oh, her sensible brain had done a lot of protesting, all right. She had tried to convince herself countless times that repercussions would arise if she insisted to be with him; time is a bitch, and it wouldn't change for anyone. Hermione knew that the future would undoubtedly change, but up to what extent, that she didn't know. But contrary to popular belief, the Golden Girl's brain doesn't always win over her heart. To her dismay, this situation between them didn't require much use of her brain, really.

"We'll talk about this again, after the war and the craziness it brings have finally ended," Hermione finally replied. "We'll sort everything out, and in the meantime…" She blushed and looked away from his eyes. "Don't like somebody else."

Silence met her simple demand, and Hermione's heart thudded loudly inside her chest. She silently cursed herself for uttering such words. She slowly looked back at him, afraid of what she'd see, but to her relief, Scorpius was grinning widely.

He reached forward and tucked a curl behind her ear.

"That's not going to be a problem, Hermione."

Chapter Text

Scorpius was dreading this day, but he knew he had no choice but to meet the DA Core in the Room of Requirement.

A month had already passed ever since they destroyed Hufflepuff's Cup and they reckoned it was time to discuss the destruction of the next horcruxes. Scorpius wanted to point out they still needed Dumbledore's go signal, but he knew, without a doubt, that the old headmaster would concur.

Hence, he had no choice but to drag his arse out of the Slytherin Common Room and meet his newfound friends.

"Where are you going? Again?"

Scorpius sighed and reluctantly swiveled around. Pansy stood opposite him, with her arms crossed against her chest. He knew he hadn't been spending too much time with his Slytherin 'friends' nowadays, but war was looming. Scorpius could not afford lazing around with these buffoons.

"Doing the Dark Lord's bidding," he answered without a beat.

Pansy pouted and sauntered closer. "We barely see you, Scorpy-pie," she whined, missing the way he flinched at his nickname. "You're always going away."

"Because I have a task to finish, Parkinson," he snapped. Pansy's eyes widened, and Scorpius actually felt a little remorseful. "I'm… yeah." He ran a hand through his hair in frustration. "There's just so many things going on, Pans. What with You-Know-Who's task and Prefect work, things hadn't been fine and dandy these past few days."

Her eyes softened as she reached out and held his hand. "If you need help, we're always here, Scorpius," she whispered. "am always here."

"Don't like somebody else."

Scorpius immediately pulled his hand away, Hermione's words ringing loudly in his ears. Pansy looked hurt and he was actually surprised he remembered Hermione's parting words to him at that time.

'Merlin, Malfoy, you have it so bad,' Al-the-Inner-Voice cajoled.

"Shut up," Scorpius murmured under his breath.

"What?" If it were humanely possible, Pansy looked more injured.

"No, no," Scorpius said with a sigh. Hearing voices inside his head was already a red flag; maybe he should get himself checked-up, especially now Al's voice had been persistent. "I mean… I'm sorry, Pans. But I really need to go."

Pansy was about to protest more, but Blaise suddenly appeared and slung a casual arm over her shoulders. "Give it a rest, Pansy," the Italian said with a humored smile. "You're not even his girlfriend to demand wherever he goes."

Irritation marred her pretty face and she harrumphed away, leaving Scorpius with the bronze-skinned Slytherin.

"Off to see your girlfriend?"

Despite his small scowl, he couldn't help but redden. "Hermione's not my girlfriend," he grounded out in a whisper. 'Not yet, anyway,' Al-the-Inner-Voice sing-songed.

Yes, Scorpius should definitely get himself checked.

"I didn't even mention Granger's name," Blaise pointed out, amused. "And, since when did she become 'Hermione'?"

"Fuck off, Zabini," Scorpius murmured with a glare. "I'm leaving."

Blaise was chuckling when Scorpius finally left the Slytherin Common Room. He glanced at his watch and sighed, seeing that he was already fifteen minutes late for their supposed meeting.

When he arrived, Hermione shot up from her seat and crossed her arms, mimicking Pansy's stance a while ago. Her eyes were ablaze and her cheeks were tinged red too. And, was that relief he could see in her eyes? Scorpius wasn't entirely sure because she then narrowed her hazel eyes.

The other DA Core were looking at her with surprise. Sighing, Scorpius sauntered closer and sat on the vacant seat beside Potter.

"Sorry," was his merely reply. Hermione frowned and reluctantly sat down on her seat again.

Hermione, ever the leader, cleared her throat and straightened her back. "So, Harry and I thought a meeting is long overdue," she started. "A month has already passed ever since we destroyed Hufflepuff's Cup. We believe that it is time to destroy another one."

"We have two more left, yeah?" Ginny asked, mostly directed at Scorpius.

The only Slytherin slowly nodded his head.

"What do you reckon we should destroy next?" Harry quizzed, prompting Scorpius to sigh.

'Definitely not you,' he thought with a frown. "Well, I think Voldemort's pet snake, Nagini, is the next best thing to destroy."

"But you said that he and the snake are inseparable," Ginny reminded. "How are we going to kill it without Voldemort's interference?"

His grey eyes landed on Neville's form. "He will kill it," he said, jutting his chin at the nervous Gryffindor's direction. "Like I've said, you were famously known as the Snake Slayer. It wouldn't do us some good if we upset what was destined to happen, right?"

Unwittingly, his eyes landed on Hermione, and the said brunette was already looking at him with a frown.

"Err…" Neville stuttered, raising his hand to get their attention. When Scorpius cocked an eyebrow, he cleared his throat and continued, "I'm not quite sure I'm suited for that role."

"And why do you think that, Neville?" Luna asked with a dreamy smile on her face.

Neville nervously scratched his chin and frowned. "The other horcruxes I could destroy, because they're inanimate. But this snake is different." He directed his blue eyes at Scorpius. "I'm sure it could strike and kill you in an instant."

Scorpius thought of Snape's untimely death in the hands, or rather fangs, of the said snake. "Well, it does attack if provoked," he said with a nod.

Neville blanched as fear flashed in his eyes. "Then how am I going to kill it?" he squeaked.

"The famous Snake Slayer pulled out Godric Gryffindor's Sword from the Sorting Hat and beheaded the snake, making the Dark Lord mortal once more," he recited from one of his textbooks back in his time. "I'm sure you're aware of how Gryffindor's sword is pulled out."

"Whenever a true Gryffindor needs it, the Sword will let itself be pulled out of another of Gryffindor's artefact - "

" – the Sorting Hat," Scorpius finished for Hermione. "Yes, 10 points to Gryffindor."

Hermione rolled her eyes but the corner of her lips was twitching.

"A true Gryffindor…" Neville repeated, frowning. "Well, in this room, I am the least brave Gryffindor. Why shouldn't, I dunno, Harry do it himself?"

Scorpius snorted. "Nonsense, Longbottom!" he exclaimed, shaking his head at his doubts. "You are one of the bravest Gryffindor I had ever know. You always seemed to handle the Devil's Snare with ease during our Herbology lessons in the future. Any rightful, brave Gryffindor would be able to handle it properly."

In spite of his fears, Neville smiled. "I still think I'm not fit for the job, Malfoy. That's all."

"You really should stop doubting yourself, Longbottom," Scorpius tutted with a sigh. "You were placed in Gryffindor for a reason, you know."

This quietened Neville as he looked at the floor, pensive.

"How will Neville confront the snake, though?" Ron asked. "You said it'll be inseparable from Voldemort."

Harry's eyes widened even before Scorpius answered. "During Voldemort's attack," he answered breathlessly.

"Gryffindors are really on a roll today, eh?" the blond joked with a smirk. Harry merely rolled his eyes. "And yes, as what our beloved Boy-Who-lived declared, the best time to attack Nagini is during the Battle of Hogwarts."

"You should take this more seriously, Malfoy," Ginny pointed out with a frown.

"I am taking this seriously," Scorpius insisted with a scowl. "War is bloody looming, Weasley, and I'm giving my pointers."

"Does it really have to boil down to that?" Hermione asked, almost in a whisper. "Do we really need to face off against Voldemort and his minions here, in Hogwarts?"

"It is written in all of my history books, Hermione."

The brunette sighed. "But, what if we are meant to prevent it? What if we can spare lives by stopping him from attacking Hogwarts?"

"I don't think Dumbledore plans to stop Voldemort's attack," Harry pointed out with a frown. "All he told us to do was to find all the horcruxes."

"I still have a task of fixing the Vanishing Cabinet," Scorpius added. "I'm almost successful, I can just feel it. I'll be trying it again tonight and if it's fixed, I will owl my mother and she would tell Voldemort. From there on, I am sure we only have a few days left before his inevitable attack."

The room grew somber with his revelation. Scorpius also thought if there was any way of preventing Voldemort's attack to Hogwarts, but there was only as little as he could do. He was afraid that if he stopped this inevitable, dire consequences would stem out from this prevention. Like perhaps, the battle would be brought upon Diagon Alley or worse, the Muggle world.

No, it was better that the battle happens in Hogwarts. Dumbledore promised he would evacuate all the minors, the injured and weak, and those who were too afraid to fight. Aurors, brave students, and even civilians who vowed to protect the Wizarding World would all arrive just in time for Voldemort's attack.

Yes, the plan was flawless and Scorpius knew that no matter what happened, the Battle of Hogwarts must come into fruition.

"And what of the last horcrux?" Luna then piped in, steadily focusing at him. "How are we going to destroy it?"

It was the question he dreaded the most. And why was it always Lovegood asking the same thing over and over again?

As Scorpius eyes met her blue ones, he couldn't help but think she already knew the answer to her question.

"The last horcrux…" His words died down, trying to rack his brain for a decent explanation. Harry the Horcrux was curiously peering at him, and Scorpius knew he still did not have the guts to tell everybody today. "We should focus first on killing Nagini before we get to that. Dumbledore did say one horcrux at a time, right?"

His eyes determinedly settled on Neville despite how Luna's gaze unsettled him. "For now, focus on being very brave, Longbottom," he said. "We will be needing that as soon as you confront the snake."

"And as for the rest of you," he continued, his eyes landing on everyone in the room, "brush up on your DADA skills. We should all be ready."

That night, Scorpius skipped dinner and went straight to the Room of Requirement. Despite his protesting stomach, he knew he shouldn't show himself to dinner, lest Pansy demanded where he would go once more after dinner.

Scorpius lamented the skipped opportunity of going to the kitchens upon arriving in the secret room. He already made a mental note of dropping by and requesting for some late dinner, and perhaps some toffee candies on the side since Potter already claimed his prize.

He meandered through the clutter and finally arrived in front of the covered Vanishing Cabinet. He pulled away the moth-eaten blanket and let it pool on the floor. He then brandished out his wand, pointed at the empty cage beside the cabinet, and whispered, 'Avis'. Three yellow birds shot out from the tip of his wand and twittered noisily inside the cage.

Before he was to grab a bird, a most delicious smell teased his nose. Surprised, he swiveled around and saw Hermione standing in front of him, clutching a plate of roast beef and mashed potatoes.

"I saw you skipped dinner and I figured where you'd go," she said with a shrug, her cheeks tinging a little at the curious look in his eyes. "Here." She offered the plate, and Scorpius graciously grabbed the plate.

"What are you doing here?" he asked in between bites.

"I thought you might need my help," she said with a casual shrug.

He took the last few bites of his meal and set the plate aside. "You've helped me enough before," he said. "Let's see if your correction will actually make the difference."

Scorpius then grasped one of the twittering birds and placed it inside the Vanishing Cabinet.

"Remember, it's not Nek-te-REE. It's Nek-te-REH," she reminded.

He nodded his head briefly and closed his eyes. He placed the tip of his wand against the wooden door and whispered, "Harmonia Nectere Passus."

A soft whoosh was heard, and at the same time, the twittering of the bird disappeared. Scorpius darted a quick glance at Hermione and saw that she was staring at the cabinet with utmost concentration.

Gulping down his nerves, he looked back at the cabinet and whispered, "Harmonia Nectere Passus."

Another whoosh was heard and his heart almost burst out from his chest when he heard the unmistakable tweets of the bird inside. He eagerly yanked the door open and the bird, the live bird, spread its wings and burst free.

"Ow, ow, blimey!" Scorpius exclaimed as the vengeful bird tried to peck him on his face. He then laughingly batted away the bird and exclaimed, "It bloody worked!"

Hermione Finite-d the conjured bird, and those inside the cage, until what was left was a mirthful Scorpius with scratches on his face.

"It… it worked," the blond repeated, this time more somberly and softer. His spell worked; the Vanishing Cabinet was already fixed. This meant he had to owl his mother tonight to tell of the good news. At the same time, he had to seek for Dumbledore and tell him that Voldemort's attack would be impending.

His heart thudded loudly inside his chest, feeling instantly dreadful. Everything he had worked for would finally culminate into this, and Scorpius did not know how to feel. His wand hand started to shake and he took a deep breath. This was it – the war would finally happen. All the things he had read from his history books were finally coming into reality and Scorpius wasn't so sure if he was ready to partake in all of these madness.

"Harry's the last horcrux, isn't he?"

Her soft voice had cut through his silent distress. Eyes widening, he realized what she had just uttered and quickly swiveled around to face her.

Her warm, brown eyes intently searched his and before he could utter a lie, her eyes already welled up with distressed tears.

"He is, isn't he?"

Scorpius sighed and tenderly wiped away the tears rolling down her eyes. Hermione looked surprised but thankfully didn't pull away.

"Being intelligent can sometimes be a curse, yeah?" he asked with a sad, small smile.

Despite her tears, she showed a small smile. "There are instances when I hate it when I'm right," she replied, followed by a dainty sniff.

"Harry Potter is the last, unintended horcrux," Scorpius finally said.


"Even Voldemort doesn't know," he expounded. "Nagini was supposedly the last horcrux, but he failed to know that the scar on Potter's forehead housed a piece of his soul. Nasty magic, I know, but that's what our history books told us."

Hermione's eyes widened. "Which is why they could communicate through Harry's dreams," she gasped.

Scorpius nodded. "Prior to his death, he had murdered Potter's parents, which fractured a part of his soul," he continued. "It was only because of Lily Potter's undying love for her son that saved Harry."

"Then… then to destroy the piece of soul inside Harry, he must…" She trailed off, horrified. More devastated tears welled up from her eyes, and Scorpius didn't hesitate in wiping them away.

"Yes, yes, the horcrux must be destroyed in order to kill whatever piece of soul they are housing," he said, "but… but Potter's case is special."

"W-what do you mean?"

"What I meant was, despite destroying the piece of Voldemort's soul in him, Harry Potter would still live," Scorpius said with a small smile. "I used to jokingly call him 'The-Boy-Who-Lived-Twice', and let us just say future Auror Potter didn't like my humor at all."

Her tears had thankfully abated, but the confusion on her face was still clear. "I don't understand," she replied.

"No one is supposed to know this," Scorpius said with a sigh. "Only Dumbledore and Snape knew because they were the only ones I can confide with. Telling the DA Core… Potter most especially, would defeat this purpose."

"Scorpius, you're not making any sense," Hermione implored.

"You are aware of the sacrificial protection Lily Potter made for her son," Scorpius started. "Because of this ancient, powerful magic, Voldemort cannot touch Harry, no matter how much he wanted to. Which was why Dumbledore always insisted for Harry to live with the Dursleys, because Petunia was there, and her blood essentially protected Harry. And then, when Voldemort used Harry's blood to come back to life - "

" – that sacrificial protection lived on, in Voldemort," Hermione murmured, nodding her head. "I believe Dumbledore had explained that to me before."

"Yes, thus practically protecting Harry more if Voldemort attempted to kill him," Scorpius explained. "Another secret as to how Voldemort was defeated in the end was also sacrificial protection. But this time made by Harry Potter."

Hermione fell silent and absentmindedly chewed on her bottom lip. "You mean to say… that Harry must be willing to die in Voldemort's hands?" she murmured.

"Yes, you brilliant witch," Scorpius said with a sigh, disbelieving that Hermione easily caught on with what he was saying. "On the day of the Battle of Hogwarts, Voldemort demanded for Harry to die in order to spare the lives of many. You and I both know that Potter would do this without question."

"So, when Voldemort killed him, he unknowingly killed the last piece of his soul in Harry. Lily's love prevented him from dying. At the same time, Potter was able to bestow sacrificial protection to the others who are battling. It was the reason why more casualties were prevented."

Hermione brandished out her wand and silently magicked a nearby chair closer. She then proceeded to plop down on it and held her head. "I need a moment to process everything," she murmured.

Scorpius chuckled and knelt down in front of her. Holding both of her hands, he peered into her eyes and said, "I know it's some complicated shit. I honestly almost failed History of Magic because of the topic on the Second Wizarding War. But one thing's for sure, Hermione – Harry Potter will live, whether we like it or not."

"Then we must tell Harry bec - "

"No," Scorpius firmly replied. "I think for this ancient magic to work, we shouldn't say anything. Let's all just leave it up to Potter and see if he really has a bloody hero complex."

Tears once again sprung into her eyes, much to his dismay. "But… but Harry's been through so much," she whispered. "I don't… I don't want him to suffer anymore."

"That's the task he must bear as the reluctant Boy-Who-Lived," he said, reaching out once more to wipe away her tears. "Harry Potter is brave and strong, though, so all we have to do is steadfastly stand by his side and support him through and through."


"Yes, okay," Scorpius said with a small smile. He wiped her remaining tears away and stood up. "Come on. I still have a letter to send."

Chapter Text

Scorpius was summoned by Dumbledore to drop by his office during breakfast. After sending a letter to his Nana – 'Mother', he mentally corrected, because he really should get used to it – Scorpius also penned a letter to Dumbledore, stating about his success of fixing the Vanishing Cabinet.

Thus, it didn't surprise him when Dumbledore immediately sent a reply that very same day and requested to meet him. What was baffling though, was that Narcissa still had not sent a reply to his letter. He thought that as soon as he declared his success, Voldemort wouldn't hesitate in telling him to get ready for the impending attack.

These unsettling thoughts plagued him even after entering Dumbledore's office.

"What bothers you, Scorpius?" the Headmaster asked, snapping him off his thoughts.

Scorpius, having been in this office one too many times, invited himself to sit on the chair opposite Dumbledore without his permission. "I still haven't heard from Na – err, Mother nor Voldemort about the success of my task."

Dumbledore also looked troubled and Scorpius' nervousness increased ten-fold. "Tom might be brewing something," he warned. "You must be careful, Scorpius. I fear that despite how flawless our plans so far for the past few months, unpredictable things are still bound to happen."

The Slytherin nervously swallowed a clot of nerves and nodded his head.

"I've also called for you today to ask if you've told Harry, or the DA Core for that matter, that he is the last horcrux," the Headmaster started.

Scorpius was conflicted whether he should tell the truth or not. Sighing, he finally decided to tell the truth, "Hermione knows. But, I didn't tell her, I swear! She deduced it on her own and I had no choice but to tell her everything."

Dumbledore sighed, and did he imagine that small, fond smile on his face?

"Miss Granger's delightful brain never disappoints," Dumbledore said. "But the others?"

He shook his head. "They still have no idea what the last horcrux is," he explained, "but I think they're starting to become curious because I kept on changing the subject when it's mentioned."

"When you said before that it is necessary that Harry doesn't know that he is a horcrux…"

"If the battle would play out just like how our history books said, then Harry must willingly die in order to destroy the piece of Voldemort's soul inside him without killing him at all," Scorpius expounded. "It's a terribly complicated situation, and my brain still hurts after explaining it thoroughly to Hermione. But basically, it all boils down to Lily Potter's sacrificial protection for her son."

To his surprise, Dumbledore nodded his head. "I have thought about this, yes," the Headmaster said. Scorpius couldn't help but smile; of course, the old wizard would be able to think about this situation, too. "Which is why it is necessary that whatever happens, now that Voldemort knows your task is a success, Harry must not know."

"It is unfair, but I know," Scorpius replied with a sigh. "I somehow think they'll hate me after this war had ended."

Dumbledore gave him an indulgent smile. "Oh, do not doubt the power of friendship, Mr. Malfoy," he lightly lectured. "I'm sure they would understand that you meant well."

His heart thudded a bit at the mention of 'friends' – they were his friends, and it made him giddy inside.

That happy feeling was immediately crushed when he felt the familiar shooting pain on his arm.

Wide-eyed, he looked at Dumbledore. "He's summoning me," he dumbly reported.

Dumbledore's eyebrows knitted into two, which didn't help Scorpius' horror. Voldemort never called this early; it was always during the night, after everybody had gone to bed. This did not bode well.

The pain continued and Scorpius grimaced.

"You must heed his request for your presence," Dumbledore gravely replied. "I will alert Severus about this."

Scorpius nodded his head and shot out of his office. He may have heard his name being shouted across the field, but his eyes were blinded by pain to pinpoint the source of the voice. He just fervently prayed to Merlin that that person didn't follow him out of Hogwarts.

His skin was red and raw by the time he stumbled out of the gates. Scorpius couldn't help but think his Dark Mark looked more menacing before the previous summonings.

With this thought in mind, he touched his smarting tattoo and felt the familiar sensation of apparation.

He was surprised that he rematerialized in the Malfoy Manor's drawing room. Voldemort was lounging on one of the lush chairs, his bright red eyes steadily gazing at Scorpius.

The Slytherin slowly looked around and was disappointed to see that he was the only one inside with Voldemort.

"My lord," he greeted with a bow.

Voldemort still hadn't said a word when Scorpius straightened himself up. The Dark Lord's eyes never left his form and Scorpius was starting to get nervous.

"Why do you think I called you here today, Scorpius?"

Panic seized him whole as the memories of destroying horcruxes came crashing into his brain. 'No, no,' Al-the-Inner-Voice hissed as Scorpius desperately built up his walls and projected fake memories instead.

"I… I sent a letter to my mother stating about the success of my task," Scorpius slowly murmured. "I believe the Vanishing Cabinet is the reason why I'm called today, my lord."

Voldemort slowly stood up from the couch he was sitting on and strode forward. He clasped his hand behind his back and hummed. "You've done well, young Malfoy," he silkily replied. "I was starting to doubt you are going to succeed in this simple task, but you've proven yourself wrong. You are better than your father."

Scorpius internally sighed and even slouched a bit in relief. So this meeting was really all about the Vanishing Cabinet. Now, he was sure Voldemort would tell him what his role would be once he and his horde of Death Eaters and other evil creatures decided to invade Hogwarts.

"But, I am afraid that is not the reason why I called for you today."

Without warning, he brandished out his wand and opened the doors with a bang. Scorpius flinched in surprise and swiveled around, only for his jaw to drop at the image before his eyes. Bellatrix, bruised and battered beyond recognition, was dragged by two masked Death Eaters inside the drawing room and thrown on the ground. She was now bleeding all over the rich, carpeted floor and Scorpius instantly felt dreadful.

Voldemort sauntered towards the shaking witch and lifted her chin with his feet.

"Tell your nephew why I did this to you, my dear Bella," Voldemort calmly said.

Bellatrix burst into loud, guttural sobs, begging for her beloved lord's forgiveness. The Dark Lord snarled in disgust at her sniveling and stepped on her face, the loud crunching of her broken jaw making Scorpius sick in the stomach. He tried his very hardest not to vomit all over the carpeted floor.

"You see, Scorpius," the Dark Lord continued, directing his attention now at the young wizard. Scorpius willed himself to stand still, but his intense, red eyes shook him to his very core. "I've been having these peculiar feelings for months now. I've let it pass the first time, but it happened again… and again and again until foreboding dawned and I had to make sure."

He stalked closer to Scorpius and forced the frightened boy to look him squarely in his eyes. "Imagine my surprise when, upon visiting one of my secret hideouts, I found out that one my prized possession is... lost." He bared his teeth and Scorpius shrunk back, blinking back terrified tears that would not help him at all. "I thought at first that some stupid imbecile stumbled upon this secret hideout, but then, I remembered that another treasure of mine was lost, after being hidden comfortably in the Lestrage vault for years."

"Naturally, I would think Bella had been careless and lost my cup," he continued, "but I've tortured her for hours, you see, and she still denied stealing anything. And this got me thinking, 'Who would have access to the Lestrange Vault and cleverly stolen Helga Hufflepuff's Cup?'"

Everything in him stilled. This was it; he was going to die. The look in Voldemort's eyes was murderous and Scorpius knew he should brandish out his wand and prepare to defend himself. But his hands wouldn't listen to him, and he merely watched helplessly as Voldemort pointed his wand at him and shouted the Cruciatus Curse.

Blinding pain spread through him like wildfire and he was brought to his knees. The spell was lifted immediately but another came… and another. He was a quivering mess when Voldemort once again tightly clutched his chin and lifted his face. His red eyes immediately met his pained, grey ones and before he could build up the walls he had desperately trained to do for months, Voldemort already saw some of his true memories. He saw Scorpius conniving with Dumbledore in his office. He saw Scorpius running around, destroying his horcruxes with the DA Core.

Voldemort already managed to reach the wall that was blocking Scorpius' past and started to destroy it, brick by brick. Scorpius, horrified, knew that if these memories would be revealed, everything that the DA Core had worked hard for, everything he sacrificed, would all be for naught. Thus, with all his remaining strength, he held up his wall and prayed to Merlin Almighty for help.


Voldemort was suddenly thrown off him and crashed against the fireplace. A set of arms was trying to roughly pull him on his feet and through squinted eyes, he was able to recognize Snape's face.

Without hesitation, the professor disapparated them out of the Malfoy Manor.

When he came into consciousness, Scorpius was surprised that he was in Dumbledore's office. He tried to move his head to see if he was alone, but the slight movement lit his whole body on fire. Scorpius bit back a whimper and tightly closed his eyes, waiting for the pain to subside.

"Do not attempt to move yet, Mr. Malfoy."

He instantly recognized Dumbledore's voice and Scorpius couldn't hold back his tears anymore. Instead of Dumbledore's worried face, Hermione's came into view and she tenderly wiped his tears away.

"You're safe," she whispered, her beautiful hazel eyes also filling with tears. "You're safe now, Scorpius. You're safe."

Hermione was gently pushed aside and Scorpius wanted to protest. But then, a worried Madame Pomfrey gently tilted his head back and tipped a potion into his mouth. He swallowed them in three gulps and instantly felt groggy once more.

"Rest for now, Mr. Malfoy," she whispered.

The next time he woke up, the first thing he noticed was the familiar sterile scent of the Hospital Wing. The next thing he noticed was the fact he was not in pain anymore.

"Madame Pomfrey can really work her wonders."

Scorpius slowly looked at the person occupying the chair beside his bed and saw Headmaster Dumbledore. He closed a magazine on knitting and placed it aside, a worried look on his face. "How are you feeling, my dear boy?" he gently asked.

"Better, sir," he said with a smile. He tried to wiggle some of his body parts and surprisingly, there was no pain anymore. "How - "

"Madame Pomfrey was able to give you brilliant pain medications," the Headmaster explained. "There only side effect was that you've been out for the whole day."

Scorpius blinked and looked outside his window, pleasantly surprised to see that a full moon was already cradled in the velvety sky.

Memories of this morning came rushing back to him and Scorpius took a sharp, shaky breath. "I… I thought I was going to die."

Silence met his claim and Scorpius had to breathe in mouthfuls of air to finally convince himself that he was still here, and very much alive.

"I thought so too," Dumbledore confessed with a sigh. "I apologize, Scorpius."

The Slytherin looked at him, confused. "What for, sir?"

"Severus was out in a mission, and it took me a while to communicate with him," the old wizard explained. "If only I had reached him earlier, you wouldn't have experienced that. If he came too late, however…"

"It wasn't your fault, headmaster," Scorpius reassured. "It was nobody's fault."

The Headmaster looked deeply remorseful and it somehow bothered and touched Scorpius at the same time. Dumbledore wasn't lying when he said that he thought Scorpius was going to die.

Eyes widening, he finally remembered the gravity of this morning's event and panicked. "Professor, Voldemort knows about the horcruxes!" he exclaimed. "I… I'm sorry, he was hurtling Cruciatus Curses and he peered into my mind and I… I couldn't."

"Calm down, Scorpius," Dumbledore gently replied.

"I… I couldn't do Occlumency to ward him off," he continued nonetheless.

"It is understandable; after receiving more than one Cruciatus Curse, it would be difficult to prevent such intrusion." The old headmaster sighed and laced his fingers. "Severus already told me that Voldemort plans to attack Hogwarts at midnight."

Scorpius' eyes widened and he struggled to go out of his bed.

"You cannot fight, Scorpius, not in that state." But the blond was already shaking his head.

"I have to do this, Headmaster," he stated with conviction. "I have to fight in this war, too. For my… for my father and all the atrocities he had to go through under the reign of this horrible monster."

"But you are not well," Dumbledore worriedly pointed out.

The pain was lesser already, but Scorpius still felt weak. "I can…" An idea came to him in a flash. "Felix Felicis! Yes, if I drank a few drops, then I could get lucky and not die immediately once they started to attack. You know how handy that little bugger is."

"Mr. Malfoy…"

"Headmaster, please," Scorpius turning pleading. "I have to do this."

Dumbledore frowned and finally sighed. "Very well," he said. He then grabbed a potion vial with his blackened hand and gave it to him. "Drink this. It is an Invigorating Draught strengthened by Professor Snape. It would help boost your energy for a few hours."

The Slytherin nodded his head and gratefully accepted the potion.

"Drink that as soon as Voldemort attacks," Dumbledore ordered. "For now, rest."

To the headmaster's surprise, Scorpius shook his head. "The DA Core," he said, "where are they?"

"They are currently helping the professors and aurors to lead the children and the weak out of Hogwarts."

"I… I need to help them," Scorpius claimed. Dumbledore shook his head and held him in place.

"They're doing all they could, and you must rest."

"I… Hermione…" He let his words dangle, cheeks slightly reddening at the knowing look on Dumbledore's face.

During the time he believed he really would die, the first thing Scorpius thought of was failing his father. And the next thought, to his surprise, was the fact he still had not given Hermione a proper kiss. He knew he had been dancing around his feelings for her for ages, and the brunette, bless her bloody golden heart, had been patient with him.

And thus, with him still actually alive, and with a war now closer than ever, Scorpius knew he shouldn't let this chance pass anymore. If he would die during this battle, then at least he would die without any regrets.

"Miss Granger is assisting Professor McGonagall in the Gryffindor Tower," Dumbledore finally said with a small smile on his face.

Scorpius grinned. "Thank you, headmaster," he said. He carefully slipped out of his bed and was about to walk out of the Hospital Wing, but then Dumbledore suddenly gasped and doubled over.

"Headmaster?" the blond asked, worried.

"I'm all right," Dumbledore reassured with a tired, pained smile. Looking closer, Scorpius realized that the headmaster looked more ashen and ailing. He shot a worried glance at his blackened hand and frowned. He clearly remembered that the last time he noticed it, only his hand up to his wrist was affected. Now, the blackness went all the way even underneath his sleeve.

Dumbledore sadly smiled at his arm. "I fear my cursed body will not be able to survive this war," he confessed. Scorpius didn't like how there was fear laced in the headmaster's voice.

"Is there no cure, sir?"

"I'm afraid there isn't, Mister Malfoy," he said with a shake of head. "This is the price you pay when you lust too much for power." He directed his blue eyes at Scorpius, his eyes sad and tired, and continued, "You must never repeat the mistakes of this old man."

Dumbledore sighed. "Do not worry about me now," he urged. "I believe you still need to look for Miss Granger?"

Scorpius reluctantly nodded. "You must rest, sir," he suggested.

"That, I cannot do." Scorpius made a move to protest, but Dumbledore cut him off with his chuckling, "You aren't the only stubborn person in this room, Scorpius."

The Slytherin smiled in return, bid his goodbye, and walked out of the Hospital Wing, but not before he heard Madame Pomfrey berating Headmaster for letting Scorpius go. He would have loved to stay and watch the greatest wizard of all time being lectured by the mediwitch, but Scorpius knew he had other things to prioritize.

Tension and fear were thick in the corridors of Hogwarts. Terrified faces of first year Hufflepuffs greeted him, with Professor Sprout quickly herding them out of the common rooms. There were also aurors swarming around the school, wands brandished out and murmuring shielding charms that would at least defend the school from the first few massive attacks.


Scorpius turned around and saw a disheveled Potter, madly dashing toward him.

"What the hell are you doing out of the Hospital Wing?" Harry demanded. "Dumbledore said you still must rest."

The Malfoy heir smirked and spread his arms out. "Well, I'm fucking here now, yeah?" he replied.

The-Boy-Who-Lived looked at him seriously. "Malfoy," he continued, "you almost died."

All the mirth drained out from Scorpius' face. It surprised him that Harry was genuinely worried for his welfare. His heart gave a pained lurch at the thought of Al's face back home. "Stop looking at me like that, Potter," he lightly joked, just to dispel the sudden awkwardness he felt. "I might start treating you like my best friend."

To his surprise, Harry just gave him an exasperated grin. "You almost died, but you can still manage to cajole," he said with a shake of his head. "I really don't know what goes inside that weird head of yours, Malfoy."

"I really would like to chat with you more, Potter, and prove how weird I bloody am, but I really need to look for Hermione now."

Potter mirrored Dumbledore's knowing look a while ago. "She's in the - "

"Gryffindor Tower helping Professor McGonagall, I know," Scorpius said. "See you later, Potter."

Harry resolutely nodded and was about to leave, but Scorpius suddenly latched on his arm.

"Whatever… whatever happens at midnight, you just have to believe in yourself, Harry Potter," the blond firmly said. "Just follow your bloody heart."

The Gryffindor looked at him strangely, but nodded his head nonetheless. Scorpius bid his goodbye once more and bounded away, this time determined to find Hermione without any stopovers.

Thankfully, nobody bothered him until he reached the seventh floor. By that time, his whole body was aching and he was tempted to rest. But they only had a few hours left before Voldemort's promised attack – he'd be damned if he let this opportunity slip through his fingers.

He easily spied Hermione amongst the line of terrified little Gryffindors. Her hair was bushier than ever, her face showing worry and determination. Professor McGonagall was barking orders hither thither, prompting the first years to hasten their pace. She directed them to pass through a door and Hermione stayed behind until the last of the first years disappeared.

She was about to follow, but Scorpius quickly grabbed onto her arm to stop her.

"Scorpius!" she gasped, eyes widening in surprise. "What are you doing here?"

"I came to find you," he said, determinedly dragging her in one of the abandoned classrooms.

"You should be in the Hospital Wing!" she shrieked, fury now painting her pretty face. "And I'm… I'm helping the children evacuate. Why the hell did yo - "

Her words died down as he eagerly cut her off with a brief kiss. Her eyes widened once more and she failed to form words.

"Look at that, I've made Hermione Granger speechless for the first time."

A blush slowly crept from her neck up to her cheeks. Scorpius grinned and leaned down once more to capture her parted lips. Emotions burst through his chest as she started responding with equal fervor. Scorpius pulled her closer and held her tight, trying to memorizing everything – how she tasted, how she felt – and for a moment, all the things that plagued his mind were thrown out of the window.

It was Hermione who pulled away and Scorpius made a disappointed grunt at the back of his throat.

"A war is bloody looming and you thought it was the right time to do this?" she exclaimed breathlessly, her cheeks impossibly red and her lips deliciously swollen.

"I almost died, Granger," he whispered with a huge grin. "I almost died and I didn't want to have regrets anymore."

"What do you mean?"

"What I mean is," he continued, "I really like you, Hermione and I've been stupid for even hesitating when we're in the midst of a bloody war. Things have changed because of my bloody time travelling and there is no assurance that I'd still live after the war. And thus, I'm putting my ridiculous apprehensions aside and kissing you, because fuck it all, I really like you."

Her eyes widened with his words and slowly tears welled up in her eyes. "I really like you, too" she said in return. "Really, really like you. And I know everything right now is weird and fucked up, and that my children might possible cease to exist if we got together but… but the mere idea of being with Ron felt so wrong."

Hermione reached out and placed her palm against his cheek. "I'm terrified of the war, Scorpius," she continued with a whisper. "I know a few hours from now, we are going to face the most formidable army the Wizarding World had ever seen. There is no certainty if we'll live through this bloody war, but I just want to say that after… after everything's ended, I want to… I…"

She placed her other hand on his cheek. She then tiptoed and placed a quick, sweet kiss on his lips. "I want to be with you," she softly continued as she fell back on the balls of her feet.

Scorpius didn't hesitate anymore. "Me too," he said, leaning his forehead against hers. "Me too, Hermione."

"So please, please be careful," she pleaded. "Please stay alive so that after the war we can properly make sense or our feelings and this… this weird relationship we have, and what we want to do about it."

He grinned widely. "Okay," he said, tucking a stray curl behind her ear.

A sudden huge explosion snapped them off their temporary happiness. Scorpius pulled Hermione towards the windows of the classroom and watched, horrified, as hundreds of spells were thrown towards the powerful shield put up by the professors and aurors. The spells collided with the barrier, emitting another resounding boom.

The door banged open and both Scorpius and Hermione pulled out their wands, ready to defend themselves.

Neville came in, surprised to see them inside. Then, his expression slowly turned grave.

"They're here."

Chapter Text

It had started.

And no matter how much Scorpius trained his mind that this was inevitable – that Voldemort and his Death Eaters would invade Hogwarts no matter what happened – he found himself still unbelievably unready for the attack. He was shaking with fear and adrenaline as he hurtled spells one after the other, and desperately dodged away to save himself. Honestly, he believed he was still alive only because of the Invigorating Draught he drank with an addition of a few drops of Felix Felicis.

The Death Eaters had finally breached through the almost impenetrable shield the powerful wizards on their side put up. Shouts and rumbles were now deafening as Scorpius yelled a quick 'Stupefy' at an incoming masked Death Eater. He craned his neck around, trying to see if he could locate Hermione or any of the DA Core. Paling, the second floor corridor was filled with dust, debris, and colorful spells; familiar classmates tried to push him away and protect themselves, but sadly, no DA Core met his eyes.

'Please be safe. Please be safe,' Scorpius pleaded in his mind, mindlessly helping a fallen Ravenclaw onto her feet and blasting away the Death Eater that brought her down. He recognized her as Cho Chang and as she thanked him, her eyes widened, she poised her wand and readied herself to hurtle a spell at him.

"I'm on your side," he reassured, blasting another incoming Death Eater. "See?"

She looked confused but slowly nodded her head. Then, she ran away, searching for another Death Eater to injure.

The air was starting to become thick with the smell of blood and burnt flesh. Bodies dropped liked flies and Scorpius didn't want to stop and look, afraid that he'd see the familiar faces of people that had become dear to him in this time period.

"I can't believe you have the gall to betray us, Malfoy."

Scorpius stiffened and slowly turned around. Vincent Crabbe stood opposite him, a murderous look on his face. His wand was poised to kill and Scorpius was forced to lift his wand hand to defend himself from any incoming assault.

"Crabbe," he spoke slowly, "you don't have to do this. You can… you can come to us, the good side."

The burly Slytherin scowled and shouted a particularly dark spell. Scorpius immediately produced a solid shield, prompting Crabbe's spell to ricochet and hit Crabbe squarely on his chest. He screamed as the violet spell left an angry, dark scorch mark and proceeded to topple him off his feet.

"I'm so, so sorry," Scorpius whispered, backing away and not checking if the Slytherin was still alive.

He meandered blindly through the ruckus, ducking and dodging and defending and fighting. Dueling Class in his time paled in comparison with how everything was unfolding right now. There was always a professor who would step in between two opponents if things got particularly heated; now, there was no one who would immediately help him if things did not go his way.

Swallowing down the bile that would surely make an appearance, Scorpius willed his mind to focus on keeping himself alive. He also fervently wished that no matter what the changes were happening during this battle, the Light Side would still win.

A sudden scream from across the hall reached his ears and without thinking, Scorpius ran close to see who it was. To his horror, Astoria was determinedly blasting spells at a maniacal Yaxley. For a moment, the Slytherin stood rooted on the spot, mouth open, as he watched his young mother trying to battle for her life. He specifically remembered Astoria telling him that she was not present during the Battle of Hogwarts due to suddenly falling sick. She was back home and resting when the battle sparked, and she was sorry she was not able to fight alongside those she wanted to win.

"Which side would you have been fighting for, Mum?" 10-year-old Scorpius quizzically asked. Astoria merely gave him a mysterious, indulgent smile, and he always wondered about this when he came across anything about the Battle of Hogwarts. He always suspected Astoria would have fought for the Light Side, though.

Watching Astoria bravely fight now, Scorpius' inkling seemed true after all.

His eyes widened when a spell hit Astoria squarely on her abdomen. "MUM," he unthinkably called out, rushing forward to see the extent of her injuries. Blood was dripping down from her lips and the huge, ugly gash marred her stomach. "Oh Merlin, Mum."

Snarling, he blasted Yaxley away and was satisfied with the sickening crunch he heard.

Scorpius fell down on his knees and tried to stop the bleeding, choking out a sob when none of his healing spells seemed to help.

A gentle hand suddenly touched his shoulder and he looked up. Through his tears, he was able to see Madame Pomfrey. "Leave her to me," she reassured. Scorpius nodded and stood aside, watching as the mediwitch murmured one healing spell after another.

"She's been badly injured," she soon reported. "But she is not in mortal peril now." Madame Pomfrey stood up and levitated Astoria, perhaps to bring her in some makeshift Hospital Wing to also tend to the other injured. "Go out and fight, Mr. Malfoy."

He was tempted to follow just to make sure his mother would be well. But then, when a purple spell came whizzing past his ear, he sighed, wiped away his remaining tears and turned around. Scorpius knew Astoria would be in good hands; besides, Madame Pomfrey did say she was not in mortal peril anymore.

"Reducto!" he exclaimed, catching the Death Eater off guard.

Scorpius knew he was needed here more. Astoria would nag his ear off he she discovered he chose her over the safety of others. That was just how she was.

He found himself lost in the sea of battle in the Hogwarts grounds. The wonderful greenery it used to have, inviting students to come out and play (or study, whichever tickled their fancy) was now red-streaked and burnt beyond recognition. Bodies were steadily piling up and Scorpius refused to acknowledge that some of them were familiar faces of his classmates.

Scorpius was now dragging himself closer and closer to the Great Hall. He earned a particularly large gash on his right arm, and bellowing spells that required wand movements was starting to become too painful to do. If only he could find Madame Pomfrey and quickly heal him, then he could come out and fight once more.


The next thing he knew, he was on the muddy ground and landed on his bad arm. Blinding pain shot through his arm, and stars exploded behind his eyes. Consciousness threatened to slip away, but the person who assaulted him was roughly pulling him back onto his feet, but to no avail.

"Bloody stand up, Scorpius!"

He recognized Hermione's voice almost immediately, and that seemed to snap him back into the present. He shook his head and lightly scowled at the brunette. "A little warning next time, Granger," he snarled and this time helped Hermione put him back onto his feet.

"I did warn you," she shot back, absentmindedly swishing and flicking her wand to stop the bleeding on his forehead.

Scorpius was about to snap something in return, but his eyes caught the Death Eater that almost injured him, if not for Hermione's unpleasant intervention. "Sectumsempra," he angrily snarled. The Death Eater was toppled off his feet as multiple slashes appeared on his chest. At the same time, Scorpius hissed and looked at his injured arm; he swore it was now broken.

"Hold still," Hermione said, reaching out to gently cradle his injured arm. Before he could ask what she planned to do, she already murmured a soft "Brackium Emendo."

"Holy Mother of -!" The pain was unbearable and Scorpius had to squeeze his eyes shut, hearing how his bones started snapping back in place.

"I'm sorry," Hermione said, tiptoeing a bit to place a kiss on his chin.

It took him a full minute to recover with his arm now blessedly fixed. He pulled Hermione into a quick hug before brandishing his wand once more, hurtling more offensive spells to his enemies.

It relieved him immensely to know that Hermione was now fighting beside him. If he weren't distracted with a Death Eater, he found himself watching her at awe; this was the Golden Girl in action. History books weren't kidding when they hailed her as the brightest witch of her age. Unknown spells came out from her lips coupled with complicated wand movements. Scorpius was only sure of one thing – he didn't want to be at the receiving end of Hermione Granger's wand.

"What in Merlin's name are you gawking at!" Hermione shrieked, pushing him aside and immediately putting up a powerful shield.

"Sorry," Scorpius squeaked, recognizing the dark spell that had almost hit him. He expected more reprimanding from Hermione but when none came, he looked down and saw her staring angrily at the person opposite them. She was in front of him, left arm spread out, seemingly protective of him.


He stiffened. Before he could even turn to look at the person who called his name, he already knew who it was. Slowly turning around, the image of a gaunt and disheveled Lucius Malfoy beheld his sight.

Unlike Nana Cissy, whom he still had the pleasure of meeting during his younger days, Lucius Malfoy was already dead by the time he was born. The only childhood memory he had of his grandfather were of the portraits in the Malfoy Manor, but even those he scarcely visited.

"What are you doing?" Lucius harshly asked, scowling at the sight of Hermione standing in front of him. "Come here."

Hermione wavered a bit and Scorpius could feel her nervousness. Smiling slightly, he placed a hand on her shoulder to reassure her. Then, to a surprised Lucius, he bravely said, "I was never on your side."

Fury immediately appeared on his face. A dark spell escaped his lips and if it weren't for Hermione's quick, stellar wandwork, they would have been blasted off into smithereens. Lucius was thrown off his feet and didn't stand up anymore.

Scorpius stalked closer and Hermione held his arm to stop. "Don't worry, I won't kill him," he lightly joked, but Hermione wasn't amused. "Hermione," he started with a sigh, "I have to do this."

Hermione faltered and slowly nodded her head, closely following behind him until they reached the fallen Lucius Malfoy.

The man was barely conscious and when his eyes finally focused on Scorpius' face, there was bewilderment in his eyes. "Why?" was his mere question.

Scorpius crouched down and snarled. "Because it was your fault why my father went through all that fucking misery, you bastard," he spat. Lucius was confused with his words, and Scorpius did not give him the satisfaction of asking another question. Instead, he pointed his wand at his face and uttered, "Stupefy." This spell knocked Lucius unconscious and it gave Scorpius somehow a sense of triumph. "That's for my father, you bastard."

Hermione's small hands enclosed on his arm, pulling him back onto his feet. "Come on," she gently said.

Scorpius didn't realize he was breathing heavily; this confrontation had apparently shaken him so. Hermione's hand travelled down to hold his shaking wand hand, and steadily held tight until the shaking stopped.

"Come on," she repeated, this time stronger, and finally managed to drag Scorpius away from his unconscious grandfather.

"That felt wonderful," he breathlessly confessed, his eyes clouding with relieved tears. He thanked Merlin and everybody who could hear him that his father would never meet Lucius fucking Malfoy.

They continued to fight tirelessly, with Scorpius making sure Hermione never went out of his sight. They still had not seen the other members of the DA Core and Scorpius silently prayed that they were still alive and holding on.

"I speak now, Harry Potter, directly to you."

Both Scorpius and Hermione skidded into a halt, eyes widening as they recognized Voldemort's magically enhanced voice.

"You have permitted your friends to die for you rather than face me yourself. I shall wait for one hour in the Forbidden Forest."

"The One-Hour Armistice," Scorpius whispered, recognizing the speech. Hermione quizzically looked at him, waiting for an explanation, but Voldemort's speech continued.

"If, at the end of that hour, you have not come to me, have not given yourself up, then battle recommences."

Hermione's eyes widened as tears formed in her eyes. "Wait," she shakily cried, "is this where - "

"Yes," Scorpius replied before Hermione could complete her question. "Potter must die."

"This time, I shall enter the fray myself, Harry Potter, and I shall find you, and I shall punish every last man, woman, and child who has tried to conceal you from me. One hour."

Deafening silence followed Voldemort's warning. All Death Eaters stopped their fighting and slowly backed away, into the Forbidden Forest, while the forces of the Light watched. Despite the ceasing of battle, their hearts were heavy as they warily looked around, in search of their Chosen One.

"We must find Harry," Hermione urged him, grasping on to his arm.

Scorpius mechanically nodded his head, letting Hermione lead him through the chaos.

They found Harry in the Great Hall, helping Madame Pomfrey tend to the injured. Scorpius couldn't help but breathe out a sigh of relief upon seeing that all of the members of the DA Core were still alive. Weasley merely had a nasty gash on his forehead and Lovegood looked paler than before; besides that, all still looked well.

"Malfoy!" Ginny exclaimed. This caught the attention of the other DA Core members and all, including Harry, ran closer to Hermione and Scorpius. Hermione was immediately crushed into a tight embrace by her best friends, prompting the Golden Girl to laugh softly through her tears.

"The last horcrux," Harry then grounded out as soon as he pulled away from Hermione. "What is it, Malfoy? We've already spied the snake and Neville has the Sorting Hat in his hands. We need to destroy the last horcrux before I face off with Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest."

Scorpius glanced at Hermione and instantly felt dreadful. Slowly returning his gaze at Harry, he prepared himself for the inevitable.

"The horcrux, Malfoy," Harry grounded out, this time furrowing his brows in worry at the sudden seriousness Scorpius had on his face.

Behind Harry, Ginny gasped and started to loudly cry. "No, no," she cried. "No, you can't be serious."

Ron looked thoroughly confused, his eyes shifting from his hysterical sister to the still-silent Slytherin.

"The horcrux," Harry repeated, his face slowly paling. Looking into his emerald eyes, Scorpius knew he already figured it out.

"I think you already know," Scorpius finally replied, his voice soft and wavering. It was a wonder how they were still able to hear him amidst the chaos in the Great Hall.

All the color on Harry's face had drained by then as he shakily lifted his hand to press his fingers against his lightning bolt scar. "I-I want to hear it from you, Malfoy," Harry interjected, his voice now shaky with unimaginable horror.

"It's you," Scorpius blurted. "You're the last horcrux, Harry Potter."

Both Ron and Neville gaped at Scorpius revelation. Ginny cried and fully hid her face behind her hands. It was only Luna who looked unsurprised, but too serious that was unlike her.

"Why didn't you tell me?" Harry asked after a moment of silence that felt like an eternity.

"Because I don't know how to," he explained. Scorpius felt tired all of a sudden. He steadily held Harry's gaze, though.

"But… that means…" Ron's face mirrored Harry's paleness, his freckles standing now stark on his nose. "No."

"For a horcrux to be destroyed, the object that holds it must be destroyed too," Scorpius murmured.

Ginny pushed Harry away and angrily stomped closer at Scorpius. "How could you keep this away from us?" she cried, poking a finger against his chest. Although his chest was already smarting, Scorpius had let her, knowing that she was in distress.

"Ginny," Harry said, placing a hand on her shoulder.

The redhead lightly pushed Scorpius away and buried her neck against Harry's neck. His hands immediately snaked across her waist and held her tight. There were also tears in Harry's eyes and although it pained him so, Scorpius knew he couldn't tell him the whole truth. It was crucial that Harry willingly sacrificed himself in order to destroy the horcrux and save his life. It was a terrible thing to withhold, but Scorpius knew it was the only way.

"But you said," Harry started, "you said that you will be best friend's with my son. You said I will have three wonderful children, who will all grow up as Quidditch players like their parents."

Scorpius' hand shook and he wanted to desperately reassure Harry that it would happen, all of them would happen, if he would just stick to the plan. Hermione wordlessly held his hand to hide his shaking.

"You are the last horcrux, Potter," Scorpius croaked instead, his voice cracking. "And you know what to do."

A tear slipped down Harry's eye as he wordlessly pulled Ginny aside. He walked towards Scorpius once more, his gaze strong and unwavering, but filled with emotion. "Is there no other way?" he asked, his voice eerily calm.

"You know that the only way to destroy a horcrux is through Fiendfyre or basilisk venom."

"Or Avada Kedavra," Harry added, prompting Scorpius to flinch.

"I-I'm sorry, Potter," Scorpius said, horrified that a tear had also slid down from his eyes. "I swear, if there was another way, I would have told you now but… but there isn't. I'm sorry. I'm sorry."

To his surprise, Harry placed a gentle hand on his head and playfully patted it. Scorpius' eyes widened, his heart almost dropping to the ground, as the familiar actions of Albus Severus were being mimicked by his father. Although it usually annoyed Scorpius, because he was seriously way taller than Al and he felt like he was being treated like a child, this was familiar and it filled his eyes with more tears.

"You've done enough, Malfoy," Harry said, smiling through his tears. "This isn't your fault."

A sudden loud boom from outside the Great Hall resounded in the whole room, prompting some to shrink in surprise and hastily brandish out their wands.

"Time's up," Luna softly said, her usual airy voice now shaky and scared.

"Harry…" Ginny tearfully cried, latching onto his arm.

Harry enveloped Ginny into another tight hug. Both Hermione and Ron then embraced him, their unspoken love for each other resonating to the other people in the Great Hall. Scorpius' eyes met Hermione's once more, and it somehow relieved she didn't blurt out the truth. There was fear in her eyes, though, and Scorpius was sure he was mirroring her expression right now. Although history books reassured him that Harry Potter would live through this - hell the mere fact that he was best friend's with Potter's son was proof enough – Scorpius couldn't help but feel a little terrified that perhaps, things would not go according to plan. After all, his presence here in this timeline was already an anomaly; there would undoubtedly be changes along the way because of him.

Scorpius watched as Harry also gave a tearful Neville and a quiet Luna hugs. By the time he was standing in front of him again, Harry surprisingly extended his hand.

"It was nice meeting you, Scorpius Malfoy," he firmly said. "You've been a great friend."

'Friend,' Scorpius repeated in his mind. He flashed a watery smile and clasped Harry's hand, reminiscent of the first time he shook Al's hand. 'You're going to live, Potter,' he thought. 'You have to bloody live.'

Ginny was helpless as Harry walked away from the group. Hermione had to hold the redhead steady so as to keep her upright.

As Harry marched out of the Great Hall, marched out to his inevitable death, everybody in the Great Hall stood still and grievously watched. This was their prophesized hero, and watching him leave extinguished whatever hope they had in their hearts.

Scorpius steadfastly stood his ground and trusted Harry with his whole heart.

They were going to win. He could just feel it. Now, all they had to do was to wait.

A distraught Hagrid was carrying Harry Potter's lifeless body together with Voldemort, finally marching closer to Hogwarts with a band of Death Eaters triumphantly cheering for the death of the Light's Hero. Beside him, Ginny started to cry once more and tightly held a pale Ron.

Helpless cries surrounded him, but Professor Dumbledore, with Professor Snape flanking his side, met Voldemort at the middle with raised chins and hard stares. Scorpius and Hermione stepped closer until they were behind the professors, with some of the remaining survivors of the Light following their lead. The Malfoy heir worriedly eyed Dumbledore, who looked worse than ever. He could already see a hint of blackness on his neck; only a few hours more and the curse would reach and stop his heart.

"Harry Potter is dead," Voldemort then announced, his voice once again magically magnified. "He was killed while running away, trying to save himself while you all lay down your lives for him."

Scorpius curled his hands into fists and tried to scream that he was wrong, that Harry Potter was bloody brave, but it took all of his willpower to clamp his lips shut.

"We bring you his body as proof that your hero is gone. The battle is won; Death Eaters outnumber you. There must be no more war. Anyone who continues to resist will be slaughtered." A maniacal grin grew on Voldemort's face and Scorpius was reminded of all the torture sessions he had with the bastard. "Kneel before me and you shall all be spared and forgiven. Join me in the new world we shall build together."

Nagini, who was wrapped around Voldemort's frail shoulder, slithered down to the ground and threateningly hissed at the opposite army. Beside him, Scorpius saw Neville tightly clutching onto the Sorting Hat. Gone was the terrified young boy, but a man aggrieved and angry.

"Put the boy down," Voldemort calmly ordered at the still-sobbing half-giant. Hagrid refused at first, but Bellatrix made a whip out of her wand and lashed at Hagrid's right leg. Hagrid cried in pain and was forced to gently settle Harry back onto the rubble. Scorpius' eyes were intently trained on Harry's lifeless form, hoping against hope that the history books were true and Harry Potter was bloody alive. He shot a glance at Dumbledore and Snape, who were supposed to be dead by now, and prayed to Merlin that despite these changes, Lily's sacrificial protection still held true, saving Harry from death.

He tried to squint his eyes, searching for any telltale signs of life, but Potter was perfectly still. Either he was a damn good actor, or – Merlin forbid – he was really dead.

Hermione started to cry large, terrified tears, perhaps also fearing for the worst. Scorpius started to feel guilty, for withholding the truth from Potter and his newfound friends. He wouldn't forgive himself if he was the reason why Harry Potter died and inevitably ending the Potter line with him.

"Harry Potter is nothing but a boy who relied on others to sacrifice themselves for him," Voldemort said, gesturing at Harry and trying to convince the survivors of the Light side to join him.

But pale Ron suddenly snapped angrily and marched forward. Snape had to hold him back just to keep him in place, but was unable to shut Ron up. "Fuck you, you bloody bastard!" he angrily yelled, his face now slowly turning into an angry shade of purple.

This seemed to break the stupefied silence of the people, as numerous shouts and curses were thrown towards Voldemort. The said dark lord merely grinned at the ruckus and lifted his wand. A loud bang resounded in the whole courtyard, rendering everyone silent and terrified once more.

"I will not tolerate such insolence," Voldemort sneered. Lifting his arms once more, he continued, "I will repeat myself for the very last time: anyone who wants to join me and my cause, come forward."

No one did anything for a minute but then, to Scorpius' horror, Neville Longbottom started limping forward.

"Neville, what are you doing?" Seamus exclaimed, clear betrayal etched on his face, but the other Gryffindor resolutely ignored him.

"Mister Longbottom…" Dumbledore said as he placed hand on Neville's shoulder, but the boy merely shrugged him off and continued to trudged on.

Neville stopped once he was at the very middle of the two armies. Scorpius tried to scrutinize his expression, but he couldn't understand his look.

"What is your name, boy?" Voldemort asked.

"Neville Longbottom," he steadily replied, voice neither shaking nor cracking. Most of the Death Eaters erupted into loud laughter, most likely recognizing his name and knowledgeable of his past. Bellatrix, now devoid of any signs of Voldemort's torturing, cackled the loudest and Scorpius was tempted to blast off her face, just to shut her up.

Voldemort wore an amused smile; perhaps, he too, knew Neville. "I was expecting someone better," he started, prompting the others to laugh once more, "but you will - "

"I'd like to say something," Neville interrupted.

Voldemort's smile wavered. "Well… if you must," he said with a flick of his wrist.

Taking a deep breath, Neville's eyes were intently trained on Nagini. "It doesn't matter that Harry is gone - "

"Neville!" Dean exclaimed.

"People die everyday," Neville continued on through gritted teeth. He glared at Dean and the Gryffindor slowly backed down. "Friends… family…" A tear slipped down on his face, but his voice never wavered. "Yeah, we lost Harry tonight. But he's with us… in here." He tightly grasped his chest and tried to stop his tears, but to no avail. "He didn't die in vain."

Then, slowly, as if a spirit possessed him, Neville angrily turned his tearful face and glared at a laughing Voldemort. "But you will because you're wrong! Harry's heart did beat for us. For all of us! It is not over!"

Scorpius' eyes widened as Neville pulled out the shiny sword of Godric Gryffindor. Beside him, Hermione gasped and if it were more possible, Scorpius' eyes became wider as Harry Potter suddenly stood up from the ground and pointed his wand at Nagini, "Confrigo!"

Chaos erupted at the surprising sight. Nagini hissed angrily as Voldemort stared in astonishment, speechless that The-Boy-Who-Lived had not yet died.

Voldemort screamed spells in anger but Harry was nimble. The other Death Eaters spread out and tried to fight off the other survivors of the Light Side.

"You're right, you're right! Oh Merlin, you're right!" Hermione chanted, crying happy tears as she threw herself into Scorpius arms.

"I know I'm bloody right, Hermione, but we cannot celebrate yet," Scorpius pointed out as he blasted three Death Eaters away in one sweeping spell.

Then, to Neville, who still stood dumbfounded at the spot, he exclaimed, "You have to kill the blood snake now, Longbottom!"

Voldemort, enraged, heard his exclaimed words and blasted Neville off. "No!" Hermione screamed and ran off to the fallen Gryffindor. Scorpius tried to clutch onto her to keep her in position, but the bloody witch was already gone.

Cursing under his breath, he blindly hurtled spells one after the other, hoping against hope that Neville was still alive to kill off the last horcrux.

By the time he was at the foot of the stairs in the Great Hall, Scorpius was bloody exhausted. He wanted to rest because damn it, everything in him hurts and he just wanted all of these to end.

He blasted five more Death Eaters before attempting to climb the grand staircase. But then, he faltered, as Hermione quickly ran down the stairs, every now and then blasting a spell or two behind her. Scorpius spied the menacing giant snake and blasted it off, but the snake merely hissed and went back to pursuing Hermione.

"Run!" he cried, prompting her to go faster, but Hermione was tired like him too. Nagini was relentless despite more spells. As a horcrux, of course ordinary offensive spells would be worthless against it.

Hermione tripped on her way and painfully landed on the rubble. "No!" Scorpius cried, climbing quickly and willing his legs to go faster.

Thankfully, he reached her just in time before Nagini attacked. They missed its fangs by a mere inch and before they could even recover, Nagini was already in the middle of another attack.

Perhaps, he was exaggerating when he said everything was slowed down right at that very moment. Looking back, he still found everything hilarious how history eventually unfolded before his eyes.

Neville was suddenly there in a blur of light. Scorpius' eyes were momentarily blinded as light hit the shiny sword of Gryffindor. Neville then mightily swung the sword in a single, clean sweep, nicely decapitating the snake. Nagini's separated head spun through the air before ricocheting against a ruined wall. It then fell down on the stairs and those from the Light screamed and stomped down on the pathetic head.

At the same time, Voldemort screamed in anger and agony, and tried to blast Neville off his feet, but Harry suddenly threw a powerful shield and deflected the spell.

"I believe your fight is with me," Harry bravely said, stomping closer, wand poised high up in the sky.

Scorpius watched, wide-eyed as everything in the battlefield cleared, leaving only Voldemort and Harry face-to-face, both mortals for the very first time.

Voldemort threw a Killing Curse first, but Harry was quick and exclaimed "Expelliarmus!" Green and red clashed strongly in the middle, and Scorpius only watched, almost without breathing, as the famous Last Battle unfolded before his eyes.

They won.

They fucking won.

Of course, they won.

Scorpius did not even bother hiding his happy tears anym