It’s amazing how far they’ve all come, when so many of them were sure they would die.
The war changed the wizarding world forever; it was so huge in all their minds, and yet now the memories are softer, more easily handled, perhaps because of all that has grown from the ashes.
It is precisely this rebirth that led Charlie to tattoo on his arm a Phoenix slowly emerging from the ashes, rather than the great flaming symbol so many others preferred. In fact, Theo knows he almost didn’t tattoo the Phoenix at all, preferring instead the symbols of his loves, his self, his personal journey - not the Victory of some over others, a reminder of civil war. It was Theo who encouraged him in this design, this small, hopeful, emerging thing: an innocent eye and shining beak peeking through glittering sand.
In a way, putting tattoos on Charlie is almost like carving them into his own skin.
The great silver-white dragon on Charlie’s back is not only for Draco, as everyone believes, but also for Theo, who spent hours designing every line and shade with Charlie before it was finally inked. They both worked with Draco, designing a tangle of flowering vines slowly strangling the Mark marring his forearm. It was Charlie who inked himself into Theo’s skin, slowly and carefully, apologising softly each time Theo winced, before finally the stylised Lion Rampant was complete, either battling or kissing the silver dragon inked in place of the Unicorn, sharing Theo’s Heart.
The colours on their skin are memories - the ones they want to remember.
Memories like the day they bound themselves to each other, disregarding the law and societal expectations. It took them years to finally realise that none of them competed with another for each other’s affections, that in fact they each loved the others equally.
When they did, it seemed only natural to commemorate their love.
So they stood together before their closest friends (and some family, though not all), and vowed to
Love each other
Protect each other
Remain faithful, in body, to their triad
Trust in each other, above all others
And live their lives together, in trinity.
They marked their wrists, celtic knotted bracelets of ink, with Charles, Draco, Theodore in miniscule script, winding around over and over.
Now, lying here next to his lovers, Theo traces the lines of this bond, smiling softly to himself. It’s Sunday, so he knows better than to wake either of them up: Charlie sleeps in on Sundays, and without Charlie’s teasing Draco is a nightmare to deal with, as he’s dragged from slumber. Anyway, now isn’t a time for physical connection so much as a moment of peace and reflection - there’ll be plenty of time for carnal intimacies once the children are all back to school, post-Christmas.
As if summoned by his thoughts, Theo hears the little monsters stir, soft voices and giggles through the walls. Well, perhaps they are not so little now, since they’re all at Hogwarts, but he still thinks of them as his tiny trouble-makers.
Most of them came from him and Charlie, except for their two eldest: Scorpius is a starkly pale imitation of Charlie (for all that he bears the Malfoy name), with his Dad’s wicked grin, while Celestia-Eliane has something of Narcissa’s elegance, sharpness, and poise, although with Theo’s dark hair. In fact, if it weren’t for the ravens-wing black of her long tresses, he’d almost wonder if he’d had any part in making her at all.
The triplets, however, are another story. Something definitely went wrong with the potion that created them, for each of one is a strange mix of himself and Charlie.
Antares, who vastly prefers ‘Taz’ (to Draco’s despair), has Theo’s dark hair, with a section of perfectly natural flaming red crossing from above his right eye and through his fringe. As a boy, Theo remembers people would ask what sort of parents would allow their child to dye their hair like that, but Draco was the only one to ever snap at anyone to mind their own business - Charlie simply found it amusing, and Theo could only shrug and smile (there’s only so many times one can stand around explaining the quirks of Cauldron Babies.
Arthur (‘Arty’) has the fiery hair of the Weasley patriarch he’s named for - but half his face is covered in the thick freckles found on much of Charlie’s skin, beneath the ink, while the rest of him is as pale as Theo himself. This unique contrast, coupled with his sharp features, has recently started resulting in modelling offers; which so far he has turned down, but if anyone starts offering him top-of-the-line Quidditch gear in exchange for photo-shoots, he just might start accepting.
Their sister Areia is mostly albino, ethereally pale and almost ‘Malfoy’, except for half of her hair and one eye coloured like Theo’s, only her Amazonian figure truly showing her to be Charlie’s daughter - until one notices the spark of mischief in her eye.
It is most likely the triplets that are now running wild through the house, the boys not bothering to keep quiet, thundering along the corridors. For all that she seems quieter, Theo knows well enough by now that their newest adventure will have been masterminded by Areia, very much the cunning Slytherin to her brothers’ Gryffindor daring. There’s bound to be some disaster for his attention soon enough, but for now it’s best to pretend that nothing is happening; let them have their fun before he has to intervene.
It seems as if it’s only been a few minutes, thinking fondly on the lives of their children, but Theo knows it must have been hours worth of dozing, if Charlie is finally stirring. As usual, he gives Draco a bit of a nudge before kissing Theo, as if just letting him know the world is waiting for him to wake, and then heading off to yell at their offspring (always in good humour - far too often, Charlie ends up joining them in their games).
Theo is left with just Draco, who is scowling now as he desperately tries to cling to sleep, yet already half awake.
“If you get up, I’ll make breakfast,” he offers, knowing Draco can hear, and is soon rewarded with a faux-sleepy face as Draco ‘blinks awake’ and slips off to the bathroom.
As promised, Theo hauls himself out of bed, ties his robe closed around his waist, and heads down to their kitchen. Everyone except Draco and Celestia is already there, making one hell of a mess. There is, quite literally, mess everywhere.
Scorpius takes one look at his shocked expression and smirks playfully, and Theo knows Draco is going to kill them all.
“What have you done?”
There’s white powder on every bench, bowls filled with who-knows-what on every surface, and Charlie has a smudge of what may be chocolate on one cheek and a sheepish smile.
“...they were making us breakfast in bed. I thought maybe I should help?” he offers, the only explanation Theo is likely to get. He looks Charlie dead in the eye and whispers, with as much foreboding as possible,
“Draco will be down soon.”
Instantly, the kitchen is a flurry of activity, Taz even going so far as to fling a bowl out the window into the bushes beneath, only offering “rain?” when Theo frowns at him. Amazingly, they manage to get everything except a few bowls cleaned away from sight before Draco makes his way down, and Charlie is serenely making chocolate-chip pancakes when Draco steps into the room.
Of course, Draco takes one look at the triplets, looking ever so innocent, scowls, and turns to Scorpius.
Scorpius just laughs, amused and (for now) unwilling to dob in his younger siblings. He sits his father down, heads over to help Charlie make pancakes, and everything is thankfully smoothed over by the time Celestia strides into the room and directs grumpy accusations of hair potion theft to Draco. Now that the Case of the Missing Beauty Products are Draco’s new problem, everyone else can rest easy, safe in the knowledge that Draco’s ire has been avoided. Until, that is, the potion thief is discovered.
Unfortunately for Theo, he is the thief...