Awake. Blinking into the dimly lit room. Silence.
Draco holds his breath, daring to listen for something that might just make him believe last night was real. He stares resolutely out over his side of the bed. It’s only his side if he has someone to share it with.
And then a faint noise: breathing.
He dares turn over, just enough to see, to confirm that it wasn’t a dream, some kind of elaborate fantasy.
She is there. Her eyes closed, her lips softly parted, her dark hair splayed out over the pillow around her. She’s there and she’s real and nothing has ever felt more wonderful, but the moment feels fragile, made of spindly glass. Able to snap, break apart, in mere seconds. Draco isn’t to be trusted with something so precious.
He can’t take his eyes off her, savouring the seconds, indulging himself in just a little more. Before too long she’ll awaken and realise how foolish she’s been, what a mistake she’s made.
And then she’s fluttering her eyes open, she’s smiling softly in a gentle ray of sunshine, projected perfectly onto the pillow behind her head. Those eyes - rich, deep, kind - seek him out and her smile grows wider. As if she’s smiling because of him.
“Good morning, Draco.”
It must be a mirage of some sorts, he’s still asleep and dreaming. Because she shifts closer to him, placing her hand flat over his chest, resting her head on his shoulder as if it’s where she wants to be.
She lies still for a second, before glancing from her hand up to his face, her expression one of sincerity. They were coming, the words of finality. She’d deliver them as kindly as she navigated through life.
“Your heart’s beating faster than a zouwu chasing a kitten.” She laughs lightly, a magical sound. “Are you okay?”
He can’t bring himself to answer, instead pulling her close, breathing in the scent of her hair. And Merlin he loved her, he loved her and he shouldn’t, couldn’t love something so pure.
“Alright then, Moody, you can brood away in silence.” She laughs again, as relaxed as ever, even closing her eyes while curled up against him. “Let me know when you’re ready to talk to me.”
All he could do was stare at her incredulously, their usual easy banter a distant dream at that point.
“Draco,” she said, opening her eyes and gazing up at him. “I don’t regret it. I’ll never regret it.”
Awake. The scent of rose petals and spun sugar. A light feeling in his heart.
Their hair mixes on the backdrop of the white pillowcase, his silvery strands weaving amongst her dark, glossy waves. There are still flowers laced into the top of her hair, baby’s breath and the odd daisy, and he knows they’re likely scattered throughout the room too. A lasting reminder of their happy day.
And she wakes too, almost as if she sensed him, like she often seemed to. She’s in his arms, soft and comfortable, and everything feels easier, more natural.
“Good morning, husband.” She smiles, her eyes lit with delight. “What did you do yesterday?”
Draco is forcibly reminded of a time, similar to this, waking up with Astoria in his arms, struck dumb by her presence. But how far they’ve come since then.
“Hmm, I think I went to a wedding.” He pretends to ponder her question at length.
“What a coincidence, I went to a wedding too.” She grins, her eyes glinting. “The groom was gorgeous.”
“Don’t let his bride hear you say that, she’s rather attached.”
“Lucky her.” She shifts in his arms, bringing their lips together, and Draco is kissing her back, his hands wandering over the smooth skin of her bare torso.
She runs her fingers through his hair, tracing patterns across his scalp in that way she knows drives him wild. She’s irresistible when she’s like this. She’s always irresistible.
A small, white flower falls between them, tickling Draco’s cheek and breaking their kiss. Astoria takes the sprig between her finger and thumb and frowns at it.
“Do you mind?” She addresses the flower. “We’re busy.”
She reaches up and tucks the tiny bloom behind Draco’s ear, positioning his long hair in place over the top of the flower. Her fingers continue to comb through his hair, reaching the ends past his shoulder and gently curling around the length. She tugs, just slightly, but it’s enough for him to know what she’s asking for.
Awake. It’s pitch black, but it’s not yet Autumn; the middle of the night. A deep sigh.
“What is it, my love?”
He turns over to face her, she’s sat upright, propped against multiple pillows, her hands both resting on her round stomach. She looks fed up, bored, done.
“Good morning. Scorpius is awake, so I’m awake.” She sighs and rubs circles over her bump.
Draco pulls himself into a seated position too, looking to her for permission before placing his own hand beside hers.
“You called him Scorpius,” he comments quietly.
“I’ve come to accept that he’s most likely going to be born a Scorpio,” she chuckles softly. “If he’s early, it has to be Librus.” Her expression lifts. “Ooh, but then he’ll be an air sign just like his daddy.”
“You know that’s not why I suggested Scorpius, don’t you.” He wraps an arm around her shoulders.
“You mean we aren’t going to give him a middle name for his lunar sign?” She feigns offence. “Scorpius Taurus-Geminius-Rising-Sagittarius Malfoy. I’ve got my heart set on it now, darling.”
Draco smirks, pulling her closer. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were teasing me.”
“No, no. Teasing myself.” She looks down at her hands rested on her bump. “It’s a lovely constellation and a lovely name. I think we can pull off having a son called Scorpius.”
“My dear, we can pull off anything.” He squeezes her shoulder and kisses the top of her head. “But what about Hyperion? For your Grandad?”
She thinks for a second and glances between her stomach and Draco. “Scorpius Hyperion,” she says experimentally. “Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy.”
It has been such a long time, and yet it still catches Draco by surprise to hear the pride and pleasure in his wife’s voice when she uses his name. Their name. What would be their son’s name; a new, brighter era of Malfoys.
“Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy,” he breathes back.
Beneath his spread out palm, Draco feels movement, a strong kick. His son.
Astoria laughs. “I think he likes it.”
Awake. Early morning, barely any sunlight yet. The hour has gone back but it’s yet to take effect.
Tiny, snuffling sounds bring Draco into the present.
“Look, Daddy’s awake.” Her voice, soft and clear, wakes him fully. “Good morning, Daddy.”
She’s sat up, their tiny newborn son in her arms and balanced across her chest, his little eyes closed in perfect bliss as he drinks his milk. He’s making the smallest, sweetest noises, snuggling against Astoria.
“How long have you both been awake?” Draco sits up too, gazing fondly at his son. He strokes the soft, dandelion fluff that is Scorpius’ hair, his palm cupping to fit over his head perfectly before resting, intertwined with Astoria.
“Not long, but he was hungry.” She gazes down at Scorpius. “Oh look, he’s sleeping.” She nods to the soft rise and fall of their baby’s chest, his mouth still enclosed over Astoria’s breast. She gently moves him away, holding his sleeping form out towards Draco. “Here, Daddy.”
Draco accepts immediately, taking baby Scorpius into his arms and holding him close. He doesn’t stir, sleeping peacefully against Draco’s chest. Not for the first time, Draco feels a distinct overwhelm at the love he has for his son, how it feels like he’s been waiting his whole life to become a father. If Astoria was his light, Scorpius was every star in the sky.
Without waking, Scorpius reaches up a tiny hand, curling his fist into the ends of Draco’s hair. He sighs deeply, closing his eyes in resignation, opening them only to see Astoria smirking at him.
“This is why I tie it up now,” he says with another sigh.
“I think Scorpius has brilliant taste.” Astoria reaches over to curl her own fingertips in Draco’s hair. “I think he has your hair, too. He’s lying there now, dreaming of the ponytail he could have one day.” She laughs lightly.
“If he’s lucky, he’ll look like you when he’s older,” Draco says, unable to move his head to fully look at her, Scorpius’ grip on his hair making it painful to do so. “Isn’t Mummy beautiful, Scorpius?”
Astoria smiles and leans over to catch his lips in a kiss, their tiny son sleeping between them.
Awake. Abruptly and downright painfully. Sharp elbows and feet where they shouldn’t be.
Draco sucks in a breath, a dull thud to the stomach enough to rouse him. His two companions remain sleeping, the younger oblivious to the disruption he is causing. Scorpius is sprawled across both him and Astoria, most of his body happily using Draco as a pillow while he rests his head sweetly beside his mother’s. Scorpius isn’t a very still sleeper, and, at all of two years old, manages to take up rather a lot of space.
Draco isn’t even sure how he ended up in their bed, the memory of laying him down in his own bed still fresh in his mind. He’d read up on the matter, diligently following recommended techniques to encourage Scorpius to sleep by himself. But he’d be lying if he said it didn’t please him greatly to have his son there and close to him through the night.
He’ll lightly chastise Astoria for bringing him into their bed again, but they’ll both know he doesn’t really mean it.
She wakes too, stirring and taking in the scene before her. Their son, still fast asleep, shifts with her, throwing one leg across Draco’s neck in a most uncomfortable position.
Astoria breathes silent laughter, covering her mouth with her hand. “Can I perhaps help you there, my dear?” she whispers.
“Oh no, this is the height of comfort,” Draco says dryly, as Scorpius moves again, wriggling to rest with his hand splayed over Draco’s face.
“Come here, Baby Boy.” Astoria gently removes him and lays him straight on the bed in between the two of them.
“Would he not go down in his own bed?” Draco whispers across Scorpius’ sleeping form.
“You tell me,” Astoria shrugs. “You got him out.”
Draco pauses, confused. “No I didn’t. I thought you did?”
She opens her mouth to speak, then closes it wordlessly. “He’s rather brilliant isn’t he, to work through those charms.”
“While I’m glad our son is showing such magical prowess at the age of only two, I wish it didn’t have to disrupt our sleep quite so much.”
“Oh no.” Astoria is watching Scorpius and Draco follows her gaze, realising he’s waking up.
He blinks and sits up, rubbing at his eyes with both hands. His fine hair is sticking straight up from his head, creating an ethereal, glowing halo as it catches the limited light.
“Mama, I awake,” he says sincerely, smiling and showing his teeth. He straightens his legs out in front of him and clasps his hands together, turning his shoulders inwards as he yawns. “G’morning!”
“No, good night,” Draco says, as firmly as he can.
“Dada!” Scorpius cries in delight, crawling the short distance across the bed until he is on top of Draco. He climbs onto his stomach, bouncing excitedly. “Scorpy in Dada’s bed.”
“Scorpy is supposed to be in Scorpy’s bed,” Draco says, in what he hopes is a stern voice.
“No, big bed!” Scorpius insists, clambering off Draco and pulling himself to a standing position. A grin spreads over his face and he allows himself to fall forwards, landing face first into the soft pillow of the bed with a crash. “Kaboom!” he says happily, pulling himself up to repeat the action. “Do it again.”
“Scorpius.” Draco tries to sound disciplinary.
“Scorpy go kaboom again,” Scorpius tells him with a nod of his head, lining up to have another go.
“Scorpius, no, it’s the middle of the night.”
“Kaboom!” Scorpius crashes onto the bed again with a giggle. “Dada’s turn!”
“I don’t want a turn, it’s bedtime. Let me lay you down here.” Draco reaches for him but Scorpius wriggles out of the way.
Astoria is observing the situation, her shoulders shaking with silent laughter. Scorpius notices too.
“Mama, so funny!” He bounds over to her and sincerely places his hands atop her shoulders, peering into her eyes far closer than is necessary and laughing with her. “Funny Mama!”
“Dada wants you to go back to sleep,” Astoria tells him.
Scorpius stops bouncing and hangs his head. “Oh,” he says simply. “In big bed?” he asks hopefully.
“Yes, come on, lie down here with us.” Draco sighs and wonders if he’ll ever be able to say no to him.
Awake. Padding footsteps, a light prod to the shoulder.
“Daddy.” A whisper that, while soft, manages to cut through the silence of the room. “Daddy!” More urgent this time. “Mummy!”
“What is it, Scorpius?” Draco opens his eyes to see his son, wide eyed with his lips pressed together in concern. He crosses his feet over each other and brings his finger up to touch his mouth in anguish.
“I had a scary dream,” he says quietly, his bottom lip quivering, his eyes welling up with tears.
Draco is up in a heartbeat; nothing brings him more pain than Scorpius in tears. He holds his arms out and Scorpius falls into them, burying his sobs into the front of Draco’s sleep shirt. His shoulders shake as he cries and Draco scoops him up and onto the bed, cradling him close. Scorpius is six years old now, but holding him in his arms brings Draco the same feelings it did when he was a tiny newborn.
“It’s not real, whatever you saw. It isn’t real, Scorpius. You’re safe.”
“It f-f-felt real,” Scorpius wails into his chest, successfully waking up Astoria who props herself up on her elbows and frowns.
“Scary dream,” Draco explains in a whisper.
“Oh, my little love.” Astoria scoots over to join the hug. “What did you dream about?”
“A rabbit stole our house,” Scorpius tells them between sniffs. “But the rabbit forgot to wait for all of us to be gone. So the rabbit stole Mummy and Daddy too. It was just me all by myself with a piano and no people or things.” He breaks into fresh sobs.
“No Mummy or Daddy? That sounds so sad,” Astoria consoles him.
“Scorpius, Mummy and Daddy are here, you aren’t all by yourself and you never will be.” Draco can’t help a fierceness in his tone and he hopes Scorpius isn’t picking up on it.
“I wanted to play the piano but Daddy wasn’t even there to help me line up my fingers for the first chord and I can’t even do it on my own!” More sobs.
“It was just a dream, Scorpius,” Astoria soothes him and his cries subside.
“Which song were you wanting to play?” Draco asks tentatively.
“Clair de lune,” Scorpius sniffles. “But I needed you to do the bottom hand for the hard bit and help me at the start bit and you were gone. ”
“I’m here now, let’s go and play it together.” Draco extends his hand to Scorpius.
Scorpius hesitates, glancing at Astoria. “But it’s the middle of the night.”
Astoria nods. “I think it’s a lovely idea. Go ahead.”
“Mummy says yes,” Draco assures him.
“Piano in our pyjamas?” Scorpius says, his tears forgotten. He giggles at the words. “Piano in pyjamas.”
“Will you carry me down the stairs?” Scorpius turns wide eyes on him.
Awake. He hasn’t yet slept, despite the lateness of the hour. He’s not alone.
“Are you awake too?”
“Yes.” A sigh of resignation. He pulls himself upright and joins her in propping pillows against their headboard. He flicks a candle on with his wand and exchanges a look of concern with Astoria.
“I can’t sleep knowing how upset he is,” she says in an anguished voice. “This is horrific.”
“I’m with you there.”
“I know he had to find out before he starts school, and I’m glad he heard it from us, but his little face, Draco!” She sounded like she was fighting back tears. “Maybe he wasn’t ready.”
Draco reaches for her hand and squeezes it comfortingly. “Can one ever be ready to find out the wizarding world at large believes you to be the son of the dark lord?”
“Did we do the right thing?”
“By telling him? Of course, imagine if he’d found out next year on his first day at Hogwarts.”
“No. Keeping him here with us all this time. Have we made things worse by sheltering him away?” She’s itching to twist her fingertips together, Draco can tell.
“It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks. We know the truth, Scorpius knows the truth. He’ll thrive at Hogwarts,” Draco says with a firm nod.
There’s a pause, both of them deep in thought.
“Do you think he’s still awake too?” Draco asks fearfully.
“I’m almost certain of it,” Astoria replies. “I was going to go and check.”
She climbs out of the bed and pads over to the door, stopping in the doorway to give Draco a sad smile. And he isn’t sure if he should follow, if Scorpius will want to see him right now. The hurt in his eyes as Draco had gently explained the vicious rumours surrounding their family was worse than anything he’d ever before experienced. He feels at fault, to blame.
Astoria returns quickly, without Scorpius in tow as he had been expecting. Instead, her face is a mixture of emotions: sadness, amusement, hope. She perches on Draco’s side of the bed and hands him something. A piece of folded parchment.
“He’s asleep, passed out with his clothes and shoes still on and a quill in his hand. This was beside him.”
She nods for Draco to unfold the parchment and he does. It’s covered in Scorpius’ neat handwriting.
Reasons Why I Can’t Be The Son of Voldemort by Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy, age 10
- My mum is the kindest person in the world, Voldemort wouldn’t like that.
- I look just like my dad. I have the same nose as him and the same hair.
- Dad didn’t really want to be a Death Eater and Mum never ever was.
- I was born in 2005. Voldemort was defeated in 1998. I don’t remember ever travelling through time.
- I am a kind boy, Mum told me I am. Voldemort isn’t kind.
- My mum and dad would never lie to me because they love me.
Draco places a hand over his mouth, looking up from the parchment in his hand and meeting Astoria’s eyes. He feels emotion rise up within him: pride, fierce pride for his son and his strength.
Awake. A presence in his room, an expectant one. Someone has been waiting for him to wake up.
Draco blinks and the room comes into focus. Scorpius is grinning toothily, his hands supporting either side of a tray.
“Happy birthday, Dad!” he blurts out excitedly. “I made you breakfast!”
“Is it my birthday already?” Draco pulls himself to a seated position and examines the tray. “This looks wonderful, Scorpius. Did you do it by yourself?”
Scorpius giggles, exchanging a glance with Astoria, who arranges her face into a neutral, pensieve one when Draco looks over at her too. Scorpius thrusts the tray into Draco’s hands; a spread of fluffy pancakes, colourful fruit, powdered sugar. “Yes, all by myself. No help at all. And because it’s your birthday, you get to eat breakfast in bed.”
“That is the Malfoy family rule.” Astoria nods in agreement. “Though do you know what the Greengrass family rule is?”
“No?” Scorpius lowers himself onto the bed and crosses his legs eagerly.
“Pancakes must always be shared,” she says in an overly posh voice, holding one finger up as if reading the words in the air in front of her.
“But there’s only one fork,” Scorpius says innocently.
“Well I believe there’s something we can do about that.” Astoria reaches for her wand and points it at the fork. A quick muttered, gemino creates two identical copies of the fork, one of which she hands to Scorpius. “Happy birthday, Daddy. We love you almost as much as we love pancakes.”
Scorpius grins widely, gazing at his mother in raptured awe, and Draco doesn’t blame him. She brings light and laughter and love to every one of his days and Draco’s heart soars every time he sees her in Scorpius.
“I love you, Dad. Happy birthday.” Scorpius hugs him clumsily around the middle and Draco pats his back.
“Happy birthday, darling.” Astoria kisses him sweetly then holds up her fork. “Now, pancakes.”
Awake. Something is off and Draco knows what it is.
Astoria is already in his arms but he reaches to wrap her tighter still. They tend to sleep separately, in each other’s company but in their own space. Last night however, there was no letting go, no rolling over to fall asleep. They needed each other.
She’s waking up too, momentary confusion to find them so intertwined apparent, and then her expression sinks as she remembers why. She sighs deeply and with sadness and rests her head on Draco’s chest.
“I miss him already,” she whispers.
Draco kisses the top of her head, then her shoulder, shifting in the bed so they’re eye to eye. “Me too.”
“I’m sure he’s having a lovely time, though,” Astoria says firmly. “Remember your first night at Hogwarts?”
“I was terribly homesick,” Draco tells her honestly.
“And after your first day?”
“I’d forgotten all about it.” Draco shrugs.
“Daphne wrote to our parents my first night, told them I didn’t seem to be missing them at all. Kind of her really.”
Draco laughs, his mind still on Scorpius, who would himself be waking up in a dormitory at this very moment. The first time he’d ever been away from his parents. Draco had been up half the night, silently praying for kindness towards his son.
An owl taps on the bedroom window. Astoria sees it before he does and is up in a flash, crossing the room to let the owl in. A handsome barn, familiar yet new, the owl they’d purchased for Scorpius only a fortnight prior. It soars in, drops a letter onto the bedspread and rests perched on the windowsill, waiting for a reply.
With Astoria back by his side, Draco opens the letter and spreads it between them both.
Dear Mum and Dad,
Hogwarts is huge! I knew it was big, 142 staircases alone, but it’s totally massive! I can’t wait to explore all the different parts of the castle, when I’m allowed to of course!
I’m a Slytherin! Just like you both were. I think maybe it tends to run in families, but not always. You’ll never believe this, I have a friend already from my house and guess who it is? Albus Potter! He was put in Slytherin too and I think we are going to be proper friends soon. He is really nice and we sat together on the train and shared my sweets, but I don’t think he’s too happy about being in Slytherin. I heard some people whispering when he was sorted and it wasn’t that kind.
I start my lessons tomorrow and I can’t wait! I hope I get to do some spells straight away. I know Potions was your favourite, Dad. And Mum liked Charms the best. I wonder which lesson will end up being my favourite? Maybe History of Magic? I asked my new friend Albus if he’d read Bathilda Bagshot’s book and he said no! Even though all of his family are in the revised version, they have their own chapter! How cool is that?
I miss you and home a lot, but Hogwarts is just like I always dreamed it would be.
Lots of love,
PS. I forgot to pack my spare hairbrush, please can you send it on with Adalbert?
Astoria had evidently finished reading before Draco, she watches him, a smirk on her face.
“Well, he sounds happy,” she says, a note of amusement in her words.
“Albus Potter?” he says, not bothering to hide the incredulity in his voice. “Our son has made friends with Albus Potter?”
“I’m sure he’s a lovely boy,” Astoria continues, poorly concealing her laughter by now. “I saw him at the station, he was adorable.”
“Right, hand me that quill.” Draco reaches his hand towards the opposite bedside table.
“What are you doing?” She eyes him suspiciously.
“Writing back, of course.” Draco sighs, letting a smile fall across his face. “Help me, won’t you?”
Astoria beams, passes him the quill and curls up against him.
He poises the quill and thinks out loud. “ Dear Scorpius, Albus Potter? Really?”
“Don’t you dare,” Astoria scolds through laughter, wrestling the quill away from him.
He laughs and tries to win it back, thinking this letter might take all morning.