Draco’s smile on hearing his son laughing soon turns into a frown when the laughter is followed by a loud Splash! which can only mean one thing . . .
“Scorpius,” Draco admonishes, trying to look angry but failing as he takes in his four year old son, who is still standing in the puddle, looking up at Draco with big, watery eyes, “I thought we decided no jumping in the puddles.”
“But, Daddy, look, I can make it go so high!”
Scorpius happily turns to demonstrate how high he can make the water go. Draco fails to suppress a smile as he watches Scorpius stare determinedly at a new puddle, his tiny fists clenched as he furrows his brow in concentration. He bends his knees, the already wet material of his trousers clinging to his little legs as he mouths, one, two . . .
Draco sighs and Scorpius indeed makes the water fly high, splashing all over and drenching him in the process.
“Did you see?” Scorpius asks excitedly, jumping up and down in the puddle, his shoes squelching in the water and mud.
“I most certainly did,” Draco says, beckoning his son over. He already has a towel ready in his hand. The moment Scorpius had suggested they should go out and play, Draco had known that there was only one way this day could end.
Every time he tells Scorpius that he isn’t allowed to jump in puddles, his son quietly accepts the rule, until the next time it rains when Draco finds him sitting morosely by the window, staring at the puddles outside. He never says anything but his exaggerated sighs and pitiful stares are enough to melt even the coldest of hearts, and Draco is only his father.
Draco didn’t know whether he should be proud that his son is already so sneaky or if he should be worried for the future. If Scorpius was this clever at four years old, Draco shuddered to think what his teenage years would be like.
He scrubs Scorpius’s hair, just like his own, and then dabs at his face and hands. The clothes and shoes are ruined for now and there’s no point in trying.
“Come along now.” Draco picks Scorpius up, wincing at the wetness spreading onto his clothes, “We don’t want to be late for dinner, do we?”
Scorpius shakes his head, his soft hair rubbing against Draco’s cheek, “No, because Grand’Mere gets angry.”
Draco rubs his hand on Scorpius’s back, trying to warm him up, “Exactly, and we don’t want Grand’Mere angry because then there’ll be no dessert for us.”
“I like dessert,” Scorpius says against Draco’s neck, nuzzling his cheek against his father’s shoulder.
Draco chuckles while moving Scorpius to his other arm as he navigates through the crowd of joggers and walkers. He can feel Scorpius getting drowsy in his arms, soothed by the swaying motion as Draco walks.
“Scorp, which stories do you want to read today?” Draco asks, hoping to keep Scorpius interested enough that he stays awake till they reach home. He knows that if Scorpius were to take a nap now then Draco might as well resign himself to a late night.
Scorpius lifts his head at the question, his fingers holding on tightly to Draco’s collar, “Thomas!”
“The tank engine?” Draco asks. He smiles as Scorpius starts talking about his favourite book, going on and on about the tank engine that kept getting into trouble.
They’re only five minutes away from home now and Scorpius is still awake. Draco breathes a sigh of relief at the prospect of going to bed early. He’s had a long day at work and though he would have loved nothing more than to relax in front of the fireplace with a good book, he only gets to see his son for a few hours every day, so a little tiredness is no big deal.
By the time they reach home, Scorpius is anything but sleepy and Draco’s clothes are soaked through.
It is after dinner and they are sitting in the study, enjoying a game of Uno before it was time for Scorpius to head to bed. Draco’s father has retired early but his mother is still sitting with them, smiling as her son and grandson argue in front of her.
“-- I saw you put down the one, you can’t change it to a colour now, Scorpius.” Draco tries to reason with his son, who is adamantly refusing that he cheated.
“Grand’Mere,” Scorpius calls out, patting her knee to get her attention.
Narcissa looks down at her grandson, marvelling at the fact that he looks just like Draco did when he was four, “Yes, my darling?”
“Tell daddy he’s cheating,” Scorpius orders her, his arms crossed across his tiny chest as he glares at his father.
Draco starts to scowl, making Narcissa laugh in amusement, “Draco, you’re cheating.”
“I see how it is,” Draco mutters, picking up another card from the deck, “you’re always going to side with him aren’t you?”
Narcissa pats Draco’s arm, putting down down a Reverse, then a Wild card and chooses a colour, “There, there, Draco. I’ve sided with you for years; it’s about time someone else gets the benefit. Now pick up a card because I know you don’t have red.”
Draco huffs and picks up another card, ignoring the laughter around him.
By the time they finish the game, Scorpius is ready to fall asleep at the table and Draco can barely keep himself from yawning. He kisses his mother’s cheek and picks Scorpius up, who clings to him in his half-awake state.
As Narcissa leans in to give Scorpius a kiss she whispers to Draco, “Astoria would have been proud of the way you’re raising him.”
Draco tightens his arms around his son and breathes in his scent, the unique smell that’s just Scorpius, and makes his throat tighten and chest feel like it would burst with love for the tiny little thing in his arms.
Draco frowns as he feels the bed dip behind him, he’s pretty sure he slept alone even though the dream he’d been having certainly had someone else in it with him.
Draco turns around to find Scorpius sitting behind him, his pale hair the only thing visible in the darkness of the room. He switches on the lamp next to the bed, the soft light washing over the bed and showing Scorpius sitting on his knees next to Draco, holding his octopus plushie in his arms.
Before Draco can say anything, Scorpius moves forward and curls up next to him, his elbows digging into Draco’s stomach. Draco wraps his arms around his son and rubs his back, frowning as he feels the tremors running through Scorpius’s body.
“I don’t feel so good,” Scorpius mumbles into Draco’s chest. Scorpius sniffs and coughs once, a rough hacking sound that makes Draco wince in sympathy. Scorpius rubs his nose on Draco’s t-shirt, wiping it.
“Shhh . . . just let me find the medicine and you’ll feel better,” Draco whispers, sitting up with Scorpius still in his lap, who whines and holds on tighter to Draco’s t-shirt while he moves. Draco shushes him, and carries Scorpius with him to the bathroom, knowing that it’s futile to even try placing Scorpius on the bed. Whenever he’s ill Scorpius reverts back to the clingy little baby he was. Not that Draco minds, he himself can’t bear to part from him Scorpius when he’s ill.
At the entrance to the bathroom Draco changes his mind, deciding to try giving Scorpius some tea first before heading for the medicines. Even though the doctor had said it was okay to give Scorpius the medicine, Draco still preferred not to if he had other options.
By the time Scorpius has had half a cup of tea with honey in it, Draco is relieved to hear his breathing even out as he falls asleep on Draco’s lap. He heaves a sigh of relief as he carries Scorpius up the stairs, switching off the lights, passing them.
As he settles into bed behind Scorpius, one arm curled protectively over his tiny body, Draco hopes that come morning, his son will be back to his usual, cough-free self.
Draco groans and tries to swat the alarm clock away from his ear. Unfortunately for him, the clock is placed on the dresser, far out of his reach to prevent himself from doing just what he was about to. He sighs and decides he might as well wake up before the infernal thing wakes Scorpius, who like his father isn’t a morning person.
Sometime during the night Scorpius seemed to have rolled over and settled himself on Draco’s chest. Draco smiles and runs his fingers through Scorpius’s tousled hair, so much like his own. His smile turns to a frown as he places the back of his hand on Scorpius’s forehead; he seems to be running a fever.
“Scorp,” Draco whispers, moving him gently off his chest. Scorpius grumbles and rolls over, trying to snuggle under the pillow to hide. “Hey, no, come on, I need to check if you have a fever. How are you feeling?” Draco asks, one hand rubbing Scorpius’s back as he reaches for her mobile with the other. There’s no way he’s going in to work today. He sends Blaise, his business partner and best friend, a quick text, explaining the situation.
When Scorpius shows no signs of moving Draco hurries to the en suite and gets the thermometer, mentally sighing at the frequency with which he has to use it. Within a minute he was the results in his hand, high enough to make him start panicking a little.
He grabs the nearest pair of jeans and slips his feet into his sneakers, not bothered with putting on socks or fixing his hair. He carefully picks up Scorpius, wincing as his hot forehead comes in contact with Draco’s skin as Scorpius nuzzles his neck, one tiny fist holding on tight to Draco’s collar.
He takes a minute to pick up the intercom and let the butler, Mr Carson, know that he needs a car ready right now. By the time they reach the ante room, his mother is waiting near the door, still in her dressing gown.
“What’s the matter?” she asks, concern lacing her tone as he walks up to her.
Draco hurriedly grabs his and Scorpius’s coat, pulling them on haphazardly, “He’s running a fever, I gave him tea last night but it hasn’t worked as well as I thought it would.”
“Oh, the poor darling,” Narcissa sighs, helping Draco with Scorpius’s coat. “Are you taking him to Albus Memorial?”
Draco nods, hoping that the doctor he needs to see will be in this early; there are very few people he trusts with Scorpius.
Albus Dumbledore Memorial Hospital was started about ten years ago when the philanthropist passed away in his sleep. He was well known amongst the city for his considerable donations and his Charity – Love Conquers All. He also ran one of the biggest orphanages this side of the country, helping kids of all ages.
Draco slowly makes his way through the parking lot, Scorpius blinking drowsily in his arms.
“Daddy,” Scorpius mumbles, “I feel okay now.”
Draco chuckles as he side steps a puddle, “Really? And what brought on this miraculous recovery?”
Scorpius shrugs, his hair brushing against Draco’s jaw, “I dunno.”
“I don’t know,” Draco corrects him. “Does this, by any chance, have to do with Zeus’s visit to the Doctor?”
Scorpius shrugs again but Draco can feel his curl closer. He mentally vows to talk to Pansy about her son Zeus, who loved terrorising Scorpius by farfetched tales of evil doctors and needles as big as his arm.
“Tell me, do you like Dr Potter?” Draco asks, waving at Nurse Weasley who’s manning the reception this early, the man looks exhausted.
Scorpius nods against his neck. “He’s nice.”
“And are you scared of him?” Draco sighs in relief as he walks into the clinic; he can see the broad shoulders and head of unruly hair towards the end of the room.
Draco weaves through the early morning rush of patients and frenzied doctors, each trying to pull through the last few hours of a twenty four hour shift. Scorpius is quiet, clearly mulling the question over.
“No, I’m not,” he says finally.
Draco smiles at Dr Granger as he passes her; she’s leaning against the wall with a cup of coffee in hand, her expression tired but relaxed.
“I thought we agreed that I would have to live without this adorable face for at least a month.” Dr Granger says with a hint of reproach in her tone, clearly for Draco as she’s all smiles for Scorpius.
Draco shrugs, laughing when Scorpius grumbles at being jostled, “I tried my best but this one here likes puddles a little too much.”
Dr Granger frowns exaggeratedly, like she’s pondering over something of great importance.
“Maybe,” she says, dragging out the word, “the only solution is to ensure that Scorpius never gets near a puddle, ever again!”
Scorpius shakes his head as she continues. “I know! Why don’t you try locking him up inside the house?”
Draco hums, looking down at his son who’s staring up at him with wide eyes, “I think that’s a very good idea.”
“No!” Scorpius shrieks, looking from Draco to Dr Granger. “I want to go out!”
“But you keep falling ill, darling,” Dr Granger explains, “we have to find some way to stop that.”
“I won’t play in the puddles anymore, I promise!” Scorpius states as he pats Draco’s cheek with one hand to get his complete attention. “I promise, Daddy!”
Draco’s about to reply when a deep voice cuts him off, “If it isn’t my two favourite boys.”
Scorpius smiles and turns to face the newcomer while Draco takes his time, trying to ignore the chills racing through his spine at that voice.
“Dr Potter,” Draco greets him politely, a little too politely if the way the man’s face falls is any indication. “I mean, Harry, hello,” Draco tries again, cheering internally when he’s rewarded with a smile. God, those eyes . . .
“Hi!” Harry says, sounding way too enthusiastic for someone who just pulled an all-nighter. Draco can hear Dr Granger say something but he can’t make himself pay attention to what she’s saying, he’s too busy trying to will away the blush that’s threatening to rise on his cheeks by the way that heated gaze is fixed on him.
He snaps out of it when Scorpius pats his face again and exclaims, “Daddy! Why is your face red?”
Draco sputters and looks anywhere but at Harry, who seems to be enjoying seeing Draco flustered.
“Well,” Dr Granger says, not even bothering to hide her amusement, “it looks like I’m not needed here.” Without waiting for a reply she turns to leave, “Later, Harry!”
Harry doesn’t even turn to see his friend go; he’s still too busy looking at Draco.
Draco clears his throat, once, twice. “Scorpiusisill.” He rushes out, biting his lip at the feeling of utter mortification, he’s regressed back to being a teenager.
Harry laughs and reaches out to take Scorpius, who’s been leaning towards him ever since he saw Harry. “I’m sorry, I didn’t get that.”
Luckily, Scorpius decides to take pity on his Daddy and explains, “I’m ill.” He even throws in a pout for good measure.
“Oh, dear, let me guess, puddles?” Harry asks, gesturing to Draco as he turns and starts walking towards an empty bed near the back.
Draco nods, “I just can’t say no.”
Harry smirks as he gets Scorpius settled on the bed. “Is that so?”
It takes Draco a minute to catch on and then he’s fighting the rising blush again; he ducks his head under the pretence of making sure Scorpius is comfortable.
While Harry works, Draco tries hard to only pay attention to the questions he’s asking Scorpius and not on the way his brow creases in worry when Scorpius coughs, or the way his hands, that look so big and strong, are always gentle when he’s handling Scorpius.
Draco knows he’s fighting a losing battle with his feelings. To act like they don’t exist is just plain stupidity. The question for him is, and if he’s honest, with what he’s been struggling with since the day Harry first smiled at him, whether or not he can see this going anywhere.
There have been a few instances in the past, ever since Astoria passed away, that Draco wanted to take a chance at not being alone. But without fail, every single time, he would change his mind at the last minute because of Scorpius.
He can’t risk giving his heart to someone who won’t understand that Scorpius comes before everything else. But there’s something about Harry, something that makes him want to take a risk. It’s the most terrifying feeling in the world.
Draco shakes his head and looks up to find Harry and Scorpius staring at him, Harry with amusement in his eyes while Scorpius looks worried.
“I was saying,” Harry starts again, smiling fondly at Draco, “that Scorpius will be fine, like always. Just keep giving him tea and if the cough worsens, one teaspoon of the baby cough syrup, and make sure he stays away from puddles.” The last bit was directed towards Scorpius who nods solemnly, looking up at Harry through his fringe.
Draco helps Scorpius off the table and holds on firmly to his hand, the clinic is starting to fill as the day starts.
“So, then, I’ll just,” Draco starts, biting his lip at how awkward he’s making it.
Thankfully, Harry takes over, “How about I drop by tomorrow?”
“Huh.” Draco blinks. “Why?”
“To check on Scorpius,” Harry explains, though Draco can tell that’s not all there is to it. “And it’s my day off, so . . .” Harry trails off and runs a hand through his hair, messing it up further.
Draco’s heart is thudding against his chest, there’s a sinking feeling in his stomach but he decides to go for it, “Come around seven, I’ll cook dinner.”
The look of pure joy on Harry’s face is enough to make Draco’s panic fade a little, the sinking feeling slowly morphing into the kind of jitters that he hasn’t felt in a long while.
“Sure.” Harry shrugs, aiming for nonchalance but failing miserably; the grin on his face has given away his real feelings, “I’ll bring wine.”
They stand there, looking at each other, ignorant to the people around them when reality pulls them back with a loud beep, the pager at Harry’s waist flashing. At the same instant Draco become aware of Scorpius pulling on his arm and glaring at him.
“I have to go,” Draco says reluctantly, hefting Scorpius into his arms with a groan.
Harry nods, “Yeah, I’m sure there are some more patients waiting for me.”
“See you tomorrow?” Draco asks, Scorpius blinking sleepily from his shoulder.
Harry nods hastily, his spectacles flying to the end of his nose, he flushes and pushes them back up. Draco laughs as he turns and starts navigating through the crowd. Draco turns at the door, catching a last glimpse of Harry before exiting.
For the first time in a long while, Draco can feel the heaviness in his heart lighten and he doesn’t care that he’s probably scaring most of the people around him with his wide grin. He has a date tomorrow and he can bloody well skip if he wants to. Hell, he might even go jumping around in puddles.