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Better September

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Friday, September 1st 2017.

There was a buzz in the air of the Potter household on the morning of the 1st of September. Ginny was trying to get Lily ready while also trying to get James out of bed at a reasonable hour, even though he’d claimed the night before that he was so excited to get back to Hogwarts that he might just start walking. Harry had promised Hermione that he was going to get some paperwork done the night before, but it still sat unfinished on his desk. Albus sat on his bed, staring down at his wand sat in front of him, wracked with nerves.

He looked up as Harry leant against the doorframe.

“Did you feel nervous before your first day at Hogwarts?”

The question took Harry off guard more than a little as Albus, for the last few days, had been unusually quiet. There hadn’t been any of the usual petty little arguments between him and James, and he’d barely even spoken a word to Lily or to his mother, which Harry couldn’t help but find strange considering how close he was to the two women in the family.

Slowly, Harry nodded. “I had no idea what to expect when I first stepped onto the platform, Al. But believe me when I say you’re going to be just fine,” he assured him. He’d spoken to Ginny about it earlier that morning before they’d even gotten out of bed, and Harry had spoken easily about his concerns regarding his youngest son’s first time at Hogwarts. 

It had always been hard for Harry to try and relate to Albus. With James, it was easy – he was so outgoing, he was so friendly and loud and a little chaotic, and Harry supposed that mostly came from the Weasley's side of the family, but that he’d probably picked up a bit of his namesake somewhere too. Lily was quieter, softer and calmer, and she certainly took after her namesake too. But there was always an edge of uncertainty in Harry when it came to Albus. He didn’t remind him of either of his namesakes at an early age like his older children, and there always seemed to be a small point of difference between the two of them. 

Harry supposed that was why he was a little surprised at Albus turning to him when it came to worrying about Hogwarts that morning rather than his mother. Albus always seemed to get along much better and easier with Ginny than he did with his father, and Harry could never blame him for that. He saw similarities in them all the time and sometimes Ginny had caught him just staring absentmindedly at the two of them in a mild state of shock when they did something particularly similar. 

He could tell Al was still holding something back when he looked at him, though, and what exactly that was, Harry had no idea. It worried him ever so slightly and also disappointed him a little that Al didn’t seem comfortable enough to share whatever it was with him, but he cleared his throat and shook his head and tried to change the subject, both for his own sake and for Albus’ sake.

“After all, you’ll have Rose at Hogwarts. If I hadn’t met Ron, I would have been lost when I got to Hogwarts. But you’ve known Rose your whole life, and you’re friends, right?” Harry watched as Albus nodded briefly. “Exactly. Hogwarts will be the making of you, Albus. You, my boy, have got nothing to worry about. Not for one second.”


Dad, 

Well, would you look at that! I was right – you’ve got a Slytherin son. I doubt Albus has owled you about it, and I haven’t had a second to talk to him since the train, but I’ll try and talk to him tomorrow. I know you’ve probably heard about Al being sorted into Slytherin somewhere, though. There’s a buzz around Hogwarts because of it, and he looked a little shocked when the sorting hat actually sorted him. But he’ll be fine, dad. I’ll keep an eye on him like the good older brother I am. And I’ll try not to scare him or tease him about it until at least the end of his first day of classes.

There is something else I wanted to write about, though, and it’s that I noticed Al has befriended someone other than Rose. He was saying earlier this morning that you said he’d be fine with Rose, but now that Rose is a Gryffindor I haven’t seen them speak a single word to each other since the sorting. Rose seemed a bit distraught about it at first, but she fell in with a group of other Gryffindor girls at the feast and now I think she’s fine… or pretending to be. We’ll see.

But the boy that Al befriended is Scorpius Malfoy – as in Draco Malfoy’s kid. He was sorted into Slytherin too, obviously, but I just figured I’d better let you know because I’m not sure what Al would even say to you about it. Scorpius seems all right, though. At least from what I’ve seen. He seemed pretty happy to have Al sorted into Slytherin with him and when I saw them in the Great Hall and after, when the Slytherin’s left, they seemed to be joined at the hip already. So that’s one less thing to worry about… or something to keep an eye on, I dunno.

Anyway, just figured I’d let you know just incase Al doesn’t.

James.


Harry stared down at the letter as he sat at the dining room table. Lily had already been in bed for about an hour, and Ginny had been upstairs doing some late night work when the letter from James had arrived. If he’d been at work, Harry supposed he would have heard about his son’s sorting and newfound friendship with a Malfoy earlier, yet he’d been home, wanting to spend some time with Ginny and Lily now that the house was a little more empty. The letter from James had been the first he’d heard of Albus’ day at Hogwarts, and he didn’t know what to think. He wasn’t disappointed that Albus was sorted into Slytherin. Just concerned. Albus had grown in confidence for a moment at Platform 9 ¾ and had admitted to being worried about it, but Harry had told him that all would be fine. Clearly, he’d been wrong.

“What have you got there?” Ginny asked as she wandered into the kitchen, an empty glass in her hand. She paused by the sink as she filled the glass up again and glanced over at Harry. “Is everything all right?”

Harry sat up a little straighter and picked up the letter, holding it out to her. She furrowed her eyebrows a little at his lack of communication before taking the letter in hand and reading it. Harry didn’t even bother to watch her as she read it. He knew her well enough to know exactly what her reaction to James’ words would be.

When she finished reading, she sat the letter back on the table and sat down in the chair beside Harry. Her hands found his and she gave them a small squeeze. “I asked you this morning if he’d be all right and you said he would be. Stand by that, Harry,” she assured him. “Slytherin or not, friends with a Malfoy or not, he is our son.”

He met her eyes. “He was so worried about it this morning, Gin. He was so worried that he was going to be sorted into Slytherin, even when James was joking about it. And I tried to tell him that everything would be okay, that he could be a Gryffindor like James if he wanted to be but… I wouldn’t even know what to say to him if I wrote to him right now. And you and I both know how Hogwarts can be… James said there was a buzz going around.” He shook his head and slumped down in his chair. “I’m trying to be positive, but it’s not as easy as I thought it would be.”

Briefly, Harry considered owling Draco Malfoy. He hadn’t spoken to him in a while, though he had briefly seen him by the train earlier that morning, but he wouldn’t even know what to say to him. Hello Draco, I heard your son is friends with my son now so… What could he even write that would make sense? No, he’d just leave it be. Albus would be fine, just like he said he would… and if Draco had done a better job at raising his son than Lucius Malfoy had done raising Draco himself, then what James said would be right – nothing to worry about. Plus, the fact that Draco had fallen in love with Astoria Greengrass enough to have a son and begin a family with her had to mean something. Focusing on that was the only thing he could do.


Wednesday, September 6th 2017.

Dad,

Sorry I haven’t written sooner. Things were busy, but I did get the owl you sent the other day. Yes, I’m Slytherin. Yes, I’m fine. James told me he owled you the other day and told you about Scorpius, and you have nothing to worry about even though I know you really don’t like the Malfoy’s. Scorpius is harmless. He wouldn’t hurt a fly, he’s already set to be top of the class and he’s the nicest person I’ve met so far at Hogwarts.

I haven’t spoken to Rose much but that’s just because she’s Gryffindor and she has friends of her own like I have Scorpius. 

Lessons are going all right. I’m better at some rather than others but I will learn. 

I’ll write to you again later.

Albus.


Sunday, September 10th 2017.

“Dad?”

Harry hummed as he looked over at Lily sat next to him on the couch. Her eyes had previously been glued to the muggle quiz show that was on TV but now they were glued to him. There was worry in them, and his fatherly instincts kicked in. “What is it, Lily?”

She thought the words over for a few moments before speaking to Harry.

“I got a letter from Albus this morning and he was talking about Hogwarts and telling me that I’m going to love it there. But what if I get sorted into Slytherin too?” She frowned. “I don’t want to be sorted into Slytherin. I want to be a Gryffindor like James and Rose, and like you and mum and Uncle Ron and Hermione.”

Harry sighed and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. “Lily, you’ve got plenty of time before you go to Hogwarts. You don’t need to be worrying about what house you’ll be sorted into before you’re there. And Slytherin isn’t so bad, especially since your brother seems to be enjoying himself, right?” He smiled a little as he looked at his daughter. She was so young, so young and innocent, and he hated seeing her worry. “If you were sorted into Slytherin, at least you’d know you have Albus there for you, wouldn’t you?”

Lily frowned and leant into his side. “I miss him and James already.”

“They’ll be back for Christmas, and that’ll be here in no time, Lils,” he assured her with a soft smile before pressing a kiss to the top of her head. “ Now, let’s not worry about Hogwarts any more… how about you worry about getting all these quiz questions right so we can put you on a quiz show one day and then you can win us ten thousand galleons?”

The worry was gone at Harry’s words and Lily laughed and shook her head. “You would never! And I’m not that smart, dad.”

Harry raised an eyebrow. “Wanna bet?”

When Ginny came home ten minutes later, she wasn’t at all surprised to find Harry and Lily in the living room calling out answers to questions on the TV together, trying to see who could answer the most of them correctly.


Thursday, September 14th 2017.

“You know, I saw Draco Malfoy today,” Ginny began, walking into the kitchen.

Lily was with Molly and Arthur for the night, at her request, so Harry and Ginny finally had a night to themselves. It felt strange, Harry noted, to be in the house without any of the children, and he wasn’t quite sure if he liked the silence of it or not. After having Lily around constantly for the better half of the month, he missed her and, he had to admit, he missed the chaos that James often concocted and the carefree nature of Albus. Still, getting to have a night alone with Ginny had to be good for the both of them, he supposed.

Harry looked up at her, momentarily stopping his chopping of a carrot for the dinner, and frowned. “You saw Draco? When? What was he doing?”

She smiled. “All right twenty questions. He was coming in to enquire about an advertisement in last week’s paper. But I spoke to him for a little,” she explained. “He said that Scorpius has been writing to him and Astoria a lot and that most of his letters mention Albus. He seemed quite surprised about the fact that they’re friends.”

“Well, the feeling is mutual,” Harry hummed and resumed his cooking.

Ginny shot him a look. “We got talking about Scorpius, though, and Draco seemed rather insistent that he takes more after his mother, Astoria, than he does after himself, so I hope that reassures you just a little,” she continued. “He was saying that Astoria gave him sweets before his first Hogwarts Express, and that Albus and Scorpius seemed to have bonded over them, which gave Astoria a lot of joy. He said Hogwarts is difficult for Scorpius, but that Scorpius has written and said that he believes it would be a lot worse without Albus by his side.”

Harry stopped cutting the carrot once more and fully turned to face Ginny. “He said that?” 

She nodded.

Furrowing his eyebrows, Harry shook his head. He could barely even comprehend their friendship in the first place, and now Draco Malfoy was vouching for it? It was strange and surprising, but he had no idea what to think about it all. After he went back to work after September 1st, Harry hadn’t missed out on hearing the rumours about Scorpius’ supposed real parentage while wandering around the Ministry, and he had to admit that it made him a little mad, even though he’d never even met the boy. But clearly, Ginny found no truth in the rumours and while Harry himself had briefly considered them, the fact that Draco seemed to have spoken so easily to Ginny about his son and Astoria seemed to quash that rumour even more in his mind. 

He knew Draco, he knew Draco better than he wanted to know Draco, but the one thing he did know and trust about him was the fact that family meant everything to him, even though he hadn’t grown up with the best one himself. Like Ginny, James, Albus and Lily meant everything to Harry, it was clearer to him now that Astoria and Scorpius meant everything to Draco.

And he wasn’t mad about Albus being his sons friend. Or, if he was, he hadn’t expressed that to Ginny, and that had to mean something, however little. 

With a sigh, Harry looked at Ginny. “Would it be appropriate to send an owl to Scorpius Malfoy?”


Sunday, September 17th 2017.

Dear Scorpius,

I hope that you don’t mind me writing to you. My wife, Ginny, said it might be a good idea, and as you are now such a good friend to my son I thought I might extend my thanks and gratitude for your kindness and friendship towards Albus.

While your father and I may not have gotten along at school, I am very glad to hear that you and my son are getting along just fine. I hope you’re settling into Hogwarts well and that your friendship with Al continues to grow.

Sincerely,

Harry Potter.


Dad,

You should have seen how excited Scorpius was when he got your letter. He was so excited to get a letter from the Harry Potter even though I tried to explain to him that you’re just my dad. I didn’t read the letter, by the way. Scorp told me what it said. But thanks for owling him. I think he appreciated it, and I appreciate it too.

I don’t really know why you even sent it in the first place because I don’t think anyone else has gotten letters from their best friends parents, and Scorpius’ dad hasn’t owled me (but his mum did and she was really nice) but on Scorpius’ behalf, thanks.

Nearly done with the first month of school now. How weird is that? Tell Lily and mum I say hello and that I love and miss them.

Love Albus.


Sunday, September 24th 2017.

This,” Ron began, talking through a mouthful of food, “is so good it might even rival mum’s.” He started getting another fork full before the rest of the food was even gone completely and Ginny, from across the table, glared at him.

“At this point, Ronald Weasley, I’m not even surprised by your lack of table manners.”

Beside her Harry sniggered and shook his head. He was glad that Ron was enjoying his cooking as much as he was, especially considering he didn’t have much of an appetite himself. The week had been a busy one at work and in addition to that, Albus hadn’t replied to the owl he’d sent shortly after receiving his last letter a week before. James had sent one on Tuesday but there had been nothing about Albus in his at all.

Hermione, from her spot next to Ron, could sense that there was something troubling Harry and she tried to give him a reassuring smile. “There are several ears around this table right now that are willing to listen to you whenever you want to talk, Harry,” she hummed. “More if Ron stops eating.”

Ron narrowed his eyes at her playfully.

With a small smile, Harry nodded. “Have you heard from Rose lately?” The question was clearly directed to Rose with the implication that perhaps there was an update on Albus from her, but also in part because he did truly care about how Rose was settling into Hogwarts. Based on what James had said earlier in the month, Harry had no worry at all regarding her making friends and falling into a strong friendship with the other Gryffindor students. He just worried that perhaps her friendship with Albus had been sacrificed because of that and that all their years together before Hogwarts now didn’t mean a thing.

Hermione, though, clever as ever, caught on. “Rose is doing well, Harry, and the other day she said that Albus looked like he was settling into Slytherin better than she expected, but that there were some nasty words flying around.” She found it best to be honest with him.

Nasty words?” Ginny sat up straighter in her seat.

“She didn’t elaborate,” Hermione continued. “She just said that there were a few Gryffindor and Hufflepuff students poking fun, particularly at Albus, because he’s the only Slytherin in a family full of Gryffindor’s and because he’s not as good in his classes as it was expected that he'd be.” 

Ron waved a hand. “He’ll be fine, he’s a Potter. Hard as nails, especially with you as his mum, Ginny. And I mean, his dad saved the bloody world, so he’ll probably end up blowing up one of their cauldrons in Potions one day and inspiring fear that way.”

Three sets of eyes turned to glare at him.

“What!?”

Hermione looked away. “In more positive news, Rose said that she sees him with Scorpius all the time, both in classes and when they’re not in class. I think it’s safe to say that they’re pretty solid friends at this point, Harry. And with what Ginny was saying earlier, about her running into Draco, if he accepts their friendship and if both of the boys do…”

“Then it’s our job as parents to accept it too.” Harry finished her sentence. “Within reason.”

Ginny sighed and took a sip of her drink. “He hasn’t written back to any of our letters this week. Harry’s sent two just to be on the safe side, and I’ve sent one myself.”

“You’ve gotta let him have his childhood,” Ron spoke up. “ Yeah, he’s your kid and you love him, but look at how well James is doing at Hogwarts! Albus just has to find his feet and he can’t find his feet if he’s spending every spare moment writing back to your letters and not trying to make a home for himself at Hogwarts. Rose says Scorpius is already a top student, so maybe he’s just spending all his spare time studying so he can keep up. He’ll reply eventually, Gin.”

Harry sighed and ran a hand through his already messy hair, slumping a little in his chair. He hoped Ron was right. Because if there was another reason Albus was avoiding their owls and if it had anything to do with the nasty words being said by other students, Harry wasn’t sure how he’d react to something like that. The realisation that students were being cruel to him hurt him enough and, for some reason, Harry had a feeling that sleep wouldn’t be coming easily tonight because of that.


Tuesday, September 26th 2017.

Albus, 

This is dad writing again. You haven’t replied to my letter from last week and I’m getting a little worried, as are your mum and your sister. Please let us know how things are going. It’s important to the three of us that we know how you’re settling into Hogwarts, especially as it’s nearing the end of your first month as a student.

We had dinner with Ron and Hermione the other night and Hermione mentioned that some students were poking fun at you. If you need to talk about it, we’re only one owl away. 

Lily wanted me to tell you that she misses you, and know that your mum does too.

Love Dad.


Thursday, September 28th 2017.

Dad,

Hi, sorry for not replying to your owls. I’ve been doing lots of school work and spending time with Scorpius and sometimes with James. Things are fine. I don’t know what Rose meant about people poking fun but no, all good here. Scorpius is helping me settle in and James is being good.

Tell mum and Lily I miss them too. I will owl mum back later.

First month at Hogwarts is done tomorrow.

Albus.

Chapter Text

Saturday, September 1st 2018.

Through a mouth full of food, and very much taking after his Uncle Ron in doing so, James managed to speak to Albus over the breakfast table on the morning of the 1st of September. It took him three attempts for Albus to actually understand what he was saying but eventually, when he did, Albus nodded understandingly.

“Anything I’m looking forward to at school this year…” Albus thought over the question and swirled his spoon around in the milk of his cereal. “Does Scorpius count?”

James gave him a look and shook his head. “You two, you’re inseparable , you know? You should make more friends – come over to the dark side and meet more Gryffindor’s. We’re not all assholes, promise you that. Just… some of us,” he replied, pointing his spoon at his younger brother.

He knew that Albus would understand his words in the way they were meant to be heard – purely as a joke. Because that’s the sort of older brother he was. He liked to let Albus know he cared, but not in such a serious way that it would put him off of actually talking to him. There’d only be one year until Lily was at Hogwarts too and James intended to be there for her in the exact same way.

“Really, though,” James continued. “It’s your second year. There’s gotta be something you’re excited for. Are you gonna try out for Quidditch?”

Albus instantly shook his head. “No, I hate Quidditch.”

With a mock gasp, James pretended to be offended. “I can’t believe I just heard those words come out of your mouth, Albus Severus Potter. I can’t believe that my little brother is out here saying he hates Quidditch… the audacity of him… I can’t even believe… are we truly related, Albus? Are you sure you’re my brother?

Albus snorted. “Yeah, I wonder that sometimes myself.”

“Don’t you dare.” James’ voice turned serious and he stopped eating. “It’s the first day of your second year, Albus, I’m not gonna let you say things like that about yourself, and I don’t intend to let anyone at Hogwarts say them either, you hear me? I’m the only one that gets to do that and only in a joking way.”

He’d heard enough about it from other students at school last year and it was hard enough to put up with them, listening to silly little first years talking shit about his brother. He’d spoken to some of them on occasion and tried to tell them that talking about people (particularly Albus) that way was absolutely not on and only some had listened. He’d wished that more of them had, but he was no Harry Potter, and even as Harry’s son, he didn’t have that much influence over any of them, even when it came to defending Albus.

“If you say so, James…” Albus shrugged and stood up from the dining table to put his bowl in the sink. Harry had promised them that he’d wash their breakfast stuff after he, Ginny and Lily got home from the station.

James sighed and finished off his breakfast quickly before joining Albus at the sink. He put a hand on his brothers shoulder and forced Albus to look him straight in the eyes. “You listen to me, all right?” He started, waiting until Albus gave a nod of confirmation. “If one person says shit to you about you being some sort of ridiculous Slytherin Squib or something even worse, you come to me. You don’t try and deal with it on your own. You come to me.” 

He knew Albus was stubborn. He knew he’d likely try and deal with it on his own, or just try to ignore it completely. And he wasn’t stupid, either – he knew the likelihood of Albus actually coming and speaking to him about it was slim and very unlikely to happen in the first place. But there was no harm at all in trying. 

“I appreciate that, James, but I have Scorp and–”

“No.” James shook his head. “You have me, too. Don’t ever forget that, Al.”


Monday, September 3rd 2018.

Mum,

Hello, hello! Sorry, definitely forgot to send you an owl like I promised I would after I got to school on the weekend. Might have had a busy night stuffing my face with food from the feast and tried to smuggle some of it into the Gryffindor common room but one of the Professors might have caught me and I definitely don’t have detention on Saturday.

Anyway, we’re all good here. Albus is settling in, and he’s back with Scorpius Malfoy again now, which I think he’s thrilled about. Albus mentioned that he didn’t properly say goodbye to dad on the platform, either, so if you wanna pass on that he loves him or something, might help set dad’s mind right. (I, on the other hand, and like the angel child I am, told him I’d see him at Christmas and I’m sure that’s what he’s focusing on instead.)

I’ll write again if drama unfolds. Probably will.

Love James.


Friday, September 7th 2018.

Not even seven days into classes and James was already exhausted and his fourth year had barely even started. He had his detention the following day, which he certainly wasn’t looking forward to, and he’d spent at least ten minutes over the past few days coming up with other, less suspicious ways to smuggle a considerable amount of food out of the Great Hall after dinner without getting caught and ending up in detention, yet he hadn’t come up with any actual solid plans yet.

He sighed and shoved the book he’d borrowed from the library for Charms under his arm as he wandered through the corridors, planning on heading down to the lake to do some reading for the afternoon and at least try to be a good student. Things changed, though, as he heard voices coming from around a corner up ahead, and his blood boiled.

“You are a total Squib, and it’s even worse because you’re in Slytherin. How embarrassing for you and your family!” Then, there was a laugh. James started walking faster.

“Honestly, I don’t know how your parents haven’t disowned you yet, Potter. That’s still your name, right? They didn’t force you to change it or anything after you finished first year and came home with a few failed exams, did they?”

“And I mean, back to the Slytherin thing, it’s a fact that everyone in that house turns out to be a dark wizard. How funny is it going to be when Harry Potter’s own son ends up being the next Voldemort!”

James nearly dropped his book when he rounded the corner and his eyes fell upon two young Gryffindor students and a Hufflepuff circling a slightly scared looking Albus. There was fire in his veins as he looked at them. The audacity of them to say things like that to his brother and think it was all right.

“You’re going to want to apologise right now or you’ll regret it.”

One of the Gryffindor students looked ever so slightly worried, but the others remained the same. They stood up a little straighter as they looked at James, as if challenging him. Their looks screamed ‘ or what?’ and James was more than ready to show them exactly what he meant.

Before he had a chance, though, Albus stepped forward and pushed past them to stand by James’ side. James positioned himself a little in front of his brother and kept his voice steady as he spoke. 

“If you say anything like that to my brother again, you will regret it, you hear me? My family, this school, these Professors, they will come down on you hard until you understand that bullying is something Hogwarts absolutely does not tolerate, and it’s something the Potter’s don’t tolerate either.”

Clearly his words had some effect, though, and the students shrunk back a little as James stared them down before they hurried off down the corridor. James watched them until they disappeared before turning around to look at his brother and make sure he was all right.

Albus opened his mouth to speak but James beat him to it, wrapping his arms around his brother and pulling him into a tight hug, the Charms book finally falling to the floor. “Merlin’s Beard, Albus…”

He only held onto Albus for a few moments before pulling away from the hug. “Did they do anything else? Say anything? I swear, if they touched you with so much as a finger, Albus–”

“They didn’t do anything, they were just saying stuff. And it’s fine, doesn’t even mean a thing,” he shook his head and waved a hand at his brother. But he should have known better because James was unlikely to drop anything so quickly, if at all.

James was about to start speaking again when Scorpius rounded the corner.

“Albus, sorry I was late. I got caught up– oh, hello James.” He smiled at the sight of the two of them standing there, but it took him a moment until he recognised the tension between the two of them and shrunk back a little. “I can come back.”

Albus instantly shook his head and pulled away from James, stepping a little closer to Scorpius. “No, you’re fine Scorp. James and I were just talking.”

James narrowed his eyes. Scorpius was supposed to be meeting him here and he’d been late and then Albus had been cornered and bullied and– “Why were you late meeting Albus?” He stepped forwards towards the both of them.

Scorpius hesitated. “I was talking to Professor McGonagall…”

“About what?”

“Homework… is everything all right?” He glanced between Albus and James.

James had only ever met Scorpius a few times over the past year. Scorpius hadn’t visited during the summer break, even though Albus had made it clear that he’d like him to, and there had only been a handful of times in Albus’ first year where Scorpius had been around while the two brothers were speaking. He didn’t know an awful lot about the boy, but he liked him. Or rather, he liked how happy he made Albus. He always wanted his brother happy and Scorpius seemed to be rather talented at doing that, and so that was enough for him.

But the implication that Scorpius could have been here earlier and potentially even stopped the bullying was one that James couldn’t ignore. Crossing his arms over his chest, James sized up Scorpius in front of him and narrowed his eyes as he looked at the boy.

“And are you always late when meeting up with my brother? Or just on the days he gets cornered and coincidentally bullied ? I’d certainly be interested to hear the specifics, Malfoy.”

He didn’t miss the way that Scorpius flinched as he spat the name Malfoy, somewhat viciously. He didn’t mean to be so cruel, especially since Albus had only ever had good things to say about the blond, but this was his brother he was talking about, and the words he’d heard from the other students were still swimming around in his mind and likely would be for the foreseeable future.

Albus, though, was having none of it. He, rather protectively, moved to stand in front of Scorpius and glared at his older brother. “James, don’t. Scorpius isn’t the problem here and you know it. I can handle myself. You know that too.”

James sighed. “I know you can… but the thing is, you don’t have to, Albus.”


Sunday, September 9th 2018.

Dad, 

Just remembered to send you this because I got in so late after detention last night. But anyway, just figured I’d share that I witnessed and stopped Albus from getting bullied pretty badly by a few students the other day. He insisted he was fine, and Scorpius showed up after, too. They were meant to be meeting up and Scorpius was late and I might have had a little bit of a go at Scorpius, but nothing to be worried about. Keep an eye out for an owl from his dad though. You might have to bail me out of Azkaban.

But yeah, Al is fine. I’ll make sure I keep an eye on him and that the bullies really are steering clear of him from here on out. Just figured you and mum should know since Al probably won’t tell you about it himself.

James.


Tuesday, September 11th 2018.

Mum,

Right, so dad hasn’t sent me an owl back from the time I sent him a letter on Sunday so I’m just gonna send you one in case because… you know. Important. I hope you read the other letter but if you didn’t – I witnessed Al being bullied the other day by a few other students and stopped it. Al said he was fine, though, and I will keep an eye on him to make sure he is. If you or dad could owl me back and let me know you got my letters that’d be great… just being a concerned brother here. Proud of me?

Love James.


Wednesday, September 12th 2018.

James,

Both your father and I apologise for not getting back to your letter sooner. Things have been busy at work for him and I’ve been spending a lot of time at the office and with Lily so I’ve barely had a spare second to write, especially as Lily seems to have caught some kind of bug. She’ll be fine, though, with rest and probably a potion.

Thank you for writing, though, honey. I’ll definitely be contacting the school about the bullying, even if Albus insists that it will be all right. It would be good if you could keep an eye on him like you said you would, though. It’d give your father and myself a lot of peace of mind.

We haven’t received any letters from the Malfoy family but I’d be careful about having a go at Scorpius Malfoy next time, James. I’m sure he had his reasons for being late and that it wasn’t his fault. I don’t think Albus would still be friends with him if he were at fault.

Please send us another letter if something else happens.

Love Mum. 


Sunday, September 16th 2018.

“What did you tell mum and dad about the bullying for?” Albus’ voice was accusatory as he sat down next to James in the Great Hall.

James was surprised to see him even sitting beside him, especially considering the fact that he rarely moved from Scorpius’ side during breakfast, lunch and dinner, though the intrusion of his little brother wasn’t an unwelcome one. The subject of conversation, though, wasn’t something James was a fan of over breakfast.

“They’re your parents, Albus. They need to know these things. And you know that mum would absolutely disown me if I didn’t tell her and she found out some other way. Don’t really fancy being disowned by mum. Yet, at least.”

“But I didn’t need Professor McGonagall coming down to the Slytherin Common Room this morning and asking about it in front of everyone, James. I didn’t even tell her the truth. I said I didn’t know who they were, but I do know who they were because they’ve been doing it ever since my first day at Hogwarts, but telling her will just create so much more trouble,” Albus shook his head and turned away from James, clearly exasperated. “This is none of your business, James.”

James raised an eyebrow. “The fact that my brother is getting bullied is none of my business? Oh, this is where you’re so wrong, Albus Severus. This is absolutely my business and if I have to go and tell Professor McGonagall their names myself, I will.”

His words clearly sparked something in Albus and, with pleading eyes, James watched as he turned back to face him and shook his head. 

“James, please don’t. Please let me handle this.”

He sighed. “Albus, you can’t just let me forget about this.”

“Yes, I can, James. I’ve forgotten about it already. They do it all the time and I’m learning to ignore it. Scorpius is helping me. He’s helping me so much. And I know you said I could come to you, but Scorp… he’s good with this stuff. So please just… leave us to it.”

James frowned and picked at the bacon on his plate. He was his brother. How was he supposed to just forget about the bullying and move on with his life? It made no sense whatsoever. All he wanted for Albus was happiness… and, a little regretfully, he had to admit that it seemed that Scorpius was the one providing that these days. The tone of Albus’ voice when he spoke about Scorpius helping him was unlike anything James had ever heard in his voice before, and it made him smile just a little.

He let Albus’ words settle for a little longer and was fully aware of Albus’ eyes on him as he stared down at his bacon, thinking over a variety of different answers in his head that weren’t just a flat out yes or no, because he knew Albus wouldn’t accept either of those.

Finally, he looked up and met his brothers eyes. “I’ll leave you to it on one condition,” he began, and Albus nodded. “Don’t leave me out of it completely. Keep me informed. Tell me when things happen, Al. I don’t want you to leave me in the dark. I may not be Scorpius, I may not be your best friend, but I am your brother, and I only want the best for you. Always.”


Thursday, September 20th 2018.

Dad,

Mum says you’re still really busy with work so I’ve mostly been owling her lately and I think she’s been relaying on my messages. But I just wanted to write to you in person and say that everything is all right here at Hogwarts lately. As far as I know, Albus hasn’t been bullied lately and I’ve seen him and Scorpius around together more than I’ve seen them apart. 

It’s gonna sound weird, but they’re really good friends, dad. Like… scarily good. I misjudged that earlier this month. They’ve only been friends for just over a year but they know each other so well, it's like they’ve known each other their whole life. I’ve been at Hogwarts for three years now and even I don’t have a friendship like that. Sometimes I can’t even believe that Scorpius is a Malfoy. I see people whisper about him and Albus in the corridors sometimes but it never occurs to me when I see Albus with him that that’s who he is.

Albus is happy, dad. I think you’d like to know that.

James.


Saturday, September 22nd 2018.

“I got a letter from dad today.”

James turned and looked as Albus sat down next to him on the bench outside the entrance hall. He’d been leaning back against a pillar, eyes scanning the pages of a book that he was meant to have finished for History of Magic three days earlier. All of his friends were up in the common room playing card games and it’d taken a lot to get him out of there to actually study.

It seemed Albus didn’t really care he was interrupting, and James smiled. He really is my brother, isn’t he? He closed his book and sat it down on his lap. 

“And what did it say?”

Albus narrowed his eyes. “What did you say to him? You’ve been writing to him, haven’t you? Talking about me?” He didn’t look very impressed.

“Oh, stop it,” James snorted. “I don’t need a signed letter from you so I have permission to write to our parents about how you’re doing at school. You signed up for that without signing anything the second you were born, Al.”

He’d figured that Albus knew about him writing letters to their parents about him anyway. After all – Albus was aware of how well James got along with both of their parents, so it was only natural that he’d be the sort of mediator between them when Albus was being stubborn (all the time). He shrugged a shoulder as he looked at his brother and saw his accusatory look. 

“He said that he was glad I was happy and I just want to know what you said to him. Because I haven’t said anything to him or mum about being happy. I’ve barely even written a letter to dad for the whole month. So what did you say?”

James knew he wasn’t getting out of this. Albus would just keep pestering and bugging him until he finally relented and told him exactly what he’d written in the letter. He sighed. “I was talking about Scorpius. I said you’re happy because you’re such good friends,” he explained. “You may not love dad, Albus. But he still wants to know if you’re okay and how you’re doing, especially since you’re too stubborn to even tell him.”

He watched as Albus sighed and slumped back against the wall behind them. He stared out across the courtyard and stayed silent for a moment and James figured he was just thinking over his words  – or he hoped he was.

Finally, Albus turned back to James just as he was planning on opening up the book and continuing to read it.

“Is this you offering to tell dad how I’m doing so I don’t have to?”

James didn’t hold back from rolling his eyes.

“What?!” Albus protested.

“You’re impossible, Al,” he shook his head. “No, this is me giving dad intel so that he doesn’t absolutely lose his mind and come to Hogwarts in person to make sure you’re not dead. And this is me telling you that it wouldn’t hurt for you to write to him every now and then and tell him yourself. It’s not gonna kill you. And I’m not saying you have to write a bloody book. But a letter every now and then can’t hurt.”

Albus screwed up his nose and glared at James.

“What do you say?” James prompted.

Fine, ” Albus spat. “I’ll write to him. But I won’t say much. And you’ve got to promise to stop talking about me with mum and dad behind my back. I deserve to be a part of these conversations. Especially the ones with mum.”

James raised an eyebrow as Albus tried to bargain but nodded in confirmation anyway. “Yeah, all right,” he hummed. Though he crossed his fingers where Albus couldn’t see them – even though he was breaking the promise by doing so. It was all for his sake anyway. He did it with Albus’ best interests in mind. And if that meant continuing to write to his parents about Albus just so that they could all be sure that he was all right, he was more than okay with it.


Tuesday, September 25th 2018.

James sighed deeply as he walked into the entrance hall and towards the staircases. It’d been a long day full of work and he’d decided to head out to the Quidditch pitch before it got too dark. He stifled a yawn, just ready to head upstairs and hopefully nap a little before dinner, when he heard someone calling him. Eyebrows furrowed, he turned around to find the source of the voice, eyes settling on Scorpius Malfoy jogging towards him.

“Hello– sorry to bother you. I just… would it be all right if we had a little talk?” Scorpius began as soon as he reached him.

James hadn’t spoken to him since he’d had a bit of a go at him after the bullying incident earlier in the month but the two had seen each other a handful of times and James had tried to smile at him and be as positive towards him as possible ever since then, both for Albus’ sake and his own sake. He certainly hadn’t expected to have the blond come up and talk to him, though. Still, James nodded and waited for him to talk. His nap could wait.

“Right, well… I realise you don’t really like me– and that’s okay! That’s definitely all right. I just wanted to… you know, tell you the truth about me and Albus,” he went on.

James furrowed his eyebrows, a little dumbfounded at the accusation of James not liking him. He did like him. He had barely any problems with him. It was just… the boy confused him. He was so unlike everything his father had said Draco Malfoy was and it took him off guard every time he saw Albus with him, or even when he saw them (rarely) apart.

“Albus is my best friend. He’s my… only friend, actually,” he gave a small laugh. “And I just want you to know that I’d never hurt him. I could never hurt him or say anything against him or do anything. And whenever I see people bullying him, or he tells me about it, it makes me really, really mad…”

James huffed a small laugh. “You and me both.”

Scorpius smiled softly at that. “Just… after what happened the other day, I just felt like you needed to know that. That I would never hurt him. I see you looking at us all the time and I just wanted you to know. I would never do anything to jeopardize my friendship with him. Never in a million years. He is the best person I know… other than my parents.”

The words were not at all what James had expected to hear out of a Malfoy, but they were also exactly what he wanted to hear, which surprised him quite considerably. The fact that Scorpius had even sought him out to tell him this stuff specifically was surprising enough, though still very appreciated. And the words were reassuring too. James never hated Scorpius. How could he ever hate someone that made Albus so happy? But he’d never really understood him before now either.

James took a moment to just look at Scorpius for a moment or two before replying. He’d never done that before, really looked at him, And while he did take after his father in his looks, it was clear that he hadn’t gotten most of his personality from him. But what he also saw in him was a surprising amount of Albus’ traits, too. And while the two boys were obviously both so different, James could see a lot of similarities between the two of them as well.

He smiled before he spoke. “I do like you, Scorpius. You just worried me for a little while there,” he explained. “Albus is my brother and I would do anything for him. I just… hadn’t expected you to feel the same way given you haven’t known him for as long as I have. But thank you. For coming and finding me and telling me all this. It sure has made me feel a lot better regarding your friendship with Al… and it’s good to know he’s in good hands with a friend like you, Scorpius.”


Thursday, September 27th 2018.

Dad,

Little, tiny letter today. Just to say – I spoke to Scorpius Malfoy yesterday. You have not got a thing to worry about regarding his friendship with Albus. Not one thing. Somehow… Albus managed to befriend one of the good ones. Feels weird to write that. But I mean it. 

James.

Chapter Text

Sunday, September 1st 2019.

Astoria prepared him for this. For when she would be gone. She’d given him a list of what to do to help Scorpius prepare for the start of his third year because she knew she wasn’t going to see that day, yet as Draco Malfoy sat staring at the list, a cold cup of coffee on the table in front of him, this particular 1st of September felt even more dull than he’d expected it to feel.

He’d thought he’d prepared himself well. Though he’d found himself unable to sleep for most of the night before and he’d gotten up to quietly wander the halls of the house more than once. When he’d passed by Scorpius’ room it had taken everything in him not to walk in there and console his son. His tears weren’t as silent as Scorpius clearly believed they were. But wouldn’t that be overstepping? And what would he even say? What could he say that Scorpius didn’t already know? Scorpius needed his space, he thought. 

There was only one thing in mind that Draco was even remotely looking forward to. It wasn’t the fact that Scorpius was off to another no doubt exciting year at Hogwarts, nor was it the fact that he planned to get back to work within the next week. It was, instead, the fact that Scorpius was going to be back with his best friend, Albus Potter, in a matter of hours.

His friendship with the young Potter boy was an unexpected one. But it was never one that Draco or Astoria disliked the idea of – much, anyway. Their boy had found a friend, someone whom he could grow close to, tell his secrets to, spend time with, be happy with. Draco could never be mad or upset about a friendship like that, no matter whose son it was.

Draco rubbed his forehead and let out a soft sigh just as Scorpius stepped into the kitchen. He’d gotten dressed and looked even fresher and much more awake than Draco did, but he didn’t miss the slightly bloodshot eyes and the silence of the usually peppy, happy thirteen year old. And he couldn’t help but hate himself a little when he realised he had no idea what to do about it.

“Morning Dad,” Scorpius hummed, beginning to get his breakfast ready. His words shook Draco out of his mind and he let out a breath as he watched his son readying his food.

Third year. Astoria would have been so proud to see him entering his third year… Draco shook his head and stood up from his chair, picking up the cold coffee and heading over to the sink where he promptly tipped it out. Thinking constantly about her wasn’t going to do either of them any good, even though he found it hard to not think about her. He was trying his best.

“Looking forward to today?”

Scorpius nodded. “It’ll be good to get back to normal. Or as normal as things can be after… y’know.” He shrugged a shoulder as he poured some milk into his bowl of cereal. “Good to see Albus again.”

There was a change in his tone as he mentioned Albus and it brought the slightest of smiles to Draco’s face as he heard it. He’d wanted a friendship like Harry, Ron and Hermione had at school yet he’d never managed it. He was glad that his son had something resembling it even though he never could. If anyone deserved it, it was Scorpius.

He watched with a careful eye as Scorpius sat down at the table and started eating breakfast. It was only then that he was reminded of something – something Astoria had made him promise not to forget on the morning of the 1st of September.

“I have something to give you,” Draco started, gripping the back of the chair with white knuckled hands. “It’s from your mother. And myself, but mostly your mother. Would you like me to wait until you’re finished?”

Scorpius’ eyes changed at Draco’s words, though he started shaking his head before Draco had even finished speaking – something Draco was grateful for. With a quick nod, Draco stood and walked out of the room. The gift had been sitting inside his bedside drawer ever since Astoria had left them. It still felt like yesterday to him. Sometimes, he couldn’t even believe that it had only been a week and that he had lived without her for this long.

As he walked towards their bedroom – no, his bedroom now – Draco shoved his hands forcefully into the pockets of his coat. He hoped this gift would help to at least break some of the ice between him and his son. But truly, he doubted it. With Astoria, things had felt much easier. She got along so well with Scorpius, and it always felt like Scorpius felt a little more comfortable around Draco when she was there too. But now that it was just the two of them, Draco found himself confused at how to bridge the gap between them.

It came easily to Astoria. But things had never come easily to Draco Malfoy.

Though, as he pulled open the drawer and pulled out the small bag of sweets that Astoria had carefully put together for Scorpius, Draco allowed himself a sliver of hope. A sliver of hope that maybe things wouldn’t be as hard for the both of them as he expected them to be. That maybe things would be able to go back to normal, or as normal as things could be anymore, just like Scorpius had said.

 


 

Tuesday, September 3rd 2019.

Two days and still Draco hadn’t gotten used to it – the empty house. This time last year, Astoria had been here. This time last week, Scorpius had been here. And while it hadn’t been full of excitement or fun either of those times, at least he hadn’t been alone.

As he sat staring out at the grounds surrounding their home, Draco sighed. It was exceptionally lonely being Draco Malfoy. And it was even more so when the two most important people in his life were gone… one for good and one only briefly. But still gone. His heart rose in his chest at the thought and he sat up straighter and began to furiously blink his eyes.

And now with the rumours swirling around again that Scorpius was the son of Lord Voldemort… his fists clenched involuntarily. He couldn’t believe the cheek of some of those Ministry people sometimes. They had settled down for a short moment, the rumours. And then Astoria had died and they had picked up again. And once again, Draco found himself clueless.

Push through it and keep your head up, love. Like Astoria had said.

He intended to.

 


 

Saturday, September 7th 2019. 

Draco,

I apologise for the slightly out of the blue letter, especially as I’m sure you’re not particularly in the mood to read any and we did speak briefly at the reception earlier this afternoon. But I feel it’s important to extend our sincerest apologies regarding the loss of your wife. We, as a family, appreciate you allowing Albus and myself to attend the funeral today to pay our respects, and for allowing for Albus to be there for Scorpius also.

If you or Scorpius ever need anything, please don’t be afraid to reach out. Perhaps Scorpius would be interested in staying over for some of the Christmas break, as he is such a great friend to Albus. Please let us know.

Ginny.

 


 

Sunday, September 8th 2019.

Dad,

I didn’t get much of a chance to really talk to you at the funeral yesterday so I will write down what I think you might want to hear instead. Albus is treading lightly around me, especially after yesterday. I couldn’t figure out what to say to him in an owl after mum died so I left it. I thought he would be mad at me but he isn’t. He said he never could be.

I still feel like I have a part of me missing. But I think I can feel that part of me healing whenever I’m around Albus, and he seems to be sticking to my side a lot already this year.

Classes are going really well. I’m on top of all my homework. Albus is spending lots of time with his brother, James, and even though he said he destroyed the sighed Hogsmeade letter from his dad, James told me in secret that his mum is sending another one so we can go to Hogsmeade together.

Albus seems excited to go to Hogsmeade with me.

I’ll write more later. 

Love Scorpius.

 


 

Thursday, September 12th 2019.

Twelve days and still Draco hadn’t gotten used to a quiet house. He was grateful that Scorpius was all right, and the two had been sending a few small letters back and forth to each other over the past week which helped to set Draco’s mind right most of the time. Still, the quiet was something he was struggling with, and that confused him more than any of it.

It was nearly midday when Draco finally became fed up with it, pulled on his coat and apparated out of the house. Diagon Alley wasn’t a place Draco usually saw, especially on days when Scorpius wasn’t with him and he wasn’t there helping him get things for school. It was quieter than it usually was, though some of the shops were busier than others – especially those that were selling food.

Slowly, he wandered down the alley and did his very best to ignore the looks he was getting. And today he seemed to be getting a lot of them. He tended to mostly stay out of the spotlight after Astoria had died and the only times he’d been out of home since then had been when he’d taken Scorpius to get his supplies and when he’d taken him to King’s Cross Station.

If he could manage it, Draco intended not to speak to anyone while he was in Diagon Alley. Because then he’d have to deal with the pleasantries. The ‘we’re so sorry for your loss, Mr. Malfoy’, the ‘please send our best wishes to your son’. But what were apologies and best wishes going to do? They were just going to bring the topic back up for Scorpius when he was so clearly trying to focus on other things, and Draco thought enough about it himself. He didn’t need that from strangers on the street, let alone strangers that thought they knew him well enough to say things like that. 

He made his way into The Leaky Cauldron after a while and was just about to give up on the idea of ordering anything at all and just go home when he was interrupted by a voice behind him. He narrowed his eyes, ready for the pleasantries as he turned around but found himself surprised to see none other than Harry Potter behind him.

“Draco,” he greeted, a little quietly, as if he didn’t want to draw attention.

Potter,” he replied.

“Do you have a moment to talk?”

 


 

Draco took a sip of his pumpkin juice – a guilty pleasure and one that Harry had insisted upon – and raised an eyebrow as he looked at Harry sitting across from him. They certainly made a sight, the two of them. While their sons may have been best friends, the two of them were far from it and the last time Draco had spoken to Harry at all had been over a year ago.

He’d received an owl from Ginny, as well as spoken to her briefly at Astoria’s funeral, though he hadn’t bothered to reply with much. He was overcome with the grief of losing Astoria and the fresh emotions that had surfaced from the funeral, as well as hearing the rumours about Scorpius’ apparent true parentage and he’d snapped a little. Well, maybe more than a little.

“Ginny has been saying this for weeks, so I may as well tell you while I’m here,” Harry began after taking a sip of his butterbeer.

Internally, Draco steeled himself for the inevitable – the thoughts and wishes about Astoria. The ones he’d wanted to avoid for as long as he possibly could. Yet Harry surprised him by, instead, speaking about the exact opposite.

“She’s very grateful for Scorpius being Albus’ friend, as am I. I know we’ve not really spoken about it much, but we’re both very appreciative of Albus having a friend like Scorpius. And even though you and I had our… differences at school, it’s important that you know Ginny and I are supportive of their friendship.”

Draco furrowed his eyebrows as he looked at Harry and took his words in. That he absolutely hadn’t expected at all. But it was… appreciated. While Harry was right, and they had had their differences, all that really mattered now was them putting aside their teenage troubles and focusing on the lives of their sons. Astoria had said it a million times and now Draco was certainly going to live by it. He planned to live a life in her memory, or as best of a life in her memory as he could.

“Is that all you wanted to speak to me about?” Draco inquired, leaning back a little in his seat. He had to admit, the company was nice, but he would never tell that to Harry Potter, of all people. And if Harry had nothing else to talk about, Draco intended to do only one thing – inquire himself about the rumours. He had to bring it up with Harry again somehow and he had no problems with doing it himself.

Harry shook his head and ruined his plans. “No, actually,” he continued. “Albus has been sending Ginny and I letters ever since he started third year and if I hadn’t run into you today I imagine one of us would have ended up writing to you in the next week to talk to you about it again, even though your reply to Ginny’s last letter was… less than desirable.”

He scowled briefly, though couldn’t help but notice how much more serious Harry’s voice had gotten, and Draco suddenly felt on edge. What had their son been sending letters about? Had there been something Scorpius had left out of his?

“Go on,” he insisted.

Harry barely hesitated. “I believe you’re aware of the fact that Albus and Scorpius were being bullied last year and the year before, yes?” Draco nodded. “Albus hasn’t said so much in actual words but James has written to us too, and the two of us have reason to believe that some of the bullying may have started up again. In particular… regarding Scorpius and what happened over the summer.”

He never would have expected it, but Draco did truly appreciate the way Harry shuffled around the subject of Astoria’s death. He’d expected apologies from Harry, but it was quite refreshing to not actually receive any of them. What wasn’t refreshing, though, was the discovery of the bullying, and fire raged in Draco’s veins at the mere mention of it. Thoughts of confronting Harry about the rumours were gone now. This was all that mattered.

Scorpius had told him about it last year, had written to him about James Potter and how he had, apparently, very nearly threatened him ( but don’t worry at all, dad. James is harmless and Albus will make sure of it). And truly, the memory of the bullying had always had a place in the back of his mind because how could it not?

He let out a long breath and looked up at Harry, meeting his eyes.

“Perhaps it’s time I payed the boys a visit.

 


 

Monday, September 16th 2019.

Dad, 

Things are better than you think they are, I promise. I’m doing all right regarding things with mum but they’re still hard because it’s so fresh. Being around Albus and being able to throw myself into school work again has been good for me. 

I don’t think it’s necessary for you to come and visit me yet, but that might be nice a little later on. 

Love Scorpius.

 


 

Saturday, September 21st 2019.

Dad,

I know it hasn’t been a week since I owled you and said you didn’t need to come and visit me yet. But if you’re not busy next weekend, I’d like it if you came to Hogsmeade.

Love Scorpius.

 


 

Sunday, September 22nd 2019.

Scorpius,

Of course. I’ll clear my schedule and I’ll meet you at The Three Broomsticks next Saturday if that works for you.

Love Dad.

 


 

Saturday, September 28th 2019.

Draco Malfoy felt awkward. As he stood outside The Three Broomsticks waiting for Scorpius, he had no idea what was to come. Scorpius had asked him to be here, but for what reason he didn’t know. He hadn’t elaborated in any other letters over the past week and Draco hadn’t pushed him, knowing how fragile he ought to be after everything.

He was getting strange looks as he waited for his son. They very much resembled the looks he’d gotten in Diagon Alley a few weeks earlier, yet there weren’t as many people milling around Hogsmeade this particular Saturday, other than the occasional student or older witch or wizard. Those were the ones he got the looks from – the older witches and wizards who recognised him from when he was younger, whose brains were whirring as they tried to figure out why on earth Draco Malfoy was in Hogsmeade on a September Saturday.

He spotted Scorpius walking towards him before Scorpius even noticed his father and he did his best to smile at his son when he finally caught sight of him. Scorpius returned a small smile.

“Hi Dad,” he muttered, rather quietly. “Have you been waiting long?”

Draco shook his head. He’d gotten there early on purpose anyway. “No, not long.”

“Right.” Scorpius nodded and glanced at the door. “Shall we go in?”

The two of them walked inside and found a table towards the back where they wouldn’t be disturbed and the eyes on them would be less noticeable, if there were any. Draco sat and waited while Scorpius went and ordered butterbeer, not wanting to protest that he order it when his son had been the one to suggest it in the first place.

As soon as Scorpius returned with the butterbeer, Draco leant back a little in his seat and knotted his hands together in front of him. He figured it’d be best to wait until Scorpius began, not wanting to tread on his son’s toes when Scorpius was the one who wanted to talk so urgently.

Scorpius took a sip of his butterbeer before he spoke. “I know it’s your job as my father to be worried about me,” he spoke. “But I can sense in your letters that you are, and you really don’t need to be. I know that Harry Potter spoke to you a few weeks ago about the bullying because Harry told Albus and Albus told me. Albus tells me everything. But trust me when I say, dad, that it’s all alright.”

Draco furrowed his eyebrows a little as he looked at his son. He’d always been an eloquent speaker, and he supposed that he took after Astoria in how he was able to speak his mind so freely. As for Draco, it was harder considering how he’d grown up, being mindful of every word he spoke, and sometimes even afraid to speak them at all. Scorpius had that too – but less so considering Astoria and Draco had been nothing like Lucius and Narcissa in raising him. Yet Draco found himself truly taken aback by his sons words.

“You said it yourself, Scorpius,” Draco muttered. “It’s my job as your father to be worried about you. And I’m afraid that even your words now won’t mute that for me. I’m doing – I’m trying to do what your mother would want me to do. And now that she is… now that she is no longer here to look out for you, I intend to step up in every way I can.”

The words were hard to speak and even Draco didn’t understand if Scorpius would be able to understand what he meant. And he was young, he was so young. Draco fumbled and tripped over his words much like he tended to stumble through his life now that Astoria was no longer around to brighten it. And he didn’t intend to let her death break him and his son apart. He was going to do everything in his power to assure that it did the exact opposite.

“I know… I know you and I have had our issues, Scorpius,” he continued, trying to make eye contact but not being able to maintain it for more than a few seconds. He was looking into Astoria’s eyes. Astoria’s eyes that she’d given their son. “But I would very much appreciate if you continued to keep me updated on what is happening at school. You don’t need to hide things from me, Scorpius. You never did when your mother was around, and I want to keep it that way.”

“It’s all right dad. I’m not hiding. I just have Albus… and I don’t want to bother you.”

Draco shook his head. “Scorpius, you could never bother me. I am your father. Albus may be your best friend, but I am your father and I would very much like you to get that through your head. Your mother isn’t here anymore, and I am all you have now!”

His words were loud. Too loud. And blunt. Too blunt. Scorpius was the one that looked taken aback at his father’s sudden outburst this time and Draco felt a sting of regret deep in his chest. That was not what he wanted to happen, for himself to just snap like that… yet he had. And the words… he didn’t mean them, not entirely. Draco was not all Scorpius had. He had Albus. He had the Potter’s. He had so much more… but Draco had been so caught up in his grief, so focused on the fact that he didn’t want to lose Scorpius, that he’d unwittingly pushed him away even further. Draco wasn’t all Scorpius had. But Scorpius was all Draco had, that much was clear. 

Scorpius didn’t touch his butterbeer for the rest of their time at The Three Broomsticks. He muttered only occasional words and Draco, all the while, still didn’t know what to do. The awkwardness had returned. As had the cluelessness of parenting and raising Scorpius without Astoria by his side. By the time they eventually parted and headed their own separate ways, the awkwardness remained.

Scorpius promised to owl Draco. And then, with a quiet “Bye dad” he was gone, leaving Draco standing outside The Three Broomsticks as he watched his son disappear in the distance on the walk back to Hogwarts.

And he was alone once more.

 


 

Sunday, September 29th 2019.

Dear Astoria,

My love, how I wish you were here. Yesterday I went and had lunch with Scorpius in Hogsmeade at his request. I tried to act around him like you told me to try – like a caring father, like the caring father you know I am. But I scared him. I was forceful, and I snapped at him, and I think I reminded him a little of my father. You used to say you never saw that side of me after Scorpius was born, but it’s back now and I can’t help but think it’s because you’re gone.

The more time that passes without you here, the more I become so unsure of how to be a good father to Scorpius. I’m trying, though. That has to count for something, right? The fact that I’m trying. 

The only thing is, I don’t quite know how to try properly. What do I say to him? What do I say to him to make him understand how much I love him and how much I want him to be safe and happy? He seems to be happy, Astoria. With Albus Potter as his friend. But sometimes I just think about the little boy he was back when it was just the three of us before Hogwarts and I miss those days. I miss those quiet moments we spent together before everything got hard again.

Harry Potter says he’s being bullied at school again, and so is Albus. I don’t know how to deal with that news. I was the bully when I was at school, and now Scorpius is the one being bullied and I truly don’t know what to do, Astoria. I wish you were here so you could help me figure that out. I wish you were here more than anything.

But you’re not. You’re gone now. There is nothing that can fix that. No potions, no spells, no wishes or thoughts or prayers or apologies. Nothing that can bring you back. But I’m hoping that writing all of this down will somehow help me discover how to be a better father to our son now that you’re not here to help me.

I will write again, Astoria. For as long as it takes.

Love, your Draco.

Chapter Text

Tuesday, September 1st 2020.

Delphi Diggory didn’t have many high hopes for this particular 1st of September. She’d planted the seed the night before when she’d visited the Potter home with her ‘uncle’ , and she hoped that seed would eventually end up in Albus Potter seeking her out so she could help ‘get Cedric back’ or, more accurately, fulfil the prophecy, make the world her own and resurrect her father. 

But he needn’t know that.

St. Oswald’s was bustling, like usual, and Delphi was doing her job and keeping up the fact that she really was a Diggory and a nurse. Though, she had to admit, it was getting tiring. The constant dealing with the elderly witches and wizards really was taking it out of her and she could only hope that Albus had taken the bait last night and would be showing up at the doorstep any time soon. She desperately wanted this particular plan to be the one to work.

The morning at St. Oswald’s was chaotic, just like it always was. She waited and she watched as the clock ticked past 11 o’clock and the Hogwarts Express left the station, and as midday passed she was just about to accept the fact that it seemed like Albus wasn’t coming and hadn’t ditched the train like she hoped he would. Until the chaos started again, and there he was – young Albus Potter, the one who would fulfil the prophecy standing right there in front of her.

And as she spoke to him, a smile rose on her face. It wasn’t a smile of pure happiness to be seeing Albus again like Albus clearly believed it was, nor was it a smile because she’d been feeling down about the fact that she’d thought he wouldn’t come. Instead, it was a smile of relief– relief that now, finally, things could start getting on track.

The prophecy began.

 


 

Wednesday, September 2nd 2020.

Amos Diggory had asked her to go along with them. He was still firmly under the impression that she was his niece and she was more than proud of the way she had been able to charm him to believe it for so long. It had been one of her better spells and she was, if she said so herself, a rather talented witch, and now all she had to do was find the time-turner so that they could get the ball rolling.

However one of the things she hadn’t expected was the sudden appearance of the Malfoy boy, who seemed to be a close friend of the young Potter boy – she recognised him pretty much immediately, after all his grandfather had been high among the ranks of the Death Eaters, but she hadn’t expected to see him being so friendly with Albus and to be so different to the family that had come before him. It had briefly taken her quite off guard but after the few hours they’d spent together coming up with a detailed plan to get into the Ministry later that day she’d grown used to it.

Or at least she looked used to it. Because the Malfoy boy was of no use to her unless Albus decided not to cooperate, and then he would be of use. Delphi had a feeling that Albus would do just about anything for Scorpius, and part of her was jealous of the strong friendship that the two shared at just fourteen years old, especially when she hadn’t had anyone. But the better part of her learnt to ignore that. She hadn’t had to use spells on either of them yet, and she could only imagine how much easier it would be if she never even had to.

She took a moment to pull Albus aside before they left.

“I just have one teeny little question,” Delphi began.

Albus raised an eyebrow.

“You brought your friend along?”

“He’s my best friend, Delphi,” he assured her. “And he’s on board with this plan, I know that for certain. He wouldn’t have followed me off of that train if he wasn’t. And he’s smart– so much smarter than me. I wouldn’t be able to do this without him. We’ve got this because of him.”

She wasn’t so sure, so she pushed. “How can you know that?”

Delphi, ” Albus sighed, shaking his head. “He’s my best friend. I trust him more than I trust anyone. And now I need you to trust me. I’m going to help you and Amos bring Cedric back and Scorpius is going to be a big part of that. We’re a package deal, the two of us.”

Sensing that Albus was starting to hesitate and potentially figure out that something was wrong, and knowing that if she kept pushing it’d push him away, Delphi changed her attitude in an instant and broke out in a large smile.

“You know what, you’re right. You’re so right. Let’s do this, yeah?”

Albus grinned. “ Yeah, let’s do this!”

All hesitation was gone from him at her sudden perkiness and she couldn’t help but feel a little smug that she was able to control him so easily – to break him so easily with something so simple. Albus Potter was completely hers to control. And as long as it stayed that way, as long as Scorpius didn’t have a hold on him that she didn’t know about, all was going to go to plan.

 


 

Thursday, September 3rd 2020.

Albus Potter was wrapped tightly around her finger and as she grinned and joked and played around with him, teaching him spells and laughing with him, that was more than clear to her. Part of her, some part buried really deep down felt kind of bad about it. But she barely even recognised that part of her – all that mattered was this all going to plan, and she was going to do anything she could to make sure that it would.

Scorpius’ “You shouldn’t come” threw a spanner in the works, though.

Delphi furrowed her eyebrows. “What?”

“You’re right. We don’t need you for the spell. And if you can’t wear student robes – you’re too big a risk. Sorry, Delphi, you shouldn’t come.” Scorpius voice was ever so slightly shaky as he spoke the words, but he presented himself confidently despite the fact that he was clearly a little nervous to confront her. 

“But I have to – he’s my cousin.” She turned to Albus. “Albus?”

The words she never wanted to hear him speak were the ones he said.

“I think he’s right. I’m sorry.”

And it dawned on her, then. When Albus Potter said that he and Scorpius were a package deal, he meant it. Every single second of the phrase, he meant it.

What?

“We won’t mess up,” he promised, stepping towards her a little as if to enforce the fact.

Delphi shook her head. If she didn’t go, this was all ruined. How was this all supposed to go to plan if she wasn’t there to make sure it did? She knew she had Albus wrapped around her finger in this world, yes, but in the past without her actually and physically there? No.

“But without me – you won’t be able to work the Time-Turner.” She tried.

“You taught us how to use the Time-Turner.” Scorpius. Ruining everything.

Delphi was about to crack. “No. I won’t let you do this…”

But there Albus was. Ready to change her mind and prove to her that he was capable of doing this. Sure, he didn’t know the real reason behind it all. But he’d trusted her ever since she’d scared him and then gained his trust on the stairs at his house only a few days ago.

“You told your uncle to trust us. Now it’s your turn,” he started. “This school is close now. We should leave you here.”

She steeled herself. Took a breath. Looked at them. And the nodded. Put on a fake smile. Because what else could she do? If she made a big deal about her not going she’d just ruin it. Scorpius would use that brain of his that Albus seemed so in awe of and would figure out that something wasn’t right, and he’d tell Albus and her plan would be ruined entirely. 

“Then go. But – just know this… today you get an opportunity few are given – today you get to change history – to change time itself. But more than all that, today you get the chance to give an old man his son back.” Her words were lies. But they didn’t know that.

Her next act was an impulse decision, but as she walked away after kissing Albus on the cheek she knew it was the right one – it tied Albus further around her finger and brought him closer into her grip and further out of Scorpius’. It did exactly what she’d intended, and the moment the world changed because of it was a moment she eagerly awaited.

 


 

Monday, September 7th 2020.

Delphi,

I have no idea what went wrong. But something did go wrong and now the world is just off balance completely. I’m a Gryffindor, Scorpius is still a Slytherin. I don’t even know if you still exist anymore but I really, really hope you do because I need you to read this letter.

How do we fix this? Things in whatever world this is aren’t right. My dad is even worse than he was before. He’s doing in inquiry into Scorpius’ true heritage. He’s forbidden the two of us from speaking which means neither of us can do a thing about trying to fix it.

I’m sorry. We failed, Delphi.

We didn’t get Cedric back. We just made the world worse.

I’m sorry.

Albus.

 


 

Wednesday, September 9th 2020.

Albus,

I still exist. Don’t worry about that. You had me worried and thinking you didn’t exist when the world changed and you didn’t write straight away. But how are things going at Hogwarts in this world? I don’t know if I can help you with anything. You and Scorpius were pretty much the brains behind it all last time. I just did what I could when I could.

But tell me more about your dad and Scorpius – what do you mean your dad is worse? And why can’t you and Scorpius see each other anymore? I wish I could help but I can’t think of anything I could do that would make a difference.

It’s all up to you now. But keep writing to me. Maybe we’ll think of something.

Delphi.

 


 

Monday, September 14th 2020.

Delphi let out a long sigh and slumped down in her chair as she stared down at the book in front of her. The coffee that she’d bought at least an hour and a half ago had gone cold and half of it hadn’t even been consumed. She’d been too enthralled in her reading, trying to come up with a solid plan to get out of this world and get into the one she intended.

From Hogwarts, Albus had still been owling her pretty much every other day and the two had begun brainstorming ways in which they could reverse what changing the first task had done, even though that wasn’t Delphi’s plan – unless it ended with the return of Voldemort, of course. But Albus didn’t need to know that. All he needed to know was that she wanted to change this world just as much as he did.

In front of her, the book told her everything she needed to know about what had happened during The Triwizard Tournament at Hogwarts. Everything that went wrong, all of the mystery that surrounded Cedric losing the first task so spectacularly. But it didn’t tell her enough. It didn’t spark anything in her mind regarding a way to fix everything, and she found herself struggling to cope with that simple fact. She was smarter than this. She was so much smarter than this, yet nothing was coming to mind. And perhaps Albus had been right when he’d spoken about Scorpius being the smart one, but she wasn’t about to owl the Malfoy boy out of the blue when Scorpius was well aware that Delphi truly didn’t care much about him. 

Tapping her fingers on the table, she stared down at the words on the page that she’d read at least ten times already in the hope that it would inspire some sort of revelation. She’d read a million things about all of the tasks at the Triwizard Tournament before, but nothing had clicked, nothing that reminded her of how Albus could fulfil the prophecy, anyway. And the prophecy was the most important thing. It was what she woke up with in her mind every day and what she fell asleep with at night. 

When spares are spared, when time is turned, when unseen children murder their fathers: then will the Dark Lord return.

And how could Cedric Diggory be spared?

She suddenly sat up straighter in her chair. She’d taken a bit of a back seat in this world, letting Albus and Scorpius figure things out for themselves for the most part, but what about the second task? They’d failed at sparing him in the first, so naturally the second task was the way to go. How hadn’t she seen it before?! And if Albus and Scorpius hadn’t realised that going back to the second task could be the answer before she had, when would they ever? 

Smiling, Delphi closed the book in front of her. She’d give them some more time. She’d give them a few days at least, to let the gap between them stew even longer – she knew how much it was tearing Albus apart, and with every day her grip on him tightened and Scorpius’ grip on him loosened. Because perhaps if they broke further apart, Albus’ murdering of his father would be easier. Albus would have less of a conscience, she hoped. 

Only a few more days and hopefully the world would be right again.

Just a few more days. 

 


 

Friday, September 18th 2020.

Delphi,

Things still don’t feel right in this new world. Scorpius and I aren’t speaking anymore and I miss him. I haven’t had any ideas about how to fix anything and I don’t even know if Scorpius had been thinking anything up. Especially because I know that my dad asked Professor McGonagall to watch us and make sure we’re not together. If she sees us talking she’ll tell my dad and then we’ll be stuck here forever.

I don’t want to be stuck in this place forever.

I don’t want to be stuck in a world where I can’t talk to Scorpius anymore.

I’m sorry to bother you with all of this, Delphi. I know you must have a lot on your plate with your job and work and things in this world. I’m trying to read up and find out things about what happened and be as subtle as I can while I do. 

Please owl me if you think of something. You’re the only person I can talk to anymore.

Albus.

 


 

Thursday, September 24th 2020.

She’d made the decision to come to Hogwarts and seek out Scorpius as soon as she’d received Albus’ last letter a few days ago. What else could she do? Albus was destroyed without Scorpius by his side. She didn’t want to step in. She’d wanted for the gap to break them apart, for Albus to come to her for help and to forget about Scorpius all together. But that wasn’t going to happen like she’d expected it would. So she’d started to hope that they’d figure it all out on their own and be able to change time again – to fulfil the prophecy. She’d had no other options. A trip to Hogwarts hadn’t been on her agenda, but it really seemed like the only way anything was going to get done at this point.

Delphi had spent the last few days coming up with a plan of how to get inside the school without being caught – she didn’t want to have to answer any questions from anybody and finally had made the trip earlier in the morning.

She found herself rather surprised at how easily Scorpius fell into conversation with her, though, having not expected it at all from him. She’d expected him to be standoffish – dealing with the fact that he and Albus weren’t friends anymore, that they couldn’t be, and while the blond wasn’t glad to see her, she found he wasn’t entirely mad about it either.

“Well – someone’s got to do something about this,” she spoke. By someone she meant herself. The only  person she found she could really trust entirely these days, anyway. Albus, she trusted, but not that much considering she’d been stuck in this world for far too long.

Scorpius shook his head. “Delphi, none of it worked, time-turning, we failed.”

She spoke before even realising that Scorpius wouldn’t have any idea about the owls or the fact that she and Albus had been talking so often. “I know. Albus owled me. The history books changed but not enough – Cedric still died . In fact, failing the first task only made him more determined to win the second.” She barely even realised the seed she’d planted.

To her joy, though, he didn’t seem to think much of it. “And Ron and Hermione have gone completely skew whiff – and I still haven’t figured out why.”

Delphi hadn’t spent much time around the boy but she knew that he would certainly have been spending all of the time he possibly could trying to figure everything out regarding their newfound timeline. She had spent some time herself looking it up in the hopes of finding an explanation – and it hadn’t helped. 

“And that’s why Cedric has to wait. It’s all become quite confused and you’re entirely right to be keeping hold of the Time-Turner, Scorpius. But what I meant was – someone’s got to do something about the two of you.”

“Oh.”

“You’re best friends ,” she implored. “Every owl he sends I can feel your absence. He’s destroyed by it.” She wasn’t lying, for once in her life. Albus had said as much in his last letter, had admitted to missing Scorpius an awful lot, much to her dismay. Delphi figured the truth was necessary here. If Scorpius ended up asking Albus about it she couldn’t be caught out, and Albus had given her all the ammunition she needed, anyway. 

“Sounds like he’s found a shoulder to cry on. How many owls has he sent you now?”

Scorpius’ voice was filled with a slight unfamiliar bitterness that surprised Delphi. She furrowed her eyebrows as she looked at him, having not expected that at all, yet gave him a small smile in an attempt to reassure him before she put her hands up in surrender and turned to walk up the stairs and away from him.

“Sorry. That’s – I didn’t mean – I just – don’t understand what’s going on,” he sighed, rather dejected. “I’ve tried to see him, talk to him, but every time I do he runs off.”

Delphi paused and turned back around, desperately trying to find some sort of common ground to help Scorpius out. She’d never had friends, not true friends, nor did she really find a need for them at all anymore, but she dug deep to try and find something – anything – that might help. 

“You know, I didn’t have a best friend when I was your age,” she began. “I wanted one. Desperately. When I was younger I even invented one but –”

And her attempt worked. 

Scorpius jumped. “I had one of those too. Hector. Until we fell out… over the ‘correct’ rules of gobstones.”

She wasn’t here to trade facts over their childhood imaginary friends, though. She was here for so much more than that. She was here to bring them back together so that things could get back on track. Little Scorpius and Hector didn’t mean a single thing to her, though she was, at least, partly grateful for the fact that he spoke to her so easily about it.

“Albus needs you, Scorpius. That’s a wonderful thing.” Back to the matter at hand.

Scorpius frowned. “He needs me to do what?”

“That’s the thing, isn’t it?” She smiled a little. “About friendships. You don’t know what he needs. You only know he needs it. Find him, Scorpius, now,” she spoke harshly. “You two – you belong together.”

She practically felt the grip she had on Albus loosen as she spoke the words. But she was adamant about telling the truth. Though the time she’d spent with both the boys had been minimal, she’d known from the very first second – the way Albus looked at Scorpius, the way Scorpius had looked at Albus. Like they were each others entire world.

As she admitted the truth to Scorpius, she could only hope that it wouldn’t ruin her plans. That even though she had hopefully pushed Albus and Scorpius back together, that he would be able to regain that grip once more.

She intended to do anything she could to make sure of it.

 


 

Monday, September 28th 2020.

Delphi,

This is going to be really rushed but I hope you get this in time. Scorpius and I are talking again. We talked not long ago and we’re planning to change things again. The second task this time.

We’re going to do it right this time and we’re going to bring Cedric back and change things back to the way they were meant to be. With me in Slytherin, with my dad still bad but not that bad.

Cross your fingers for us, yeah? Will owl you when it’s done.

Albus.

 


 

Delphi smiled to herself as she sat the letter from Albus down on her lap, her legs kicked up on the coffee table in front of her. The look on her face would be enough to inspire fear from anyone if they entered her room at this particular moment, and the way she spun her wand around between her fingers even more so.

Her plan had worked.

Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy were friends again. They had the Time-Turner, they were going to change things and this time Delphi was positive they were going to go the way she planned for them to go. The sooner the prophecy was fulfilled, the better. The sooner the prophecy was fulfilled, the sooner her father would return and the world would be set right. It would work this time.

With a small laugh, Delphi lifted the paper with a spell and flicked her wand. The paper slowly ignited in a burning orange fire that reflected in the colour of her eyes, eyes full of nothing but anticipation. She watched Albus’ words disappear in the flames… and happily began to wait.

Chapter Text

Wednesday, September 1st 2021.

Scorpius took a deep breath and relaxed against the seat as the Hogwarts Express chugged to life and began to make its way out of Kings Cross Station and towards Hogwarts for yet another year. It had been a rather uneventful morning of the 1st of September and the most joy he’d felt all morning was when he’d met Albus again on Platform 9 ¾. 

It felt a bit strange, he noted. He and Albus actually sitting on the train, fully comfortable with the fact that they were going to Hogwarts for their fifth year and that they weren’t dead after last years events. Albus, it seemed, was thinking of the exact same thing.

“Weird, isn’t it?” Albus flashed Scorpius a grin. “This time last year I was trying to persuade you to jump off of the roof of the Hogwarts Express and we were being chased by the trolley witch.”

Scorpius screwed up his nose. He’d blocked out most of the events from last year, and the trolley witch had been one of them. He didn’t particularly need the reminder, especially considering the very same trolley witch was going to be on the train today, probably keeping an eye on the both of them. Scorpius had packed his own sweets this year. For good reason.

“I’m just glad you’re not trying to persuade me to do the same this year, Albus. You know… considering everything. I’d much rather actually go to school and learn this year rather than jump off the roof of a train and nearly die a countless amount of times,” he paused. “Please tell me you agree with me on this.”

Albus chuckled and gave a small shrug. “I’m a different man than I was last year, Scorp. Dad and I had a good summer… we didn’t fight last night. I’m not scouring the world for a time-turner or dealing with a crush on an evil witch. I’m going to Hogwarts this time. For real. With you, my best friend. No jumping off of a train roof for me. Sitting with you in this carriage is more than enough this year.”

His cheeks reddened ever so slightly and he gave an awkward sounding chuckle. “Well… that is a nice thing to say, Albus Potter.”

Albus shrugged again and turned to look out the window of the train.

Scorpius had only seen Albus a handful of times over the summer. He would have liked to have seen him more, but after everything he’d put his father through, he’d chosen to spend as much of the summer with him as possible. They’d spent hours looking through old photo albums, Scorpius had even pulled out some of his mother’s old recipes and given cooking some of them a go (and Draco had cast a number of spells to put out the fires in the oven).

According to the letters Albus had sent him, Albus had spent the summer bonding with his dad, spending time with James and Lily and talking to his mum about anything and everything. James was, apparently, dealing with a little crush but refused to tell Albus who it was and he’d sworn Lily to secrecy. 

Most surprising of all, Albus and James had even convinced Teddy Lupin, Scorpius’ second cousin, to come and spend time with him over the summer. Albus had said he saw some similarities between the two of them, and when he and Teddy had gone out to get lunch together, Scorpius had to admit he saw them too. He’d enjoyed his time with the older, blue haired boy and considering he was the first and only relative Scorpius met that he genuinely liked, hoped Teddy felt the same way and would be happy to spend him with him again.

The two boys had gotten together a few times a month. They’d had lunch in The Leaky Cauldron, had wandered Diagon Alley and had ventured into some Muggle shops, too. Albus had taken Scorpius to see some movies and had been overjoyed with how much Scorpius loved them. He’d even spent a few days here and there at Albus’ house, thanks to his parents, and the fact that after everything he was even allowed to still stay at his house baffled him.

Though nothing could beat the feeling of the realisation that Scorpius was going to have Albus to himself for the next few months to come. School was one thing, of course, and there were other students and likely professors going to be staring at them too, considering they’d nearly destroyed the world last year. But Scorpius had vowed not to let any of that bother him. He and his father had a rather lengthy discussion about it earlier that morning and Scorpius had promised. His fifth year was a year to focus on his OWLs and to focus on Albus Potter. Not a year to focus on what had previously been.

That year seemed to want to stay in focus, though, considering the nightmares he’d had every now and then over the summer. He didn’t like to think about that, especially considering Albus hadn’t taken it well when he’d hold him about them, even though Albus said he’d had a good few of his own over the summer too.

Still, Scorpius planned on keeping his head high. After all, what could go wrong?

 


 

Monday, September 6th 2021.

Dad,

Things are going well already this year. We’ve had a good few days back. The nightmares seem to have halted, at least momentarily, which is good. I think it might have something to do with being around Albus again too. He always seems to have that effect on me.

Lessons have been going well but I’m already buried under a mountain of homework so I’d better stop writing and start doing that homework instead. I’ll write to you again later, dad.

Love Scorpius.

 


 

“Scorpius Malfoy, fancy seeing you here!” The unmistakable and excitable tone of James Potter’s voice rang through the halls of Hogwarts and he wasn’t embarrassed about how loud he was for a second as he strolled up to Scorpius and rested an arm on his shoulder. Scorpius had had a bit of a growth spurt over the summer and had grown a little taller himself, though James was still taller than he was. He couldn’t help but worry about Albus, who clearly hadn’t inherited height from his older brother and was probably prone to a life of ending up with a crook neck from looking up at the both of them.

Scorpius raised an eyebrow and gave James a small smile. They’d spoken over the summer with Albus there and all was forgiven from the almost fight that happened in Scorpius’ second year – he’d gotten over that a long time ago, though James had clearly been thinking about it and the friendship between Scorpius and his brother because somehow, over the summer, they’d sort of bonded because of it. Neither of them had even realised it was happening until it happened.

“Is Al in there?” He nodded towards the headmaster’s door.

Scorpius nodded. “Yep. He went in about…” he glanced at his watch, “four minutes ago. I just got out of there myself. Professor McGonagall is planning on pulling us aside once a month to check on our well-being, apparently. I don’t think she wants a repeat of last year.”

James laughed. “Okay, for my sake, I don’t want a repeat of last year either.”

“And you won’t get one,” Scorpius assured him. “Albus already said so on the train and about a million times since. He’s very serious about Hogwarts this year apparently.”

He didn’t find it that hard to believe, though, considering Albus really did need something to put his whole heart and soul into and finally he was getting the chance to do that. With Scorpius planning to try out for the Slytherin quidditch team (his father had been more than happy to play and practice with him over the summer), he was glad that Albus was focusing on school and doing well in his OWLs.

The two boys stood in silence for a few moments before James removed his arm from Scorpius’ shoulder and stood up a little straighter. He narrowed his eyes briefly as he looked at Scorpius before giving a small nod. 

“Right, this is going to sound weird. But bear with me for a second, yeah?” James started. “Al and I – we talked a lot over the summer, which I’m pretty sure you know because he tells you everything, but I never got the chance to really properly just talk to you. And I was meaning to every time you were at home with Al, but getting you alone without him snooping is virtually impossible, so I’m just gonna say it now.”

A flicker of worry passed through Scorpius and he gave a small nod, unsure of what was to come. There were a million things James could say and Scorpius could only hope that what he was going to say would be something good. He steeled himself for both possibilities.

“I’m so bloody glad he has you.”

Scorpius froze, eyes meeting James’. 

“I’m so glad. I won’t be around all the time for him, even though I want to be, and when I’m finished at Hogwarts, I won’t even be around for him at school. So I just needed you to know that I’m glad he has you to look out for him, and that he’s there to look out for you too.”

“That’s–”

“Weird and totally not what I expected, I know,” James chuckled. “Don’t take this the wrong way or anything, but you know that, at this point, you’re pretty much an honorary Potter, right? And I know how you Malfoy’s are – all proud of your name and stuff. But you’ve been such a good friend to Albus, even before what happened last year… you’re a member of the family, mate. And I always wanted a nice brother.”

He flashed Scorpius a grin and, against Scorpius’ better judgment, he even laughed a little at the dig at Albus. James was always good at that kind of stuff. He had been ever since Scorpius had first met him and if he didn’t know how much James loved and utterly adored Albus, he might have even thought that there really was a feud between them. But Scorpius knew better. The adoration between the two of them was sometimes scarily real, and Scorpius had thought more than once over the years of what his life would be like if he had a brother himself.

“I appreciate that, James,” Scorpius smiled. And he meant it.

James wrapped an arm around Scorpius’ shoulders and pulled him into a small and brief hug before pulling away. “How’s he doing? Albus. He probably tells you more than he tells me. How are the nightmares?”

Scorpius raised an eyebrow. “You know about those?”

He nodded. “First one he got over the summer, I was there. Stayed up with him half the night just so he could talk about it,” he admitted. And then he grinned. “Imagine the look on mum’s face when she walked downstairs at 6am to go to work and saw the two of us sitting in the kitchen with a half eaten pint of choc chip ice-cream between us.” He laughed at the memory.

Scorpius was thrilled to hear about how James had been so caring. Albus, strangely, hadn’t mentioned any of that in his letters and Scorpius had spent so much of the summer simply thinking that Albus was dealing with the nightmares on his own. Ginny knew, he knew that much, but he had no idea about James knowing and a weight was lifted off his shoulders at the discovery.

“He’s doing all right,” Scorpius smiled as he admitted the truth to James. “But nightmares don’t really go away at the snap of a finger. It’ll take some time to adjust to everything, especially since we’re back at Hogwarts now. I’ll keep an eye on him though. For the both of us.”

“And I’ll keep an eye on the both of you, too.”

At the creak of a door, both James and Scorpius turned to look as Albus left Professor McGonagall’s office. He looked a little confused at James’ presence.

“Listen, I’d better go before Al comes over and gives me an interrogation as to why I’m talking to you,” James smirked, watching as his brother started to wander over towards them. “But hey, by the way – next time you see him, say hello to that cute blue-haired second cousin of yours for me, won’t you?” He flashed Scorpius his signature grin.

And Scorpius’ jaw hit the ground.

 


 

Saturday, September 11th 2021.

Scorpius,

I apologise if this seems to be a little out of the blue. I must admit, I was worried about writing to you in the first place and I hope this doesn’t come as too much of a surprise, but considering how much time you spent at our house over the summer I figured I’d check in on you just as I check in on Albus, James and Lily.

James wrote to me the other day and told me how he’d deemed you an ‘honorary Potter’, and I can’t help but completely agree. While you may not be my son, Scorpius, and while I’ll never attempt to be your mother, you are certainly a member of our family now.

I’ve been speaking to your father every now and then, as has Harry, and I’m glad to hear that you’re doing well so far at school this year, and that Albus is doing better too. I had a feeling he’d cope better with everything when he was back into the swing of Hogwarts and when he had you by his side again every day. I always used to be a little envious of the friendship that Harry had with Ron and Hermione at school and I always worried that Albus would have to see a friendship like that and be envious of it too, but I’m ecstatic that he doesn’t have that because he has you. The bond that the two of you share is one that baffles me every day but it’s also one that I admire more than anything.

Anyway, I hope this letter isn’t too out of the blue, but please know that you can write to me whenever you feel the need, Scorpius. I’ll always only be an owl away.

Ginny Potter.

 


 

Thursday, September 16th 2021.

Dad,

I’m so sorry I haven’t really had a chance to write sooner. I’ve been absolutely buried under a huge pile of homework and trying to get back into the swing of Hogwarts with everything that happened a year ago still in the back of my mind.

You know… this time last year I was in the other world where Albus was a Gryffindor and things were just slightly off kilter. It was exactly a year ago. And it’s hard to go a day without thinking about that. Especially when I’m waking up in the Slytherin dormitory and Albus is in his bed only a few feet away from mine and it hits me that I’m not just dreaming.

As for the nightmares, they’re not so bad anymore. I think it has to do with Albus being here by my side the whole time, which is good. And I know that Albus’ nightmares aren’t as bad anymore either. I think it’s doing us a little bit of good to be back with each other so we can fully cope with what happened last year right now. We had some time at the end of fourth year but it was still so fresh then, and we’ve had the whole summer to dwell on it and change.

I suppose you already know that Ginny Potter sent me an owl last week. It was really nice of her and I replied with a small thank you but I don’t know if I’ll actually be able to take her up on the offer of talking. It would feel weird considering she is my best friends mum. Please don’t tell her that if you see her though, dad.

I really have to go and get some homework done now since I’m writing this in the library when I should be studying. But I had to get it out. I hope things are going well at home.

Love Scorpius.

 


 

Friday, September 17th 2021.

Scorpius,

You sound happy. I hope that’s not too strange a way to start a letter. But you really do sound happy. I never particularly enjoyed my time at Hogwarts, but hearing you talk about how much you’re enjoying it and how much good it seems to be doing for you and Albus I can’t help but be overjoyed at how well it’s going for you this year.

It certainly is a large weight off my chest when I think about how worried and afraid I was at this time last year – not just when we were in that other world you talked about, but just in general, Scorpius.

You know this. We did speak about this over the summer, but I feel it’s only right to reiterate the fact that I do love you and you are my son, and I am always caring for you and trying to consider your well-being in all of my actions. I know I can be a little overbearing sometimes, but I truly am trying to give you space this year, Scorpius. It’s what your mum would have wanted. For you to be able to enjoy Hogwarts, spending time with Albus and focus on your studies without me lurking over your shoulder the whole time.

I’m glad to hear things are going well at Hogwarts and I hope your lessons are going well too, though I would prefer you to owl me after your homework is complete so you’re not wasting precious time in the library. Things are going very well here. I look forward to your next owl.

Love Dad.

 


 

Dad,

Don’t worry, I’m not writing this while I should be doing homework. I just want to say that you needn’t worry about being overbearing. You’re not. You never have been. But I do appreciate the space you’ve been giving me.

A little breathing room never hurt anybody.

Love Scorpius.

 


 

Monday, September 20th 2021.

It had been Scorpius’ idea to go down to the lake during their free afternoon rather than the library. It was an unusually warm and sunny September Monday so he’d taken full advantage of it and Albus had been more than happy to join him in his little adventure. At least until they’d actually sat down and Albus had looked around.

“This was a good idea… but it seems like nobody else had the same one.” 

There were absolutely no other students sat within eyesight.

Yeah, ” Scorpius shrugged, “but at least we have it all to ourselves.”

He enjoyed the peace and quiet, and Albus seemed to as well. It was rare that they had full moments of silence and tranquility like this, and it was different when they were in the library because the two could never even speak (or fear the wrath of Madam Pince), and there were almost always eyes of other students on them. Here, they had neither. Scorpius had his head buried in a book and was about two chapters in, reading up on the definitions of some very fancy sounding spells and copying them down on some parchment for later reference, when Albus suddenly spoke.

“Scorpius, I’ve been thinking…”

His reply was an involuntary “Oh no.”

Albus twisted his head to look at Scorpius, sitting leant up against a tree by the lake. His lap was full of parchment and a quill was firmly held in his hand. Beside him, books. So many books. Albus couldn’t fathom why he needed so many when they were only studying for charms, and he’d told Scorpius exactly that when they’d made the trek to the lake.

While Albus clearly found himself amused about Scorpius’ reply, Scorpius himself was mortified. He fumbled over his words and spilled them out quickly and all at once, barely taking a moment for breath as if he was afraid Albus would take it the wrong way.

“Okay– I didn’t mean that, not in that way anyway, right Albus? I meant it in– in– well, I don’t really know how I meant it but it was in no way any sort of ‘Oh no, Albus was thinking–” 

Albus snorted. “It was a little bit of that, wasn’t it?”

Scorpius’ cheeks flushed. “Course it wasn’t.”

He took a breath, eyes flickering back down at the parchment on his lap and then back over at Albus. “So… you were thinking… ” He could see the cogs turning in Albus’ mind before he spoke.

He cleared his throat. “I was thinking that I really don’t want to write this Charms essay… would you consider doing it for me, Scorp? Just this once, promise.” He spoke calmly and totally seriously, but there was a flicker of something in his eyes.

Scorpius knew better than to believe it.

Cocking his head to the side, Scorpius gave him a look. “Would you look at that? A Potter conning a Malfoy into doing his homework… someone somewhere would have a field day with that,” he paused. “Pity I can’t take you up on the offer… already got some other peoples essays to do.”

And with that, Scorpius had Albus in the palm of his hand.

Albus’ eyes darkened. “Who’s got you doing their essays for them? I think they need to learn how to write an essay themselves.” His voice was solid and unbreaking. “Maybe I should go and suggest that.

Scorpius couldn’t keep it in any longer. Laughter broke out, loud, totally obnoxious laughter that would wake anyone taking an afternoon nap in the castle and probably a laugh loud enough to scare the Giant Squid in the lake in front of them.

“Merlin’s Beard, Albus! You should have seen your face. ‘I think they need to learn how to write an essay themselves. Maybe I should go and suggest that!’ ” He mocked Albus through breaks in his laughter all the while Albus stayed staring at him, eyebrows furrowed with a slight smile on his face. 

Breathing heavily, eyes watering with tears of his amusement, Scorpius met Albus’ eyes. “I’m joking! I’m joking, I’m totally joking. Previous Scorpius, some alternate universe Scorpius, he’d give in to doing essays for other people. But this is Malfoy the Unanxious you’re talking to, Albus.” 

“And Malfoy the Unanxious doesn’t give in to doing other peoples essays?

“Oh no,” Scorpius shook his head. “Malfoy the Unanxious would never let someone influence him like that. Especially when it comes to days like this.”

“Days like this?”

Scorpius hummed. “Well, if I was doing other peoples essays do you really think I’d be sitting down here with you? No, I don’t think so. And that… that’s an unacceptable option, don’t you think?” He flashed Albus a grin. “What were you really thinking about, though?”

He watched him carefully, frowning a little as Albus hesitated, his eyes widening for just a second before he spoke– though he really more spat the word, and he seemed strangely flustered and totally unlike the Albus that Scorpius had been joking with only seconds before.

Nightmares! ” 

“You were thinking about the nightmares?”

Albus refused to meet his eyes as he nodded. “Yeah, they’re getting better, aren’t they?”

Slowly, Scorpius nodded. “Yeah, they’re getting better. Much better than they were in the summer, at least,” he admitted. He’d barely spoken about the nightmares with Albus since they’d reunited at Hogwarts, only briefly. Only just to tell the other if they’d had one and if they were all right after it. At least they were both comfortable enough with one another to be honest, anyway. 

Albus started drawing in a small patch of dirt at his feet with his wand. For a moment, Scorpius watched him. 

“You okay…?”

“Mmhmm.”

“I didn’t… overstep with my joke, did I?”

Albus looked up immediately and shook his head. “No, no– not at all. I’m fine… just… quiz me on Charms, will you?”

Scorpius couldn’t get the thought that something was going on with Albus from his head. How he’d so instantly changed just after Scorpius had asked him what he was really thinking about. But he wasn’t going to push. Albus was always honest with him– he had to trust that whatever had sprung up in his mind was going to be something he’d bring up with him at some point, and he was ready to wait for whenever that moment was.

 


 

Thursday, September 23rd 2021.

James,

I know I could just come and see you up in Gryffindor tower or something but I know that would just mean I end up having to answer a million questions from Albus so I’m saving myself the trouble and writing you a letter instead. It’ll be quicker anyway, and I know you must be busy with school and life right now – judging from when I saw you the other day, anyway.

What I wanted to ask, though, was this: has your mum said anything to you (or even to Lily) about her writing a letter to me? I know it seems like a very small thing but I’m worried I may have offended her in my reply. She wrote to me the other day and said if I ever wanted to talk she was only an owl away, though I replied and didn’t really say yes or no.

I wrote to dad and told him about it too, though he said Ginny had said nothing to him. I can’t really ask Albus about it because he’ll probably make a big deal out of her writing to me, and I still might take up her offer one day. I just… figured I’d check. To save myself the trouble of worrying over yet another thing, I suppose.

Please let me know as soon as possible.

Scorpius.

 

P.S. Has Albus been okay around you lately? He was weird with me at the lake on Monday and he’s been a bit skittish ever since. Has he said anything to you?

 

P.P.S. Teddy!?

 


 

Scorpius,

Mum hasn’t said a thing but I’m sure everything is fine. She’s not the easily offended type. I’ll let you know if she suddenly sends me a letter out of the blue and starts raging about you in it. Imagine if she sent a howler. 

James.

 

P.S. No, he hasn’t been weird and he hasn’t said a thing. I can bring it up with him if you want me to, but I doubt he’d tell me anything if he’s keeping anything from you.

 

P.P.S. He’s cute. You can’t blame me. 

 


 

Monday, September 27th 2021.

Scorpius watched with narrowed eyes as Albus kicked his feet up on top of the coffee table in the centre of the Slytherin Common Room. It had been a long Monday and both of the boys were tired beyond belief, but Scorpius was trying to get some last minute reading done and Albus just wasn’t ready for bed yet.

Most of the common room had cleared out about fifteen minutes ago, considering the late hour, and Scorpius was glad for the quiet. There were still, of course, the occasional moments of noise from Albus sitting across from him but, for the most part, the only noise was the crackling of the fire. It was calming, Scorpius noted. 

It had been a week since Albus had started acting strange at the lake, but that had all changed pretty quickly and soon after Scorpius had received a reply from James the other day Albus had been back to normal. He’d insisted that he was fine and that it was just a ‘ momentary lapse’ and that Scorpius had nothing to worry about. Scorpius had chosen to believe that.

What he couldn’t quite believe, though, was that September was almost over. That it had been a month since they’d arrived at Hogwarts and started their fifth year. That it had almost been a year since Scorpius had plunged into the worst world he’d ever seen, the one that had plagued his nightmares ever since. He hated thinking about that world, about everything he’d been in that world and about everything he could have become had he stayed there and not recruited Snape, Hermione and Ron to help him get back to the normal world once again.

There had been plenty of time for he and Albus to talk about that world in particular, though Scorpius always seemed to skirt around the details a little, and he meant to. He knew that Albus noticed, though so far Albus hadn’t said a thing so Scorpius planned to just cross his fingers and hope he never did.

Though, as he sat there, a look had crossed over his face and his eyes had paused staring at one single spot on the page in front of him and Albus had noticed.

“Oi, you all right?” 

Scorpius looked up. “Did you just oi me?”

His lips quirked up into a small smile. “ Maaaaaybe. You alright, though? You look like you’ve seen a ghost or something? Is the Bloody Baron right behind me, ready to attack?”

No, Albus,” Scorpius gave a dry chuckle and put his bookmark back in his book. He wasn’t going to get any more reading done tonight, not when his mind was wandering so easily. And right now he needed to talk to Albus more than he needed to read. Because every time he thought about that world he couldn’t help but think about the fact that Albus hadn’t even existed, and the thought pained him more and more every time. “I’m just thinking, actually. About… last year.”

Albus’ eyebrows knotted together. “I was thinking about that this morning.”

There was always an air of tension surrounding them whenever they started talking about the Delphi-led, Voldemort ruled world. It was a touchy subject and it always would be, even though Scorpius had admitted to Albus over the summer that he never wanted to live in a world without him again, it was even more true now that Scorpius had spent every day of the last month with him. 

“I always hate thinking about how you weren’t there.” When Scorpius spoke, his voice was low and he avoided eye contact with Albus, instead choosing to stare at his shoes which were still perched up on the table. 

Albus leant forward a little and shook his head. “Don’t think about that, Scorp. That’s not the world we live in anymore. Because I am here and I’m not going anywhere. I’ll tell you that every bloody day if I have to,” he chuckled. And then paused, and then simply stared at Scorpius for a moment, just as Scorpius looked up. 

They locked eyes, and Albus smiled. And Scorpius could have sworn there was something–

“You know, you haven’t much talked about a certain Rose Granger-Weasley lately, Scorp. Have you grown out of your crush or something? Did you forget that it was only last year you were planning your eventual marriage to her?” Albus changed the topic swiftly and easily, and it jolted Scorpius a little. 

He did his best to keep up. “Rose? Wha– no, I haven’t grown out of it. I’ve just had other things to worry about.” Like you, he thought. Truly, he wasn’t crushing on Rose quite so much this year, and he wasn’t exactly sure why. But he did still admire her, and he always smiled when they passed in the hallways, even if she didn’t always smile back.

Albus raised an eyebrow. “Yeah, all right,” he snorted. “You know… I think I’ve got a bit of a crush on someone.”

To Scorpius, Albus’ words seemed a little hesitant even though they were filled with the usual Albus charm and confidence. It confused Scorpius a little, though, because Albus was well aware of Scorpius’ crush on Rose, but here he was, being nervous to tell Scorpius about his crush? At least he was telling him something, he supposed.

“Oh? Care to elaborate ?”

Albus shook his head. “Nah, might leave you in the dark on that one for a bit. You’d never even guess who it is, though,” he waved a hand and sunk back into the couch a little more. “But they’re all right... I think I really like them.” 

Once again, Scorpius met Albus’ eyes, and Albus smiled softly. 

As Scorpius sunk back into his own couch, eyes moving over to watch the fire, he couldn’t help but wonder just who it was Albus was crushing on. Though, as names and faces filed through his mind, he couldn’t put a finger on any of them. All he knew was that none of them seemed good enough for his best friend.

Chapter Text

Thursday, September 1st 2022.

Ginny Potter was certain that she absolutely did not have time for all of this. She had work an hour and a half after the kids left on the train, yet the only child that actually seemed interested to even go to the station on the morning of the 1st of September was, surprisingly, Albus. Lily was still packing her bags and trying to fit in everything she owned (it seemed)  and James was blasting music from upstairs in his bedroom when he’d promised to accompany them to the station even though he wasn’t attending Hogwarts anymore. 

With a deep breath to prepare herself, she finished off her cup of tea and made her way upstairs, banging on the door of James’ bedroom for what felt like the hundredth time that morning. 

“James, please would you get ready! We’re leaving in fifteen minutes and your father and I will leave you here if you’re not downstairs by the time we’re ready to go!” She called through the door, hoping that he would hear her, though she seriously doubted it. 

Harry was downstairs talking to Albus, so Ginny took it upon herself to hurry Lily along and leant up against the door frame of her daughters room as she tried to shove another shirt into her trunk. Why Lily needed to pack all the clothes she owned when she could always just write home and ask to have some sent to her, Ginny didn’t understand.

Lily looked up. “Are you just going to stand there or are you going to help, mum?”

She chuckled and headed into the room to help hold the trunk closed while Lily latched it all up so she could be ready to go. As Ginny looked at her, she couldn’t even quite believe that her daughter was already in her fourth year of Hogwarts – that one of her sons had graduated and the other was only two years away from that himself.

Lily hurried to continue getting ready, and Ginny smiled to herself as she walked back downstairs (pausing to bang on James’ door again ) and thought about how hectic life really was – much more than she’d ever expected her adult years to be. The fact that Albus and Harry were even having such a detailed and long conversation was still sometimes surprising to her. And sometimes Ginny felt as if she were locked in some kind of time warp. Because it surely couldn’t all be real, could it? After everything that had happened in Albus’ fourth year, she’d turned a lot to wishful thinking and she still found herself falling back on that sometimes.

And if you’d even suggested to a younger Ginny that, in years time, she would be friends with Draco Malfoy, she would have told you that you were absolutely, most certainly mental. Yet here she was, already planning another lunch with him once the boys had gone off to school, and Albus had requested that Scorpius join them for a few days at Christmas later in the year, so she had that to organise, too – and she planned to extend the invitation to Draco himself. 

Ginny today, at least, intended to live in the now for as long as humanly possible. To not focus on the future or the past. And that involved getting Albus and Lily ready for school and simultaneously trying to stay as sane as possible – more of a challenge than she had originally envisioned it to be. Having three teenage children was a struggle, and she’d gained an enormous amount of appreciation for her own mother having to deal with nearly double that when Ginny was a teenager.

It was nearly too late when they eventually left the house, with James in tow, to head to King’s Cross Station. Upon their arrival at the station, with only fifteen minutes to spare, Ginny pulled Albus aside for just a moment. Harry gave her a knowing look and a smile as he led James and Lily ahead to Platform 9 ¾ . 

“So, sixth year, huh?” Ginny gave Albus a tight lipped smile as they walked behind the rest of the family. King’s Cross was busy, but not busy enough that they lost Harry, James and Lily in the crowd ahead of them, and at least here nobody knew who they were.

Ginny knew that Albus treasured those moments – the moments where he had no other eyes on him like there would be once they went through to the platform. The eyes of the entire wizarding world would be on him then, like they were every year. But now, it was just Ginny.

Albus smiled back up at his mother. “Sixth year, two to go,” he confirmed. “Weird to think I didn’t even think I’d get past fourth year, isn’t it? Here I am, though.”

“Here you are.”

She was proud of her son. More proud than anything. And even though she was proud of James and Lily, too, she had always felt ever so slightly more protective over Albus. Perhaps it was because Albus hadn’t really had anyone there for him growing up and because James and Lily had gotten along so effortlessly with their father, yet Albus hadn’t. And being alone was hard. She understood that like Albus did. 

“I’m proud of you, you know? For how you’ve dealt with it all since,” she spoke easily. “And even though you still have those nightmares sometimes, like Scorpius does, it doesn’t mean that you haven’t dealt with it well. When what happened to me happened in my first year I had nightmares too. It happened to your father. It happens to everyone. And I’m proud of you for getting past it, Albus. And for not putting us through anything else like that.” 

Albus raised his eyebrows as he took in his mother’s words. Clearly, he hadn’t been expecting them. “What’s brought all this on, mum?”

She gave him a cheeky smile and wrapped an arm around his shoulders, pulling him close to her she pressed a kiss against his head. “I just thought you should know, that’s all. Sixth year is an important year. It was for me, and it was for your father. Just... promise me one thing.”

“Anything.”

Looking down at him, she smiled at him once more. “ Please don’t jump off the roof of the train and go missing again this year. We had a good year last year… keep it that way.”

Albus laughed, eyes lighting up in his laughter, and wrapped his arms around his mother to hug her – he’d hug her before he got on the Hogwarts Express, but he could still hug her now. “I promise, mum. No jumping off of trains this year,” he grinned. “Never again.”

 


 

Tuesday, September 8th 2022.

Mum,

I should have written sooner after I sent you that first letter when we got here on the 1st, but I’ve been so busy with everything that I really haven’t had a chance. Things have been busy here and we got given so much homework in the first week, but things are settling down a little bit here – for now, at least. Scorpius keeps saying how they’ll pick up again when we’re least expecting it.

Things don’t feel as tense last year. They felt really tense last year. Everyone was still staring at me every time I breathed and people kept saying things because they knew I’d nearly destroyed the world. And with what happened to Craig. I was still dealing with that, learning how to live with that on my conscience, that I sort of feel like I just floated my way through fifth year. Things feel better this year. People are still staring, but not as many of them, and Scorpius also seems positive that they’ll not stare at us at all when it comes to the end of the year. 

Something I think you’ll be happy to hear is that the students who were always the worst at the bullying a few years ago seem to have stopped, or at least quieted down for now. Polly Chapman, Yann Fredericks and Karl Jenkins – those are the names. I can’t remember if I told you their names before. But they’ve been nice so far, and Polly smiled at Scorpius and I the other day on the way to Potions, so I wonder if something has happened over the summer since she doesn’t seem to detest us quite so much now.

I promise I’ll do my best to get back into writing to you more, mum. For now, I should probably get started on my Charms homework or I’ll have Scorpius on my back about it all… love and miss you and dad a lot.

Love Albus. 

 


 

Saturday, September 10th 2022.

Mum,

I think Albus has a secret girlfriend. Why else would he keep sneaking away from Scorpius? And they’re spending a bit less time together, I noticed. None of my friends seem to be too bothered by the idea but I know you’ll want to know. So here I am, being an angel daughter and telling you. Love you.

Lily. 

 


 

MUM,

I DO NOT HAVE A SECRET GIRLFRIEND. IGNORE EVERYTHING LILY SAID, MERLIN’S BEARD.

ALBUS.

 


 

Ginny looked down at the letter from Albus and tried to smother her laughter, but failed. It was rare for her to get letters like this from both Albus and Lily, especially since James was usually the joker of her children and he wasn’t at Hogwarts to send her any letters anymore. 

But Albus having a secret girlfriend ? The idea wasn’t totally out of the question, but she believed Albus – especially because he’d sent his letter written entirely in capital letters and he was clearly a little mad that Lily had even mentioned it to her. 

What she did notice, though, was Lily’s observation that the two were spending a little less time together. She would have thought that now they were closer than ever, but it certainly didn’t seem to be that way according to Lily, at least. She was considering replying to Albus’ letter when Harry wandered into the living room and spotted her.

“And what are you laughing at?”

She passed him both letters and watched as his look of confusion turned into laughter. 

“A secret girlfriend, huh?”

Ginny grinned. “It was bound to happen at some point, wasn’t it?”

He handed the letters back to her. “I know what you’re really thinking, though. And don’t send him a letter, Gin. I know you want to, but he’s sixteen now. Soon, he’s going to want to stop replying to our letters all together.”

“I’m worried about him.”

“We’re always worried about him.”

As if on cue, another owl arrived. Ginny carefully took the letter from it and waited to read the letter before sending it away. She smiled softly as she read what was on the parchment before handing it over to Harry, worry slightly dissipating.

 


 

Mum,

Sorry, that was abrupt. I do not have a secret girlfriend. Scorpius and I are spending a normal, healthy amount of time with each other. Please ignore what Lily said. It’s not true, none of it. I’m really sorry for yelling.

Love Albus.

 


 

Thursday, September 15th 2022.

Ginny thanked the waiter as they sat her meal on the table in front of her and left, finally allowing the conversation between herself, Harry and Draco to continue. They’d met up at The Leaky Cauldron fifteen minutes earlier for lunch, having all taken advantage of the middle of the day lunch breaks they had. 

It still seemed rather weird to her sometimes, to be sat talking to Draco Malfoy so casually, but when they actually got talking it became more and more normal. Her son was friends with Draco’s son and she felt grateful that Albus had such a friendship like that. The fact that back in Albus’ fourth year they’d all had to set aside their differences for the sake of their children had brought them closer together as friends. It had helped both Ginny and Harry get over everything that had happened to them at school regarding the Malfoy’s and it had helped them move on past it all as adults. 

Harry, sat beside her, dug into his sandwich just as Draco began to talk. For the first fifteen minutes of their conversation, it’d just been casual catch-up – talking about work, about how James was doing now he was finished with Hogwarts for good. They hadn’t spoken a word about Albus or Scorpius until now. 

“Has Albus been writing much to either of you?” He inquired.

Ginny nodded. “He’s written three times to me, but I’m not sure how often to Harry. I think it’s a bit more hectic with school work this year, now that it is coming up to NEWT year and their final year all together. I remember how stressful that year was for all of us.” Some more than others. 

Harry waited until he’d finished his mouthful before speaking. “Only once last week,” he explained. “What about Scorpius? Has he been finding it hectic with school work too, or is that just Al?”

There was a small smile on Draco’s face at the mention of Scorpius finding school work hectic. Ginny noticed it almost immediately – Scorpius was certainly not the type to be intimidated by homework or busy days full of lots of study. Albus had been good at the study last year, and he’d spoken a lot to Ginny about it back then, but he’d happily admitted at the end of the year that academics still really weren’t his thing. But both he and Ginny were glad that they gave him something to focus on other than Delphi and the alternate worlds.

“He said it’s been busy, but he’s been writing,” he nodded and took a sip of his drink. But Ginny could sense something else there – some sort of hesitation, like he wanted to say more but he didn’t know exactly how to say it.

“What’s going on?” She raised an eyebrow.

Sitting his glass back on the table, Draco sighed. “I wasn’t sure if this was something I wanted to bring up with the two of you, because I don’t want to be the father that meddles in his sons business when he is a sixth year student now who is very capable of dealing with things on his own, but I figure Scorpius wouldn’t have mentioned it to me if it wasn’t important.”

Harry sat up straighter. “What’s this about, Draco?”

“Scorpius wrote to me the other day and mentioned rather briefly that he’s noticed Albus acting strange around him.”

“Strange?” Ginny frowned.

“Strange,” he confirmed. “He didn’t elaborate an awful lot. But he did say he didn’t understand why Albus was being so strange. He said that they still talk, but that sometimes Albus will just zone out, or he’ll look at him funnily.”

Ginny and Harry shared a look. That certainly sounded like something Albus might do, but she didn’t understand why he’d be doing it. They were only half way through the first month of sixth year, and nothing that bad could have happened to cause Albus to distance himself or be strange around his best friend, she hoped. And after everything they’d been though, Ginny liked to think that at least Albus would be confident enough to tell Scorpius about why he was acting the way he was. The memory of Lily’s letter flickered through her mind.

“Albus hasn’t said anything about that in his letters,” Ginny said, already knowing that would be Draco’s next question. “He’s spoken about Scorpius, but I haven’t seen anything in his words that would explain his behaviour. But Lily did say something the other day. She was joking around for the most part, but both Harry and I think there has to be some sort of truth in there – she mentioned him sneaking away from Scorpius and not spending as much time together as usual.” 

“Like I said,” Draco continued. “I don’t want to be a meddlesome father. I’m just concerned. We all know how Albus can sometimes be, and I don’t want Scorpius to have to tip-toe through his sixth year because he’s worried about treading on Albus’ feet. If you believe that Lily’s words have some truth, I would appreciate you following up on it at least a little.” 

“I’ll send him an owl, but I won’t push,” Ginny decided. She knew it would only end up bothering her if she didn’t send him an owl, and if this kept going on anyway then it looked like Draco would probably end up talking to her and Harry about it in the future. She knew she should have sent one in the first place, but Harry had talked her out of it– and then Albus’ follow up owl had shaken any worry about it from her mind at all. Still, she considered herself a rather pro-active person and desperately wanted things to be sorted before they even had the chance to go wrong in any way, shape or form. 

“And if you could tell me as soon as possible about his response…”

Ginny nodded. “You’ll be the first to know.”

 


 

Sunday, September 18th 2022.

Albus,

Your father and I had lunch with Draco Malfoy on Thursday. Draco mentioned a letter from Scorpius and, without saying too much that would break Scorpius and Draco’s trust, your father and I would very much like to know if everything is all right. If things are okay between you and Scorpius. You’ve said they are in your other letters, but a confirmation and an explanation would really set our minds to rest. 

Love Mum and Dad.

 


 

Lily, 

We hope things are going all right for you this year. We’ll owl you again properly in the morning but for now, would you be able to have a look in on Albus for us? We’re worried about him and Scorpius and we’d like to know how he’s doing in your eyes. 

Please write back and tell us how things are going for you at Hogwarts this year, too. We’d love to hear all about it and your classes.

Love Mum and Dad.

 


 

Sunday, September 21st 2022.

Mrs. Potter,

I really hope it’s all right that I’m sending you this letter. I feel a bit strange to be sending on an owl behind Albus’ back, but I remembered the letter you sent to me last year when you mentioned that if I ever needed to talk, you would be a willing ear so I figured that sending you an owl might not hurt.

Dad sent me an owl the other day and told me that he told you and Mr. Potter about the letter I sent regarding Albus being strange. He’s still being strange as I write this letter in the library and I haven’t seen him much since breakfast. He always seems to be a bit more strange and awkward around me very early in the morning and late at night, around bed time, and also lately when we’ve started joking around a little bit more. I’m really not sure what’s going on, and I don’t want to bring it up to him just on the chance that it’s something he’s really insecure about and doesn’t want to talk about and that I’ll just hit a nerve and make it all worse. He did have a few days like this last year where he was also acting a little bit… weird. But that didn’t last long and he said it was fine and he was back to normal really quickly. This has been longer.

I’m not sure if you’ve sent him an owl regarding it, and this isn’t me asking you to if you haven’t, I just thought it might be nice for you to hear it straight from the source. I’m hoping things will clear up soon and that things will start to settle down between us from here on out. 

I hope things are going well for you and Mr. Potter and that this owl isn’t unwelcome.

From Scorpius Malfoy.

 


 

Scorpius,

It’s absolutely no problem, you sending me an owl. In fact I rather like reading your messages and hearing from you – it reassures me that you’re doing well, and Harry and I both want that for you. As for Albus, I did send him an owl the other day, and I also asked Lily to watch out for him and let me know if something was horribly wrong, but she’s reported back that he seemed entirely normal to her. 

I can’t think of a reason as to why Albus would be acting so strange, particularly around you when I’m aware of how much he admires you. But since this has been going on for quite a few days now, I think I might start organising a trip to come and visit him (and Lily) in the first few days of October just to check up on him and make sure things are all right in person.

I really hope how he’s acting isn’t affecting you too greatly and that you’re keeping your head up - I’m sure there’s a plausible explanation behind it all. Please feel free to owl me again if things like this keep happening, or even with things that aren’t strictly Albus related. It’s lovely to hear from you, Scorpius.

Love Ginny.

 


 

Tuesday, September 27th 2022. 

“Here, read this,” Harry hummed, sitting down on the couch next to Ginny and handing her a letter. “It’s from Albus.”

James was out for the night – though doing what and with who he’d refused to tell them. Ginny had found it odd to have the house to themselves again, though she did miss having James around and the fact that her eldest son would likely be moving out on his own one of these days was a day she wasn’t looking forward to. Taking advantage of the time alone, though, Harry had cooked Ginny dinner and now the two were sitting on the couch planning on talking or finding something to watch on television until James got home.

She took the letter from Harry in her hands and read it slowly, taking in every word that Albus wrote. Albus had replied to her last letter over a week ago, though it hadn’t said much, and both she and Harry had agreed that pushing the subject and forcing Albus to tell them what was going on really wasn’t going to get them anywhere – it would just end up pushing Albus further away, and that wasn’t what either of them wanted, especially since they both knew how that had ended up last time.

When she finished reading the letter, she handed it back to Harry.

“He’s been good at writing to you lately,” she noticed. “Thinking back to when he could barely put pen to paper a few years ago to say anything to you… he’s come a long way.”

Harry smiled at that. “It’s nice to be getting letters from him. To hear from him in his own words. It makes me wish that I could have had a father to write to when I was at Hogwarts. To have had a father I could have written to about the things I got up to in my sixth year.” He looked over at her. “You know I would have told my mum everything about when I kissed you, don’t you?”

She grinned. “I don’t doubt that she would have loved hearing about it.”

Harry wrapped an arm around her shoulders and pulled her closer. Ginny always loved when he did small things like that. She never could have imagined herself living a comfy, cozy homey life like this when she was younger, but now she wouldn’t change a thing. She had lucked out with the most incredible, bright and clever children and the most caring, handsome and loving husband.

“I’m glad that he’s being more open with you, Harry,” Ginny admitted softly. “But with everything that’s happened this month, it just really makes me wonder… I thought things were going to settle down, that things would achieve some sense of normality this year. But with Albus acting strange around Scorpius, and not being able to give a straight answer it just… it just doesn’t seem right to me. What if it’s more serious than we think? What if it’s just… another thing like Delphi?”

Harry instantly shook his head. “No, it’s not that. It’s nothing like that,” he assured her. “This, whatever it is that’s going on with him, it feels different. When he writes about it, it’s like it’s a personal thing. And as much as you and I want to be able to fix everything… I have a feeling this is just something he’s going to have to figure out on his own. And when he’s ready, he’ll tell us, Gin. He’ll tell us.”

She looked up at him and sighed. “When is it you became the voice of reason?”

“Some time between March and July, I’d suppose,” he smirked.

Ginny shook her head and pressed her lips to his with a small smile. The love she had for Harry was one that overtook her entire body and soul every single day, and the quieter, more comfortable moments like this were her favourite ones. She reached down after they broke away and took one of his hands in hers, giving it a squeeze. 

“I hope you’re right,” she mused softly.

“I hope I am too.” 

 


 

By the time James came home, Harry had already gone up to bed. Ginny had stayed downstairs with the excuse that she needed to get some last minute work done before bed, and Harry had been rather disappointed, but the real reason was that she wanted to wait for James. She was heading off to work early in the morning and James would likely be sleeping in until at least midday. James seemed surprised to see her sitting at the dining table when he wandered in for a glass of water before bed.

“Mum, hello… you’re up late,” he spoke hesitantly.

She smiled softly. “Well, I had to wait up for you, didn’t I? Who were you out with?”

James narrowed his eyes as he looked at her, and Ginny could almost see the cogs working in his brain as he tried to figure out what her motives for the question clearly were. He must have deemed it safe, though, because moments later he shrugged and answered with a rather casual “Teddy Lupin.” 

Ginny raised an eyebrow. “You went out for drinks with Teddy Lupin?”

He nodded and started pouring a cup of water. “Yeah, thought it might be fun,” he admitted before turning to face her once more. “He’s a nice guy. And his hair is… awesome.

There was a cheeky smile on his face that Ginny couldn’t help but smile at. James was always a happy child, and he’d been an even happier teenager, but seeing him smile and look so happy just at the mention of a night out with someone he enjoyed being with made her even more thrilled than she was already. 

“James… would you do me a favour in the morning?” Ginny looked up at him.

James nodded slowly. “Depends…”

“Write to Albus,” she spoke. “He’s been avoiding the question that your father and I have been asking him lately. Draco told us a few weeks ago that he’s been acting strange around Scorpius, and Scorpius himself wrote to me to explain it in more detail. Your father and I… there’s nothing we can do, but I think it might be good for him to hear from you. He’s probably missing you this year at school and it might help for the two of you to talk a little.”

She expected hesitation from James. Maybe a few more questions, but surprisingly, James was nodding straight away. 

“Yeah, of course I’ll write to him,” he spoke happily. “I’ve been meaning to anyway.”

Her smile grew and she stood up to wrap an arm around James’ shoulders. She had a good feeling about this– that James owling Albus could help in some way. She wouldn’t know straight away, but she could cross her fingers and she could hope that it was enough. Because whatever it was that was plaguing Albus so deeply, it needed to be resolved.

Chapter Text

Friday, September 1st 2023.

Albus let out a deep sigh as he took a seat on the Hogwarts Express as it departed King’s Cross Station on the morning of the 1st of September. It was his last 1st of September going to Hogwarts, and it was all he’d been able to think about all morning, even when he’d tried to occupy his mind with other thoughts. When he’d been hugging his parents goodbye, when he hugged James goodbye and his brother had grinned and cheered about how soon Hogwarts would be over and done with for him, so they’d have more time together.

And to think that a few years ago, that Albus would have been more than thrilled about the idea of leaving Hogwarts and never having to go back to it. But now he found himself a little scared of the fact that this time next year, he wouldn’t be going back to Hogwarts at all. He’d be finished, out living life on his own in the world and making his way in whatever career he found that he enjoyed – if he even found one. It was a scary thing to consider, and as Albus sat with Scorpius on the train, he couldn’t help but wish that he could stop thinking about it. The idea of a future was one that scared him. Even though it was so close now, close enough to touch… he wanted to shrivel up and crawl away at the thought of it.

“Earth to Albus…” Scorpius’ voice broke him out of his thoughts from where he was sitting opposite him in the carriage. There was a cheeky smile on his face that still very much reminded Albus of the happy, carefree young Malfoy he’d met on this very train in their first year– and here they were, making their final train journey to Hogwarts together seven years later. The Albus back then could never have guessed how far he’d come. How far they’d both come.

He smiled softly. “Yeah, sorry– I was just thinking,” he waved a hand as he looked at Scorpius and away from the window where he’d focused his eyes while the train had started moving. “This is a bit strange, isn’t it?”

Scorpius chuckled and nodded. “Only slightly. But at least we’re doing it together, aren’t we? That has to account for something. Even your parents didn’t go on their last Hogwarts Express together. And Hogwarts hasn’t been taken over by Voldemort or Death Eaters, so we’ve got something going for us this year… like actual education.”

Albus snorted and shook his head, knotting his hands together on his lap as he looked over at Scorpius. He remembered speaking to his mother about the fact that he was surprised he’d even made it this far exactly this time last year, and he was thinking the same now – he’d been ready to die back in that maze with Delphi. So had Scorpius. But they were alive, they’d made it, they’d helped to save the world even though they’d totally destroyed it beforehand. That wasn’t what mattered, though. What mattered was that they’d made it through. 

Across from him, Scorpius sighed and glanced out of the window. The Hogwarts Express was now making its way through the countryside and they were well on their way to Hogwarts, and the train journey had been one of Albus’ least favourite things over the years simply because it meant he was going to be back at Hogwarts when he got off of it. But now it was one of the things he most looked forward to – and that fact alone was strange. The fact that Albus Potter was looking forward to being at Hogwarts again. 

Things had changed. Albus had changed.

“What do you think we’ll be doing this time next year?” Albus asked, suddenly intrigued. There were so many things that they could be doing. They could be together. They could be apart. They could not even be talking anymore, though Albus very much doubted that. He intended to never stop speaking to Scorpius.

Smiling, Scorpius shrugged a shoulder. “I like to think we’ll be together, maybe we’ll both be having lunch together on our break from work and we’ll be reminiscing about all of this. Maybe we’ll be travelling the world together or doing something fun and exciting. There are so many possibilities.”

“I like to think that too,” Albus agreed. 

Suddenly, he leant forward and extended a hand out to Scorpius and, luckily, Scorpius caught on rather quickly and leant in as well, taking Albus’ hand in his. 

“Let’s make a deal right now – wherever we are next year we’ll spend September 1st together. We’ll make time for each other, whatever we’re doing,” Albus spoke. 

Scorpius nodded excitedly. “Deal. Wherever we are, whatever we’re doing.”

 


 

Tuesday, September 5th 2023.

James,

I think I need to tell him, James. I think it’s time. He mentioned this morning that he remembered randomly a moment from fifth year when I told him I had a crush on somebody and that he never actually found out who that person was – and how was I supposed to tell him that it’s been him all along?

You know how to deal with these things now that you’re with Teddy. And it’s been two years this month since I realised I liked him in more than a best friend way. That was the whole reason he said I was acting strange last September, and a handful of times since. Because I was just… slowly falling head over heels for him and I didn’t know how to deal with that other than to be weird about it. I still don’t know how to deal with it other than to be weird. And I wanted to tell him so badly back then but I was so scared. I still am scared, James.

If you could just… owl me back as soon as possible that would be really great. It’s getting harder and harder to keep this from him. And we made a pact on the train the other day that we’d spend next September 1st together. And he needs to know by then. I need to learn to be honest with him by then. He needs to know how I feel about him sooner rather than later… even if it ruins my whole final year of school because he doesn’t feel the same way.

Albus.

 


 

Wednesday, September 6th 2023.

Albus,

You said it yourself. You just need to tell him. Just come out with it. You know Scorpius better than anyone, you know how he’s going to react to it. And you’re the only one that can control when you tell him.

You’re stronger than I am, little brother. Keeping a secret like that for two whole years… I couldn’t even keep it from Teddy for two months before he figured me out.

It’s always going to be scary, Albus. It’s always going to scare the heck out of you. But when you eventually tell him, it’s going to be so worth it. I know it will be worth it.

Love James.

 


 

Wednesday, September 13th 2023.

Today, Albus thought. He was going to tell Scorpius today. James had written back to his owl a week ago now and told him to just come out with it and tell Scorpius. And he’d been trying to talk himself into it for the past week. He’d failed so far, but today… today he was going to do it. Scorpius was sitting right beside him, head in his charms book. He was going to tell him. 

“Scorpius,” Albus began, nudging him with his elbow.

He looked up at him, eyebrows raised – not thrilled to be interrupted from his study, but it was Albus after all, so he couldn’t be too mad. And Albus had something important to say. Scorpius didn’t know that. But Albus did.

“So, I was thinking… we should probably talk.”

His eyebrows became furrowed. “About what?”

Albus’ eyes darted between Scorpius and the books stacked up on the table in front of him. No, not here – not now, no. This wasn’t right. He couldn’t tell him in the library! Why would he want to admit to his best friend that he likes him in more than a friendly way in the library in the middle of study? What a stupid, stupid idea– no. He wouldn’t. Albus panicked. 

“The homework, actually. I’m having trouble understanding the question for this essay…” 

Not today. But another day, Albus promised himself. Another day.

 


 

Sunday, September 17th 2023.

Albus,

I hope things are going well at school lately. Your mother and I haven’t heard from you very much, though Lily has been filling us in on the things we’ve been missing. Seventh year is a busy year, though – I don’t really know that first hand, but I know how busy some people found it when things settled down, and your brother found it busy too. Don’t feel bad if you’re too busy to write to us, though I know your mother would appreciate a small word every now and then so that she knows you’re doing all right.

We’ve been doing well at home. Work is just as busy as school is lately for the both of us – your mother has been working overtime quite a lot this week, and at Hermione’s insistence, I’m getting through the paperwork that I let stack up over the summer while I was spending time with you and your brother and sister. James is doing well, though I imagine you’re corresponding more with him. He seems to be settling well into his apartment with Teddy.

Anyway, we hope things are going well for you for your final year and that things aren’t too difficult or stressful. Your mother and I are always around and are willing to make time for you whenever you might need us, Albus. We’ll write again soon.

Love Dad.

 


 

Albus sighed as he stared down at the letter in front of him. It’d just arrived, though the one sentence his eyes kept skimming over was how James seems to be settling well into his apartment with Teddy. And how would his father feel if he knew that Albus was practically in love with his best friend? He knew that his father supported James. He knew that. But what if he wrote back and told him the only reason he hasn’t been properly writing is because he’s been spending all his time worrying about how to tell his best friend how he feels? Would that make him feel like a disappointment to Harry? Would that feel like a failure again? Albus didn’t know. He’d already felt like a failure in his father’s eyes before, and he didn’t know if he could deal with feeling like that again. 

He squeezed his eyes shut and rubbed his face with his hands. This was much harder than James had made it seem in his letter. This was so much harder. The idea of just blocking it all out and trying to move on without saying a word was starting to sound much more appealing.

And before, when his crush on Scorpius had only just formed, he’d considered just stopping the friendship all together. But he knew better now. He knew that if he did that he’d not only be ruining Scorpius’ seventh year but also his as well. He’d said it before – he didn’t want to live in a world where Scorpius couldn’t be his friend. And if a friend was all he was ever going to be, Albus was going to have to learn to live with it. 

 


 

Friday, September 22nd 2023.

James narrowed his eyes as he looked at his little brother, sat next to him on the seats of the Quidditch pitch. Slytherin was practicing and somewhere up in the sky, Scorpius was on a broom, flying around. Albus had been watching him for most of the time and hadn’t taken his eyes off of him very often, James had noticed. On his other side, Scorpius’ blue haired second cousin sat, legs kicked up on the seat in front of him as he watched the team flying around.

“Are you actually planning on talking to us, Al, or did you just invite us here to watch Scorp playing Quidditch? It’s a good watch, but I mean…” He looked down at him expectantly.

With a sigh, Albus ripped his eyes away from Scorpius and looked up at James. After his letter from his dad the other day, and the fact that he’d chickened out of actually telling Scorpius his feelings the other day, he’d resorted to inviting James (and Teddy, who went wherever James did) to Hogwarts to talk about it in person. Now that he was actually here, though, he was struggling to find the words. 

James didn’t need to hear it, though. He could see it. 

He crossed his arms over his chest and let out a breath. “Right, tell me this – what’s the harm in telling him? What’s the harm in just ‘Scorpius, I’m in love with you’?”

Albus could have choked. “ What’s the harm?! ” He couldn’t believe James. “Uh, the harm is that he’d find out that I liked him. That’s the bloody harm, James!” 

Teddy snorted and reached out to squeeze Albus’ shoulder.

“Don’t listen to him, and take your time,” Teddy assured him. 

While the two hadn’t spoken much growing up, Albus wished they had spoken more. He was grateful that James had someone like Teddy in his life, and felt a little like sometimes James was the Scorpius to Teddy’s Albus – considering James was the more excitable of the two. And if they could work it out, why couldn’t Albus just find the courage himself? It didn’t make sense. He was a confident guy, or at least he thought he was, so why was this so damn difficult?

He groaned and slumped uncomfortably against the seat. “This is so annoying!

James shuffled closer to him and wrapped an arm around his shoulders. “Listen, when the time is right to tell him, you’ll know. Don’t force it, Al. Don’t force yourself to say it when you’re not ready to say it. Scorpius… he’s one of the good ones. He’s not going to run out on you when you eventually confess the truth. And… well, you’ve managed it this long, haven’t you? Just… take a deep breath for me, will you?”

Albus obliged.

“Your first month of your seventh year isn’t over yet. You’ve got all the time in the world, Al. When you’re ready, just… be honest with him. That’s the most important thing– that and you being ready for what comes after.”

Albus met James’ eyes, worry clear in them. “And how do I know when I’m ready?”

James glanced over at Teddy. “You’ll know.”

 


 

Saturday, September 23rd 2023.

“There’s something going on with you.”

Albus looked up from the book in his lap, sprung, and met Scorpius’ eyes. It was late at night and all the other boys in their dormitory were still down in the common room doing whatever it was that regular teenage boys tended to do in their final year in school – Albus and Scorpius, on the other hand, had decided to take advantage of the quiet dorm and had been curled up in their own beds reading for at least an hour.

“What gives you that idea?” Albus inquired.

Scorpius narrowed his eyes a little as he looked at Albus, though it wasn’t in any sort of harmful way, just a curious one. As if he was hoping that it would offer him some insight. “I’m not sure what it is exactly, but I can see it on your face. In your eyes, even. Is everything all right? You’d tell me if something wasn’t, wouldn’t you?”

“Of course I would,” Albus instantly assured him. They were both past the point where they hid things from each other for fear of hurting the other one. Well, for the most part – Albus was still hiding potentially the most dangerous secret of all, but he wasn’t hiding it for fear of hurting Scorpius, he was hiding it for fear of damaging everything. “And you’d tell me.”

He didn’t even realise that he hadn’t really answered Scorpius’ question. But thankfully, Scorpius didn’t seem to mind. 

Scorpius nodded and thumbed the pages of his book in front of him. “Should we be down there with the others? Playing… exploding snap or something? Socialising? It is our final year.”

Albus screwed up his nose. He didn’t want to be down there with the rest of his house. Even though he loved Slytherin more than anything and had grown to be possibly the most proud of his house in his entire family – even more so than his very Gryffindor brother. But he couldn’t imagine a worse Saturday night (well, he could. He just didn’t want to.) He shook his head and looked down at the book in front of him, not wanting to look at Scorpius as he spoke for fear of Scorpius seeing that something in his eyes again. That something that he wasn’t ready for him to figure out yet.

“I’d rather be up here with you.” 

His eyes shot up from the page and over at Scorpius as soon as he replied, and his face broke into a smile, his heart racing what felt like a million miles an hour as he looked over at his best friend– or whatever he was now. 

“You’re right,” Scorpius spoke, smiling too. “No reason to change the routine now, is there? I started Hogwarts with you and only you by my side… finishing it the same way sounds kind of perfect.”

 


 

Monday, September 25th 2023.

Mum,

I wish I had more time to write to you, but NEWT year is harder than I expected it would be. I think I’m coping with it well, but I guess I won’t actually know until the end of the year when I’m all done and I finally have my results. How did you cope with all of the stress?

James isn’t much help when it comes to that sort of stuff.

Since I haven’t written in a little while, though, here’s what’s been going on: James and Teddy came to visit the other day. We watched Scorpius and the Slytherin Quidditch Team practicing. They’re really good, mum. You and dad should come to a game one day. Scorpius is such a good player. He’s probably the reason they’ve won so many games, but don’t tell him that or he’ll get all cocky about it. It was really nice spending time with them, though. We had a really good chat and I’m glad I got the chance to see and talk to them. It’s still weird not having James here at Hogwarts with me. And I barely see Lily, she’s so busy.

This Sunday I’m going to Hogsmeade for the day with Scorpius. We’re going to do some shopping and get some lunch at The Three Broomsticks, so if you or dad want anything from Hogsmeade tell me and I’ll send it with my next owl. I’m really excited about it, though. It’s just going to be a good, fun day for the two of us and with school we haven’t had many of those moments lately. 

I really do hope things are going well for you and dad at work. Know that I miss you both very much and I’m looking forward to seeing you again come Christmas. I’ll write again as soon as I get the chance, but please don’t worry if I don’t get a chance to write super soon. 

I love you.

Love Albus.

 


 

Sunday, September 30th 2023.

Scorpius laughed and nearly snorted out half of his butterbeer along with it. He covered his mouth up quickly and Albus, from where he was sitting on the other side of the table in The Three Broomsticks, couldn’t contain his laughter. He fumbled for a napkin to hand to Scorpius, who took it gratefully and mopped up some of the butterbeer that had managed to spill out.

“Oh, how embarrassing and not Malfoy-like at all.”

Albus rolled his eyes. “When have you ever been Malfoy-like? I require examples.”

Scorpius narrowed his eyes and shook his head, sitting the napkin down on the table now that he was all cleaned up. Albus hadn’t meant to make him laugh like he had– but they’d just been talking and then Albus had started joking and then Scorpius had nearly covered Albus in his butterbeer, which definitely wasn’t how Albus had planned to spend his day in Hogsmeade.

How he had planned to spend the day in Hogsmeade was casually. There was every possibility that today might be the right time, like James had spoken about the week before when they’d been watching Quidditch practise, but Albus was taking James’ word for it and not pushing himself. When the time was right, it was right, and he had to believe in that too.

All he wanted for today was for him and Scorpius to spend a nice day together. To eat lunch at The Three Broomsticks without a hassle. They’d already successfully done some shopping – Scorpius had gone mad in Spintwitches Sporting Needs with Quidditch goods, and then he’d dragged Albus into Tomes and Scrolls and forced him to look at all the books in there for the better half of an hour. Albus had a feeling they’d probably end up making another stop on the way back because there had been one book Scorpius had decided against buying. The one place Albus had chosen on his own had been Honeydukes. He’d stocked up on all of his favourite sweets and bought some for Scorpius too – even though Scorp had insisted it wasn’t necessary.

So far, the day had been a success, and he intended to keep it that way.

“Did you have any more shopping you wanted to do before we head back after lunch?” Scorpius asked before he started eating his lunch. It had been delivered before the butterbeer incident.

Albus thought over the stores in Hogsmeade before shaking his head. “No, not unless you want to go back to Tomes and Scrolls for that book you left behind. I’ll buy it for you if you like. Consider it an early Christmas present.”

Scorpius nearly choked and instantly shook his head. “No, you won’t!” He managed through a mouthful. When the food was gone, he repeated the words. “No, you won’t, Albus Potter. I’m perfectly capable of buying a book on my own.”

“That’s the second time you’ve nearly choked or snorted out food and drink today, did you realise? Maybe you should focus on eating before you focus on reprimanding me for being nice.” 

“Hey!”

“I’m just looking out for your well-being, Scorp, trust me. I’d very much still like you to be in the land of the living when we head back to Hogwarts after this, and not in a food coma because you choked on a carrot.”

Scorpius grinned. “Yeah, I’ll try my best, but just for your sake. I couldn’t leave you all alone at big, scary Hogwarts, could I?”

Albus waved a hand and chuckled, slumping in his seat a little. “Oh, shut up. Hogwarts isn’t big and scary anymore… I’m a different Albus to the Albus I was when I thought that.”

“Just because you’re seventeen? You’re practically an adult now .

He narrowed his eyes. “So are you. And I am different. This Albus would never try and jump off the roof of a train… my days of being a chaotic fourteen year old are over, thank God.”

Scorpius smiled. “You know, I quite liked chaotic fourteen year old Albus.”

He tried to hide his cheeks reddening. 

“But I think I like chaotic seventeen year old Albus even better.”

He failed to hide them.

 


 

Albus began the walk back to Hogsmeade with Scorpius in a sort of daze. He was so happy. He was indescribably happy, and he didn’t know how to feel about that. His day with Scorpius had been so full of happiness and laughter (and Scorpius had gone back to buy the book before they’d left, and had spent the entire time giving the money to the witch at the counter glaring at Albus). It was strange, he noted. To just have a day out and about with his best friend and not have to worry about anything else. Sure, the weight of the fact that his best friend was also possibly the love of his life was still in his mind but he tried not to focus on that.

“I really enjoyed today,” Scorpius spoke absentmindedly. “It feels really nice to be out of Hogwarts, which is weird to say, I know. But sometimes I still feel like everyone is staring at us. And nobody was staring at us at all today. I just felt like a normal Hogwarts student… I liked it. I always expected to be nothing but a normal student when I came to Hogwarts. And then you came along and that expectation went down the drain… which I’m not mad about...”

His smile was contagious, and Albus found himself smiling too. “It is a bit weird, isn’t it? To not have people staring at us every second of the day. I mean… people in Hogsmeade know that we’re the two boys that destroyed the world, but I like to think they’ve forgotten that part of it. And now we’re just normal students. That’s wishful thinking, isn’t it?”

“Possibly,” Scorpius shook his head. “But that’s one of the things I love the most about you, you know? Your positivity. Your optimism. Even back in fourth year when everything happened, you were still positive that you could bring Cedric back, no matter what. And in Godric’s Hollow, you were so certain that your dad could become Voldemort and trap Delphi. If there was ever a doubt in your mind, you didn’t show it. You can be negative. You can say negative things. You have. But I think you’ve gotten better at the whole ‘think before you speak’ thing over time. You’ve gotten better at seeing yourself in a positive light. That makes me happy.”

Albus stopped in his tracks at Scorpius’ first words. At the ‘ that’s one of the things I love the most about you’. But he didn’t mean it that way, and Albus knew that. Still, it shocked him enough that he stopped walking. Made it so he nearly froze up entirely, mind repeating the words over and over again. Scorpius didn’t even realise for a second, and when he turned around, Albus stood staring at him, eyes wide, breathing fast.

For Albus, much of his fifth year felt like he was just floating straight through it. Somehow he’d passed his OWLs, somehow he’d made it to sixth year. But the one thing, the one moment that stood out inherently in his mind was the moment he’d realised he liked Scorpius in more than a friendly way. One afternoon sat by the lake joking around about essays. He’d realised Scorpius had helped him overcome his nightmares. And then he’d realised that it was always Scorpius that helped. It had always been Scorpius, and it always would be him. Scorpius was everything. Two years he’d held onto that secret, afraid to breathe a word of it to anyone for fear of anything happening, for fear of people finding out and making fun of him for it, for fear of his father finding out and making him feel like a failure again, but only now did it feel like the right time to admit to Scorpius the truth: he was completely and utterly head over heels in love with him.

And maybe it wasn’t the right time, considering Scorpius hadn’t meant love in the same way that Albus did. But as Albus stood looking at him he could only think of one thing. Without a moment of hesitation, without even thinking of anything else, he grabbed Scorpius’ jumper, tugged him close and kissed him. The kiss took him off guard just as much as it took Scorpius off guard. But what surprised him even more was that Scorpius was kissing him back. 

His heart was nearly pounding out of his chest as he pulled away.

“Remember… remember in fifth year when I said I had a crush on someone,” he began, a little breathlessly. “It’s been you all along, Scorpius. It’s been you all along. It could never ever be someone else. I’m sorry it’s taken so long for me to tell you.”

Scorpius let out a breathy laugh. “ Me ?”

Albus nodded, fear flooding his system. “You.”

Scorpius laughed once more and shook his head before taking Albus off guard completely and throwing his arms around him, pulling him into a tight hug. Albus, shorter than Scorpius and weaker from the fact that he’d just poured out his whole heart, felt a little like he was going to end up squashed from the forcefulness of Scorpius’ hug, but he smiled regardless. 

Me. ” It wasn’t a question this time. Instead, a mix of relief and disbelief.

Albus let his eyes flutter closed.

You .”

Chapter Text

Sunday, September 1st 2024.

Albus Potter was awoken on the morning of September the 1st by the sounds of a door creaking open and a very soft, yet also quite audible “ Alllllbuuuuus .” He didn’t bother to open his eyes before he spoke a reply.

“Scorpius, if you’re about to try and wake me up the same way you woke me up that one day in our dormitory back in fourth year when you hovered over me and yelled my name, I’d suggest you just… didn’t,” Albus muttered, still sounding very much asleep. He wished he was still asleep.

Near him, Scorpius scoffed and sat down on the empty side of the bed where he had been sleeping previously – he was an early riser, always believing that you could be much more productive if you got up early. He was still working on instilling that belief in Albus. “I was actually just bringing you tea…”

Albus scrunched up his nose and reluctantly opened an eye to peek up at his boyfriend. Boyfriend. That word still hadn’t gotten normal for him to use, even after a year. “On a Sunday morning? Why are you even conscious right now? Why am I even conscious? I don’t want to be conscious right now.”

Scorpius snorted and waited until Albus sat up with a huff and took the tea from his hands. He blew on it in an attempt to cool it down before taking a sip. It was Scorpius, after all, and he was grateful for the fact that he’d brought him tea to wake him up, even though sleep sounded much better than actually getting up and out of bed on a Sunday morning. He rubbed at his eyes with his hands. 

“What time is it?”

“Eleven fifteen.”

Albus nearly spat out his tea. “It’s what?! Why did you let me sleep in?” He fumbled to kick the sheets off of his legs and, nearly spilling his tea, stood up from the bed and yanked one of the curtains aside. Outside, London was bustling. The streets were busy and the sun was shining down on them from above – it was coming up to the end of  summer and people seemed to be taking advantage of it. “When are we meeting them again?”

“Twelve.” 

Albus sat his tea down on the bedside table and, with a groan, flopped back down on the bed. He could have been awake so much earlier. He could have gotten some actual things done before the two of them were meeting up with Teddy and James for lunch. Sure, sleep was good too, but sleep was not good when there would undoubtedly be an interrogation waiting from James about why they were late for lunch, and there was very little chance he’d actually believe it was just because Albus slept in and much more of a chance of him thinking of anything else and enjoying letting his mind wander. Albus screwed up his nose.

“You’re killing me here, Scorpius.” He frowned.

Scorpius, still sat on the bed, slowly started playing with Albus’ hair. He was growing it a tiny bit longer than usual and Scorpius was hoping that one day he’d be able to braid it, even just a little bit – his mother had taught him how to braid hair when he was younger and he hadn’t had anyone’s hair to braid since, except for Lily on rare occasions. He knew Albus would probably hate it and wouldn’t wear it out of the house, but even just the simple action of playing with Al’s hair calmed Scorpius down a little, and he had a feeling that Albus would be willing to allow some sort of braid simply for that reason one day.

“I was trying to slowly wake you up and then spring it on you when you finished your tea, actually. Trying being the key word here, because that clearly didn’t work out in my favour, did it?” He laughed softly. “There was a reason I suggested lunch at a place that’s only a few blocks from here, you know? Because I knew you’d sleep in. You always sleep in on Sundays.” 

Albus scrunched up his nose and looked up at Scorpius – who was upside down in his eyes, but still rather cute. When wasn’t he? “Did you not hear me before we went to bed last night? That I didn’t want to be late or James would ask questions?”

“Then you’d better get a move on,” Scorpius flashed him a grin and then, carefully removing Albus’ head from his lap, got up from the bed and walked towards the door, leaving Albus alone in the bedroom. He chuckled to himself as he walked out into the kitchen to finish off his own tea, which he’d made alongside Albus’. As he sat down at the kitchen bench, he couldn’t help but glance back at the bedroom where he could now see Albus hurriedly making the bed. He tried to do that every morning just so Scorpius wouldn’t have to and it made Scorpius smile every time.

He couldn’t quite believe that it was nearly a year since Albus had admitted that he loved him. Since Scorpius had been kissed by his best friend. How Albus had briefly freaked out when they’d started walking back to the castle afterwards and started apologising like crazy and all Scorpius could come up with was a “You don’t need to say sorry, I love you too.” It had been one of the more awkward moments in Scorpius’ life but he couldn’t imagine it happening any other way. One year later and he was still dumbfounded that the boy who he’d called his best friend – who still was his best friend – since they first met on their first Hogwarts Express was now the love of his life.

His own feelings had grown during his sixth year, and all the while he’d been clueless that the reason Albus had sometimes acted strange around him had been because he was dealing with his own feelings. There had been a handful of times in sixth year were Scorpius had just wanted to come out and say it, but he’d decided against it every time, not wanting to potentially ruin the friendship. And he knew that if he did ruin it he’d never be able to forgive himself.

Things had worked out, though. 

Especially considering Albus had just left the bedroom and winked at Scorpius as he walked past Scorpius to go to the bathroom. Scorpius’ cheeks reddened and he smiled to himself. He was in love. He was so in love. 

As he went to stand up and clean his mug, an owl arrived. He carefully took the letter from the owl, confused as to who would be writing to him on a Sunday morning, but his smile grew as he discovered who the letter was from. He hadn’t written in a while.

 


 

 

Scorpius,

I hope you and Albus are having a good 1st of September so far. I must admit, it is very strange to not be dropping you off at the station this morning. It’s very quiet here at home but I have a feeling that Albus is probably keeping you on your toes so it’s not so quiet for you. 

All I wanted to say in this short letter is that I’m very proud of you, son. For making it through those years at Hogwarts after losing your mother and after all that happened in your fourth year. For pushing through, for coming top of your class and getting incredible results in your OWLs and your NEWTs. Your mother would be proud of you, Scorpius. She would be so proud to see the young man you’ve grown into, and I know she’d be happy for you, knowing how happy you are with Albus in your life.

I know we haven’t spoken much lately due to how I reacted at the news of your moving in together but I truly want you to know that your happiness is all that matters. You and Albus are both capable young men and I can see the love you have for each other every time I see you and every time you write. I was just worried – at your age, I wasn’t thinking about moving in with anyone. I was… in a state, for lack of a better word. But times are different. You know that better than anyone, Scorpius. 

And I suppose I was a little scared about being alone again. I’ll never truly be used to a world in which your mother isn’t with me, and I sort of took much more solace in your presence when she was gone. I reacted like I did because I didn’t like the thought of an empty house for good. But I now realise that an empty house on account of your true happiness is one I’m willing to try my best to live with.

I am truly happy for you, son.

I hope that your first 1st of September away from Hogwarts treats you well. 

Love Dad.

 


 

Albus frowned as he walked out of the bathroom, now dressed and ready, with his hair brushed, too, for the day ahead. He’d expected to see Scorpius’ happy, joking smile, as he usually did. Instead, he saw Scorpius standing by the window holding a letter – and tears were streaming down his cheeks. Worry flickered through him and he was by his side in an instant, wrapping an arm around his shoulders.

“Hey, hey– what’s happened?” 

Scorpius looked up and met his eyes before handing the letter over to him. He read it carefully, taking in every single word, and smiled softly as he looked back up at Scorpius. Albus had been taken aback by Draco’s reaction to them moving in together. He’d seen how much it had hurt Scorpius, but his parents had both insisted that Draco never meant it in a harmful way. Albus had hated Draco for it and had even considered showing up on his doorstep once or twice to give him a piece of his mind, even though they’d moved in together anyway. But to see the letter now…

“Oh, Scorp,” he muttered, folding the letter carefully before wrapping his arms around him and pulling him in for a tight hug. Scorpius’ arms wrapped around him and he buried his head in Albus’ neck – even though he had to bend his legs a little to do it successfully, it seemed to comfort him a great deal.

Albus rubbed his back and let him cry into his shoulder, not even caring that twenty minutes had passed and the likelihood of them being late for lunch was becoming even more of a reality. There was no way either one of them was leaving the house until Scorpius was all right again. That and Albus’ eyes started welling up simply at the sound of Scorpius’ crying.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry, this is silly. I shouldn’t be crying,” Scorpius apologised quietly as he pulled away from the hug. He wiped at his eyes. “Merlin’s Beard, we have a lunch to go to and here I am, crying my eyes out because my dad wrote me a letter– what kind of human being am I? How embarrassing. Let me just go and clean my face up and then we can go and–”

Albus took a hold of his shoulders. “Scorpius, look at me.”

A little reluctantly, Scorpius met his eyes. 

“James and Teddy can bloody wait until you’re all right again. You just got a letter from your dad and it was exactly what you’ve wanted to hear ever since we moved in here. You’re allowed to cry, Scorp. Please don’t apologise to me about that.”

Scorpius threw himself back into Albus’ arms.


 

 

They left the apartment at ten to twelve. 

Scorpius was in a bit of a frantic rush, and his eyes were still a tiny bit bloodshot from all the tears, but he’d cleaned himself up enough so that James and Teddy wouldn’t ask questions in front of everyone at the restaurant he’d chosen. Albus had let him cry for as long as he’d wanted to, and when he was ready, they’d left (but not before Albus had kissed him several times in an attempt to make him feel better – and it had worked considering his tears had turned into laughter).

London was still sunny and beautiful when they left the building and started to walk the few blocks to the restaurant where Teddy and James would very likely be waiting for them. 

“Weird, isn’t it?” Albus asked, glancing over at Scorpius as they walked. “Us, together on September 1st and not going to Hogwarts. I mean… we did make a deal that we’d be together. But it’s still weird.” 

Scorpius smiled. “When we made that deal I didn’t think we’d be together like this on September 1st. In the back of my mind I considered it, but did I ever think it’d be a possibility? No way. I thought you’d end up married to some rich Slytherin girl and you’d go and leave me all on my lonesome.” 

Albus scoffed. “Have you met me, Scorp?”

He grinned. “Thank God I was wrong.”

They walked in silence for a little while, just trying to navigate the London streets, and when the clock hit 12:00 they still had two blocks to walk until they reached the restaurant. There were bound to be questions, but Albus didn’t intend to answer any of them. Just to make James mad and even more intrigued. He smiled to himself at the thought.

And then he reached down and took Scorpius’ hand in his. 

“You don’t mind if we hold hands, do you?” He asked softly, giving his hand a squeeze.

With a smile, Scorpius shook his head. “I’d happily hold your hand every day for the rest of my life, Albus Potter.”

Albus’ lips quirked up into a smile of his own. “I very much like the sound of that.”

 


 

By the time Albus and Scorpius returned home, it was just starting to get dark. Their lunch with Teddy and James had gone well and as soon as it was over, Albus had decided almost immediately to treat Scorpius to a day out just to get his mind off of the letter. They’d spent a few hours in the afternoon sun in a park, had gone to see a movie and had spent much too long looking for a suitable place to eat dinner before Albus had just decided to cook for Scorpius himself. 

The day had, in both of their eyes, been a success. Scorpius, who sat on the couch, a book in his lap as Albus wandered around the kitchen, putting together a late dinner for the two of them, looked up and watched Albus for a few moments after finishing a chapter.

“What do you think I should write back to my dad?” 

Albus raised an eyebrow as he grabbed the cutlery from the drawer. “You’re the literary genius of this household, you tell me.”

Scorpius narrowed his eyes and watched in silence as Albus started to dish up their dinner – he’d cooked pasta. In his words, the easiest of food and the one food he couldn’t ruin completely (though Scorpius vividly remembered him overcooking it once and the two of them quietly eating very gluggy pasta on a Thursday night).

He stayed silent until Albus walked down and handed him a bowl before he took a seat on the opposite end of the couch. It was silent for a little longer while Albus started eating before he eventually started to speak. 

In all honesty, he didn’t know what to say to Scorpius. He’d received a letter the night before from his father that was somewhat similar to the letter Scorpius had received himself, but Albus’ father had never had a problem with the two of them moving in together – perhaps because his parents had moved in together pretty soon after everything too. Not as soon as the age of eighteen, but soon after. He wasn’t sure what help his words would be, especially considering how mad he had been at Draco at the initial response.

It wasn’t often that Albus found himself at a loss for words. Yet, as he looked at Scorpius, he couldn’t seem to find the ones that he wanted to say. He knew a basis for what he wanted to tell Scorpius – that he should probably write what felt right. That he should be honest. But after the day that the two of them had spent together, he didn’t want to assume anything for fear of hurting Scorpius’ feelings – his worst fear. He didn’t want to presume any sort of answer from Scorpius to Draco. While he and his own father had a turbulent relationship while he was younger, he knew that was no match for the relationship that Scorpius and Draco had. And what could he say that would help his boyfriend in figuring out what to say?

“What’s going on up there?” Scorpius tapped the side of his head. “You haven’t touched your food in minutes. You’re frowning… a lot. Tell me what’s going on in your head.”

Albus met his eyes and sighed softly. Speaking his mind seemed the only option.

“The only person that can tell you what to say to your father is yourself, Scorpius,” he admitted quietly. “I think if I even offered any kind of answer, I’d end up mucking something up just because I’m still a bit mad at him for what happened back when you told him. And I’ve mucked up enough already. I don’t want to go back to that part of me.”

Scorpius crumbled. 

He sat his bowl down on the coffee table and scooched along the length of the couch until he was sat right beside Albus, knees folded up underneath himself and hands knotted together in his lap. It had been a little while since he’d seen Albus this way – doubtful, afraid. 

Albus sat his bowl down too, sensing Scorpius’ wishes in the way he so often did. There were times when the two boys didn’t even have to speak to know what the other was thinking. And right now, Scorpius’ thoughts were a solid: Tell me everything. 

“I think it’s finally just hitting me,” Albus admitted, choosing not to make eye contact with Scorpius and, instead, stare at his bowl on the table. “The fact that Hogwarts is over. That it was this constant thing in my life after everything… one of the only things I found comfort in. And now that we’re here and I know that there’s a feast going on at Hogwarts and, instead, we’re eating my shoddy excuse for pasta…” He turned and finally looked at Scorpius. “I wouldn’t blame you if you’d rather be anywhere else right now.”

Scorpius was gaping. “Where is all of this coming from, Al?”

Albus knotted his hands together in his lap and started to fiddle with a ring on his finger. “I’m scared, Scorp. I’m really, really scared.” 

“Of what?” He inquired gently.

“Mucking things up, Scorpius. When I was at Hogwarts I always had people to make sure I didn’t. Or if I did, it wouldn’t get too bad – after Delphi, I mean. People to bounce off of. I had my parents at home. I had James, I had Lily… and I don’t want you to become the person that always has to watch out for when I’m going to muck something up next,” he spoke. “I don’t want you to have to be that person. And seeing James and Teddy today just made me think of all of that… how I slept in, how I nearly made us late. It’s starting already, Scorpius.”

It was Scorpius’ turn to be lost for words and he, instead, took to frantically shaking his head. “No, no–”

Albus opened his mouth to speak again but Scorpius beat him to it, hands moving to cup Albus’ face and force him to look at him. There was a surprising look of fire in Scorpius’ eyes, one that Albus hadn’t been expecting to see, and his eyebrows raised at the sight of it, confusion running through his system.

“Albus Severus Potter,” he began. “I’ve been your best friend since this very day in 2017. I’ve been that person for you for the better half of my life. And that has never, ever been a problem for me. I mean– you’re the love of my life, Al. You muck things up, yeah, but so does everyone. I’d rather be the person that has to walk behind you extinguishing your fires rather than anything else. That’s what love is, isn’t it? That’s part of what my mum was to my dad. And that’s what your parents are to each other too, Al.”

There were tears in Albus’ eyes. “You mean that?”

Scorpius nodded. “Every single word of it.” 

He leant in and pressed a kiss to Albus’ lips. 

“You can try and push me away as much as you want, Al. You’ve tried doing that at least once a year since our fourth year, I think. But I’m like… an elastic band,” he grinned. “I’ll snap back every single time. You can count on that.”

Albus laughed quietly before surprising Scorpius and throwing himself into his arms, all the while knocking Scorpius back onto the couch. Scorpius laughed at the sudden moment but happily took it in stride, wrapping his arms back around Albus. 

“Um. Have we hugged before? Do we hug?” 

Albus laughed louder. “We decided that we hug a long time ago, Scorp. And in this new version of us that I have in my head, you’ve signed yourself up for a very long life of them.”