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Possession of the Heart

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The Eagle has Landed October 2017

Harry sipped his tea; his spectacled eyes surveyed the Great Hall over the teacup’s brim. The older students were used to him showing up the first week of October every school year, but the younger ones still looked at him in awe. He loved guest lecturing for DADA for three weeks throughout the year: once in October, once in February, and then once again in June, before the fifth-years and seventh-years took their major exams.

He winked at his youngest son sitting at the Gryffindor table; James was too busy laughing with his friends at the opposite end of the table to even acknowledge him. Al looked lost in his school robes; at least he didn’t have glasses continually slipping down his nose. He seemed happy talking and laughing with the other first-years around him. Harry’s heart tingled as he noticed there was very little babyish about Al anymore; the roundness of his cheeks was disappearing, but at least the spray of Weasley freckles across his nose remained. James' loud laugh carried through the Hall. Everyone said it sounded liked Fred's. Harry agreed.

Professor Flitwick, sitting to Harry’s right at the Head Table, elbowed him in his side and motioned with a flick of his head for Harry to look over to the Ravenclaw table.

Seeing a Malfoy sitting at the Ravenclaw table was surreal. He'd heard that Draco Malfoy’s son had been sorted into the Eagle’s Nest, and he remembered giving a chuckle at the time, but seeing it in person was a bit shocking. The young boy sitting at the end of the bench closest to the Head Table was now sporting green hair while he quietly ate his porridge. Even from this point of view, Harry saw the upturned corners of his mouth.

A not so soft boot heel tapped his under the table. He glanced to his left at Headmistress McGonagall; she lifted one finger and pointed back to the Gryffindor table just as sounds of retching reached the Head Table. Harry set down his cup and covered his mouth trying not to laugh as enormous slugs filled certain Gryffindor breakfast plates.

“Brilliant,” Harry whispered. “He targeted only those responsible.”

Flitwick smiled. “Talented as his mother was in Charms, and I’ve reports from others that he may rival your old friend, Ms Weasley, in his brilliance in other subjects.”

Harry blinked. “Ginny?”

“Um, no, Hermione,” Professor Flitwick replied with a chuckle.

“Oh — oh, yeah, sorry. Any troubles, yet?” Harry asked as he picked up a raisin scone.

“No. So far, it’s all been retaliation, no first strikes, and nothing nefarious. We’ve set up a betting pool on when that will change; there’s only so much a young boy can handle. This is the first time we’ve seen a spell reach him.”

Harry grimaced. “He’s being bullied?”

The Headmistress cleared her throat. “We’re trying to minimize it. I’ve never seen so many detentions handed out in the first month. He’s getting it from all sides.”

Harry took another sip of tea, washing down the bite of raisin scone. “Well, if he’s anything like Draco, I'm guessing he's told his father. I know Draco doesn’t hold as much weight as Lucius Malfoy did as a school governor, but a defence solicitor is someone to be reckoned with. Has Scorpius told Malfoy? I have to say that I'm disheartened that this is happening to a student.”

Both McGonagall and Flitwick shook their heads. “Solicitor Malfoy hasn't sent any missives to me complaining about his son's treatment. Children are cruel, Harry; have you forgotten that?” Minerva said despairingly. “They don’t filter what they say; they’re expressing what they’ve heard from their parents and how they were raised.”

Harry dropped his scone. “Excuse me, Headmistress; I haven't raised my children to be bullies.”

Minerva’s right brow arched. “No, Auror Potter, but I would say James is not unaware of how your extended family feels and what words they use. And as you know, he’s a smart boy, but he has his uncles’ and grandfather’s tendency to be a prankster.”

Harry sighed, knowing what she said was true, and he also knew that he and his children were due for some serious discussions. He detested having to rein them in, but he was beginning to suspect that maybe a little more discipline was called for. In the meantime, he watched the disintegration of a Stinging Hex that was headed towards the Ravenclaw table, the added twist of black feathers drifting down over the Slytherin table was a nice touch.

The seventh-year boys with green ties stood with their wands raised. Harry rose and with a flick of his own wand, the Slytherin wands sailed into his waiting hand. He nodded to the boys he would be seeing in ten minutes when class began, and strode out of the Great Hall. He failed to notice the wide grey eyes tracking his exit.

*********************

Harry eagerly anticipated the final class of his first day. Al would be in it, and he had missed his son deeply over the previous month. While James was a true Potter and Weasley in his demeanour, it was Al who Harry was sure took after his mother, Lily. They connected on a different level, and he knew it was obvious to the rest of the family. He would never say Al was his favourite child; such a concept was incongruent with how he felt about his family. Each member was cherished. Even with his and Ginny's difficulties, they were still a family and he would never do anything to jeopardize that.

He sat behind the Professor's desk looking over his notes and attendance sheet as the young students filed in. He had heard their high-pitched conversations and laughter echoing down the hall, but as they neared the door, their mouths shut. Harry smiled to himself, finding it humorous that anyone would be afraid of him. Well, at least the students here at Hogwarts.

Once the students were seated, he set down his notes and roster, rose from his seat, rounded the desk, and leaned back against it. Wide eyes checked him over; he found it best to wear his official Head Auror robes so that the seriousness of the subject matter he would be teaching was never questioned. He tried not to focus on any individual Gryffindor or Ravenclaw, but his plan faltered as he saw his son sitting in the back of the room next to Scorpius Malfoy. The young Ravenclaw was in the far left corner, the one position where he could view everyone else and the door. He expected to see grey eyes looking at him in disdain, but instead he saw them sparkle with curiosity. Harry wondered what Scorpius' family, especially his father, had said about him. Harry couldn’t help but grin at Al, who was struggling to get his book out of his satchel. Harry cleared his throat.

“Good afternoon. I’m Auror Potter, but for the next week you may refer to me as Professor or sir. I’ll be guest lecturing all of this week and two additional weeks during the school year. I’ve been doing this for ten years and have enjoyed every occasion. I’m sure Professor Chang has informed you that I won't be involved in the grading.

"You’ve had four weeks of instruction in Defence Against the Dark Arts. I am curious as to what each of you believe the Dark Arts are.”

The young students fiddled with their quills and books, each trying to avoid his eyes, hoping he wouldn’t focus on them, all but the two in the back and one in the middle. He knew Al and Rose knew the answer as did every member of his family, but Scorpius looked at him and nodded. The resemblance to Draco at this age was startling, but the expressions did not match exactly, and it was throwing Harry off kilter. There was more to the boy than just being proud of being a Malfoy.

Harry glanced down at his roster, picking out a random name. “Miss Goldstein? Do you have a comment?” he asked. He watched to see which witch’s face filled with dread and then he smiled at the girl in the third row. “Anything at all, just tell me what you think of when you hear the words Dark Arts.”

The small, brown-haired witch with curls Lily would have killed for, looked up, her lower lip trembled. “Um, um, the Unforgivables,” she stammered out.

Harry nodded. “Very good. Yes, the three Unforgivables are curses, and curses are one way to distinguish whether a spell is Dark or not. However, as a trained Auror, I am permitted to use them during certain situations. Does that make me a Dark Wizard? Dark Wizards are those I’m supposed to be apprehending. What makes us different?” He knew a true understanding was beyond their ability; hell, he had to admit to himself there were times he wasn’t sure when the line was crossed. He spotted the lone hand raised in the back.

“Yes, Mr Malfoy.”

“It’s intent, sir.”

The aristocratic voice was similar, but the tone his father would have used was not there. “You’re correct, Mr Malfoy. Ten points to Ravenclaw.”

The class ended on a high note when Harry told them the next four days would be spent on learning and practising Protection Spells and that there would be no written work for the week. The class filed out; he could tell they were tired from the long day and that they were hungry. Al stopped before him and unfortunately Scorpius bumped into Al and they both stumbled forward. Harry reached out and caught them. Embarrassed thank yous were given. Harry kept his hand on both their arms. “Al, I’ll see you and James for dinner tonight, okay?”

“Yeah, James said he would show me the way to your quarters.”

Harry raised a brow. “Al, just so you know, I’m right next to the Teacher’s lounge on the First Floor.”

Al rolled his eyes. “He told me you were in the dungeons.”

Scorpius snickered, as did Harry. Harry released Al’s arm. “Mr Malfoy, I was hoping to have a moment to discuss your answer in class. Would you be able to stay?”

The grey eyes widened. It was the first time Harry had seen a hint of fear cross the boy’s face. “Yes, sir, that would be fine, sir,” he said hesitantly.

Harry let go of his arm and moved to sit in a student’s seat in the front row. He motioned for Scorpius to do the same. Harry gave him a quick smile as he turned to face him. “I have to admit I lied, Mr Malfoy. I wanted to talk to you about the spell I witnessed you using this morning in the Great Hall.”

The young boy’s expression fell; his unease was apparent. “I don’t believe it’s illegal, sir.”

Harry chuckled. “No, while it is a Ministry created spell for the Legal Enforcement Agency, it’s not illegal to use. It is, though, a very advanced spell for a wizard your age, and I was impressed with your proficiency.”

The Malfoy pride he recognized appeared. “My father taught me.”

“Ah, I see. Yes, a defence solicitor would have access to a few Ministry spells. So your father is aware of your problems here at Hogwarts?”

Scorpio shook his head. “Problems? If I may be blunt, sir, I’m not the one with the problems.”

Harry couldn’t help but laugh, knowing the teachers had their hands full with another Malfoy. “You’re right again, Mr Malfoy. However, I’m sure your father would want to know that you’ve had to use the spell quite often.”

“No, he doesn’t need to know that, sir. My father needs to know that I’m succeeding in school and that I’ve made a few friends. Even if he did know, there is nothing my father could do, is there?”

Harry sighed. “No, not really, the Headmistress is aware as are your teachers. So have you made any friends?”

Scorpius snorted. “If you mean besides a few portraits, ghosts, and house-elves, the answer would be no.”

Harry’s heart broke as he watched the self-assured young boy, who was still a child, having to face the daemons of his family’s past. “What about Al?”

Harry almost choked as he saw one eyebrow cock up. “Al is a nice boy, sir, but I have chosen not to make any friends. I would only put them in harm’s way.”

“Mr Malfoy, everyone needs friends, and friends can help. Believe me; I could have never survived my youth without them.”

“Sir, Professor, why does it matter to you whether I have friends or not? I mean no disrespect, sir, but our families are not exactly friendly,” Scorpius said, the last words spoken with a hint of sadness.

Harry shook his head. “Mr Malfoy, whatever feelings I have towards your family are irrelevant to the situation I see before me. Your father and I are civil towards one other. I hold no grudge against him, and I would like to believe he doesn’t hold one against me. I care, because one day this year or the next, the others are going to learn how to overcome the tracking and retaliation spell. The one that got through this morning was harmless and I don’t believe any of them guessed why it worked. I’m afraid when they do, you'll be severely injured.”

Scorpius' eyes narrowed. “You know how to overcome it, don’t you?”

Harry nodded. “Of course I do. And I’m sure you do, too. Did your father teach you the newest modified version? I’m not sure he would have access to it.”

“There’s another version!” Scorpius said excitedly.

Harry wanted to ruffle the boy’s perfectly combed, blond hair; he enjoyed seeing a look of joy on a Malfoy face. “Yes, and when the time comes, I will ask permission from the Minister to teach it to you.”

“You will?”

Harry nodded. “I will. You just let me know if you think anyone’s getting close.”

“You...you...you mean I can write to you?”

“Yes, you can write to me. In fact, Mr Malfoy, you can write to me whether you need the spell or not. How about we become friends,” Harry said and held out his hand.

Scorpius' satchel dropped to the floor as he held out his hand. Harry’s hand practically wrapped around it; he didn’t squeeze too tight. As he opened his hand, he noticed two silver bands on the slender fingers. One of the rings' engravings looked familiar. Scorpius seemed to understand Harry's interest. “It’s from my grandmother; it’s a Black heirloom. The other one I made.”

Harry turned each ring around the small fingers, trying to decipher the script. He swallowed hard reading Toujours pur and then his initial emotion of anger softened as read the second nosce te ipsum. "Know thyself?" Harry muttered questioningly.

Scorpius grinned and gave a quick nod.

“You work with metals?” Harry asked, astonished at the thought of Draco’s son working with his hands in such a menial way.

“Yes, I make jewellery. I can only add in the basic spells right now, but in the future I hope to do more. I wish they taught a course at Hogwarts in it. So, sir, can I tell my father we talked and that you are my friend?”

Harry stood up and pulled Scorpius up with him. “Mr Malfoy, you shouldn’t have secrets from your parents at this age, but I will leave it up to you as to what you tell him. Now, you run along and go make some friends.”

Scorpius smiled as he picked up his satchel. Harry never thought he would see such a loving expression come from those eyes and mouth. The nose and chin were softer. Yes, he could see differences; Scorpius had the same colouring, but he had his own look. Harry thought it was a better one. To his utter shock, long skinny arms tightly wrapped around him, and then even longer legs attached to a black blur ran out the door.

con't

Chapter Text

late June 2018

Harry released a deep sigh of pleasure as he took his first morning sip of Greek coffee from the demitasse cup. A small amount of foam gathered on his upper lip.

“Here, let me get that for you,” a deep voice said.

Harry leant over to the naked man sitting next to him on the balcony and he licked the foam away. As one dark hand crept over his bare chest, Harry knew he had to stop the kiss or he would be late for the morning debriefing of the Greek Magical Law Enforcement Agency with his Hit Wizard counterpart. Arnold Peasegood was a great Head of the Hit Wizards, and Harry respected him, but they were more competitors than friends. In this case, though, they worked together and were successful. The illegal Portkey trade had reached a crescendo, with vying factions fighting over it. Now, at least for a while, with some of the counterfeiters taken into custody and with enhanced Shielding Spells put into place, unauthorized wizards and witches wouldn't be entering other countries without notification. His druthers, though, would have been to walk down the path to his private beach with the lithe Greek man next to him, and make love next to the Mediterranean Sea.

He had discovered the secluded cottage on the Greek island of Ithaca four years earlier. That was when the underlying troubles at home had finally surfaced. This was his secret; this was where he was free to think quiet thoughts and this was where he indulged his sexual fantasies and basic needs. This was the first time, though, that he was here on a mission. Usually he only went out into the field once or twice a year, but when he'd seen that the origins of the troubles were in Greece, he reacted quickly and this one became his third. “Demi,” he whispered, “I have to go.”

A whinge of disappointment came from the other man as he withdrew his hands and kisses. “Does it please you to think of me here, alone, on your beach, naked, waiting for you to return?”

Harry laughed as he scooted his chair back and drained his coffee down to the thick muddy grounds. He poured the sludge into the ornate planter filled with red geraniums. “Yes, more than you know, but don’t tease me. I know there are others at your home when I’m not around,” he replied and gave his caretaker’s deeply-tanned shoulder a squeeze before entering the cottage. His departure was interrupted by an owl, which nearly collapsed as it skidded across the glass-top table. Harry removed the missive and brought the bird inside, out of the morning sunshine. Demitrius followed and took the owl into his own hands and began to care for it.




Auror Potter,


I’m sorry to have caused this problem, but I’ve just told my father we’ve been corresponding. Be prepared for a Howler headed your way. I’m sure he will want to meet with you soon to discuss the situation.


I had to tell him as he wasn’t going to allow me to come to Al’s birthday party. He was afraid I would be hurt. He knows Al and I are friends, but that wasn’t enough to convince him that I wouldn't be hexed while I was there.


If you want to end our friendship, I’ll understand.


Sincerely,
Scorpius Malfoy

“Bloody hell!” Harry mumbled and set the note down on the kitchen table. “Demi, there’ll be another bird coming soon. It’s carrying a Howler; let it into the loo if I’m not out of the shower before it arrives.”

POTTER, LEAVE MY SON ALONE! HE IS NOT ONE OF YOUR PET PROJECTS! I EXPECT YOU AT MY OFFICE TOMORROW MORNING AT EIGHT TO DISCUSS THIS MATTER FURTHER.

Respectfully,
Draco Malfoy

Harry shook his head and rolled his eyes as the parchment disintegrated into ashes and washed down the shower drain. There were moments when he wished he could stay at the cottage for weeks on end.

Laughter emerged from the bedroom. “So how old is the son, Auror Potter?”

“It’s not what you think!” Harry shouted back. “He’s twelve.”

“Ah, then there is no competition,” Demi laughed. “Only an experienced man could satisfy your desires.”

Harry chuckled and finished his shower.

“He’s a boy in Albus' class that's being harassed by the students from the other three houses, each for their own reasons. It’s nothing he did, but what his family did while aligned with Voldemort,” Harry explained while towelling off and dressing. “I offered to help him if the time came, which it hasn’t, but in the mean time we’ve exchanged notes maybe four or five times over the year.”

“His father doesn’t approve?” Demi asked, while adjusting Harry’s scarlet robes.

Harry shook his head. “His father and I have a history that I thought we'd settled— somewhat. Now I’m thinking maybe not.”

Demi gave Harry a gentle smile and stroked his cheek with the back of his hand. “Harry, you still have much to learn about historical vendettas. Think about this mission that you've just finished and how long those wizard factions have been squabbling, and then, my friend, think about how you would feel if your son was corresponding with this boy’s father.”

Harry closed his eyes and nodded. “You’re right. Thank you, Demi.”

Soft, full lips touched Harry’s. “I’ll see you this afternoon.”

Harry reached down and fondled Demi’s soft prick, brushing off the dried come from the previous hour’s romp with his thumb. “I have to leave late tonight; how about we have dinner on the beach?”

“Any other requests?” Demi asked as he grasped Harry’s wrist, forcing Harry’s hand to stay where it was.

“Just some blankets, food, wine, and you wearing muslin trousers,” Harry replied. “No pants underneath,” he added and gave the enlarging penis a final squeeze before backing away.

Demi laughed as he stumbled forward and put his hand where Harry’s had just been. “I don’t know, Harry, I might have to bring a third in to keep up with you.”

Harry snickered as he picked up his wand. “I think you have that reversed; it’s you that’s always begging for more.” Demi froze and Harry watched as the dark brown eyes lit with concern. Harry retraced his steps over to the man who'd put up with his careless ways the last few years without one word of complaint. He firmly held the strong chin that he adored sucking on. “You know I love it when you beg.”

When the broad smile returned, Harry kissed him before Disapparating.

*********************
“Mum, Dad’s home!” Lily squealed as Harry stepped out of the Floo. It was close to her bedtime and that was one thing he always missed when he was away. He dropped his satchel on the hearth and bent down to pick up his long-legged girl as she jumped into his arms. She was slight, but another few pounds and he knew he wouldn’t be able to carry her for very long. Lily wrapped her legs around Harry and kissed him on the cheek.

The pounding of footsteps down the stairs and loud barking jolted him from the serene atmosphere he'd just left to the one of his normal reality. “Dad!” James and Al both yelled out as they raced down the final steps, almost tripping over the family dogs who had beat them to the bottom.

Harry let Lily down and hugged each of the boys. How much James had grown over the last few months startled him. He’d noticed it a few weeks before when he gave his final week’s lecture for the school year, but now at home, it was obvious how much he’d grown. Harry bent down and patted the two retrievers circling the family and barking as they did so. Harry glanced up to see Ginny coming through the kitchen archway; she smiled at him and shook her head at the scene. He gave her a wink and then returned his attention to the kids. His satchel was unceremoniously opened by Lily and soon small wrapped gifts were being extracted.

Harry reached in, removed one and tossed it to Ginny. It was a special find. She loved miniature perfume bottles, and this one of white porcelain with blue depictions of lovers in all positions was quite spectacular. He’d had to use the Omnioculars to see the details. He was sure she wouldn’t.

A glass of elfin-wine appeared next to his worn leather chair, into which he flopped once the children were occupied with their trinkets. “You’re awful tan for someone who’s been working,” Ginny said as she sat down on the end of the couch next to him.

“It was an outside mission in Greece and in June. It was hot,” he replied, trying not to let any negative tone emerge. He hated this cat and game mouse they continually played, but to do otherwise would mean they would have to take actions, which each was wary of. “So how are the birthday party plans going? Which reminds me, I have to meet with Draco Malfoy tomorrow morning; he’s concerned about Scorpius' welfare if he comes.”

Ginny snorted. “That's ridiculous; if it’s going to be that much trouble then maybe Scorpius shouldn’t come. It’s not like he and Al are best friends or anything.”

Harry sipped his wine and put his feet up on the footstool. “Scorpius may not be Al’s best friend, but Al is one of only two of Scorpius' friends. I’d like to see it continue.”

“Why?” Ginny asked as she curled her legs up on the couch and covered them with her fuzzy purple robe.

“Yeah, why?” James asked, his voice coming from behind Harry’s chair. “He’s a git, Dad. I don’t think anyone would miss him.”

Harry glanced over his shoulder. “Because, and beyond that it’s not your business, James.”

“I’d miss him and he is one of my good friends,” Albus piped up, elbowing his brother in the stomach.

“Fine, but he should be prepared for....”

James jumped as Harry rounded out of the chair and stood in front of all three kids in a flash. “I’m only going to say this once: no child invited to Albus’ birthday party needs to be prepared for anything more than having a good time. Is that understood?” Harry asked, glaring at each of them and noting their response. James rolled his eyes and sighed.

“Yes, Dad.”

Harry knelt down next to James. “If Scorpius Malfoy does come to this party, and if anything bad happens to him, James, I will be holding you responsible.”

“Harry, stop it!” Ginny yelled out. “He’s only thirteen; he’s a boy, and if I remember correctly you were no angel at that time.”

Harry rose up. “No, Ginny, but I also wasn’t trying to intentionally hurt other kids just because I thought they were different,” he responded staring over at her. She shook her head. “And, if you remember, I was the one most people thought was peculiar. Heir of Salazar Slytherin ring a bell?” He knew he shouldn’t have added the last part, but countering a discussion or punishment in front of the kids was one rule each of them usually tried to keep.

“Fine, break the boy’s spirit,” Ginny barked. She got off the couch, grabbed her wine, and retreated back through the kitchen archway.

“Sorry, guys, I think I blew it. I’ll be back.”

Harry picked up his wine and reluctantly walked towards the kitchen.

Ginny was sitting at the round kitchen table, quill in hand, making notes on parchment.

Harry pulled out the chair next to her and sat down. “List for the party?”

“Yes, I can’t believe we are doing this again. Why can’t we just have a simple party here with a few friends?” she sighed as she scribbled a note next to the number fifty-three.

Harry wrapped his hand around her wrist and lifted her hand up from the paper. “Ginny, I said I would help. Let me see the list.”

“Fine, but I know how this works, Harry Potter. You say you’ll help and then some emergency comes up. I’m tired of not being able to count on you.”

The words stung, but he knew they were partially deserved. He let go of Ginny’s wrist, slid the parchment over, and studied the tasks still needing to be done. “I’ll double check with Hagrid about the Nifflers and take care of the treasure hunt. I assume George will be contributing to the booty.”

A small laugh emerged from Ginny. Harry glanced over, happy to see the corners of her mouth upturned. “Yeah, and Ron said he would make sure there was nothing too bad in there. Sorry about the scene in there. It’s just that I saw you putting a whole bunch of responsibility on him, too much. He’s got this wonderful personality and he is so much fun; I just don’t want him getting bogged down with our issues. He reminds me so much of....”

“Fred,” Harry said. Ginny nodded. “I know, he does me too; but, honey, he’s not and I know Molly and Arthur wouldn’t have approved of Fred or any of your brothers picking on another student. Hell, Fred and George saved my sanity second year by making light of what others called me.”

Ginny grunted. “It was a bad year for all of us.”

Harry smiled. “Yeah, but I did get to rescue the girl.”

A hint of another smile broke over Ginny’s face. “Okay, maybe you’re right. James should be easing the situation and not being one of the instigators.”

“Yeah, I think so.”

“You're going to talk to him?”

Harry nodded. “I will tomorrow, after I see Malfoy. He sent a Howler.”

Ginny giggled. “I’d love to hear that conversation.”

Harry rolled his eyes. “After I tuck Lily in, I’m going to sharpen my tongue and clean my wand.”

*********************
As much as he loved his island cottage, it felt good to be in bed in his own room. He waved his hand, and the bedside candles extinguished. He lay there looking at the summer stars through his window. He could hear Ginny leaving the shower and entering her room, which used to be theirs. A fragile peace, he thought; that is what they had. That is what Demi had told him was the result of Harry’s mission in Greece. The factions were at peace for the moment; they had a common enemy: the interfering International Magical Law Enforcement Agency. And currently, Harry was on their list.

He turned over and fluffed his pillow. One side would eventually break the agreement or the factions would truly join forces and that would be something all of the magical governments would have to deal with if and when it happened. He sighed. Only in time would he have the answer to what would finally tear his tenuous marriage apart and what would be the fuse to destroy the magical world’s current stability.

The soft knock on his door was unexpected, but welcome. “Come in,” he said and pulled the covers back for Ginny to join him. The scent of peaches n’ cream was comforting.

con't

Chapter Text

“I have an appointment with Solicitor Draco Malfoy,” Harry said, refraining from being curt to with bug-eyed wizard receptionist sitting behind a half-circle desk. The building Draco worked in was the first wizarding building to be erected in fifty years. It was named the Victory Building and was located next to Gringotts and was filled with after-the-war entrepreneurs. It had opened the previous month.

“Se— seventh floor, sui— suite on the right,” the young wizard stammered.

Harry smiled at him, nodded, and headed towards the lifts. The vast lobby was filled with black armless chairs and steel tables; none were occupied. He'd heard rumours that the building contained all of the latest conveniences. Its appearance was sleek and modern. Harry hated it.

“Floor please.”

“Seven,” Harry said as he stepped into the lift.

“Tea or coffee?”

“Tea, splash of milk,” Harry replied to the anonymous female voice. The ride up was exceptionally smooth, not like those at the Ministry.

“Incoming message for Auror Harry Potter,” the witch’s voice announced.

A small opening appeared on the side of the wood-panelled lift; a rolled missive was waiting for him. He struggled to get it out and then read it; the reminder about tomorrow’s staff meeting wasn’t of importance and he slipped it into his pocket. The lift door slid open.

“Have a nice day, Auror Potter; your coffee will be waiting in Solicitor Malfoy’s office.”

“My coff...Oh, hell,” Harry mumbled.

Harry stood before the impressive double doors; they were solid wood, which seemed odd given the walls of the suite were made of glass. Draco’s name, Harry noted, was etched into the glass pane next to the door. The doors opened before he could even reach for the handle. A smiling young witch sitting behind another half-circle desk looked up and greeted him. Her short pink hair had memories of Tonks suddenly flashing through his mind and her easy smile didn’t help.

“Auror Potter, welcome. I’m Connie Baker, Solicitor Malfoy’s administrator. Solicitor Malfoy was called to chambers this morning but should be back momentarily. Please have a seat and enjoy your coffee,” the receptionist said, motioning to a group of black leather couches and chairs to her right. “Let me know if I can get you anything,” she added as she sat back down.

Harry noted the tray of fancy pastries on the coffee table and sat down in front of them. “Um, Ms Baker, I ordered tea, but coffee is fine.”

“Shit! Oops, damn it! Oh hell!” Connie blurted out. Harry’s head jerked up. He could see the red pooling in her cheeks as her hand covered her mouth.

“It’s okay,” Harry replied with a grin. “I like coffee.”

She removed her hand. “Are you sure? The automatic ordering system is rubbish. It’s always going tits up and...oh God, please don’t let Draco know I said...Oh, he’s going to be right pissed when he finds out you got the wrong beverage. He wanted everything to be perfect.”

Harry laughed. “Ms Baker, I won’t say anything, if you don’t.”

“Shit, here he comes now,” she said and then quickly sat up straight.

Harry watched Draco exit the lift. The same nod he'd received over nine months ago was given through the glass panes. Harry nodded back and then stood up.

“Auror Potter, sorry for the delay. I hope you weren’t waiting long and that Ms Baker took care of everything,” Draco said as he walked towards Harry and held out his hand.

Harry held out his hand in response and almost laughed at the overly strong grip. “Yes, everything’s been top notch. Ms Baker is a delight; you’re very lucky to have such a competent administrator.”

Draco released Harry’s hand and reached down to pick up a pastry. “Missed breakfast. I had a client emergency. It seems your Aurors were a little over eager last night.”

The smirk came easy to Harry’s mouth. “I’ll check into it.”

Draco nodded. “Follow me,” he said as he turned briskly and walked towards a blank panelled wall across the room. “Oh, Ms Baker, no disturbances. Auror Potter will not be here long. Any calls can wait.”

A door appeared as Draco stepped closer to the blond panelling.

Trying not to look impressed was difficult as he walked into Draco’s office. He had expected another stark, modern room; instead he was treated to a room of comfort. Large overstuffed chairs were grouped around a fireplace. The walls were filled with bookcases and pictures of Draco and his family stood in various places around the world. Harry quickly noted most of the pictures were of Draco and Scorpius alone. He could see by their moving expressions that the bond was tight.

Draco sat down in one of the chairs, instead of behind the large desk covered with files. “Sit, Potter, we have things to discuss.”

“Why don’t you Floo in?” Harry asked as he sat down across from Draco and placed his pastry and coffee on the side table.

Draco grimaced. “They can’t get the fireplaces connected to the Floo Network properly, something to do with Gringotts security measures. Their magic causes interference. But you’re not here so we can chit-chat, Potter. You’re here to explain to me why you and my son are secretly writing to each other. I find the whole situation tawdry,” Draco said. “I mean, what does a thirty-seven year old man have in common with a twelve-year-old boy?”

Harry’s first instinct was to laugh at Draco’s tone and suggestion, but he knew that would only heighten the tension of the situation. Instead he picked up his coffee, which he was pleased to discover was without milk or sugar. If only it was ten times stronger, then he would have been truly happy. He let the silence linger until he’d taken a few sips. “Have you seen the notes?”

“Yes, of course,” Draco drawled. “I’ve seen the ones you wrote him. I don’t suppose you kept the ones he wrote you?”

Harry raised a brow and reached into his scarlet robe's pocket and withdrew five scrolls of single sheets of parchment and laid them on the coffee table between them. “They’re yours to read, Malfoy. As you will see, they are quite innocent. Your son told me the spell you taught him was holding, that he'd made a friend, that he'd made another friend, which turned out to be my son Albus, Merry Christmas, and thanked me for his birthday card.”

Draco flinched. “You sent my son a birthday card?”

Harry groaned before he could stop himself. “Yes, I sent your son a birthday card.”

“Why?”

“Because it was his birthday, Malfoy, why else?”

Draco chewed the inside corner of his mouth and stared at Harry. Harry held the gaze. Malfoy may have grown-up and garnered some respect as he made his way through the court system, but at the moment, Harry could only see the boy he'd known at Hogwarts, one he didn’t particularly care for. So much for civility.

“He’s not coming to your son’s birthday party. Your son will have to find another friend to take his place.”

Harry laughed. “Not likely.”

“Why? Isn’t Harry Potter’s son popular? Is he scraping the bottom of the barrel by latching on to my child?”

Harry laughed again and shook his head. “God, Malfoy, listen to yourself. You’re belittling your own son. Scorpius is far from the bottom of the barrel. The reason why Albus can’t invite another in his place is because the whole damn first year class is invited. We did it for James his first year and will do it for Lily when she’s at Hogwarts.”

Draco’s face blanched and then he sneered. “Trying to garner popularity for....”

Harry raised his hand. “Stop right there. The reason is for house unity. And,” Harry continued, “and because, yes, I am Harry Potter and these are my kids. I don’t want any of the parents of their classmates feeling that their child was being ignored just because they are in a different house. It’s important to me, Malfoy, that there be house unity.”

Narrowed grey eyes glared from across the table. Harry held the stare, again. Draco closed his eyelids slowly and sighed. “I may revisit my decision over the party, but right now I want to know how this...this pen pal arrangement started. And why you offered my son the opportunity to learn an advanced spell? Don’t you think I can protect him?”

“I’m sure Scorpius has already told you what happened,” Harry replied. He returned to sipping his coffee, which was cooling fast.

Draco leant forward. Harry suddenly realised that this was the first time they’d ever been alone in a room, besides the fateful moments in a bathroom long ago. He searched the arrogant face for any signs of that day and found none. “Yes, he told me,” Draco drawled. “But, I want to hear your side. There are always two sides to a story, aren’t there, Potter?”

Harry stopped himself from rolling his eyes at the solicitor in action. “Of course you can protect him, Malfoy. You taught him the spell and it’s been working brilliantly. It all started because the first day of my guest lecturing last autumn, I saw a spell sneak through; Scorpius' hair turned green. No one figured out why just that one spell worked.

“I asked Scorpius after class that first day if he'd told you what was happening at school. He said no, that he didn’t want to. Malfoy, it was a constant barrage; the Professors were handing out detentions and subtracting house points right and left. They even had a bet going on when Scorpius would crack under the pressure and strike out first.”

“He didn’t” Draco spat out. “He wouldn’t, at least not in....”

Harry chuckled. “What? In front of everyone? That’s a very Slytherin reaction. And, no I don’t imagine Scorpius would be obvious, either. However, even though the students tired of their game after a month or so, it still remains that someday they’re going to figure it out, and when they do, Scorpius is going to be very vulnerable.”

“Fuck!” Draco mumbled as he brought his hands to his face. “He shouldn’t have to be paying for his family’s mistakes.”

Harry stared at Draco intently, examining the man, the wizard, and the father that he now was. Draco removed his hands and swiped the strands of long hair that covered his eyes. Harry could see the concern in those eyes, even though the upheld chin and pointed nose were held at a level showing disdain. The ugly sneer was there, too, even if it didn’t hold the same level of hatred it had when they were children. Or maybe it did and time had played with his memories.

“No, Malfoy, he shouldn’t. And if you want to know the truth, the situation reminded me of certain times when I was at Hogwarts. Professor Snape, for one, held my father’s actions against me. But, I had my friends to help me get through those times. It struck a nerve when Scorpius told me he didn’t want friends because they could get hurt.”

Draco’s jaw dropped.

Harry continued. “Malfoy, he adores you, and he wants you to be proud of him. He didn’t want you to know that he was having problems because of his family name.”

“And what do you think of my family’s name?” Draco whispered.

Harry set his coffee cup down and leant forward. “I don’t think of your family name at all. I think of the people in it. Your mother I like, your father I don’t. You and I have history, which I thought we'd put past us. You’re wife is pretty, but I don’t know her at all. Your son, though, is a very gifted young wizard that should be judged for what he does and not what came before. That's also what I wish for my children.”

Draco returned to chewing the inside corner of his mouth.

“But those are my hopes and dreams, not reality,” Harry said wistfully.

“Yes, I know,” Draco responded. “I know that spell for good reasons.”

Harry didn’t know how to respond. He turned to his neglected pastry and ate it in four bites. A small grin played across Draco’s face as he watched Harry lick his fingers. “Thank God you didn’t offer to teach him manners.”

Harry smiled and sipped down the rest of his coffee.

“Okay, Potter. I’ll allow him to go to the party, but I don’t want you corresponding with him anymore.”

Harry sat back in the chair. “Understood, but what if...?”

“He will tell me and then I will decide if your services are needed.”

“Fine, but he was worried that I wouldn’t want to be friends with him.”

Draco groaned and stood up. “Merlin, Potter, he’ll get over it. He does have friends his own age.”

Harry, taking the message that the conversation was ending, rose from his chair. “Malfoy, you will tell him, right.”

Draco shook his head as he walked towards the door. “Yes, I will tell him that his cruel father has forbidden him to correspond with the great Harry Potter.”

Harry stopped at the door and grasped Draco’s shoulder with his hand and squeezed it. “Good, and make sure you do contact me if things progress.”

Draco swiped Harry’s hand off his robe. “Of course, you could just teach me now and then I ....”

“You know that’s not the way it works, Malfoy. We don’t start a new generation of a Ministry spell until the older one has failed and its counter-spell becomes well known,” Harry said as he opened the door.

“Can’t blame me for trying,” Draco replied as Harry crossed the lobby and nodded to Ms Baker. “And since when did you start playing by the rules?” he added loudly before Harry left the suite.

Harry turned. “When I began enforcing them, Malfoy.”

con't

Chapter Text

September 2018

“Daddy, I don’t want to go to Grandma’s. I want to stay home or go play with Hugo.”

Harry could barely maintain the stern look and voice that shooed her out of the kitchen to get ready. If she hurried, he could still get to work on time. He hated showing up late to his own staff meetings.

“Lily, I promise that tonight I’ll pick you up at five and we'll go out to dinner,” Harry said, staring down into sad hazel eyes. He knew she detested being alone with Molly all day long when none of her cousins were around. She loved her grandmother, as they all did, but she did tend to talk to one non-existent ghost. Harry hoped today would be one of her better days, and she’d get back to teaching Lily how to knit.

“Okay, Daddy,” Lily whimpered.

*********************
“Go along, Harry, we’ll be fine,” Molly said, pushing him towards the backdoor. “Ginny said she’d be Flooing in at noon.”

Harry turned around abruptly. “She did—I mean she is?”

“Yes, dear, didn’t she tell you? She’s decided that she’s collected enough material for her book and cut her trip short.”

Harry sighed, knowing her message was probably lost in the stack of missives on his desk. “Oh, oh yeah. Sorry, Molly, I forgot.”

“So, will Mum being going out with us?”

Harry smiled. “Sure, pumpkin. Especially since I don’t have anything planned for dinner tonight.” He thanked his mother above for giving him the inspiration to tackle the house over the previous weekend. It was the cleanest it had been in years.

*********************
“Post is on your desk, sir,” his new assistant, Ms Connie Baker, said while handing him his cup of tea.

“Nice hair. I like the violet more than the cyan, but just so you know my favourite colour is midnight blue,” he responded with a grin. She winked at him. “Did I receive a note from my wife in the last few days?”

Ms Baker giggled. “Er, yes, sir. I gave it to you on Monday.”

“Shit! Okay, maybe next time ask me if I’ve read it before you leave for the day. She’s coming home at noon today.”

“Yes, sir. Oh, and, sir, Peasegood’s in your office. He arrived about five minutes ago."

Harry shook his head. “Fu... okay, don’t disturb me unless it’s the Minister, and tell the staff I'm running late,” he instructed, and walked quickly to his office door.

“Understood,” he heard her reply as he opened the door.

“Good morning, Potter. Sorry for coming unannounced.”

Harry entered and shook the Head of the Hit Wizard Squad’s hand. “Good morning, Arnold. What can I do for you? Can I get you some coffee or tea?”

The husky wizard shook his head. Harry tried to read his expression for a hint of what the subject matter was about. It was futile. The older man’s stern face didn’t hold a clue.

“No, I’m fine. I’m here to discuss a private issue,” Peasegood said as he sat down in front of Harry’s desk.

Harry did the same and picked up his steaming cup of tea. “All right, then let’s get to the point. Has the peace been broken?”

Peasegood’s eye twitched. “They’ve made a strike, Harry. It was quick, personal, and directed at you. I’m the only one here who currently knows about the connection to you, though. I'll understand if you want to retaliate, but you do know the repercussions if we do.”

Harry’s stomach dropped. He knew his kids were safe, but Ginny, Ginny hated having protection assigned to her and had refused. A hundred scenarios raced through his mind.

“They put a hit on Demitrius. He was murdered last night in Muggle Ithaca. It was an assassination designed to look like a Muggle hit. His throat was slit.”

Harry couldn’t find the words to respond. He was numb. No one knew about Demitrius.

“How do you know it was a wizard hit?” Harry mumbled.

“The knife left a trace of its magic: Goblin-forged silver. I didn’t know he was your caretaker, until this morning. He had a charmed note in his wallet to contact you if something happened to him. I couldn't locate your residence to find out more."

Harry heard the tone of admiration in the low voice, the same voice that had just given him news that his heart couldn't handle. “How did they know? I haven’t been to Greece in months.”

“I’m sure they’ve known for years. Demitrius probably slipped up once and that’s all it took. They’ve just been waiting patiently for a reason to break the peace.”

“What? There’s been no reason. I don’t understand!” Harry yelled and slammed his fist on his desk in frustration. “Demi wouldn’t hurt a fly. He was my damn caretaker and he wouldn’t have said a word; he was under a vow.”

Peasegood leant forward; his long silver-black hair touched Harry’s desk. “Harry, he was more than that, don’t be foolish and don’t be ashamed. I could usually give a shit about your personal life unless it interferes with your professional one. Unfortunately, this one might. You need to check out your cottage, and I think I should come with you, just in case.”

Harry sighed, his fingers brushed through his hair. “We have to do this now, then. My wife’s coming home today, and if I’m not there to greet her there will be hell to pay. I’d rather not deal with that part of my life right now.”

The old wizard laughed. “Understood. Now, I believe you have a Fidelius Charm in place, so it will have to be broken. How would you like to handle this?”

“It’s fine, Arnold. I’ll find a different place. I couldn’t imagine being there without Demi. He’s been my lover for four years.” Harry thinned his lips and closed his eyes. This was the first time he'd ever admitted to anyone that he'd had a lover and a male one at that. A major part of him felt good that he'd admitted it, even if it was to Arnold Peasegood. Demi deserved at least that much. Harry knew he couldn’t do anymore than that right now. Retribution, if any, would come later.

*********************
“Are you okay, Daddy?” Lily asked.

Harry patted her hand. “I’m fine, pumpkin. Now, what would you like to eat? Susan says the Shepherd’s Pie just came out of the oven.”

“Harry, you do look a bit distant. Everything okay at work?” Ginny asked.

“It’s fine. I was just trying to wrap up a case before coming to the Burrow,” Harry replied. He motioned to Susan that he wanted ale. She nodded and floated one over to him. “So, your trip sounded successful. Tell me what happened.”

Ginny smiled at him. Harry took a long draught of ale and sat back to listen. He was sure he was nodding in the right places and asking the right questions, but what she'd actually said about her trip with her old Quidditch team, he had no idea. His thoughts were on the previous six hours. His cottage was in perfect shape. But Peasegood was right, the hit was intentional. The murderer had left the knife still covered in blood on the non-magically protected part of the beach. It was Transfigured to look like a piece of broken pottery, but it emanated magic. He'd collected all of his belongings and destroyed the cottage moments before arriving at the Burrow.

He would do nothing for now. He would bide his time and wait for the moment to strike. His instincts from his youth were still there: to take immediate action, to fight back, to strike down evil. They'd been tempered, though, by training and experience. There were moments he reminded himself of his old mentor, Dumbledore: plotting, reading signs, and interpreting everything for hidden meanings.

The Head of the Hit Wizard squad eased his fears. Harry was pleased that for at least this case they were getting along. Peasegood had told him that they would never make a direct strike on Harry’s family because that would be calling for an all out war. No, this move was just to let everyone know that they still existed and didn’t like what was happening in the negotiations. Maybe they were being ignored. Harry tried to settle his thoughts. He’d just have to talk to Kingsley in the morning.

Lily was giggling as she told her mother about her day with Molly. Harry ordered another ale and decided to enjoy this moment with his family. The family he had dreamt of as a child. The dream he would hold onto as long as he could, even if it only hung together by Spell-O-Tape. Lily squirmed when Harry put his arm around her and squeezed her tight. Some things were simple, and loving his children was one of them. Unconditional love was easy; it was conditional love that he had problems with. It made a mess of his dreams.

“So do you have to go in tomorrow?” Ginny asked as she pushed her plate of fish and chips forward and picked up her own glass of ale. “I was hoping we could winterise the garden.”

“Yes, I have to meet with Kingsley. A situation I’d hoped had been being taken care of diplomatically over the previous months has flamed up again.”

Ginny rolled her eyes. “Does it ever end? Can’t you just say you’ve done enough?”

Harry bit his lower lip and couldn’t help but glare at her. They had been over this territory too many times in the past. “No, it will never end, Ginny. The best we can hope for are long spans of fragile peace.”

Ginny rolled her eyes again. “It’s not like it was before, Harry, with Voldemort; that I could understand.”

Harry glanced down at Lily. Her bright eyes were shifting back and forth between her parents. The children all knew about the war with Voldemort and Harry’s part in it, and about current politics, but rarely did they discuss personal issues in front of the kids.

“It’s a different side of the same evil, Ginny: one faction trying to impose their beliefs on everyone else. Voldemort just got further along than most.”

The small hand that he once hoped would always be in his as they journeyed along in life waved him off. “Do what you want. Come on; let's go home.”

Those were the words, Do what you want followed by just don’t let me or the public know about it, which made up the motto of their marriage. Harry pushed back his chair and walked over to the bar to pay his tab. The small hint of jealousy he once felt knowing Ginny did what she wanted, too, was gone. He returned and put his arms around Ginny and Lily, and Apparated them home.

*********************
Harry sat in the room outside of Kingsley’s office, sipping on his morning tea. The Minister for Magic’s assistant was doing a bang up job of looking busy and avoided any eye contact with him. This was the first time Harry could ever remember having been made to wait for a scheduled appointment. His attention was caught by the loud yelling coming from behind the heavy wooden doors leading into Kingsley’s office. Harry knew he recognised the voice, but couldn’t quite place it and then the door swung open. “I’ll fight you in the press, Minister,” Draco Malfoy huffed as he stormed out.

The defence solicitor stopped suddenly and turned towards Harry. “You do know it all leads back to you, don’t you?” Draco asked with a sneer looking down at Harry.

“What?” Harry asked in his defence.

“Muggles, fucking Muggles. Let’s be friends with Muggles. Let’s find out about them. Don’t you think there’s damn good reasons why we haven’t mingled with them for centuries you ignorant arse?”

Harry rose up. “Malfoy, I don’t know what your problem is or what you think I have done or not done, but your attitude sucks. Grow the fuck up and just tell me what your current problem is.”

Draco attempted to respond, but to Harry’s delight, he just sputtered incoherently at him.

“Solicitor Malfoy’s son was attacked by Muggle teenage boys near the Leaky Cauldron over the weekend,” Kingsley said.

Harry’s head jerked back and forth between the two. His eyes finally settled on Draco. “Is Scorpius okay?”

Draco rolled his eyes. “He’s going to live, Potter, but he’s at St. Mungo’s with broken ribs. I want to press charges with the Muggle police, but our esteemed Minister will not allow it.”

Harry sighed. “Why was Scorpius in Muggle London by himself?”

Draco’s lips thinned as he glared at Harry. The ice-cold grey eyes glaring at him reminded Harry of Lucius in years gone by. He once would have cowered beneath the stare, but now he just stared back questioningly. “Because he was curious,” Draco drawled. “He told me and his mother while we were at Gringotts that he wanted to go to Flourish and Blotts to look around. Instead he snuck out the back of the Leaky Cauldron and went for a walk.”

Harry’s brow furrowed. He knew the area around the Leaky Cauldron wasn’t the best in London, but he couldn’t understand how Scorpius could get into trouble so quickly.

“Some nasty bastards decided my son was dressed inappropriately and teased him. They believed him to be queer and had a little fun at his expense.”

“Why didn’t he stop them?” Harry blurted out.

Draco shook with rage. “Because you idiot, he’s too young to use magic, especially in front of Muggles! You do know the laws you enforce, don’t you, Auror Potter? My son takes them seriously.”

“Yes, Malfoy, I do. But he is allowed to use magic to protect himself,” Harry replied.

Draco sputtered again. "And you think those rules would apply to my son?"

“Um, why don’t we go back into my office?” Kingsley suggested. Harry looked around and saw they had attracted a crowd. He followed Draco through the double doors of the Minister’s office. They closed behind him and an Imperturbable Charm was cast.

“Malfoy, I’m sorry about Scorpius. Is there anything I can do?”

Draco spun around. “Unless you know how Scorpius can beat the shit out of a gang of Muggles without using magic, then no, Auror Potter, I don’t think there’s a damn thing you can do. Only the Minister can give me permission to pursue them through legal channels,” Draco spat out and turned back to facing Kingsley.

Harry gave a look of exasperation behind Draco’s back. He knew Kingsley saw it when the corners of his mouth turned up and then quickly returned to his normal composure.

“Actually, I do know of a way, Malfoy. But it would involve Scorpius taking self-defence classes.”

Draco gave an exaggerated sigh. “Potter, you know he’s in self-defence class, you fucking teach it.”

Harry shook his head. “No, not against the Dark Arts. I meant a physical self defence class.”

“You want my son, Scorpius Malfoy, to take a class in physical fighting? You’ve got to be kidding me! Have you seen him? He’s tall but he’s as thin as a wand. And anyway, I will not have him taking classes from some slime arse Muggle.”

“Sit,” Kingsley ordered, “and let’s discuss this like gentlemen. Harry, I believe I know what you are leading up to, and I don’t know if it would be wise.”

“What? What is he leading up to?” Draco asked as he sat down in one the visitors’ chairs across from the Minister’s desk.

Harry sat down in the other and turned towards Draco. “It’s part of Hit Wizard training. Since they have to go into the Muggle world to extract magical criminals, they need to know how to fight without magic. They are trained in various self defence methods including the martial arts. If you would like a demonstration, I could arrange one.”

Draco’s eyes widened. “And the instructor is a wizard?”

Harry and Kingsley both laughed. “No,” Harry replied, “she’s a witch and she can take down a half-dozen men or more in seconds flat. But, the easier course would be to forbid Scorpius from entering the Muggle world unless he is supervised.”

Harry watched Draco’s jaw set, and he understood completely the issue he was having. He’d been at odds with both his sons, mainly James.

“As much as it pains me to say so, I would prefer my son to be raised with today’s politics and political environment, and not the one I was blessed with.”

Harry wanted to gag, but he knew this was very difficult for Draco to admit. A part of him was proud of how far Draco had come.

“He's a very curious boy and I don’t want to discourage him because of my own beliefs. He will need to learn and make decisions on his own. As you both know, he’s a Ravenclaw, and as much as it pained me when he was Sorted, the Sorting Hat placed him correctly. And, yes, I would like to see a demonstration.”

Both Kingsley and Harry exhaled loudly. “I will see if it can be arranged,” Kingsley offered. “It will have to be done in secret and on the weekends. If this does come about, Solicitor Malfoy, I trust you will be satisfied and not go to the papers with your complaints?”

Harry restrained himself from chuckling out loud.

“Yes,” Draco drawled, “I will be satisfied.”

Kingsley shook his head and grinned at Harry after Draco had left the office. “Do you really think it's wise, teaching a Malfoy martial arts?”

Harry nodded as he finally released the laughter he'd been holding. “Yes, Scorpius is not his father. He maybe only twelve, but I and the Hogwarts’ teaching staff are very impressed with him. He has troubles in making friends. As far as I know, he only has a couple, and Albus is one of them. The only curricular course he’s had problems with is Astronomy. It appears that despite the Malfoy and Black tradition of naming children after stars and constellations, the child is more interested in what’s happening on the ground.”

“Can he fly well?”

“He’s okay, from what James said. Al said he wasn't going to try out for the Ravenclaw team this year, but James figures he will by his fourth. Why? Are we now recruiting second-years?”

Kingsley laughed. “No, we're not. I was just curious. And how’s Albus doing?”

Harry smiled just thinking about his youngest son. “He’s fine. He seems to be content to let James be the popular one, the smarter one. He struggles for his grades, but I think Scorpius is actually helping instil good study habits. He has a lot of friends from each house, which bothers James no end. James says Al’s collecting the strays.”

A tray holding a fresh pot of tea and breakfast pastries appeared on Kingsley’s desk. “So, Harry, to what do I owe the pleasure of your company so early in the morning? I was surprised to see your name on my calendar.”

Harry filled both of their cups with the steaming Earl Grey. “There’s been an incident.” Harry knew he didn’t have to tell Kingsley what the incident referred to, he momentarily took his eyes off the stream of tea pouring into his cup and glanced up at Kingsley, the pained expression said it all.

“What happened?” he asked solemnly.

Harry sighed as he leaned back into chair. “You want the short version, or the long version, which delves into the depths of my personal life?”

The Minister brought his hands to his forehead. “Potter, please don’t tell me that you don’t have a fairytale marriage and that some lover of yours was kidnapped or murdered.”

Harry chewed his bottom lip. He knew Kingsley had just made a stab in the dark, but the pain was real and Kingsley accidentally making light of it hurt him more. Harry remained silent.

Well manicured dark fingers lowered and unbelieving eyes stared at Harry. “Oh, hell, it better be the long version then, and can I just say right now that I’m sorry, Harry, I had no idea.”

“No one was supposed to. But, now that this has happened, I think you need to know. And after my sad tale, I’d like to know from you where the negotiations stand because Peasegood and I both see this as a message.”

*********************
“Why don’t you get a divorce, Harry?” Kingsley asked when Harry had finished his story.

Harry leaned back in his chair and stared out the window, collecting his thoughts. There was no easy answer. “Neither of us wants one. I love her, even more than I did when we got married, but it’s a different type of love. I respect her and trust her implicitly. She’s my rock, my foundation.”

"Then what?"

Harry shook his head. “We’re too stubborn for our own good. We each had an image of what the other was like and what we wanted from the marriage. We failed to meet those expectations. Neither of us was willing to sacrifice our careers or need to have control. We’re too much alike. Things got bitter and ugly and we did separate when Albus was just an infant. Then when we got back together, we celebrated, and soon Lily was on the way.”

“So you wanted a Molly and she wanted an Arthur,” Kingsley said with a knowing grin.

Harry smiled back. “Yeah, I guess. I never wanted Ginny to give up her career, but she doesn’t have the nurturing instinct Molly has. And you of all people know I wanted to run this department, to make a difference.”

Kingsley sighed. “I didn’t know it had cost you this much, but the community needed you, they still need you.”

“It all came to a head when Albus became ill. We blamed ourselves for not seeing the signs earlier.”

“But, there are no signs for Vanishing Sickness are there?”

“No there aren't, but as a parent you feel you should’ve known. Ginny and I have always made the kids our highest priority. Maybe that was a mistake; we put them before us. So when Albus was doing so poorly, instead of bringing us closer, it nearly destroyed us. If he'd died, the marriage would have gone with it. But, he pulled through and that is when we decided to stay together as partners, but not as lovers. And now, since I’ve told you all of my deep, dark secrets, I’ll tell you that we still do sleep together occasionally. We have the kids, we have our careers, and we have our extended family. Neither one of us would want to marry again, so we decided to stay together. We still bicker, but the pressure is no longer there.”

Kingsley nodded and smiled. “It sounds like a typical arranged pureblood marriage.”

Harry laughed, not because he thought it was funny, but because it was ironic.

“You do know you’re going to have to tell her, though.”

“Yeah,” Harry replied reluctantly, “I realised that as we were talking. I figure that blackmail is somewhere in my future.” Harry stopped and laughed. “They obviously don’t know my wife. She can be fierce if she feels someone is threatening her family. So can you now tell me about the negotiations?”

Kingsley’s cheeks puffed out as he exhaled. “It may be more than blackmail, Harry. They may make another hit. As you know, because of oaths I can’t tell you who’s involved, but I’m sure you can figure it out. The newly elected Minister for Magic for a country to the east of us,” Kingsley said staring at Harry. Harry nodded that he understood who they were speaking about. Political secrecy oaths, Harry thought, were one of the daftest things he’d come across since working for the Ministry. Everyone knew how to get around them. “She’s playing to her base and wants to withdraw from the International Muggle Protection Act.”

“What?!” Harry yelled as he jumped out of his seat.

“Calm down, Harry. It’s not going to happen. The neighbours and other Ministries have put up a blockade and are not accepting Portkey travel requests. This has obviously upset one of the factions or hell it could be just one person. I do wonder, though, if it is Ministry sponsored or a rogue action.”

Harry slumped back in his chair. “So how does that fit in with what happened to Demitrius?”

Kingsley sighed. “I was the sponsor for the Portkey blockade. And you were responsible for capturing the wizards who made forged Portkey authorizations.”

Harry brought his hands to his head and ran his fingers through his hair. “So do you think they’ll want to blackmail me so I’ll influence you, or do you think they might just pick off people who would know me? What about those who know my family?”

“Um, I....”

“Shit, Kingsley, are we sure those were Muggles who beat up Scorpius Malfoy? I mean I know beating up kids happens, believe me I know, but for it to occur within a few minutes after entering Muggle London… It seems suspicious and also it was the same day as ....”

“Harry! Stop!”

Harry froze. Rarely had he heard Kingsley use that tone with him.

“It was Muggles. I had the Hit Wizard on duty check it out yesterday. It truly was a matter of Scorpius Malfoy being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I'll have the file sent up to you so you can be sure.”

The panic subsided immediately and it was then he knew how much Demitrius’ death had affected him. Trying to suppress the feelings of loss was getting to him.

Kingsley rose out his high-backed chair. “Harry, I think you should take the rest of the day off. Take care of the home front."

con't

Chapter Text

Worried brown eyes met Harry's as he stepped out the Floo. He knew he was arriving unexpectedly early in the day. Already, though, it felt like one of the longest of his life. The previous night he’d barely slept thinking about Demitrius. He’d not only lost his lover, but more importantly, Demitrius been his friend and confidant.

“Harry, what is it?” Ginny asked as she reached for his briefcase. Harry didn’t let go; his fingers grasped the handles tightly. Ginny gave him a curious look and released the leather handles without comment but held onto his little finger and led him over to the couch.

“Where’s Lils?” Harry asked as he sat down, sinking into the worn-out cushions.

Ginny narrowed her eyes. Harry could see her trying to read his expression. “Playing with Hugo. Should I call and see if they can keep her for a while?”

Harry nodded. “Yeah, Gin, see if she can stay the night.”

Ginny’s normal complacent expression faltered. “This is really bad, isn’t it?”

Harry ran his fingers through his shortly-cropped hair. “Yeah, it is.”

Ginny patted him on the knee. “Okay, then, why don’t I get you a beer and some lunch and we’ll talk. I assume you haven’t eaten.” The low rumble from his stomach answered before he could. “I’ll be right back,” Ginny replied with a soft grin as she leant over and kissed his cheek.

He brought the briefcase up to his lap and cast the spell to open it. Carefully he lifted out a folded piece of heavy cloth and pulled back the sheet smelling of potions. His heart stilled as he stared down at the silver knife. It had been fully examined and released into his custody. The dark stains on the blade remained. “Ginny!” he yelled. "I’m going to take a shower first.” He held onto the knife as he made his way out of the room and took the flight of stairs up to his quarters. The tall, panelled bedroom door opened as he approached. He sat upon the high bed and closed his eyes. His fingers methodically worked over the handle, imprinting the engravings temporarily on the pads thereof. Engravings of runes he'd been told, originated from a Goblin stronghold near the Caspian Sea. Morbid thoughts crossed his mind and he brought the tip of the blade up to his neck and gently made a straight line across it. A small sting of a prick forced him back to reality and he placed the knife under his pillow and headed towards the shower.

The bathroom soon filled with steam as Harry lifted his head up to the spray and hoped it would wash the ugliness of the day away. Any other man would probably have been scared shitless to have to tell his wife what he had to tell Ginny. But, at the moment, he just felt numb.

He should have left for home after leaving Kingsley's office; instead he had gone back to his own office and read the report on Scorpius Malfoy. No wonder Draco had been furious. Harry was surprised that Draco had accepted the compromise. The pictures of Scorpius during the examination at St. Mungo's even made Harry want to rush out for revenge. Draco had mentioned his ribs, but neglected to say that his son's face had been kicked. It would all heal, but the look in Scorpius' blood-red eyes had given Harry a moment of concern. It wasn't fear or pain, but one of resolve.

The second Harry had seen the picture of Scorpius' torn clothes, he'd known why the Muggles had probably teased and then attacked him. The dark robes trimmed in silver, with frogs of metallic thread that were fashionable right now, along with the black velvet cap, would have made him stand out as a very odd duck in Muggle London. The growing young boy looked effeminate in the high wizarding fashion, and the four rings he now wore on his fingers didn't help. Harry winced while thinking of Malfoy's son being accosted by Muggles. He was sure it only reinforced Draco's beliefs in magical superiority. However, Harry admitted that he respected Draco as a father for putting his son's possible successful future ahead of his own philosophy, something Draco's father hadn't done.

Harry turned off the shower when he heard Ginny yell up that lunch was ready. His stomach turned as he thought of the possible ending scenarios for the conversation he was about to have with his wife. None of them were positive.

Ginny had raised the kitchen windows a crack to let the steam from the beef stew out and the crisp autumn air in. "Thank you. It smells wonderful," Harry said as he reached for a thick slice of crusty bread to dunk in the hot liquid.

"So does this have anything to do with what happened to Scorpius Malfoy?" Ginny asked while serving up her own bowl.

Harry shook his head. "No, but how did you know about Scorpius? It wasn't in the papers."

"Albus Floo called. Scorpius sent him an owl from St. Mungo's. Apparently it was pretty bad."

"Yeah, it was. I saw the pictures and I ran into Malfoy on my way in to see Kingsley. He was pretty angry."

"How did it happen so fast? The kids have never run into trouble when we've been out."

Harry took a sip of beer, washing down the bite of carrot and potato, and then gave a small grin. "Ginny, our kids never entered Muggle London wearing the newest wizarding fashion robes including a velvet wizard's cap."

Ginny's hand came over her mouth, trying to stifle a giggle. "Oh Merlin, he didn't? What were Draco and Astoria thinking of? I hate those robes. James can barely pull it off and Albus just looks plain silly."

Harry nodded in agreement as he sipped more of his beer. "Scorpius didn't tell them he was going there. He told them he was going to Flourish & Blotts while they went to Gringotts."

"Imagine that, a Malfoy sneaking away from his parents in Diagon Alley. Didn't Draco do that once? And why did Scorpius go there anyway?"

Harry laughed. "Yes, but Draco went to Knockturn Alley; times have apparently changed. Scorpius said in the report that he was just curious about Muggles."

"So why didn't he use his magic? I mean, he's allowed to in a dangerous situation."

"He got caught off guard and he also didn't want to embarrass his father if he got into trouble and taken to court," Harry replied. He took a few large bites of stew and then pushed the bowl forward. "Gin, enough about Scorpius Malfoy."

Ginny's eyes widened. Harry took a long look at their brightness, knowing it would soon be gone. "So tell me, Harry Potter, what's happened that's forced you into having such a serious conversation? Last I knew, you evaded them like spattergroit."

Harry sighed. "Ginny, I know we said that we wouldn't tell each other about who we were seeing, but something's happened and I need...."

Ginny dropped her spoon, stew splattered over the table. "You're in love? Shit, I knew this would...."

"No! Gin, stop. I'm not in love. I cared for the person deeply, but I was never in love, hon. You still own that spot." Harry briefly enjoyed the expression of relief Ginny showed.

"Then...?"

Harry swallowed hard before forcing the words out. "He was murdered for political reasons." He watched her eyes blink repeatedly as she processed what he'd just said. He expected her to yell or to laugh, but he didn't expect her not to say anything, though she appeared to be trying to.

"Really? I...I...I...no way. Oh shit, Harry. I'm so sorry. I...I don't even know what to say," she finally managed to spurt out. A bottle of wine and glass floated over from the counter and onto the table.

Harry poured the dark-red elfin wine into her glass. "Where would you like me to start? With that he is a he or that he was murdered?"

Ginny's hand reached out and steadied his wrist. He hadn't realised he was shaking. "How long?"

"Four years. There were two brief, and I do mean brief, affairs before Demitrius. They were also men. You are the only witch I've ever been with."

Ginny snorted. "Is that a compliment or an insult?"

Harry reached across the table and took her free hand in his. "Certainly not an insult, Gin. I've enjoyed every time we've been together. I love you and your body."

She frowned at him. "I don't understand, then."

His thumb stroked the back of her hand, across the long scar from an old Quidditch injury. "I'm bisexual, hon. The experiences are very different, and I've never felt the need to be with another witch." Ginny took a long draught of the currant elfin wine. Harry's fingers moved until both his and hers were intertwined.

"So who was he?" Ginny asked. "Tell me about him, about his murder, and how this affects you and me."

Harry nodded. "Okay," he whispered, all the while memories of the man who taught him the art of pleasing and being pleased by another man coming forward. There was more to their relationship than sex, much more, but that was their beginning.

The wine bottle was empty by the time he finished telling her of his cottage in Greece and of the man who was his friend. And how yesterday he destroyed the house and today he saw the body. She never spoke but just let him talk while their hands were still clasped together. He carefully observed her expressions and noticed the wine taking effect as her long lashes took longer to meet with each blink. He let the silence stay unbroken after his words were finished, waiting for her to respond.

She let go of his hand, stood up, and walked into the living room. He followed and joined her on the couch. She rested her head on his shoulder and his arm wrapped around her shoulders. His fingers played with the short plaits of red.

"So why was he killed? Why have you told me this, Harry? You knew this would change things between us. I was okay with our status quo."

Harry lifted the house wand on the couch side table. Flames erupted from logs in the fireplace. "He was murdered, Ginny, as a warning to Kingsley and to me. Someone or some group isn't pleased with either of us. Kingsley sponsored a blockade for international Portkey travel restrictions against a nation I can't name. And in June, I helped break up an international ring of counterfeiters creating false authorizations for international Portkey travel."

"Why would Kingsley do that? I can understand why people would be upset."

"The newly elected Minister wants to appease her base and has made overtures to withdraw from the Anti-Muggle Harassment Law."

Ginny shuddered. "You're not kidding, are you? That is mental."

Harry nodded. "Yes, I agree. In fact, they want to withdraw from almost all of the international pacts and treaties. They want to be completely sovereign, which they can't be, obviously. If they reveal themselves to the Muggle population near where they live, we will all be exposed."

Ginny shook her head. "So why him?" she asked sharply. "Why not me or James or Albus or Lily, or our extended family? Why someone who is on the fringes? Someone who wouldn't matter to the rest of us?"

Harry stilled his body; he could feel the tension mounting. He knew she didn't mean her words to be so sharp. She never did, but it was the accusatory tone that made him want to flinch. He stared into the fire, knowing he couldn't look at her right now. He didn't want to see the cold stare or thinned lips. "Because, Ginny, if it was anyone you mentioned, it would have caused an international crisis. They didn't want that; they just want for Kingsley to back off. It was just to let us know they were there and meant business. Kingsley, Peasegood, and I all believe that their next move will be either blackmail or another murder."

"Fuck," Ginny spat out. "How the hell did they discover your lover? Weren't you careful? Did he boast about it? I mean shit, Harry, you have no idea who I see. They all have the balls to keep their mouths shut."

Harry removed his arm from Ginny abruptly as he turned to face her. The wine always had this effect, it mellowed her for a while, but then her Weasley temper would emerge. In his youth, he thought it was funny; now he didn't. "Shut it, Gin. The cottage was under the Fidelius Charm, and if you must know, he took an Unbreakable Vow not to mention my name or our relationship. Now tell me do your lovers do that?" he retorted. He had a moment of regret when she flinched as if he was going to physically hit her. He wouldn't ever.

"No. No they don't. They don't need to."

Harry laughed. "Fuck, are we now going to compare whose lovers are more honourable? I told you all of this because it is them, Ginny, your lovers, your friends, our kids' friends and their parents, those on the fringes as you referred to them, they are the likely targets. If these people knew about Demitrius, despite us never being out in public, and under two strong spells to conceal our relationship and my cottage, then everyone else is an easy target. I was even worried for a moment that was what happened to Scorpius Malfoy, but thankfully, I was wrong."

The reality of the situation hit and he watched in amazement as the look of spite in Ginny's eyes turned to resolve. It struck him as the same look Scorpius Malfoy had in his eyes in the picture he'd viewed earlier. He almost jumped as Ginny broke out in laughter. He saw nothing funny about the situation and was worried that she'd gone mad. It took her a few minutes to settle down. "For all the spying they must have done, they certainly don't know you very well, do they? Blackmail? How dare the bastards think they can do this to you, to us, to our friends? I'll show them," she said and then hopped off the couch. "I'm going to bed, Harry. We should probably talk about this some more, but I'm sure neither of us really wants to," she said as she stepped deliberately over to the stairs so as not to sway or stumble.

"Good night, Ginny," he mumbled, stunned with the abrupt ending to their conversation.

"Oh, and, Harry, don't worry about the others. I'll take care of it," Ginny shouted down from the landing on the third floor. Harry's blood ran cold.

*********************
Harry's first clue that the day was going to be unforgettable was that he overslept. Never had he been this late for work. He growled at the clock, whose alarm hadn't gone off, and cursed himself for cursing out loud at a non-existent Ginny. The house was empty, with the exception of Sherlock and Holmes, whose barking at the back door was responsible for waking him up in the first place.

He rushed through his shaving and shower and dressed in record time. He ran downstairs, let the dogs in, and reached for his tea. It was cold. He glanced at the table and was pleasantly surprised that there were no posts or, for that matter, newspapers. He grabbed his still opened briefcase and flung the Floo Powder into the fireplace.

"Good morning, sir."

Harry shook his head as he entered his office lobby. "Connie?"

"Yes, sir."

Harry stepped closer to her old wooden desk and couldn't help but examine her new look. "Um, nice suit. Nice hair. A bit short and exactly what colour is that?"

Connie Baker beamed back at him. "Thank you, sir. My hair is midnight-blue, your favourite colour. Auror Weasley lent me his old Gryffindor tie, but I'm thinking Ravenclaw might be in order."

Harry laughed. "So is there anything you'd like to share with me, Ms Baker?" Harry teased. "I wasn't aware you enjoyed cross-dressing."

"No, sir. I just thought, given the circumstances, you might prefer this attire."

Harry coughed. "And what circumstances are you referring to?"

Connie giggled. "Sir, have your read the Prophet or Quibbler today?"

Harry's stomach turned. "No, I didn't have time. Maybe you should tell me."

His administrator bit her lower lip and shook her head. Harry glared at her and then turned away and walked towards his office door.

"Watch out for the owl droppings," she mumbled as he turned the handle.

"Ms Baker!" Harry roared as he stumbled into his office, trying to evade owls perched everywhere they could.

"Drink your coffee, sir. And you might start with the papers. Oh, and, sir, there are a few Howlers," she yelled back.

Harry raised his hand and the office door slammed shut. The air moved as dozens upon dozens of owls fluttered their wings. He shooed away two that had taken residence on his chair. "What?" he barked at the hundreds of golden round eyes staring at him.

His attention was stolen by a sheet of red paper that rose up before him and started laughing. Every nerve in him cringed as he recognised Draco Malfoy's sardonic laugh.

Thank you. Harry Potter, the great pouf! Oh, God, I wanted this to be vicious, but I can't get my arse off the floor from laughing.

Respectfully,
Solicitor Malfoy

Harry's eyes bulged as he spotted the headlines of the Daily Prophet through owl feet on his desk.

Mr and Mrs Potter Proponents of Pureblood Traditional Marriages.
"No!" Harry mumbled in disbelief as he spotted more enlarged words and swiped his desk, clearing it of birds. The newspapers ruffled with the currents of disturbed air. "She didn't! She wouldn't! Oh my God, she fucking did!" he fell back against his chair.

"Hey, mate!" Ron said, bounding into Harry's office. "Nice owl collection," he added laughingly.

"Fuck you," Harry muttered. "I can't believe she did this."

Ron shooed the owls from the chair in front of Harry's desk and plopped a large bag of owl treats next to the newspapers showing pictures of the Potter family. "I warned you many years ago about my sister. Did you listen? No. You fancied yourself in love back then."

Harry glowered at Ron. "Kettle black, Ron. Look who you married."

"Phht, that's different. I knew Hermione wouldn't let me get away with shit. No use in even thinking about it."

Harry leant forward and picked up the Daily Prophet. "Malfoy sent a Howler. He gave new meaning to howling."

Ron covered his mouth with his hand. "Bastard," Ron replied. Harry noted the sentiment and was appreciative that Ron didn't laugh out loud. He took a deep breath and read the article. Ron opened the bag of Owl Treats and began distributing them as he removed the missives from their stuck out legs. He opened the door and let them escape from the temporary aviary. Ron kept silent as Harry turned the pages and occasionally picked up his coffee and sipped the still hot liquid. The sack was near empty and the room devoid of birds when Harry lowered the paper so Ron could see his face.

"Brilliant, Ron, she's fucking brilliant. This is the Ginny I fell in love with. Ms Baker!" Harry yelled.

"Yes, Harry!" she yelled back. "I mean I'll be right there, sir."

Harry rolled his eyes. Ron stared at Harry with his jaw slack.

"Yes, sir," Ms Baker said, blinking in disbelief at seeing Harry smiling.

"Please contact Quality Quidditch Supplies and have them deliver a Golden Arrow to my wife."

"Shit, Harry, that costs...."

Harry raised his hand, silencing Ron. "Ron, your sister probably just saved a few lives."

"But...but...she told everyone you were gay," Ron blurted out.

Harry laughed. "I'm bisexual, Ron. Not that it makes a difference. Ms Baker, did you hear me?"

"No...uh...yes...a Golden Arrow sent to your wife. Anything else?"

Harry looked down at the Quibbler, seeing a picture of him and his family at last summer's Wizarding fair. "Yes, make reservations at the Atrium in Edinburgh for my family. Seven tonight should work out."

"I still don't get it," Ron said, shaking his head after Harry's assistant left his office.

"Ron, Ginny told everyone, and I do mean everyone, that we have an open marriage. She also told everyone that we consider these people part of our family and that if anyone harms them or anyone else that is remotely close to us including our kids' friends and families, they will be looked upon unfavourably by us."

Ron sighed heavily. "So?"

Harry raised his hand and the door shut. "Ron, this is in strictest confidence. You can tell Hermione, but no one else. My lover was assassinated earlier this week for political reasons. Kingsley and Peasegood believed they would do it again to get what they want or that they would try blackmailing me."

Ron released a long whistle. "So what Ginny did is stopped them from blackmailing you and put a protection around everyone remotely connected to you."

Harry nodded. "Exactly. She got her little bit of revenge in there too, but I think my reputation can handle the bruising."

con't

Chapter Text

June 2019

"Arnold, I think you need to send someone in," Kingsley sighed in frustration. "Even the Muggle papers are picking up the strange events surrounding the area. We need more information. We need to know is it an independent group that the Wraith is leading or are he and his group being sponsored by a Ministry? All we have is that we think they might be from near the Caspian Sea; it's not enough."

"I know, Minister, but I don't have anyone that is fluent enough in Farsi and their traditions to meld in. It would be suicide."

"I do," Harry spoke up. Both men looked at him with interest. "I know it's not something an Auror usually does, but with his help maybe we could...."

"Who is it?" Arnold Peasegood snarled.

"Shaheen, he's from the area."

The deep sigh of frustration from his counterpart at the Hit Wizard squad raised the tension level of the private meeting room even higher. Kingsley referred to it as the War Room, Harry called it the Strategy Room, and Peasegood called it the Room of Frustration. Harry tended to agree with Peasegood most of the time.

"Potter, they would recognise him in a minute. He's a traitor in their eyes. They'd kill him and he'd probably welcome it after they'd finished torturing him."

"Fuck, I know that," Harry said, slamming his fist down on the long table covered in maps. "But he might know who else has the same beliefs he does. Someone on the inside."

Kingsley rubbed his chin. "Do you think he would or could divulge that kind of information? I know when he first came to us, he was helpful with their plans but not with any names besides the one who murdered Demitrius. And even then all we got was his alias."

Harry played with the handle of his coffee mug. It had been one year, one year since the murder and they still hadn't found the wizard responsible. Wraith. He was appropriately named. "Minister, the stakes have risen since then. No, they haven't come after any of us, but the attacks on the Muggles are getting out of control."

"Bring him in, Potter," Peasegood said. "But I don't like it."

"Fine. I will. He's heading a case investigating the importation of poppies at the moment."

"Poppies?" Kingsley said. "They're not illegal." His hand released his chin and reached out for the plate of pastries that had yet to be touched.

Harry sipped on his coffee. He really didn't want to get into the details, knowing Peasegood would claim it was within his jurisdiction to handle it. The constant battle between the two of them was trying. "Yes, poppies. A large amount of inventory has shown up in Knockturn Alley over the last few months. The species originates in Afghanistan."

The Minister shook his head. "Harry, please tell me why this is a bad thing."

"Well as you know, the Muggles make an addictive drug out of it. Most potion masters temper its effects. But, an old warlock was found passed out in a side alley with an empty potion bottle in his hand. The few drops of liquid showed a strong concentrate of undiluted poppies mixed with belladonna."

"Shit, he must have been higher than a kite," the Head of the Hit Wizard squad proffered.

"Yeah, so high that he was comatose. Never recovered. He's still in St. Mungo's, and a few others have joined him."

"And you didn't think that we should've known this before?" Peasegood asked, shaking his head.

"No, I didn't. If I'd found a connection, I would've let you know. What we know right now is that it is a private firm exporting it, trying to raise extra cash for the Muggle orphans in their homeland due to the continuing Muggle war," Harry replied, probably with too much venom. "Would you like me to tell you about every case my Aurors are working on?"

"Gentlemen!" Kingsley said. Harry and Peasegood knew that tone and knew better than to continue. "Harry, bring him in and we'll talk. I'd like to do this before you go to Hogwarts next week."

"Will do, Minister."

Peasegood rolled his eyes. "I would think, under the circumstances, that you wouldn't be gallivanting off...."

"Fuck off," Harry said and rose out of his chair, knocking it over as he left the room. He scowled, knowing he'd be buying Peasegood a round of Ogden's finest tonight. That was their rule, whoever said fuck off to the other had to pay up.

*********************

Harry took a quick look around his Hogwarts quarters, thankful that Kreacher had unpacked for him and arranged dinner with the kids. That morning, he'd rushed into the castle just in time for his first class. Now, for the first time since he'd arrived, he had a moment to relax before his Gryffindor children arrived. He'd seen each of them in class; they'd all seemed to have grown since January. He'd been especially surprised to see Scorpius Malfoy, since he'd been absent from last January's week-long session due to illness. Albus had mentioned that his friend had been quieter than usual, but his demeanour in class could only be viewed as solemn. There was a spark missing, and Harry wondered what it was.

A small chirp called his attention to the mahogany desk provided for him; a scroll was jumping up and down, making a canary sound. Harry sighed, recognising the Minister's seal. Reluctantly he sat down at the desk and read the missive. Shaheen had been more helpful than when he first defected. It appeared that the spell cast on him for silence was diminishing over time. Harry tapped his fingers on the desk as he read further down. According to Shaheen, there were a few others he believed who might share his beliefs but were afraid to even consider defying the group. The group Shaheen associated with was just one of many. He didn't know how many, only two people did: The wizard who was referred to as Wraith and an old man named Audun. Harry's head bent towards the parchment, his eyes bulged.

"Yes!" he yelled out loud.

It wasn't sponsored by any Ministry; it was a private entity. There might be Ministries supporting it on the side, but Harry guessed in reading between the lines that they were a bit nervous about the terrorists and were trying to cover their arses. Now they knew there was someone bankrolling most of the endeavours. Peasegood had sent his best Hit Wizard, Gumboil, to investigate Audun. Scandinavian. Harry shook his head wondering why a Norwegian wizard was doing this. He sighed, wishing he could've been involved and have sent one or two of his Aurors.

The sound of running and yelling in the corridor outside of his quarters made him smile. He rolled the message back up and locked it in his briefcase. He'd respond to Kingsley later tonight, but right now his attention needed to be focused on his kids.

"Dad, you have to make it," James whinged. "If we beat Ravenclaw by enough points, we could come close to beating them for the cup."

"I'll try, James," Harry said, upset that he couldn't make the promise. With the news he'd just received, he couldn't guarantee anything. "I'm sorry I missed the last one."

"It's okay, Dad," Al said. Harry looked over and smiled at his youngest son. It was nice to see him eating everything on his plate for once. "It wasn't a great match; we annihilated them."

"Yeah, but look at Ravenclaws' brooms. They slaughtered Slytherin in January. Ours are sh— old."

Harry set down his forkful of jacketed potato. "Ravenclaw got new brooms?"

James rolled his eyes and sighed. "Dad, I wrote and told you they did. The team members each got a new broom for Christmas."

Harry bit his lower lip. "I'm sorry, James, I don't remember."

"No, James, you told Mum. Remember she wrote back and told you it didn't matter what brooms they had, that it was all a matter of skill in the end?" Lily added. Harry kept his mouth shut. He'd have to talk to Ginny when he next saw her. He hated surprises like this.

"Who gave them the brooms?" Harry asked.

"Mr Malfoy," James said with a sneer.

Harry couldn't help but chuckle, remembering his second year playing Quidditch at Hogwarts. "Did he now? I wasn't aware that Scorpius had made the team."

"He didn't— I mean he didn't even try out," Albus stated.

"No, but he's at all of their practises. Rose said he's like their mascot or something."

"More like their water boy," James sniggered.

"No, he's not!" Al retorted. "He just likes watching more than playing."

"Any reason why Scorpius is looking so down?" Harry asked.

Al stared down at his empty plate. "No."

"Al, is something wrong with Scorpius?" Harry asked again, hating to put Al on the spot. Green eyes looked up at him. He could see the pleading expression for him to not pursue the questioning further, at least with James and Lily present. "You're mother is right, the brooms don't necessarily mean an automatic win. Mr Malfoy's father did the same thing for the Slytherin team, but it was in my second year."

"Did you beat them?" Lily asked. Her eyes blinked as her dinner plate disappeared and pudding appeared in its place.

"Of course he did," James boasted. Harry shook his head. He wouldn't be telling them about his broken arm; that story would have to wait until this summer. Right now he was getting tired and wanted to crawl into the four-poster bed, with its Gryffindor cover, which always brought him a good night's sleep.

The rest of the conversation over afters was pleasant. It had only been two months since their last break, but he dearly missed eating at the table with his family. He settled back into his chair after the three left to finish their homework. He poured a small amount of scotch in a snifter before reading the message from Kingsley again. A soft knock on the door had him locking it up again.

"Did you forget something?" Harry asked as he opened the door and saw his youngest son looking worried.

"No, Dad, but I was wondering if we could talk?"

Harry opened the door further and stood to the side. "Of course, Al. Can I get you something? Some hot chocolate? Tea?"

Al shook his head as he walked in. "No, Dad. I'm full."

Harry noticed Al's shoulders were slumped and his feet seemed to be caught in mud. Whatever it was had his son feeling low. "Sit by the fire, Al; I'm just going to change. I'm a bit tired and want to relax."

"Oh, well it can wait. I can...."

"Al, sit," Harry said sternly. "I'm not that tired."

Harry tied the sash to his dressing gown and put on his slippers. He glanced longingly at his bed before returning to the sitting room. He picked up his scotch on the way over to the fireplace, which now had flames thanks to Al. "So what's on your mind?"

"It's Scorpius, Dad. He barely talks to me anymore. It's almost like the beginning of first year."

Harry looked deep into the green eyes already filled with tears. He wondered if his ever looked so bright. "Did something happen between you two?"

Al chewed on his lower lip. Harry could tell he wanted to say something but was also reluctant to spill whatever it was. "Is Scorpius being bullied again?"

Al barked out a laugh. "No, Dad. Most of the kids are kind of afraid of him. I think he's doing pretty well in those physical defence lessons."

"He's still taking them?" Harry asked, surprised because he hadn't thought to look into Scorpius' progress and assumed he'd quit after the first year.

"Yes, and he's really good. I— I mean, I think he's really good."

"Al, just tell me. I can't help if I don't know what's going on."

Al's cheeks puffed up and then he blew out the air that filled them. "Dad, Scorpius told me when he got back from being ill in January that he thinks he's gay."

Harry blinked a few times, trying to process the information and what it would mean for one Scorpius Malfoy. "And did this bother you?"

A small grin came over Albus' face. "No, Dad, it didn't bother me. After finding out about you, how could it?"

Harry was sure his cheeks were reddening; he took a long sip of scotch. "So...?"

"Scorpius thinks that it does bother me. I'm the only one he's told, but now he thinks that I think he'll come onto me. It's like he's all stiff and unnatural around me. We used to punch each other and stuff, but now it's like he's afraid to touch me. It— it's just awkward. I was kind of hoping maybe you could talk to him."

Slowly Harry took another long sip before setting down the snifter. "Al, I wouldn't mind talking to Scorpius, but his father wouldn't approve."

"Shit."

Harry's eyes widened. Al didn't even try to cover up or apologise for what he'd said. "Al, do you think Scorpius likes you? I mean is he attracted to you?"

Al coughed and began to laugh. "No, Dad. I don't and he's not. He's got this huge crush on Alistair, the Ravenclaw Quidditch captain. He's a seventh year, which I think he's too old, but...."

"Oh, so that's why he watches. Does the captain know this? Why doesn't Scorpius play?"

Al curled his feet under him. Harry was suddenly struck with how young his son still was. Al always sat in that position at home. Yes, he'd grown, but he was still young. "No, well, maybe that's one reason he watches, but, Dad, you can't tell anyone. Scorpius is more than their mascot, he's their strategist. He flies okay, but he's more important to them while being in the stands and watching."

"And he told you this?" Harry asked, surprised because Al being on the Gryffindor team could easily let his teammates know what was going on.

"Yes, Dad, he told me. He used to tell me everything. I wouldn't tell anyone else, ever. I know I have a lot of friends, and I wouldn't say he's my best friend, but I would say he's my most interesting friend. I like him, and I miss talking with him. I can see how miserable he is."

"And the captain?"

"Oh, he doesn't know. He's straight and has a girlfriend. She's a sixth year Slytherin."

Harry chuckled. He was secretly pleased with how far house unity had come. "Al, do you know if Mr Malfoy knows?"

"Oh, God, no! Scorpius is petrified about telling him. I guess when your news came out, Mr Malfoy had a few choice words about the situation."

"So he's a bit homophobic?"

"Hmmm, Dad, I don't know. You know Mr Malfoy; he pretty much says derogatory things about everyone. Scorpius thinks his father would be disappointed, not that he would hate him or anything like that."

Harry laughed. Al had stayed a few nights with the Malfoys over the past three years. Both he and Ginny grilled him the first two times when he came home. Al's vocabulary had been expanded with each stay.

"I think he just doesn't want to disappoint him. You know how much Mr Malfoy means to Scorpius. They really do have a great relationship. I mean, they do all kinds of things together."

A small pang of jealousy hit Harry. He swallowed hard before asking his next question. "Do you think we, you and I, have a good relationship? I know I'm not...."

"Dad, shut it. We're more than okay."

Harry smiled. "Good, because...."

"I know. I can tell you anything," Al said as he stood up. "But, Dad, I don't think I want you telling me everything."

Harry mussed his hair and laughed. He wished that things were this easy between him and his other two kids. James was doing great, but still there was a barrier between them. It was easier to joke around and be physical with him. Lily, he wasn't sure what to do with. He loved her dearly, but the older she got, the more girl-like she became. He cringed when he heard her whispering and giggling in the hallway with her friends. At least she studied, though. Hermione reminded him of that important fact.

Harry walked Al to the door and gave him a hug. "Al, I'll think about talking to him, okay?"

Al nodded and smiled as he left. Harry caught the glint in his eye, which meant that Al already knew Harry would speak with Scorpius.

*********************
It was the third day of lessons when Harry broke down and couldn't handle the vapid expression in those grey eyes anymore. Scorpius Malfoy sat at the back of the class and looked out the window. The few times he did look up, he wouldn't look Harry in the eye. Harry glanced over to Al, who just shrugged. Harry continued on with the demonstrations, and towards the end of the class time he paired each of the students off. Knowing there was tension between Scorpius and his son, he chose a different partner for each. He hadn't counted on Scorpius' fellow Ravenclaw classmate to look as if she'd just been condemned to Azkaban.

The corners of Harry's mouth rose. Scorpius, despite looking despondent, performed admirably. More than admirably, Harry thought, correcting himself. He could have annihilated his partner, instead he parried with her, letting her cast spells with increasing strength. Within fifteen minutes, she was blossoming with confidence as Scorpius took what she gave, deflecting spells and charms only enough so as not to be harmed.

As the students filed out, Harry made his move and asked Scorpius to stay behind as he walked by Harry's desk. Only the remaining few students glanced back with curiosity. Harry shut the door after they had left.

Scorpius turned and faced Harry. The first thing that struck him was how much the boy had grown. He was going to be tall like his father and grandfather. The second thing was Scorpius' voice when he spoke. "What is it, sir?" was much deeper than it had been last October.

Harry's eye caught a flash of silver on Scorpius' wrist. A link chain was the culprit. "I thought we might talk. We really haven't in quite a while. I just noticed you looked a bit off and wanted to see if everything was okay."

"Fucking hell, he told you. Didn't he?" Scorpius spat out.

Harry was startled, having not expected such vitriol from Scorpius. In class and in the few nights Scorpius had spent over the house, he'd always been a perfect young man. This...this sounded like Draco Malfoy.

"Sit, Scorpius," Harry ordered, pointing to the desk directly in front of his. Scorpius sighed and sat, dropping his satchel to the ground with a bang. His looked out towards the windows once again.

Harry sat down at the desk next to him, blocking his view. "If you mean did Al tell me about your sexual preference, then, yes, he did tell me. He's worried about you."

"I bet," Scorpius mumbled.

Harry still couldn't catch Scorpius' eye; the young wizard now seemed to find the desk engravings more interesting. "And I'm worried about you, too." Scorpius snorted in response. Harry turned in the chair and faced Scorpius directly. "Why do you find that so hard to believe?"

Grey eyes slowly met his. "I thought you cared, sir," Scorpius said damningly.

"What? I do care, Scorpius. I have since the day I first met you."

"Then why?"

"Why what?" Harry asked, confused that he had missed something.

"Why didn't you respond when Father contacted you about visiting me when I was in the Infirmary last January?"

Harry shook his head. "Scorpius, I never received the message. I wanted to come see you, but I thought it wouldn't be appropriate."

Scorpius squeezed his eyes shut. "My father didn't contact you?"

"No, not that I'm aware of." Harry could see the disappointment in Scorpius' face with his response. He wanted to throttle Malfoy at the moment. "But, I might have missed it. It was a busy time for me to be here that week with all that was happening at the Ministry.

Scorpius opened his eyes and smirked. "Good try, Professor."

"I thought so," Harry said with a wink. The beginnings of a small grin could be seen on the young teenager's face. "But I'm here now, Scorpius. Would you like to tell me now?"

"You already know. Al told you."

"Ah," Harry replied. "Then I'm especially sorry I didn't get the message. I'm sure it must have been a difficult realisation, given the circumstances."

"You mean because of my family?"

Harry nodded. "Is there anything I can help you with? I guess I'm not so clear on why you're not being friendly with Al anymore. He's taken it quite personally. He thinks that you think that he thinks that you might come onto to him— or something like that."

Scorpius glanced over at Harry. Harry tried not to smile as he saw the blush overtaking the high-boned cheeks. "Oh God, that's not it at all. I really like Al, but just as a friend. Sh— er— I— I have so many questions," Scorpius replied. "But I can't think of any right now," he added sounding defeated.

Harry reached over and ruffled up the perfectly coiffed hair. He spotted the silver chain again as Scorpius reached up to bat away the assaulting hand and grasped Scorpius' wrist. "Did you make this?" His pointing finger ran over the links. The silver warmed under his touch, he turned the chain, touching more of the links. Scorpius made a soft sound that startled Harry and he quickly released his hold. There was a moment of unease. Harry didn't know if Scorpius even recognised what that sound meant. Harry had partners that made that sound and it didn't seem right coming from Scorpius. They both stared at each other and once again Harry cursed himself for not learning Legilimency.

"Yes, I made it," Scorpius said, finally breaking the silence. "But, I'd rather not say what it means right now."

"Fair enough, but I still want to know what the problem is between you and Al."

Scorpius groaned. Harry smiled, knowing the revelation was going to be something inconsequential. Teen-aged boys had their misunderstandings too. Ron crossed his mind and how stupid they'd both been back then.

"I thought he told a few people about me being gay."

Harry's eyes widened. He doubted it was true, but maybe Al hadn't told him everything. "Why did you think that?"

Scorpius bit his lower lip and closed his eyes again. "Because, Alistair, he's the Ravenclaw captain, made a pass at me."

Harry gulped. He hadn't expected that. "He's too old; you're too young," Harry blurted out.

"No! I'm fourteen, sir," Scorpius replied, sounding much too sure for Harry's liking. He tried to remember when sex or a relationship first entered his mind. It certainly wasn't in his third year at Hogwarts.

"And he's what, eighteen? What did he do? Hell, what did you do?" Harry asked, knowing that he was treading into waters he shouldn't be with Malfoy's son.

Scorpius laughed. His eyes brightened, and for the first time all week he looked cheerful.

"This is serious, Scorpius. What about this makes you suddenly look so happy?"

"I know it is, Professor, but this is the first time I could tell anyone. I mean, even with Al, right after I told him. He grimaced at me when I told him about who I fancied. I didn't think he wanted to hear about me liking boys."

Harry shook his head. "No, Scorpius, I don't think Al has a problem with that. I think he has the same concern I do. Alistair is too old for you right now. Maybe when you're eighteen and out of Hogwarts."

"Oh."

"Yes, oh. However, I do understand about sharing who you fancy with people. I've had the same problem in the past."

"You don't anymore?" Scorpius asked, his eyes searching Harry's with expectancy.

Harry sniggered. "Scorpius, after that article a few years ago, I didn't care what anyone thought anymore. It was embarrassing at the time, but it turned out to be quite freeing. Now I just say what I want to say."

"God, that must feel brilliant. I keep all of this stuff hidden from Father, my friends, my classmates. Anyway, it just feels nice to talk about it."

"I still want to know what happened," Harry said again. Scorpius rolled his eyes. Harry chuckled. "That is something I remember your father doing."

"Still does."

"Scorpius, don't change the subject."

"Okay, okay. We were up late in the common room, discussing the upcoming Quidditch match against Gryffindor. I made a few suggestions. He got excited about my ideas and leant over and kissed me. I kissed him back. It was brilliant for a few seconds and then it was over. He freaked out and ran up to his dorm rooms. Since then, he acts like it never happened."

"Were you upset?"

"Yes, but I did get my first boy kiss," Scorpius said— smugly.

"You've had girl kisses then?"

"Well, yeah. When I finally admitted to myself that I thought I liked looking at boys more than girls, I kind of wanted to make sure."

Harry couldn't resist. The grey eyes were sparkling and the mouth showing off all of its teeth with a huge smile, he reached across and briefly tussled Scorpius' hair again. "And it wasn't very good, then, I suppose?"

"Blech!"

"Agree; that is, except for my wife."

Scorpius froze and looked askance at Harry. "Sir, I know it's absolutely none of my business, but how can that be? I mean...."

"I know what you mean. Let's just say I'm not completely one way or the other. My preference is usually male, but I still enjoy looking at witches now and then."

"Wow, I don't think I'm like that at all."

Harry laughed. "That's fine, Scorpius. In the long run, it will probably make things less confusing for you and for everyone else."

"Phht, like anyone cares. I used to hate being hexed and teased all of the time, but now it's worse; I'm completely ignored."

"I find that hard to believe. My guess is that no one likes a despondent Malfoy. I know I worry when I see one of those. They've been known to be dangerous while in that state."

Scorpius chuckled and stood up. "God, one of these days I think I'd like to see you and Father together in the same room."

Harry shivered with exaggeration and then laughed as he rose up out of his seat. "Your father and I get along just fine, Scorpius. I certainly don't think ill of him. However, I'm sure he'd want to know what you've just told me, but I do understand if you choose to wait a while. Just don't wait too long."

"Okay, sir, I'll think about it. I do wish we could still write to each other."

Harry nodded. "I do too, especially now."

"Sir, do you think it would be okay if we talked at your home? I mean if Al forgives me and if he ever asks me to visit during the summer, maybe we could talk?"

"I think that would be fine, Scorpius," Harry answered as he opened the door, letting the young wizard exit first.

Scorpius was halfway down the hall when Harry thought of something else he wanted to discuss with him, his self-defence training. Harry just smiled as he watched the white-haired Ravenclaw almost skip down the corridor. It could wait for another time.

con't

Chapter Text

May 2020

The stands were filled to capacity. Harry took off his jacket, the weather being uncustomary warm and already humid. Welcomed bottles of Butterbeer floated in front of him and he grabbed two, handing one to Ginny. The grey skies threatened thunder and lightning, but thankfully none had arrived yet.

"There they are!" Ginny said as she pointed down to the Quidditch pitch entrance. Harry strained to see over the witch's hat in front of him, which seemed to be spelled to move in which ever direction he tried to see. Ginny reached down and pulled the hat off the witch. A quick turn of the witch's head and words that were about to tumble out vanished the moment she saw who was sitting behind her.

"God, Lily looks too small to be a Keeper," Harry whispered.

"She'll be brilliant. We practised everyday over the holidays."

Harry shook his head. As if that was news to him. All three of his children had spent hours upon hours practising over the short spring holiday. Both he and Ginny had joined them, and Harry wasn't sure his bum would ever heal.

"Whoa! What's with the Malfoy contingency?" Ginny asked, pointing across the way, while looking through her Omnioculars.

Harry withdrew his own Auror Omnioculars from his jacket pocket lying next to him. He looked down at the corner of the field and watched as Draco Malfoy seemed to be barking out directions to his former classmates: Goyle, Zabini and Nott. The three walked to each corner of the pitch and stood still. "I have no idea," Harry mumbled.

"Hey, Dad!" James yelled. Harry jumped as the larger than life figure zoomed past his glasses. He lowered the Omnioculars and waved to James. Al wasn't far behind. How his two sons ended up as Beaters, he could only blame on George and Fred's memory. He had to admit it was a thrill that all three of his kids were on the team and that James was now captain. It wasn't often that a fifth-year made it to captain. There were the whispers of nepotism, but as the Gryffindors racked up win after win, the rumours stopped. It was only the Ravenclaws who stood in their way for the cup, just like last year. Harry winced as he remembered the game from the previous year against Ravenclaw. The new brooms were an asset, but even Ginny carried on about the unique formations and plays executed by the Eagles. Harry never said a word about who was behind their strategies, and apparently neither did Al.

Harry smiled as he saw Scorpius Malfoy climb the benches and take his place at the very top, the same place he'd sat last year to watch the game. He'd observed last year that the signals were given by colours, wand tip colours. Harry glanced up at the Ravenclaw captain; a part of him was thankful it was a witch this year. She took her place, far above the pitch. Most believed she was waiting for the Snitch to be seen, but Harry knew she was also waiting to see Scorpius Malfoy's wand to produce a shot of colour. He wondered, as he spotted Scorpius' father pacing his corner, if others might have picked up the signals too. The whistle blew and Harry's thoughts quickly turned towards the game at hand.

After two hours and a few snacks later, Harry believed he had cracked the code Scorpius was using. Only twenty points separated the two teams; Gryffindor was in the lead. Both teams seemed to be getting tired and frustrated. James was losing his voice shouting out commands one right after the other. The Ravenclaws played in silence, with the exception of a few curse words when a Bludger came too close or when the Quaffle made it through the hoops. Lily was holding her own. Harry tuned out the Hufflepuff announcer as Ginny kept up a running commentary.

Through his Omniocculars, Harry also kept a vigilant watch on Scorpius. Never once did he seem flustered, his face only revealed a furrowed brow now and then which Harry had learned meant he was in deep concentration. His thoughts switched back to the previous summer and the one night Scorpius Malfoy stayed the night at their home.

Harry had arrived home late from the office. Ginny had not been pleased, but he hadn't been able to leave as negotiations between the Ministry and Gringotts' goblins were at a critical point. The goblins had finally given in and agreed to trace the money being transferred from around the world for Audun, the Norwegian wizard thought to be bankrolling the terrorist activities. Fucking ten months and nothing, Harry had thought to himself. Nothing that they could arrest or detain him for.

Scorpius' wand tip turned gold. Harry watched the Ravenclaw Seeker. Gold, gold meant the Snitch was in play. Technically, the team was cheating, but with other spectators from the upper-right side of the stands yelling out that they could see the Snitch, it wasn't a true violation. Harry smiled, knowing there was a bit of Slytherin in the young Malfoy.

Finding the young man in his office at home after his argument with Ginny had been resolved was a surprise. The Protection Spells were some of his finest and they had been overcome by a fourteen-year-old. Scorpius was asleep on the small leather couch and a shot of Firewhisky had been waiting for him on his desk. Harry had stopped himself from immediately waking the boy and sending him off to Al's room. He had looked too peaceful to disturb. His simple blue dressing gown, Harry guessed, cost more than Al's wardrobe. The instinct to touch it, to feel what the shimmering material was made of, was restrained. Harry placed the simple throw Molly had knitted for him over Scorpius, but not before he admired the silver arachnid hanging by a chain around his neck. Harry surmised that Scorpius had made the scorpion himself.

Harry had returned to his desk and taken the shot of alcohol provided and then he saw the note Scorpius had left for him. It was simple and to the point. No, he hadn't told his father, yet, and things had gone a little farther with the Ravenclaw captain before he left Hogwarts for good, and that he probably told him things that he shouldn't have. Harry shook his head. The boy was too young to have been fondled. A part of him wanted to shake Scorpius and tell him not to waste these firsts with someone who didn't care, but he didn't. He knew the young wizard had shared something with him that he hadn't shared with anyone else. He trusted Harry, and for that reason, Harry wouldn't question his judgement now.

He lifted the parchment to add it to the letters he had kept from the boy a few years back. Why he had kept them, he didn't quite know, but it seemed important to do so, just as he kept every note his own children wrote to him from Hogwarts. A gold medallion lay where the parchment had been. Harry picked it up; he could feel it was infused with magic. With further inspection he saw the meticulous engraving of the constellation Scorpius on one side. He flipped the medallion over; there was a single bright star with an engraved word below it: Antares. Harry quickly retrieved his old Astronomy textbook from one of the bookshelves that lined one wall of his office. Antares, the star that made up the heart of Scorpius.

"You'll keep it for me?" Scorpius had mumbled when Harry gently shook him awake. "I don't want it to be broken or lost until I'm ready."

Harry knew there was deeper meaning to what was being asked, but the pleading grey eyes stopped him from trying to return it. Harry nodded. Scorpius smiled and whispered, "Thank you."

A sharp jab to his ribs brought him back to the here and now.

"They've lost," Ginny whinged.

Harry looked up just in time to see the Ravenclaw Seeker snatch the Snitch right above James' head. Harry groaned. This would be the downfall of having three children on a team; when they lost, and this would be their first time, it would be triple the sulky faces. For one of the few times since his children had started Hogwarts, he was glad that they wouldn't be coming home.

"Can we sneak out without seeing them?" Harry mumbled in Ginny's ear.

She laughed. "Not a chance, Dad. Let's go and console the poor souls," Ginny said as she rose up from the bench.

Harry felt it before he saw it; he grabbed Ginny by the arm and threw her down on the bench covering her as he raised his wand protecting the both of them. His eyes scanned the crowd in a flash, and watched in horror as spell after spell zeroed in on the boy across the way. "Fuck!" he yelled and stood up as he saw students begin to pile on Scorpius.

Screaming fans fled from the fallen student as more spells were incoming. Harry's stomach lurched as he heard a crack and saw a Bludger following the lines of colour. His eyes traced the patch back to the crack and saw his oldest son cheering. Spells from the Ravenclaw stands aimed towards the air, knocking Gryffindor players from their brooms; they fell like cardinals shot with arrows. And then spells went towards students in the stands from every house.

"Catch them!" Harry yelled as he pointed his wand up and called out spell after spell hoping he'd reached the Gryffindor players before they struck the ground.

"Oh God!" the only Gryffindor player left in the air screamed as he raced towards Scorpius Malfoy, who now lay still, alone on the bench. Harry caught Draco advancing towards his son in record speed. He hoped Al wouldn't face Draco's wrath. Harry jumped from the stands down to the field, his own charm cushioning his landing. The field was in chaos as students tried to run away and were screaming in fear and confusion.

"I want the wands now! All of them!" Harry bellowed as he saw Ron and two other Aurors trying to put up Protection Spells around the injured Gryffindor players lying on the field to stop them from being trampled on. "There are more from those in the stands!"

"Potter, you can't..."

Harry spun around; his eyes caught the worry from Minerva McGonagall. "Headmistress, I will be investigating, this is not a school prank; this is a crime," Harry said. He knew his tone was cold, one she wasn't used to. "I will be analysing every student's wand. I want them in their common rooms within thirty minutes."

"Yes, Harry, but, James," she said with hesitation.

Harry's eyes narrowed. He looked ten meters down the field where Ginny was administering first-aid to their son. "In your office, please." He turned his back before she could reply and sprinted down the field, trying to locate Draco's goons. They were restrained by magical ropes. Harry guessed it was the first move Ron had made. His heart stopped as he saw Poppy levitating the stretcher from the stands. Blond hair was red and the body was still. Draco followed; Harry could see the look of horror on his face, He knew, Harry thought in disgust. Al's sobs could be heard as he walked with his head down after Draco. Draco stopped and said something to Al and Al stopped following the stretcher. Harry clutched the medallion that hung by a chain around his neck. You can't die, Scorpius, you can't. I have your heart.

********************
The screaming voices of the two boys he loved with all his heart could be heard as he rose up the spiral stairwell. He tried to make out what they were saying, but the anger and venom being spit back and forth made the words incomprehensible. A single sharp yell of Enough! from their mother silenced them both.

"Where have you been?" Ginny sniped as he entered the Headmistress' office.

Harry clinched his jaw before speaking. "I've been interviewing students and analysing their wands, Ginny. And, " he stated as he saw she was about to speak again, "and I had to make an official statement on what I witnessed along with handing Blaise, Greg, and Ted over to my Aurors to take them to the Ministry."

"But...."

"No buts, this goes beyond a family matter. I have to take James back with me for an official statement."

"Dad," James sputtered. Harry glanced over to him; he couldn't bear looking at him before. "I—I—I didn't..."

Harry snorted. "You didn't mean it? Please, Merlin, don't tell me that is what you were going to say."

"Dad, how is Scorpius?" Al asked as he approached his father.

Harry knew what he was doing, it was what Al always did. Al could read Harry like a book. He was now trying to distract him, but this time it was useless. "I don't know, Al. I haven't heard."

"He's alive, Harry. He's severely injured but he will live," a voice said that did what Al was unable to do: calm him for a moment. He looked up at the portrait of Dumbledore. The blue eyes weren't sparkling like they usually did when Harry paid a visit. No, this time they looked tired with deep concern. Harry nodded and then returned his focus to his family.

"Al, I want you to return to your house. Ginny, please go with him. I haven't seen Lily and I'm sure she's worried. James, you will come with me. We will be leaving in a half-hour."

"Harry, you can't. You can't take him there."

Harry shook his head as he looked at Ginny, who he knew wanted to save her son, and then he looked at James who was turning paler by the second.

"I have no choice. I will send my Patronus when a decision has been made. Right now, I'm going to the Infirmary."

"To see Scorpius?" James spat out.

"Yes, James, to see Scorpius. I need to know what damage the Bludger did to him. And, unfortunately, I have to bring his father into custody tonight also."

"Oh, God!" Ginny blurted out. "Harry, he won't go. Not with his son being injured."

"He won't have a choice. I just hope his wife is there to console Scorpius. Ginny, bring James some clothes and maybe some overnight things."

Ginny nodded. Harry just shook his head and left the room.

*********************
The Infirmary was filled with patients. Harry assumed others had been injured by spells, but some students who'd fled were trampled on. The low rumblings of groans from those in pain made him wince. He spotted Draco's boots from under a pulled curtain at the end of the long narrow room. He silently thanked those above that a pair of high-heeled woman's boots could also be seen.

As he approached the secluded bed, he tried to give reassuring smiles to those that were injured. His heart skipped as he heard a muffled, heated discussion between Scorpius and Draco. Scorpius was alive and conscious. Carefully, he pulled back the curtain and entered the family's space.

Draco barely glanced at Harry and mumbled through clinched teeth, "Couldn't you have waited until I was through?"

"I'm sorry, Malfoy, but I have to take you and James in with me in twenty minutes."

Draco's head jerked to look at Harry. "You're taking in James? Your own son? God, you are a bigger arsehole than I thought."

"James wasn't the leader," Scorpius mumbled and turned his head. Harry had to stifle a gasp as he saw the angry red half-circle line from the corner of Scorpius' mouth up to his cheek bone.

"But the Bludger...."

"The Bludger struck the Slytherin on top of me with the knife. James knew, but he didn't aim for me with the Bludger, nor did he throw a spell. Check his wand," Scorpius said in whispered tones.

"Shhh, darling, no more talking. You'll open the wound again," Astoria Malfoy said as she tried to brush back the fringe stuck to Scorpius' forehead.

"Scorpius, just fix it," Draco spat out. Harry picked up the strong sense of frustration.

"No, Father. This will be my only scar. No one will ever mark me again. The scar will let them think I'm vulnerable, but I'm not."

"Scorpius," Draco sighed. "It will remind me of...."

Harry wondered if Malfoy had actually finished what he was saying, but Scorpius' words let him know that it wasn't the case. This was a moment Harry wished he wasn't around to witness.

"Remind you of your pride, Father?"

Harry watched Draco's hands form into fists and his jaw tighten, but still his eyes held steady with his son's.

"Scorpius!" Astoria snapped.

"I'll return in twenty," Harry said almost apologetically and lifted the curtain.

"No, don't go, Professor. I always wanted to see you two together. I can feel the tension. You know I asked him to tell you, Professor? I knew they had broken the code for the spell; they did it a month ago. They didn't hurt me then; they were just having fun by teasing me. But I knew they were just biding their time"

"Scorpius!"

Harry let the curtain fall. This time he could hear the guilt in Draco's voice.

"Why? Why didn't you tell me? I would have taught him the spell, taught you the spell. All I needed was Kingsley's okay."

"Phht, because, Potter, we Malfoys don't need your help."

Scorpius rolled over onto his side away from all three of them, groaning as he did so. "No, we don't need his help, Father, but I want his help. He understands things about me that you never will."

Harry reached for his wand, needing something to hold onto. Seeing Draco shamed by his own son was something he didn't wish upon him or any father.

"What does that mean?" Draco snapped.

"It means, Father, that I'm not like you. I don't care what others think about me. I'm just me, Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy, a talented wizard who happens to like other wizards," Scorpius replied matter of factly.

"Oh my God!" Astoria burst out.

"Scorpius! Turn-over and face me!" Draco commanded.

Scorpius twisted his head to the side. He glanced at Harry briefly and then looked at his father.

"I want you to repeat yourself."

Harry closed his eyes, wishing he wasn't there or better yet that Malfoy and his wife weren't there. The injury on Scorpius' face had opened and no one seemed to care.

"Which part, Father? The part about me being gay or the part about not caring what others think of me?"

"The former," Draco whispered and then turned and walked away. The curtain swallowed him for a moment.

"Darling, I'll talk to him," Astoria said frantically as she kissed Scorpius on the forehead and hurriedly left, leaving Harry alone with her son.

"Scorpius, why like that?" Harry asked.

Scorpius rolled back over. His fingers reached for his cheek; they were bandaged as was his wrist. Blood had stained the white gauze. "He deserved it."

"Why?"

Scorpius snorted. "I love my father, Professor, more than anyone, but I'm afraid I'll always be a disappointment to him. Better to get it all out at once, eh?"

Harry couldn't help but grin. Scorpius patted the empty space on the bed next to him. "Please sit."

Harry complied with the request, hoping the dip in the mattress wouldn't hurt Scorpius any further. "What's the damage?"

"Concussion, burns, broken legs, broken ribs, you know. The usual," Scorpius said, grinning up at Harry.

"So will you let me heal the scar?" Harry asked, raising his wand as he did so.

Scorpius shook his head. "You can close the wound, but I want the scar."

"I'll trade you," Harry said revealing the faded lightning bolt still hidden under his fringe.

"Did you keep it?" Scorpius said, lifting his fingers towards Harry's forehead. Harry bent down so he could touch it.

"Keep what?"

"My heart?"

Harry felt the warm breath on his face. With his own children, he would have bent down and kissed them, but this wasn't his child; fingertips barely ran over his scar. "Yes, right here," Harry answered and pulled a golden chain from under his shirt revealing the medallion.

Scorpius' bandaged hand moved toward the medallion. His fingers could barely hold onto it. Harry glanced up to see tears filling the soft-grey eyes. "It's safe with you."

Harry leaned back up and nodded. "Yes."

******************
"James, this is Solicitor Draco Malfoy. Solicitor Malfoy, my eldest son, James," Harry said, almost choking on his own formality. "Each of you will enter the Floo, and I will toss in the Floo Powder and call out your destination.

"Good God, Potter, is that necessary?"

"Yes."

Draco stepped forward to go first. He turned around in the fireplace and faced James. "Don't say a word to anyone without me there."

"Wha?" James sputtered.

"Malfoy, he doesn't need representation," Harry groaned.

*********************
"I didn't cast a spell, Dad! I was trying to knock the Slytherin on top of Malfoy, but Scorpius was able to throw him off first. His fucking self-defence classes!" James yelled while still slumped in the hard wooden chair across the table from his father.

Harry stood up. The urge to slap his son across the face was stronger than it had ever been in his life. "But you knew, James! You knew the attack was going to happen and you did nothing to stop it."

"It was only going to happen if they won. Beatrice Yaxley organized it; it was her idea."

Deep audible breaths came from Harry. He rounded the table and pulled the chair away from the table. James caught himself before he tumbled out. Harry leaned down, staring into brown eyes that showed both defiance and fear. "Listen to yourself, James. You let an innocent wizard be attacked because of a stupid Quidditch match."

"Innocent my arse," James muttered back and then flinched as if by instinct.

Harry shivered, wondering briefly where that came from; he'd never hit any of his children.

"He's not innocent."

Harry stood up and backed away. "Tell me, James, what has Scorpius Malfoy done that was so evil that it called for this— this gang attack?"

"He used the Imperius Curse," James said with satisfaction.

Harry shook his head. "He what? When? On who?"

James smirked knowing he now had his father's full attention. Harry wanted to wipe it off his face immediately.

"Last year, on the Ravenclaw Quidditch captain. He made Alistair snog him and do other things. Beatrice caught them at the end of the year. So, Dad, how does that make you feel about the wizard you seem to dote upon?"

Harry stepped back towards James. Things were beginning to fall in place. "James, did Beatrice say whether she confronted them or not?"

"No, she said she left them alone then, but talked to Alistair later and he said he was Im— Imperiused. And then it happened again over this last spring break and he denied it again, but he did tell her he knew the counter curse to the spell Scorpius has used since first year. Last week, though, he broke up with her and she thinks Scorpius has him Confunded," James replied, looking very satisfied with the news he'd relayed. Harry stared at him without saying a word; he raised one eyebrow. "Oh shit, she was lying, wasn't she?"

Harry nodded. "I'd place a bet on it. And I'd also bet that Scorpius told Alistair how to counteract the spell. James, you do realise that Alistair, who was then eighteen, was enticing a thirteen to fourteen year-old-boy to do more than snog? Can you imagine a seventh-year doing that to Lily?"

James grimaced and closed his eyes. Slowly, he shook his head. "I fucked up, didn't I?"

Harry nodded and ruffled James' brown mop of hair. "Yes, you did, and if you don't quit using that language, I'm going to tell your mother."

"Are you going to arrest me?" James asked hesitantly.

"No, son, I'm not. There will be some punishments doled out, though. But first, I want to know what you mean by me doting on Scorpius Malfoy. Your tone tells me that you don't like me even talking with him."

"Dad, not now," James pleaded. "Let me just know what the punishments are and we'll go on the way we've always gone on."

"What the hell does that mean?" Harry asked, confused by James' demeanour.

"Forget it, Dad, it's not important," James said as he turned his chair back towards the table. He lifted a glass of water that had been provided for him earlier, and drank it down until it was empty.

Harry returned to his own chair. "No, James, I won't forget it. If something's bothering you, it's important to me."

James snorted.

Harry bit his tongue. He wondered if he and Ron had been this stubborn and obnoxious. The answer was probably yes, but then Molly and Arthur would have never put up with it. "James, what is it?" Harry asked, almost pleading.

"Fine, Dad, you really want to know?" James bellowed.

"Yes, I do."

James, for the first time since he and Harry had entered the small interrogation room at the Ministry, sat up straight. "Okay, in all honesty I think you love Al more than me. In fact, I'm not sure you even like me. You've never once show an interest in my studies, my friends, my hobbies, anything. I bet you don't even know my girlfriend's name."

Harry froze. His insides twisted. "I do love you, James. More than you'll ever know," was all he could say. The rest, he feared, was probably true.

"And?" James said hopefully.

"And, I like you very much."

James sighed.

Harry leant over the desk and reached for James' left hand. He worked it in his palm and wondered when James' hand had become larger than his own. It resembled Charlie's hands more than his. "And, James, you're right. I don't know you very well. You were my first born, but you have traits I don't have. You've been blessed with being tall and strong, you're good looking, smart, and popular. I was nothing like you when I was a child. It's not that I don't care. You just seem so confident, as if you have it all under control."

James shook his head. "Wow, Mum was right; you do have a self-image problem."

Harry snickered. "Yeah, maybe I do, but that doesn't help our relationship any, does it?"

"No, not really. You— you connect with Al and I just don't get it. And I really don't get why, when you're around Hogwarts, you chat with Malfoy. Or when he comes over, you seem so interested in him."

"Al's easy to explain, James. We've both been very close to dying. It just gives you a different perspective, a different drive. Not that ours are the same, but he can read my emotions better than anyone else, save your Aunt Hermione."

"He's carefree, but loyal," James said.

"Yeah, that's part of it."

"And Scorpius?"

Harry stopped and drank his own glass of water empty. He poured both of them some more. "Scorpius is more complicated. When he first showed up at Hogwarts, he reminded me of when I was there: teased and looked at oddly."

"Dad, you were loved for you know...."

"No, James, I wasn't. People loved the idea of me, but me personally, no. Scorpius' father, as you know, disliked me and caused me all kinds of problems, but there were others, even some of my dorm mates who thought I was mental. Hell, even Ron didn't speak to me for months our fourth year. So, I just saw this kid who others thought they knew, but they didn't, and they were harassing him."

"Me included."

Harry nodded. "Yes, you included."

James hung his head. Harry brushed the back of James' hand with his thumb.

"I'm a Weasley aren't I? I mean Mum's side of the family is honourable, but...."

"Yes, they are, James."

"But, Dad, there's something special about you. I can see it in the things you do, not so much in what you say. Shi— hell, this is coming out wrong. I mean there are loads of people who talk about the right thing, but you actually do it. How? What drives you?"

A small grin broke across Harry's face. He gave James' hand a hard squeeze. "When I was young, my Headmaster once told me some things I've never forgotten. He said, It is our choices, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. Then, in my fourth year, when Cedric Diggory was murdered he told everyone if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory. I took those words to heart, James."

James turned his hand over and grasped Harry's tight. "Dad, do you think I have it in me to do that? To make the right choices?"

"Yes, James, I do. I'm very proud of your accomplishments, whether you know it or not. And I don't feel particularly honourable right now in that you've felt so distant from me. We're going to have to work on that. However, in the mean time, listen to your heart and remember in the end it's you who will have to decide whether your life was a noble one or not."

con't

Chapter Text

July 2023

Harry glanced at his watch, knowing he would be late for Al's eighteenth birthday party. The Ministers had been arguing the same point for the last hour. The Supreme Mugwump was too intimidated to call them to order and take back control of the conference. The meeting of the International Confederation of Wizards held such potential in coming up with real solutions and laws to curb the terrorists activities. Since Audun, the main funding source, had been captured three months ago, the members had been floundering and making mistakes. The Wraith had not been heard from and some thought maybe he'd been killed. Harry doubted it. He yawned again.

Unfortunately, the Ministers insisted on being present and had taken control of the meeting. Each puffed more and more with hot air as they spoke; Harry believed some would start floating like Aunt Marge. He snickered at the memory.

"Should I go? I'll explain it to Mum."

Harry nodded. "I'll try and make it in time for the cake," he sighed.

James clasped one hand over Harry's wrist and gave it a squeeze as he stood up. Harry winked at him, wishing it was he who could leave. James and all of the first year Aurors had been allowed to come and observe the historic conference. Harry was sure most of them would hand in their resignation when it was over. He raised his hand and stifled a yawn. He watched James walk through the grand meeting hall towards the ornate double-doors. Harry shook his head as he observed others eyeing his son as he passed them. James seemed not to notice with his head held high, and Auror robes perfectly fitted, giving him an additional look of confidence.

Harry turned and faced the front of the room. Kingsley, sitting up front at the long table facing the participants, caught his eye and gave a half-grin. They'd already had the discussion; James would finish his Auror training, spend a few years in the field, and then would be assigned to Kingsley as one of his personal Aurors. James had a presence, he was self-confident, and over the last few years had attained a sense of humility. Eventually, Harry knew, his son would be a politician. A part of him was relieved. He loved James following in his footsteps, but taking his own path would be better for him, and, Harry secretly admitted to himself, James would be in less danger.

**********************
The house was dark, save one hurricane lamp lit on the coffee table. A note lay next to it.

Dad,

I understand, so don't worry about it. I saved you a piece of cake. It's in your bedroom.

See you in the morning,
-Al
The mantle clock chimed two. He tried to pick up any sounds from upstairs. Al having five boys over for the night usually meant they'd never get to sleep. Then he remembered the Quidditch game they would all be playing with Al's cousins. He smiled thinking about Scorpius and his newest beau at the Burrow for the match. Not that Scorpius cared; he'd have a great time. The Weasleys all tried to be nice as he was Al's friend, but his peculiar ways made them uneasy.

Harry wandered into the kitchen. Cake wouldn't be enough to satisfy his hunger. The food at the conference was too rich, and after three days of it, his stomach was rebelling. He quickly made a cold lamb sandwich and poured a large glass of milk, enough to last through the chocolate delight waiting for him upstairs. He levitated the snack on up ahead of him. He couldn't resist looking in on his children, who would all cringe if they heard him refer to them as children. This was the first time they'd all been at home since Christmas.

Carefully he peeked in on Lily. A gentle smile broke over his face seeing her clutching onto her stuffed unicorn, which she'd received for her fifth birthday. The crack under Al's door was dark; Harry decided to not open it and wake anyone up. He crossed the hall to James' room.

James' bedroom was no longer covered in Quidditch and scantily clad witches. Even though he rarely stayed there, he helped paint and update the décor. It now reflected a more serious young man. Harry chuckled, seeing James' Auror robes hung with care; the rest of his clothes were in a pile on the floor with Holmes curled up on top of them. Last year, Sherlock would have joined him.

"Dad?" Harry heard James mumble. "Is that you?"

"Yeah, James. It's late; go back to sleep," Harry whispered.

"How did it go?" James whispered back, ignoring his father's comment.

Harry stepped into the room. James moved over on his bed and Harry sat down. "It improved some. Progress was made when Kingsley decided to be a pit bull. I'll catch you up in the morning. You should really...."

"Dad, how would you feel about me getting a flatmate?" James asked.

Harry couldn't see James' face to see his expression, but his inflection told him that it was something James favoured.

"Al?"

A soft chuckle emerged from James. "No, he and Rose are going to share a flat near St. Mungo's. No, I was thinking of Scorpius. We talked about it after the others went to bed. I think it would work."

Harry smiled to himself. Things certainly had moved forward in the previous three years. Scorpius and James had become closer friends than Al and Scorpius had ever been. Draco had balked at first, but then it was James that talked Scorpius into trying out for the Ravenclaw Quidditch team in his fifth year. Draco, Astoria, and the elder Malfoys never missed a game.

"He'll make you clean up after yourself," Harry chided. "And you know eventually you will fight over who is better, an Auror or Hit Wizard."

"Auror," James responded quickly with a chuckle. "I know, but it would be good to have company, plus I wouldn't have to worry about him wanting to borrow my clothes."

Harry snickered. Scorpius, since coming out to his father, hadn't held back in letting the world know he was gay. Harry secretly thought that Narcissa must have had clothes from her father and grandfather's era packed away. Vintage robes and clothing appeared to be another one of his passions, and he was rarely seen in modern day clothing. While he caught everyone's eye, he did, in Harry's opinion, pull it off well. Lace trimmed sleeves and collars looked atrocious on Ron Weasley, but on Scorpius, they signalled class. "I think it sounds like a fine idea." He bent down and kissed James on the forehead. "Go to sleep, son."

He walked to the far end of the hallway. The rug was new; slowly but surely the house was being redesigned since the kids were rarely home. Harry missed the thread-bare carpet of old and its stains from ink and drink and accidents Sherlock had before he died, which sat for days before anyone noticed to clean it up, he. The house didn't feel quite as much like a home. The flickering light under the crack of his bedroom door let him know he had company. It was a surprise. Ginny hadn't visited his room for over a year, or maybe two he thought, and then he worried that maybe she had stayed up to talk. He didn't think he could deal with another talk. She was in the midst of trying to make a decision about her next career since retiring from Quidditch reporting. Part of him wanted her to consider taking the position offered last week from Hogwarts to be the new flying instructor. Another part ached, thinking about coming home to no one but Holmes.

Harry squinted as he entered. Ginny was not in his bed. His chair by the fire had been Transfigured into a chaise and all he could see was midnight blue silk covering long legs that he couldn't identify. His heart quickened as he heard sounds that he recognized: soft moans and a hand working a cock to get off. Slowly the person turned his head. Harry had only an instant to register who it was as long white hair came into view and then black pupils rimmed in silver met his. He wanted to move, but the sight mesmerized him, the young man who had invaded his private room held a knife's blade in his mouth as he worked himself to a climax.

"Scorpius," Harry whispered.

The dancing shadows caused by the flames only allowed Harry to take in limited parts of a body half-wrapped in a dressing gown, which rivalled any he'd seen before. Slowly he approached the wide-eyed wizard, his face trying to express too many emotions for Harry to fathom at one time. "Scorpius," Harry whispered again as he gently grasped the knife's handle, sliding the blade from between Scorpius' lips. It belonged under his pillow, where it had been for the last six years. Harry held it in his hand; the glint from the fire catching on the engravings made his heart ache. Scorpius' voice startled him when he began to speak.

"It was forged by Persian goblins, near the Caspian Sea about five hundred years ago. The engravings, though, are curious. One is more recent."

Harry's ears perked up. "What?"

Scorpius smiled and wiped his hand and stomach off using the shimmering silk. Harry tried not to look at the dampened material. "Let me see the knife and I'll show you." Harry held the blade as Scorpius took the handle. His thumb rubbed over the rune mark near the blade's origin. "This one here." Harry bent over to get a better view. "The rest all speak of the different people the knife has been used to assassinate and who did the assassination. That is how the magic works. You have to put your sign and the sign of the person you wish to kill. These are all over three hundred to five hundred years old and Persian. But this one, this one is Greek; the man it killed was Greek, but the man who killed him was Persian...and, oh, this is interesting, German. He's claiming both." Scorpius rested the knife across the palm of his hand. "Can I ask where you got this? I've never seen an Assassin's knife before."

Harry picked it up and put it back under his pillow. The information Scorpius had just given him was invaluable, but he questioned why the assassin would leave the knife for him to find. "It was used to kill my Greek lover six years ago."

"Oh Merlin, I'm sorry, sir," Scorpius said, and promptly sat up and covered the parts of his skin showing. "I feel like...."

Harry sat down on the edge of his bed. "Feel like what, Scorpius? What are you doing here? Trying to make me forget you're my sons' best friend?" Harry asked.

Scorpius laughed. "Yeah, something like that."

"Ah, well, I'm about twenty-five years too old for you."

"Shhh, don't say that," Scorpius replied, raising his hand as if to shield the words from reaching him.

"Well it's true," Harry said and then groaned as he pulled off his boots and removed his socks. The thick Persian carpet always felt good under his feet. He stretched and curled his toes. He knew he had to say more; finding Scorpius wanking in his bedroom was not a situation that could be brushed off. "Were you just looking for some privacy or waiting for me?" Harry asked directly.

"Waiting, sir," Scorpius answered and then buried his head in his hands. His long hair further hid his face.

Harry reached over and pushed the long strands of hair behind Scorpius' ears. "Are these feelings new?"

Scorpius didn't look up; he shook his head.

"Ah, okay then, maybe we should talk," Harry said softly.

"Maybe I should leave and we can pretend this didn't happen," Scorpius replied with a slightly hopeful tone.

"We could," Harry bantered back, "but then we'd be uncomfortable around each other, which would be rubbish since you'll be living with James."

Scorpius' head jerked up and he removed his hands. "James told you? I wasn't sure if he was serious or not. My parents and I had a row today. I need to move away. I love them and my grandparents, but it's too much right now. Grandfather and Grandmother hardly leave the manor, and Father is away at work all day and if Mother makes me attend one more tea, I'll...."

"You don't have to explain why you want to move from home," Harry said. "James and Al just told Ginny and I that's what they were going to do."

"Yeah, but you're different, sir. Oh God, there's your dinner and cake. I really should leave," Scorpius said and rose. Harry held out his hand and grabbed Scorpius' robe.

"No, you'll stay and we'll talk." He reached inside and down his collar with his left hand, pulling out the medallion a young Scorpius once gave him. "How can I protect your heart if you won't let me know what's going on?"

"But...."

Harry's hand moved from Scorpius' robe sleeve to his forearm. "Sit and we'll talk while I eat. But first, I'd like to get out of these clothes. I'll be right back."

Harry returned from the bathroom in his pyjamas and dressing gown. He usually slept starkers, but given the situation he didn't think it was appropriate. He picked up the sandwich as he sat on the edge of the bed facing Scorpius. His chair was back to being a chair. "I thought your boyfriend was staying the night," Harry said as he took the first bite. The lightly seasoned lamb on the crusted bread tasted wonderful.

Scorpius grinned. "He is, but he's really just to pass the time."

Harry swallowed and took a large gulp of milk. "Does he know that?"

"Yeah, being that there were only three gay wizards in our class limited our choices. His name is Paolo and he was in Hufflepuff."

"Hufflepuff? Does your father know?"

Scorpius rolled his eyes. "Yes, and now you have the same tone as he does."

Harry laughed. "I'm just teasing you. So where do I fit into all of this?" Harry asked as he took another swallow of milk.

"I was hoping you'd fit into me," Scorpius replied.

"Oh hell!" Harry sputtered as milk flew from his mouth.

"I am of age now, sir, a year past actually, but I thought once I was out of Hogwarts you might be interested."

Harry wiped up his bedspread and the rug with a napkin. Scorpius retrieved his wand from his robe and removed the remaining wet spots. Harry couldn't help but look to see if Scorpius had done the same to his dressing gown while he was in the bathroom. He caught himself before the words 'I've never been interested' tumbled out of his mouth. For the first time, he looked at the young wizard as someone more than who he'd watched out for. He was beautiful; and then the thought that he'd probably recognised this for a while unnerved him. Harry set down his sandwich and measured his words very carefully. "Scorpius, any gay man would be lying if they said they wouldn't be interested. But, as I said, I'm much too old for you." A sudden memory of when he'd heard those words before came upon him. It was long ago, but then there weren't so many years between Teddy's parents. "I do have to ask. Why me?"

"Afraid I'm hero worshipping?"

Harry nodded. "You wouldn't be the first."

Scorpius moved his hand to the chain link bracelet and fingered each link. At his touch the metal changed colours. Scorpius seemed to be absorbed in what he was doing but finally he looked over at Harry. "No, I'm sure I wouldn't be the first, but I also know that you're more than that. I won't deny that you are my hero, but that's because I know what you've done and what you do. I know the man you are, and to me those qualities should be worshipped."

Harry's heart stilled. Scorpius' words had been said so softly, and Harry recognised the depth of the young wizard's feelings. The scar on his face was reddening, and the instinct to rub his fingertip over it had to be squashed. "I'm honoured, Scorpius, but I can't reciprocate the feelings, and there is no way I would ever use you."

Scorpius nodded. "I understand, but— but, sir, don't expect me to quit trying," he said and gave Harry a grin so wicked that Harry had to smile back.

"My ego will enjoy it. I'm sure."

Scorpius rose from the chair. His dressing gown split open, revealing more skin and body than Harry could take in all at one time. With a quick adjustment, it was hidden behind midnight-blue silk once again. Scorpius stood in front of Harry, gazing down at him. Harry could barely swallow as he once again realised that Scorpius was now a man, and one that was interested in him. His beauty took Harry's breath away. The tall, lean wizard with long blond hair, adorned with jewellery of his own making, made Harry shiver. For the first time in his life he knew what being enraptured meant. Scorpius bent over and put his hands on Harry's shoulders. The clean scent of sandalwood filled Harry's nostrils as Scorpius' face neared his. He was expecting a kiss and knew he'd have to pull away, but instead Scorpius rubbed his cheek against his and then whispered in his ear, "It will take time, Harry, but someday you'll recognise the potential we have."

con't

Chapter Text

August 2027

"Sir, you're leaving early?"

"Er, yes, Ms Baker, I am. Is there an appointment I don't know about? My schedule appears clear."

"No, sir, but I've never seen you leave early without it being a family emergency."

Harry sighed. What his administrator had stated was unfortunately too true. "Ms Baker, I will be at James' flat tonight for dinner and at my home later this evening if you need to reach me."

"Oooh, are you going to meet his girlfriend?" Connie Baker asked, her now blue eyes opened wide with curiosity. "Lily said she's a keeper, which means a lot coming from a sister."

Harry rolled his eyes. Ever since Lily began her training as an Auror, everything had become complicated as his personal life became fodder for office gossip. "I'm sure she is, Ms Baker," Harry replied.

"Is Mrs Potter going to be there?"

"No, Mrs Potter is not going to be there," Harry replied. "She will be at Hogwarts."

"How about Scorpius' new beau? I've heard this one has lasted longer than a month?"

She stopped talking as Harry glared at her. "Ms Baker, rumour has it that Solicitor Malfoy is on the hunt for an office manager again, shall I suggest to him that he give you another chance?"

"Shi— you wouldn't?"

Harry blinked at her and walked towards the Floo. "I might," he said and blew her a kiss as he dropped the Floo Powder.

"Um, hello," Harry said as he wiped the few specks of soot off his robes. There was not a cleaner Floo he knew of than the one shared by James and Scorpius, and he knew it wasn't because of James. A tall, distinguished looking wizard with salt and pepper hair stood up. Harry had never seen him before; the man's brown eyes were wide with surprise.

"Uh, hello. I'm sorry, but are you Harry Potter?"

Harry refrained from rolling his eyes for the second time in the last five minutes. He guessed the wizard to be James' girlfriend's father. He hadn't realised Julia's family was from across the pond. "Yes, I'm James' father and you are?"

"I— I— I'm Detective Ken Smith. I can't tell you what an honour it is to meet you," he said as he held out his hand.

"American?" Harry said as he shook the man's hand.

"No, Canadian, Auror Potter."

"Harry, please call me Harry," Harry said.

"Sure, and please call me Ken," the wizard said. "Can I get you something to drink? The boys are out shopping for dinner. They should be home soon. I believe Ms Upton will be joining us later."

"You're not Julia's father?" Harry asked briskly. He was sure he was being rude, but he found having a Canadian Auror in his son's flat disturbing.

The wizard laughed, revealing a mouthful of sparkling white teeth. "No, not hardly. I'm Scorpius' friend."

Harry's stomach dropped. The wizard looked to be older than him. "Ah, I see. I think maybe a drink might be in order."

The wizard winked at him, and then headed towards the kitchen. Harry wanted to wipe the salacious look off his face. The thought of Scorpius seeing someone so much older put his thoughts in turmoil. His fingers rubbed the medallion under his robes. As long as Scorpius didn't ask for it back, then Harry wouldn't say a word.

"So, I take it you don't approve of my seeing Scorpius?" Ken asked as he entered the room with two glasses of scotch. Harry took one and sat in the leather chair by the brick fireplace. Ken sat across from him on the couch.

"It's really none of my concern. Scorpius isn't my son. I'm curious, though, if you've met his father." Harry had to hide the smile as he imagined Draco's reaction.

"Yes, just last evening. A fine home and family Scorpius comes from. I enjoyed Draco and Astoria's company immensely over cocktails and dinner. And Scorpius' grandparents are divine. I don't think I've ever met anyone with such a dry wit as Lucius Malfoy or such grace as Narcissa, don't you agree?"

The stomach turning had now produced bile that was creeping up Harry's oesophagus. The corner of Harry's mouth turned up briefly. "Yes, I've known the family for years. Draco and I attended Hogwarts together."

"Really? That is fascinating."

Harry looked around the flat, trying to find something he could pick out and discuss. Anything to change the subject from the Malfoys. The open floor plan left all rooms visible except the bedrooms on opposing sides and the loo. The flat was always in impeccable condition, and Harry found the furnishings exceptionally comfortable and inviting. He spied a new creation of Scorpius' on the mantle. It appeared to be a small tree made out of silver. "Are you aware that Scorpius is a smith? I just saw a new piece on the mantle."

"It's exquisite isn't it? I brought him the silver from Blue Grouse Mountain in British Columbia. I'm quite impressed with the result. The darling, though, has yet to make me anything to wear."

Harry coughed trying to stop from choking on the sip of scotch he'd taken. The thought of calling Scorpius darling was too much.

"Dad!" James exclaimed as he entered through the front door. "You're early."

Harry jumped out of his chair and grabbed a few of the overflowing bags of groceries floating into the room. "Yes, for the first time I can remember, I didn't have a full schedule so I thought I'd take advantage," Harry said as he walked over to the kitchen island. The dark blue marble top was something he'd admired since they'd put it in.

James patted him on the back. "I see you've met Ken. I think you two have a lot in common."

"Hello, Harry," Scorpius said as he set a few more bags on the countertop and gave Harry a chaste kiss on the cheek. "I hope Ken hasn't been boring you with tales of Canadian Law Enforcement. He's been the Head of their Legal Enforcement Agency about the same length of time as you have ours."

Harry frowned at both of them when they weren't looking. "No, we hadn't progressed that far. We've been discussing your family, Scorpius, and how divine they are."

James and Scorpius both burst out laughing. Harry then frowned at them openly.

"What's so humorous?" Ken asked as he approached the kitchen island. The bile reached the back of Harry's throat when Scorpius put his arm around the wizard and kissed him openly on the lips. Harry turned away as Ken's hand slid down Scorpius' beige robes and rested on his bum.

"Harry and my family have a bit of history. Let's just say they tolerate each other," Scorpius said as he pulled away from the kiss and began helping James unload the groceries.

*********************
The last time he'd felt this uncomfortable was when he'd run into Ginny with her latest beau in Paris by accident. Harry looked at the mantle clock, cursing at how slow the minute hand moved. Julia was an absolute doll. He had no doubts about why Lily liked her so much. Not that they were alike; Julia was much more of the princess type, but she had a wicked sense of humour. She obviously was in love with James and he with her. No, it was the other couple sitting on the couch across from him that made him wish he were somewhere else.

Ken was a snob, plain and simple. How he was the head of his organisation was beyond Harry's imagination. His knowledge of the recent events and the capture of one of the Wraith's followers were appalling. It had taken his and Peasegood's agencies two years to get her. The fool had entered British territory on a fake trans-Portkey from Southern Germany and was quickly detained. It was Scorpius' information from the knife, which narrowed their search to Southern Germany, that instigated the surveillance. Harry still cursed under his breath that the European mainland didn't provide better assistance and that it had taken as long as it had.

"The Canadian Minister for Magic is a buffoon, he wouldn't know proper wizarding traditions if ...."

"I should be leaving," Harry said and abruptly rose from the couch. The two couples followed his lead.

"Dad, it's still early," James said, looking at his father quizzically.

"I know, son, but it's been a long week," Harry replied and then held out his hand to Ken. "It's been a pleasure."

The wizard held Harry's hand with one hand and covered it with the other. Harry tried not to flinch. All he could imagine was the slimy bugger putting his hands on Scorpius. Harry withdrew and then quickly put his arm around Julia and gave her a squeeze. "You, Ms Upton, are a delight. I hope James will bring you around the house very soon."

The witch dressed in a Muggle dress flaunted her long wavy brown hair and stretched up onto her tiptoes to give Harry a kiss on the cheek. "James, I think you might have some competition," Ken said.

James and Scorpius laughed in unison. Scorpius stepped over to Harry. "Harry, I do need to speak with you about a work matter. Would you have a moment?" Harry glanced around the flat looking for a room with some privacy. "May I Floo over to your home? You don't mind do you, Ken?"

"Not at all. Go ahead. I'll wait for you in your room and give these two some privacy."

Harry glared at the wizard and then back to Scorpius. "Um, sure, if you don't think it could wait." Harry had a horrid thought that maybe Scorpius would want his medallion back.

"No, I don't think it can."

"Fine, but give me a few minutes, I need to feed Holmes first," Harry said and then stepped into the fireplace.

*********************
Harry stood by the fireplace waiting. His head was pounding. He was sure the headache was a direct result of forcing a smile on his face for the past two hours. What the hell Scorpius saw in such a dickhead was beyond him. He lifted his wand and lit the sconces around the room. Holmes trotted in from the kitchen licking his chops and promptly plopped on the hearth rug. "Better move, boy; you should know better than that by now."

The old retriever raised his head as the fireplace flamed green, but didn't budge.

"Scorpius," Harry said and held out his hand as Scorpius stumbled out and barely missed stepping on the dog. Scorpius grabbed onto Harry's wrist with both hands.

"Shit," he mumbled.

Harry chuckled. It reminded him of that little boy who had stumbled into Al that first day ten years ago. Scorpius gathered his composure and stood up to his full height, a few inches above Harry. "What is it, Scorpius?" Harry asked.

Scorpius' eyes narrowed, his nose twitched briefly. "I want to know why you were so off put by Ken."

"Phht," Harry huffed. "I'm tired and I have a headache. I'm not in the mood to discuss your love life."

"You're not fooling me, sir. I've never seen you act that way around any of my lovers before."

"Fine, Scorpius, I don't like him. He's a slimy git and I'm surprised you're seeing him. Now does that satisfy you?"

Scorpius sniggered. "You're jealous."

"No, I'm not jealous, Scorpius. I'm just disappointed," Harry responded, knowing somewhere deep inside that he wasn't telling the complete truth.

"Really? So it has nothing to do with his position or age?"

Harry shook his head. Scorpius always got straight to the kernel of any situation, and both of them knew he was usually correct in his assessment. Harry put his hand on Scorpius' upper arm. The ivory suede was soft to the touch. He strengthened his grip while he continued to hold Scorpius' stare. "You once told me why you admired me. If you think this man is anything like me, then I'm ashamed of who I am."

Scorpius' opened his mouth, but words failed.

"It makes my insides crawl thinking about him touching you and even more so you touching him. Does that make me jealous? I don't know. I've never said I didn't care for you. You know I do. I want the best for you and he's not it."

"I want the best, too," Scorpius whispered. "That's why I still want you."

Harry released his grip and staggered backwards. Scorpius followed the uneasy steps until Harry fell into his chair and before he could object, Scorpius was on his lap, straddling his legs. The elegant ringed hands stroked his hair and face. "You're the best, Harry," he whispered again.

"Don't, Scorpius," Harry mumbled, but he knew his words sounded hollow. Scorpius' soft robes were in his hands, he squeezed the suede into his fists. It had been too long since he'd had physical contact with a lover. "Don't." Long hair draped along his face as Scorpius leant forward, their foreheads touching. "Don't." Scorpius tilted his head and his lips slid over Harry's. "Don't," Harry mouthed silently.

"I won't," Scorpius replied and then leant further down and nuzzled his nose in the crook of Harry's neck. Harry could hear Scorpius breathing in deeply as if taking in his scent to be memorized. "I won't," Scorpius whispered in Harry's ear the same time his hips moved forward. Harry groaned, an erection he didn't know he'd had was trapped beneath Scorpius' bum. He could feel Scorpius' hardening against his abdomen. "I won't until you want me as much as I want you," Scorpius said and then deftly moved off of Harry's lap.

"Scorpius," Harry said in defeat as he watched the wizard who had just proved to him he was still human and had needs. He stubbornly repressed any admission that there was anything more. His prick was still hard and that, he'd learned, tended to make him stupid in deciphering his emotions.

"Yes," Scorpius said as he approached the fireplace and then spun around. "You wanted to say something?"

Harry closed his eyes and nodded. Slowly his eyelids lifted, taking in the young wizard that wasn't playing a game with him. His intentions were laid before Harry once again. "Don't let him fuck you."

Scorpius laughed. His scar almost disappeared as he did so. "Harry, no one fucks me. I'm saving my arse for the best."

Harry was sure Scorpius heard him swear as he disappeared in the green flames.

con't

Chapter Text

September 2027

 

Harry glanced up as he heard the soft knock and saw his door open. "Hey, James, What are you doing here so early? I thought you'd still be home packing."

James smiled at Harry as he brought in two steaming cups of coffee and handed one to him as he sat in the chair across from Harry’s desk. "Portkey mixup. The new scheduler was off by three hours for each of the Portkeys. She forgot to factor in the time changes involved. I had come in early by chance to finish up some paperwork. I just Floo called Scorpius and he's annoyed. Merlin knows what outfit he’ll show up in."

Harry laughed. "I'm sure he'll make it. If not, then he can catch the ten o'clock one, though I'd prefer if he was with you when you landed." The roll of the chocolate brown eyes earned James a scowl from his father. "So are you excited?"

"Yes, you know I am."

"I do, but I just want to make sure that you're prepared."

James huffed. "Dad, you trained me. Are you doubting yourself?"

The scowl increased. Harry blew across the coffee before taking a sip. "No, I'm just being a concerned father. This is your first international case to lead for Kingsley, it's the Ministry's biggest case, and I know you will do everything in your power to succeed, and that, my son, is what makes me apprehensive."

A generous smile broke out over James face and his eyes sparkled. It still startled Harry to see it. It was like looking at Fred and George, full of fun and mischievousness. "Dad, you're just jealous that you aren't going."

Harry coughed. "No, not in the least. I'm well past those days."

James stared at Harry as if trying to discern whether what he was saying could actually be true. Harry had been the head of the Auror division for the last twenty-years. The speckled grey hair was a recent addition, but the green eyes were still bright. "When, Dad? When did the drive go away?"

Harry snorted. "The day you were born."

"But...but."

"I should say that was the first time I realised I had someone who needed me alive. I stopped taking so many chances."

"And Mum?"

Harry grinned and shook his head. "Your mother knew the type of person I was from the start and chose to be with me. You, though, you didn't get that choice. I stayed in the field a few more years and then jumped at the chance to take over the division."

James shook his head. “Dad, you still take a few cases a year, why not this one?”

Harry set his coffee down. “Because, James, you will learn at the briefing when you arrive in Greece, that they know me too well; I would be more of a hindrance. The best thing I could do for this mission is handpick you to lead it and then stay out of it. So besides worrying about his packing, how's Scorpius feeling about this case?" Harry asked, knowing James would understand he couldn’t say anymore at the time.

James grunted. "As if you could get him to admit to any weakness. His face is set in stone, and his eyes don't even give a hint of the excitement that I know he feels. I do feel sorry for the travel arranger though. He mentioned something about details not being taken seriously and we all know that usually means someone’s going to lose their job."

"Scorpius is the best we've had in a long time," Harry sighed, "and the Hit Wizards all seem to be Ravenclaws."

A large hand swept through the short brown hair. "A true Ravenclaw: no emotion, all logic," James said and gave a knowing grin to his father.

"Not like his Slytherin father, I know," Harry replied with a quick grin. "So, do you trust him?"

James coughed. "With my life. Look what he gave me last night," James said and held out his hand. A silver band with engravings circled his pointing finger. "He has the matching one. He said we could alert each other if one of us spotted danger; it'll turn blue. But, I'm surprised you asked after all these years. Don't you trust him?"

Harry sipped his coffee and peered over the rim of the mug staring at his son. He wanted a moment to think of how to phrase his response without affecting his son's ego or revealing anything about he and Scorpius' relationship or lack of one. "Yes, I trust him. I trust him with your life and with Kingsley's or I wouldn't have requested he be on the team. Between you and me, I had to pull some strings to get a Hit Wizard as part of the detail."

James crossed one leg over the other. He played with the heel of his boot resting on his knee. "I was wondering about that. I figured he'd asked."

"No. Hit Wizards don't ask, they just get assigned."

"So you don't trust me to lead the protection for Kingsley?" James asked hesitantly.

Harry shook his head. "No, James that is not why I asked for Scorpius to be part of the team. You're more than capable of leading the team. It's just that I've seen you and Scorpius interact. There's chemistry between you two that I didn't see in any of the other Auror/Hit Wizard matchups we've tried. Ron and I had it when we were Aurors in the field. We just worked well together. I know you haven't worked together before, but in training it was obvious. I read the reports; I reviewed the simulations caught in the Pensieve memories. I was hesitant at first with you two being flatmates and such good friends, but we need the best, James, and you two are it. Not to say the others are not competent, they are."

James drained the last few drops of his coffee, glanced at his watch and then stood up. "Well, it's getting close. I should go."

Harry rose from his chair and walked around the large mahogany desk. James held out his hand, Harry took it, and then embraced him. He'd grown accustomed to being a few inches shorter. "Firecall daily," he whispered.

"I will," James replied and then stepped out of the embrace.

Harry leaned against his desk and watched his son straighten his scarlet robes as he walked towards the door. He wasn't sure he'd ever felt more proud. "James," he called as James reached for the doorknob.

"Yeah, Dad," he replied and turned around.

Harry shook his head. "Nothing, son, go on."

"Sure, Dad."

Harry returned to his chair and finished his coffee as he reviewed the morning calendar. They would be short-handed for the next two weeks while the best Aurors would be away for the first official meeting between a few leaders of the Muggle and the magical worlds. Since they'd discovered what country the Wraith was from, the web to capture him had grown tighter and tighter. He hadn't made a move in over a year. But the wizarding nations needed to discuss issues that involved both the Muggle and magic worlds before it was too late: threats of terror and the destruction of the environment.

A Ministry owl flew by his window. Only his floor, the top floor, had windows that were real and looked out onto the streets of London. From the outside, they weren't visible. He glanced at the photo on his desk. All of his children detested it and frequently gave him updated family portraits to take its place. He put those up in his bedroom. No, this one was when they were a family; the kids were young and still a bit chubby in the face, all but Albus who, even at the age of five, was thin. Harry picked up the framed picture and watched how he and Ginny held the kids tight and then turned towards each other and kissed. They were happy and he wondered if....

The photo crashed onto the desk as it slipped out of Harry's fingers. He grabbed the edge of the desk as the floor rumbled beneath him and then a heart stopping blast ripped through the Ministry. His chair slammed against the wall as the floor undulated. He tried to stand, but his legs faltered and he fell forward. A shard of glass embedded in his knee. Screaming and yelling filled the air outside of his office. He could hear people running down hallways and then he heard hysterical crying.

Competing emotions raced through his system: one of fear and one to protect. He grabbed onto the edge of the desk and pulled himself up. He stumbled towards the door, while the floor still moved beneath his feet and he could see the walls cracking. The door flew open and a face of terror met his. The young, silver-haired Hit Wizard looked around the room and began screaming, "Nooooo! Fuck, nooooo!" He fell to the ground sobbing.

The building suddenly stilled. Harry could immediately feel the Ministry’s magic starting in earnest to locate the buildings’ wounds. His hands came down on Scorpius' shoulders and squeezed them. Long fingers covered in rings grabbed one wrist. The other hand and arm grasped his legs and circled his knees. "I'm sorry. Oh God, I'm so sorry. I should've known!" Scorpius wailed.

Harry reached down, placed his hands under the young man's arms, and raised him. "Tell me!" he yelled. His eyes searched into the silver ones that couldn't look into his.

"Portkey— bomb— James," Scorpius sputtered. Harry's hands and arms went numb, Scorpius slid down Harry's body, pooling at his feet.

The room had stopped moving, but his vision began to spin. Harry stumbled once again as he ran towards the door. It couldn't be true. James had just been there in his office. He couldn't have made it to the Portkey room in time. Harry made it outside of his office, almost falling into a crevice spanning diagonally across the floor. He heard moaning and sobbing, his eyes scanned the area, not recognizing it as his own. A cool breeze hit him, the interior wall was gone. The screams from the lobby were deafening. Parchment and airplanes were floating down from offices across the way and above. A softer whimper startled him and then his ears localized the sound. He ran to the rubble of a desk and began throwing shards of wood to the side. The lime-green hair came into view. "Connie! Connie, I'm here. I'll get you, love." Harry looked around for help as he lifted off a large chunk of the desk. Smaller pieces had impaled into her legs and stomach.

A hand grasped his shoulder pulling him back. "I'll take her to St. Mungo's. You go!" Harry looked up at the face that he'd grown to trust to be resolute. It had returned. "Go, Harry, go find him. I'll be right back."

Harry nodded. He brushed back the green fringe; Connie was unconscious but still whimpering in pain. "Make sure she has the best care, Scorpius. I mean the best."

"I will. I promise."

Harry rose up and walked unsteadily to the edge of his office lobby and looked directly down into the Ministry lobby. Wizards, witches, and other magical beings were trampling each other trying to get out through the Floos. The building had held, it wasn't revealed to the Muggles of London. Once more his eyes scanned the view, and then he saw the massive hole. The hole was where the hallway leading to the international Portkey transfers room used to be. He glanced at the lifts; the doors were dangling and the chutes were off kilter. Without another thought he jumped off, hoping not to land on anyone, but not really caring if he did. With wand out and spell cast, he landed gracefully on the crumbled lobby floor.

He tried to advance towards the hole, only to be pushed backwards as the hysterical crowd tried to reach the Floos. "James! James! James!" he cried out as he continued to struggle. He felt liquid run across his face. He reached up and it was blood. He blinked as he began to take in those around him. They were bloodied and others were carrying those that couldn't move on their own. He couldn't see a way to get where he wanted as he was smashed up against a wall.

"Harry! Harry!" Harry looked up and saw Ron up on the edge where he'd just jumped from. "Catch!" With brute force Harry took three steps forward and held up his hands and caught the broom. He mounted it and took off vertically. He zoomed over the tops of the crowd and landed at the hole. It resembled a cavern, one that had caved in. Knowing his hands couldn't move what lay before him, he withdrew his wand and began clearing the way. His heart was pounding with every large piece of wall or furniture he moved out of the way. He didn't want to find brown hair, or scarlet robes, not here.

The first body part scared him. He could only see a leg. His wand arm was shaking as he removed the debris covering where the body should've been. There wasn't one; there was only a leg. He expelled his breakfast of coffee and scones and moved on. It was getting darker as he made his way further into the core of the building. He looked back seeing how far he'd gone, the sounds of the lobby had dimmed. The silence of where he was now frightened him more than anything. He wanted to hear a cry, a groan, something, just something. He cleared more and continued on. A solid iron door appeared like a monolith, the walls around its edges were gone. It was the door to the Portkey room.

"Lumos."

Harry's heart stopped; no rubble larger than his hand could be seen. He shuffled into the room; smouldering debris was up to his knees. He reached down and the small pieces he tried to pick up turned to ash. His knees buckled and he fell into the wreckage. His hands reached out, searching the area around him, the sting of the burns never fazing him. Time passed and with every minute, his mind raced with alternate theories. Maybe it wasn't James, maybe he ended up in Greece, maybe...."

"Accio James' ring."

Harry didn't have to turn around. He knew who was behind him. He closed his eyes; he didn't want to see silver rising beneath the mounds of wreckage. A body knelt down behind him and two long arms surrounded him squeezing him tight. "We need to go," a voice said in his ear. Harry shook his head. He couldn't go. Fingers found his hand and slipped something into them. He forced his eyes open. A band of shining blue was in his palm. "I tried to warn him." Harry fell back. Arms, and robes, and long hair held him and protected him from the sight as he screamed out his pain.

"I'm sorry, Harry, but we have to go. I promise you I'll come back with you and we'll find every part of him that remains."

"I—I can't go."

"Harry, you have to. They struck St. Mungo's and tried for the Victory Building."

Harry heard the words, but they seemed to be describing something that was surreal, something that couldn't happen in his world. He gave his life so this wouldn't happen ever again.

"Portkeys, Harry. They sabotaged the Ministry-made Portkeys."

"Draco?" Harry mumbled.

Scorpius released a sound somewhere between a cry and a laugh. "My father is fine. The witch planting the Portkey was Stunned. The goblins' magic from Gringotts struck again. It disabled the bomb."

Harry could feel his mind beginning to clear. He wasn't sure he wanted it to. It would take strength to move on and he didn't want to have that kind of strength right now. "Connie?"

"Safe. I took her to St. Mungo's and it's a disaster."

"Then where?" Harry asked.

"My grandparents home. They are moving everyone there and Hogwarts."

Harry barked out a laugh.

Scorpius kissed him on the back of his head. "Yes, all those rooms will now have a purpose."

"Lucius agreed?"

"Oh, yes, what better way to serve the common good? My family are survivors, Harry, and they will come out of this smelling like roses."

Harry shook his head. "It's okay, Scorpius. If they help, they deserve it."

A small chuckle escaped from Scorpius and he gave Harry another kiss. "You're a good man, Harry. A great wizard, but more importantly, a good man."

*********************

The makeshift conference room at his kitchen table was filled with parchment, maps, coffee and tea cups and plates of food. His home had the most Protection Spells besides Kingsley's and Hogwarts. And no one wanted to put either the Minister's mansion or Hogwarts into anymore danger. Harry felt like an Inferius. His mind wouldn't stop thinking about who, what, where, and how. For right now he had to think of the community, tonight he would grieve. Over twenty dead and hundreds injured. Everyone was scared and locked in their homes and no one was travelling by Portkey and only Ministry personnel were allowed in the Floo Network. The Wraith, his gut told him, was behind it. He'd let the magical world know that no one was safe; he'd proved like the mythological Orion that he would hunt and kill indiscriminately.

"Dad?"

Harry glanced up to see Al running from the fireplace. He stood and caught him in his arms. "Excuse me," he said to those at the table and held Al tight as he brought him into his study. "I'm so sorry, son. I'm so sorry."

Large green eyes searched his own. He knew there wasn't anything he could say to make the pain go away. Al had been late in coming; he'd been helping transfer long-term patients to Hogwarts and immediate care to the Malfoy home. Scorpius had been Apparating back and forth all morning, trying to help establish the makeshift hospital. "How's your mum holding up?"

Al sniffled and blew his nose. "She's keeping busy. Lily wanted to be here with the other Aurors, but she said she should stay at Hogwarts with Mum helping the injured. They'll come home later tonight."

Harry nodded. He wanted everyone home tonight. The Ministry could have his downstairs, but upstairs would be for his family. "You okay? I'm sorry I wasn't the one to tell you. I— I tried looking...."

"Dad, it's okay. Aunt Hermione told me. She came to St. Mungo's when she heard about it to see if Rose was alright."

Harry squeezed his eyes shut. He should have done the same. He should've been the one to tell Ginny and Lily too.

"Don't, Dad, don't do that to yourself. Scorpius told me where you were. You had to know. Did— did you find...."

Harry swallowed hard. "I— we, Scorpius and I did as much as we could."

"Can I help with the forensics?"

Harry shook his head. "Al, there's no part of him bigger than my thumb. We had to recover..." Harry stopped and stumbled over to the chair in front of his desk. The memory was too strong to go on. Standing in that area holding a metal box that filled with recovered fragments was horrendous. Only Scorpius' strength and resolve kept him going and his in return kept Scorpius going. Somehow, he knew it was because both of them felt guilty: one for assigning him to the case, the other for not being in time to warn him. Logically, he knew they were foolish, but the emotion was real and ever present.

"Dad, I want you to know I treated the witch from the Victory Building. She's in Azkaban holding right now. I heard the Portkey was still in one piece."

Harry nodded. "Yeah, they're looking for any magical signatures right now."

"Oh," Al replied. "I— I just wasn't sure you knew."

Harry glanced up at Al, and seeing how forlorn he looked forced him to pay attention to how his son was feeling. "Al, I'll keep you involved. I know you can help with the patients, but you can help me too."

Al's eyes brightened. He stepped over and sat in the chair across from Harry. "I'm collecting blood samples from everyone, including the witch, and even the visitors. I think it was seventh year at Hogwarts that a certain DADA professor told us students that familial magical signatures can be found in one's blood?"

Harry gave a weak smile and reached across mussing up Al's hair. If he didn't know better he thought Al could have been his and Hermione's child. "And what are you going to do with those illegal samples?"

Al frowned. "What samples? They certainly wouldn't be in the boxes I'm collecting at the Malfoys, where a certain solicitor is hiding them until I can get them into my lab, which thankfully is still in reasonable condition. There was a benefit after all in being assigned to the bowels of St. Mungo's this term."

"That's brilliant, Al. But for Merlin's sake don't get caught."

Al rolled his eyes. "Dad, everyone is too busy to pay attention to me. And, I don't mean you, okay?"

"Okay," Harry replied.

Al stood up and held out his hand for Harry to take and pull himself up. "The service will be in two days?"

Harry kept hold of Al's hand and pulled him close. "Yes, and I don't know how the hell we're going to get through it."

"As a family, Dad. Just remember that James died happy. He was doing what he wanted to do."

Harry kissed Al on the cheek. "I know, son."

*********************

The shadows on the wall caused by the single flame from the candle on his bedside table gave Harry something to focus on. He couldn't remember the last time he'd had someone to share his bed with, and it had been years since Ginny had done so. There was something primal about making love when sorrow ran so deep. It seemed right that they'd made love tonight; it was how James came to be. The feelings, though, were diametrically opposed. The night James was conceived was one of fun and laughter. Ginny put pillows under legs to keep them raised up so Harry's contribution to the affair didn't leak out. But tonight, there was no laughter; in fact, there were no words or sounds at all. He knew she was still awake, her back was to him, and he could hear the random sniffle. How could he comfort her when he was dying inside?

Harry extinguished the flame and pulled up the covers. He turned on his side and spooned Ginny's body. He'd forgotten how small and soft she was. One hand reached over and held her tight.

"Why?" she whispered.

"Why what, Gin?" Harry asked. He had been worried that she hadn't spoken more than formalities when she and Lily arrived home; maybe, he thought, maybe she just needed to be in the dark. It was safer not to have to see each other's expressions.

"Why didn't you just let him be?"

"Pardon?"

"Why was my son going to Greece for some conference with Muggles when he should have been flying in the air on his broom for the Chudley Cannons? So many teams wanted him, but, no, he had to become an Auror. Wasn't it enough that Al worshipped the ground you walked on?"

Harry was flabbergasted. The argument was an old one. James was recruited by a few Quidditch teams but he was also recruited by the Ministry. "It was his choice, Ginny."

Ginny huffed. "Was it?"

"Yes, it was," Harry said more defiantly than he felt he should have.

"You really are naïve, aren't you? He did it to please you, you know."

"Gin, don't," Harry responded. This was not a conversation he wanted to have tonight. Fuck, not any night.

"Don't what? Don't let you know that I can't deal with this anymore and why?"

"Deal with what?" Harry asked. If she was determined to talk tonight then he wished she would just say it.

"This marriage, our marriage. The best things that came out of our years together have been our children, but you couldn't just let them be. I wouldn't have minded if just Al worshipped you, but no you had to have James and Lily too."

"Oh fucking hell, that is not true! Our kids love you, Ginny. They adore you and are so proud of you. Hell, remember their birthday parties? Whose autograph did all those young kids want? You were the coolest mother around."

Ginny huffed again and stayed silent. Harry had hope that the discussion was over, but he knew from the past it wasn't.

"James was like me. He was a Weasley, but you made him into a Potter, or rather an Evans. Filling him with all of that stuff Dumbledore told you. What was wrong with him just being a playful kid?"

Harry removed his arm from around Ginny and rolled on his back. He wasn't sure he'd felt this alone in decades. Ginny was the one who knew him, the one who loved him because she knew the true him. He stared up at the ceiling and tried to remember why he thought that was so, why he thought Ginny knew him. And then the memory rushed to the forefront, it was because she told him so all those many years ago at Dumbledore's funeral.

"Ginny, you used to be in love with me for the type of person I was. You knew from the start. You've always known. Why are you holding this against me now?"

"Because, Harry, you handpicked James to be Kingsley's assistant. You handpicked him to lead this assignment. I know he was excited, but he was more excited that you were so chuffed about it."

"Ginny, that's not true. I was worried. I handpicked the best team; I even forced Peasegood to lend me Scorpius."

Ginny laughed hysterically and rose out of bed.

"Where are you going?" Harry demanded. He despised when she started an argument and then walked out. He could only see her form, the room too dark to show even her red hair.

"Harry, I'm leaving to go to my room. After the service, I will remove the rest of my things from the house. You can have it. I want a divorce."

Harry sat up. "What? Jesus, Ginny, don't do this! Don't do this now!"

The door opened, the light from the hallway sconce shined brightly into his eyes.

"Harry, you haven't taken a lover for more than a one-night stand since Demitrius. Why? I'll tell you why, it was because you were afraid they would be killed. But you had no qualms about sending our son, our beautiful son, into a dragon's lair. You knew the dragon was around, biding his time, but you sent him, and for that, my love, I can never forgive you."

*********************
"Dad, you okay? Why don't you come inside? Grandma's getting worried."

"I'll be in a few minutes. No need to worry. I just needed some time alone."

"Okay, but, Dad, if you want me to stay the night at the house, I can."

"No, that's okay. I'll be fine," Harry said and gave Lily's hand a squeeze. "You come with your mother in the morning. I'll have breakfast ready."

The small but strong hand gave him a stronger squeeze. "I can't believe she's doing it. After all of this time."

"Neither can I, love; neither can I."

Lily left the site of the pond. Harry sat on its edge, the frozen ground beneath his bum barely chilling him. Memories of a lifetime floated in and out of his thoughts. The Burrow had been his home, the Weasleys his family for so long. Privately each family member had told him that nothing would change, that he'd always be welcome, but, no, it would change and he knew it. He cursed himself for being so selfish and thinking about himself; it was his son, his son who he should be thinking of, but he couldn't. That part of him was numb. He knew it would hit, but the last few days he'd been living on adrenaline and caffeine. There hadn't been time to delve into the sorrow or to properly grieve.

Harry looked up at the bare branches; the fierce cold winds had taken down the last of the leaves last night. The overcast sky was darkening and heavy mist was moving in. It wouldn't have stopped the family from flying, though. Any other time when the family gathered like this, there would have been Quidditch matches going on until someone got hurt. But now the house was filled with a family in mourning.

The morning service, Harry had barely made it through. The Ministry bestowed James with full honours and all the pageantry that went with it. He knew he spoke first, but the words meant to strengthen those around him were now meaningless. Kingsley had spoken next. His great baritone voice and words about honour and troubled times brought a chill to Harry's heart. It was the memory of Scorpius, the last of the speakers that Harry knew he would always remember. He spoke of friendship and kindness and of brotherly love. Stories that made everyone laugh and everyone cry. Harry had a faint recollection of glancing over to Draco, who had brought a handkerchief to his eyes. Afterwards, it was Draco's "I'm sorry, Potter," that almost did him in. He saw in those grey eyes an understanding that Draco knew how close Scorpius had come to having the same horrible fate. Yes, James died doing what he wanted to do, but he was too young to die. Nobility be damned

"James," Harry whispered. "I miss you."

*********************
Holmes greeted Harry by nuzzling his legs until he was let outside into the now pouring rain. Harry waited by the backdoor until the dog had taken care of his business and then fed him leftovers Molly had insisted on bagging up for him.

Harry opened a kitchen cupboard and found an old, half-empty bottle of Firewhisky. A glass was half-filled and then he brought it into the sitting room and started a fire. Holmes curled up on the hearth rug. The rain pelted against the windows. The house was dark and quiet, too quiet. He'd spent many a night alone the last few years, but only tonight did he feel it in his bones.

Strong hands lifted him off the couch; the empty bottle of Firewhisky tumbled from his hands. He leaned into the strong body guiding him to the stairs. He stumbled up the first few before the feeling of walking on air took over. Boots and then clothes were removed. A potion dripped into his mouth and then he finally fell onto the feather-top mattress and was covered with heated blankets. A warm body joined him and wrapped long limbs over his. Arms holding him tight, and kisses to his shoulder and neck turned nightmares into dreams.

*********************
The strong aroma of coffee, coffee like he hadn't had for years, greeted him in the early morning. A small cup sat on his bedside table, swirls of steam drifted towards him. He glanced around the room, having no memory of coming up the stairs, and saw his clothes neatly folded and his formal robes hanging on the outside of the closet door. His old tattered dressing gown was waiting for him at the bottom of the bed and his slippers on the floor. He sat up and sipped the thick black coffee, sweetened only by its strength. He tried to remember the previous night, but feelings of being held and protected remained. Someone had been in his bed. He picked up the dented pillow next to his and brought it to his nose. He smiled, recognising the scent. His ears caught a sound of water running through the old pipes. Scorpius was here.

Harry wrapped his blue checked dressing gown around him, the sash having been chewed on by Sherlock years ago. He sat on the edge of the bed and savoured each remaining sip of the coffee. After finishing it, he shuffled over to the bathroom. His head was clear, but his body still felt the consequences of drinking too much. The water stopped running. Harry briefly thought about waiting until Scorpius came out of the loo before knocking on the door, but he wasn't sure his bladder could wait that long.

"Scorpius?" Harry said as he rapped on the panelled door.

He heard a soft chuckle before the door cracked open. "You're lucky you guessed correctly," Scorpius said with a smile. Harry blinked, trying to focus only on his face. Scorpius' dripping blond hair was strung over his shoulders and only a towel was wrapped around his waist. For an instant, Harry felt breathless.

"I— I need to use the loo?"

The door opened wider. Harry stepped in. Scorpius stood his ground. "Get," Harry scowled. "I'll be quick."

Harry looked around the bathroom as he washed his hands and brushed his teeth; items that weren't his lay on the vanity. A small leather bag lay open, containing even more personal items. He wondered how much stuff Scorpius needed when it hit him. The items in the bag weren't Scorpius', they were James.

Scorpius was sitting on the edge of the newly made bed. His body was now covered by a dressing gown that could've belonged to Astoria or Narcissa, but the red silk looked appropriate on Scorpius. The long hair was now dry and pulled back in a tie. "I— I'm sorry, Harry, but I couldn't face the flat alone. I didn't know where to go. Al stayed at the Burrow, and...."

Harry took the few steps it took to reach Scorpius and pulled him to his chest. "It's okay. I couldn't stand the emptiness either."

"I don't know what to do," Scorpius whispered. Harry could feel wetness of tears through his robes. "I can't live there without him."

Harry reached down and lifted Scorpius' chin. "We'll get through it. I'll help clear the flat tonight after attending the other services. Al, I'm sure, will want to help."

"And Julia?"

Harry nodded. "And Julia. Maybe you could stay with your cousin, Teddy. I know his flatmate just left last week for a few months travel to the continent."

Scorpius smiled. The warm grey eyes were bright with tears, but the gentle smile told him that Scorpius would survive this. With his thumb, Harry gently traced the long scar from the corner of Scorpius' mouth up to his high cheekbone and wiped a few teardrops away. Scorpius leant into his opened palm. "I took advantage last night by sleeping with you. Do you forgive me?"

Harry nodded again and grinned back. "Yes, and part of me wishes I'd been aware that you were there."

Scorpius laughed and kissed Harry's palm. "Tease."

"Tease? Scorpius Malfoy!" Harry said attempting to be stern. "I'm not the one who is dressed in red silk."

"You like it?" Scorpius asked as he batted his long light eyelashes. "I stole it from Mother. Father had given it to her for Christmas years ago and she never wore it. Something about red not being her colour."

Harry knew he shouldn't be playing this game with Scorpius right now, but the temptation was too strong. Everything in his life was wasting away, his family, his marriage, and his career: he'd failed the community. But Scorpius was young and vibrant and for some unknown reason was still at his side. Harry's left hand slid along the silk up Scorpius' back and over the sharp curve of his shoulder. He could feel the taught muscles hidden underneath. "Yeah, I like it."

"Well, I wish I could say the same about yours," Scorpius joked and then his expression changed. "Maybe you would like to have James' dressing gown. I gave it to him for his birthday last year."

"I think I might like that," Harry responded and then leant down and kissed Scorpius on the forehead before stepping away over to the highboy. Scorpius' joke had given him a moment to collect himself and realise the seriousness of the situation if he were to continue. "The family will be here soon. I promised them breakfast before we pack Ginny's things up." He opened drawers and pulled out old jeans and t-shirt.

Scorpius rose off the bed and walked back to the bathroom. He turned back and said, "Harry, I hope you do know I am sorry about your marriage."

Harry shrugged. "Don't worry about it. It was over a long time ago. I was mistaken; I thought there was more to our relationship than there was.

con't

Chapter Text

December 2027

Harry sat at one end of the highly polished conference table; his eyes glaring at Kingsley. Breakfast had just been served and the rest of the Ministry members in attendance were at the side table filling their plates with rashers of bacon, fried eggs, beans, and tomatoes. Harry couldn't fathom even eating a bite. From the pot in front of him, he poured the last of the tepid, anaemic coffee into his mug.

"It's the only way, Harry."

Harry snorted and turned away. He glanced out the magic windows, which reflected the weather outside. It was snowing. On Christmas Eve morning, it was fucking snowing. How perfect was that, he thought. He bit his lower lip, remembering that only a few years ago his kids would have been skating on the Burrow pond or sledding down the slopes nearby. He cursed himself; he wasn't the only one who'd lost a loved one. Over twenty dead and dozens were still recovering these three months later.

The Heads of all of the Ministry Departments reconvened, with their plates full.

A map of the Black Forest lay before them. Feldberg was circled in red and Bad Urach had an X on it. The magical signature from the bomb didn't match the witch who attempted to plant it, but her blood and the person who did make the bomb matched the same wizarding blood lines from one family in Southern Germany, one family from near the Black Forest, one family from the town of Bad Urach, and that family had no idea their sister had survived. The Quibbler wrote the article detailing how the goblins were trying to cover up the damage done by the Victory Building Portkey bomb and that they were also claiming no one was injured, but in reality many were killed, including a witch burned beyond recognition. It was all lies upon lies and so far the ruse had held. The Ministry compensated Xenophilius Lovegood with more than money. He was granted an interview with an Unspeakable.

"The towns are filled with Muggles," Peasegood said while chewing a rasher of bacon. "It has to be someone from my department and someone who can blend in."

"But, the Titisee Lake contains Nix and the forest itself has vampires and Erklings, so I think someone from my department should go too," Amos Diggory said.

Harry glanced over to the wizard who came out of retirement to resume his old position while the current head lay in Hogwarts' Infirmary. "Erklings? I thought they only ate children."

Harry knew they all wanted to help, but this mission called for stealth. In and out. It would be the first time the Ministry was sanctioning an assassination. Harry hated the idea and what he hated more was the wizard assigned to do the deed.

"And, someone from mine, in case the Hit Wizard is injured or kidnapped or if we're wrong," Percy said. "I've recently made great strides with my counterpart in their Department of International Magical Cooperation in Germany. If we're wrong...."

"If we're wrong, no one will know," Harry said. "That's the plan, isn't it Kingsley? You send one Hit Wizard in and if he gets caught, he's on his own. He either kills himself or Obliviates himself, right?" Harry added with disdain.

"He's the best we have, Potter, and you know it," Peasegood said, raising his voice.

"Fuck, I know that, Arnold!" Harry replied, pounding the table with his fist. His coffee crested over the side. Harry sighed as he wiped it away.

"Harry," Kingsley said softly, "what's the real issue? We've been waiting for this moment for ten years. We know where he is and we know he hasn't a clue we've figured it out."

Harry shook his head, stood up and walked out of the room. He'd only made it halfway across the Minister's lobby before he was called back. Kingsley was alone. He motioned for Harry to come into his private office. Harry reluctantly followed him.

"What's the problem, Harry?" Kingsley asked the moment the door shut behind them. "I've never seen you behave this way. You're usually the one who wants action."

Harry exhaled audibly. "I— I can't send another one, Kingsley. I can't. I want to go. Please, let me go instead."

Kingsley put his large hand on Harry's shoulder. "I understand, Harry, I honestly do. But you can't go. The Wraith would recognise you in a second and we can't afford to use any magic to alter your appearance. We have no idea what traps he's laid. Scorpius is the best in this area. Not one Auror or Hit Wizard was able to detect him as a Muggle during his final exam, not one. It's never happened before. Harry, I know where your reluctance comes from. The rumour mill has been strong during your divorce. Ginny blames you."

Harry turned away and walked to Kingsley's window. It showed snow falling on Hogwarts.

"I couldn't stand losing him, too, Kingsley. I laid the breadcrumbs for him to join. I never dreamed he'd be sent on a mission like this."

Kingsley laughed as he walked over and stood next to Harry. "Harry Potter, can you seriously tell me that Scorpius Malfoy does anything that he doesn't want to do, besides paperwork?"

Harry grinned. "No."

"So let's ask him tonight. No orders. No repercussions if he says no. We'll ask him, just you and me, no Arnold. We'll tell that group in there that we'll make the decision after the New Year. I'm sure they all want to get home to their families anyway. Does that sound fair?"

Harry nodded. "Yes, and I'm sorry, Minister."

Kingsley gave him a friendly shove. "Don't give me that Minister shit, Potter."

*********************
Holmes' paws twitched as he slept curled up on the floor next to Harry who was sitting in his chair by the fire. He was reading Dickens by candlelight and as he turned each page he glanced at the clock and then at the Christmas tree by the front window. Small piles of presents were waiting for Al and Lily. They'd spent Christmas day at the Burrow, and tomorrow, Boxing Day, they would spend with Harry. It wasn't them that he was expecting at this late hour, it was Scorpius. Scorpius' family had not been pleased that he was called away on Christmas Eve day, even if it was to meet with the Minister and Harry, so for tonight, Scorpius would be leaving the Manor after his parents and grandparents had fallen into their beds after a night's worth of drinking wassail.

Two packages wrapped in blue and white lay on the coffee table. One wasn't really a gift, but Scorpius would understand. The other, Harry was apprehensive about, but when Harry found it in the Black vault many years ago, he left it there, waiting for the right person to give it to. He winced, wondering if it would have helped James. It would have been too small for him and it would've only protected his chest. Harry closed the book and set it aside. He couldn't concentrate. He reached down and petted Holmes.

Harry startled as the fireplace filled with green flames. Holmes woke from his nap, sniffed the air, and promptly closed his eyes.

"Scorpius," Harry said as he stood and helped wipe the soot from his grey cloak and top hat. Harry smiled, thinking Scorpius looked like he'd just stepped out of the book he was reading.

"Harry, Merry Christmas," Scorpius said as he laid a small package on the table. He eyed the two presents that were obviously for him and gave an expectant look to Harry.

"Merry Christmas to you, too," Harry replied and held out his arm to take Scorpius' hat and cloak. "Did you have a nice holiday? Your family doing well? Would you like a Hot Buttered Rum? I was about to fix myself one."

"Um, yes, yes, and yes," Scorpius answered with a grin, and then sat down on the couch near Harry's chair. If he noticed the deplorable shape it was in, he didn't acknowledge it, but Harry quickly decided that it might be time to get a new one.

Harry returned to the sitting room with the hot drinks. Scorpius had started a roaring fire and was shaking each one of his packages. Harry chuckled, as he had spelled the packages not to release a sound when rattled. It was an old trick he'd used on the kids when they were young. He was about to sit in his chair when Scorpius patted the spot next to him. A feeling arose in his stomach that he hadn't felt for decades: butterflies. Scorpius slid the small package he brought and placed in front of Harry once he was seated. Harry reached out to take it but a flick to his hand and Scorpius laughing at him changed his mind.

"How about a Christmas toast first?" Scorpius said as he lifted his goblet and let the steam drift under his nose.

Harry, to his embarrassment, reached for his goblet and almost knocked it over. He felt like a teenager and was not quite sure why. Scorpius didn't say a word, for which Harry was thankful. Harry successfully lifted the goblet and held it up. "To a successful mission," Harry said. The dull clink was followed by Scorpius repeating the words.

"You look nice," Harry said, and was sure his cheeks were turning red. He had no idea why he'd said it, besides the fact that it was true. The grey linen trousers and crisp white shirt with a silver and black striped tie was something he'd never seen Scorpius wear. His long hair was pulled back and a simple black ribbon held it in place.

"I'm trying to get used to being a Muggle," Scorpius said. "I despise wearing a tie."

"Er, Scorpius, I wear a tie, your father wears a tie, and most wizards do at the Ministry," Harry teased.

"Yes, and if I was Minister for Magic I would outlaw them," Scorpius bantered back with a wink and then took a long sip of the Christmas drink. "So, Harry, you requested my presence tonight, and I see presents. Shall we indulge?"

Harry shook his head. "Don't use the word shall; it'll blow your cover right away."

"No shit?"

Harry reached over and smacked Scorpius on the shoulder.

"Who goes first?" Scorpius asked as he lifted up the larger of the two presents.

"How about you open that one first, then I'll open mine, and then you can open your other one last?"

"Ah, now I see the reason why your Aurors like you so much. That seems fair."

Harry took a deep breath as Scorpius undid the wrapping and revealed a white shirt box. He took another long sip of his hot buttered rum as Scorpius lifted the lid off.

"Holy fuck," Scorpius muttered. His ringed fingers lifted out the tunic and the silver filigree danced with colour from the flames from the fire. Gently, Scorpius ran the fine metalled material through his fingers. "I— I can't take this, Harry, this is too much."

"It's yours, Scorpius; it's a Black heirloom, and you are a Black. I believe it is elfin made, and is imperturbable to spells and physical weapons. But you could probably tell me more."

Scorpius couldn't take his eyes off the tunic. He lifted it completely out of the box and then closed his eyes and brought it to his cheek, rubbing it across it. "It is elfin, only they could spin something so fine. Goblins don't have the patience," Scorpius replied. He lowered the cloth and then opened his eyes and looked over at Harry. "It's spectacular, Harry. Thank you."

Harry nodded. "And you'll wear it when you go?"

"Yes, I promise."

Harry smiled. "Good, because I need to know I'm still protecting that heart of yours."

Scorpius leant over and kissed Harry on the cheek. "You've done very well so far. Now it's your turn."

Harry brought the package that fit into the palm of his hand to his ear and shook it. Scorpius frowned at him. The gold wrapping was soon torn away and Harry lifted the lid off the square box. He glanced inside and then glanced over to Scorpius. Scorpius nodded and then held out his wrists. "I wanted you to have it just— just in case. Each link evokes an emotion which I've attached to a memory. Some— some are of you."

If Harry had thought this night was going to be easy on his emotions, he had been mistaken. "Scorpius, no. I'll keep it for now, but I will return it when you come back."

Scorpius shook his head. "No, Harry, you don't understand. I don't need it anymore, but I think you might. Touch a link and you'll understand."

Harry placed the pad of his finger on a link. A smile broke over his face as envisioned a very young Scorpius having tea with Narcissa in a summer garden. He couldn't hear the words, but he could sense the calmness Scorpius felt. "Serenity," Harry whispered.

"Ah, Grandmother, she's the reason I'm a bit late tonight. She was up making sure the house-elves were filling the boxes for tomorrow properly."

A sudden sense of sadness filled Harry as he thought of his family over at the Burrow. He had been invited for dinner, but declined. He despised feeling awkward and Christmas dinner with Ginny had that written all over it. He glanced over the couch at the fairy lit tree. He hoped the kids liked it; he'd bought some ornaments and created the rest himself. The fairy lights were a gift from Andromeda.

"Hey, why so sad?" Scorpius said as he took the box from Harry's hand and set it down on the table. "I don't think my sad emotions are near that link."

Harry shook his head. "It's nothing," he replied and picked up his goblet, taking a long sip of the warmed drink.

"Harry," Scorpius said as he turned to his side. "That's rubbish. What is it? James?"

Harry turned and faced Scorpius. The look of empathy was strong. So many of his co-workers still could barely talk to him or look him in the face. No one knew what to say to him with James' death and then his pending divorce. And if Harry happened to laugh at a joke, the looks he received were even worse. It was only his children, Andromeda, Teddy, and Scorpius that could act naturally around him. No, he corrected himself, there was also Kingsley. Kingsley understood the feelings Harry was having. He took a deep breath. "I miss my family, not just James, but everyone."

Scorpius' blinked a few times before responding. "I don't know what to say. My family makes me mental. Not that I wish them ill."

Harry chuckled and put his arm up on the couch. Without hesitation or a need for further prompting, Scorpius moved closer. Harry's fingers played with the shirt seam on Scorpius' shoulder. "You, you're still too young to know what I'm talking about. You still have to have your children and then wonder why as they race through the house screaming so loud you can't hear yourself think."

"No, Harry," Scorpius said with more sadness than Harry expected. "I won't know those things. I won't marry a witch just for children. And so I guess that means I'll miss the family I won't have."

Harry' moved his hand closer to Scorpius' face; he curled his fingers and caressed the scarred cheek. "There are ways Scorpius, there are other ways."

Scorpius gave a weak grin. "Harry, why did you ask me over?"

"Because I had to see you before you left. I wanted you to have something of mine to take with you and I wanted to— oh shit," Harry mumbled as he felt his eyes start to fill. He reached down to the table and took the last gift and placed it on Scorpius' lap. "Open it."

"No, not until you tell me why?"

Harry thinned his lips as he tried to gain his composure. Scorpius brought Harry's goblet to his lips. Harry took it and drank the now tepid hot buttered rum. The alcohol, he hoped, would help him find the words. Scorpius put the goblet back on the table and reached across Harry, grabbing a throw blanket. He wrapped it around both of them and moved in as close as he could. "Okay?"

"Okay," Harry said and put his arm around Scorpius' shoulder. Both stared into the fire until Harry found his courage. "I couldn't bear saying goodbye at the Ministry and that would be it. The day James died, he was in my office and as he left I wanted to tell him how proud of him I was and how much I loved him, but I didn't. I just let him walk out that door and then he was gone."

"So what do you want to tell me?" Scorpius whispered and laid his head on Harry's shoulder. He could smell the scent of Scorpius' shampoo. The hint of vanilla seemed fitting. The warmth of Scorpius' body next to his was so comforting; it had been too long since the touch of another person made him feel at peace. He tilted his head and kissed Scorpius' temple.

"I wanted to tell you that I'm proud of you and I want— no need you to come back. I almost wish you were part house-elf, so I could order you to."

Scorpius' body shook. "I'm sure that is one species my father hasn't fucked."

"Draco?"

Scorpius rolled his eyes. "Harry, I'm teasing. As far as I know, my father has doted on my mother since she agreed to marry his sorry arse. But enough about him. Since you were Gryffindor-brave I think I'll open my present now," Scorpius said and lowered the blanket to their legs. The package had fallen off to his side.

"Scorpius, the tunic is your gift. This," Harry said and placed his hand on the box, "this is a gift you will be giving me."

Scorpius squinted at Harry.

"Open it and you'll see."

Harry bit his lower lip as he watched the long nimble fingers work the ribbon and then the blue wrapping. He wanted to close his eyes but forced them open to see Scorpius' reaction.

"Ohhh, sweet Merlin," Scorpius whispered. He lifted the Assassin's knife and held it up to his eyes, examining every marking. "You left it for me to mark?"

Harry kissed Scorpius' temple again and mumbled, "Yes. You are the assassin. You are the scorpion."

"And I think I just got my stinger," Scorpius joked, but then turned to Harry and saw his solemn expression. "You want revenge? That is what this means, isn't it?" Scorpius asked, relaying that he understood how serious the situation was.

"Yes."

Scorpius laid the knife back in the box and set it on the table. He turned to face Harry directly. "Don't be ashamed, Harry; I want it too. I know you don't like what I'm going to do, but you still want me to be successful."

Harry winced as the admission was out in the open, for both of them. This time, the killing wouldn't be done for love but for revenge. Soft lips slid over his; he couldn't put the barriers back up fast enough and succumbed to the need. His hand moved to the nape of Scorpius' neck and pulled him forward. His lips parted and Scorpius' tongue slipped between them. It was tentative, tongue tips meeting for the first time. But then years of restraint on his part and years of desire on Scorpius' collided and then tongues, lips, mouths and hands couldn't get enough.

With one deft move, Harry was on his back with Scorpius on top of him. Scorpius' long legs manoeuvred between his and their hips aligned, brushing their cocks against one another. Harry groaned with the contact. A hand reached under his jumper and jerked his shirttails out from his trousers. Long fingers worked their way across his abdomen and then up his chest, only to rest when they found the gold medallion he'd worn for years.

Scorpius placed his other hand next to Harry's head and then rose up. "And when I return?" he asked breathlessly, staring directly into Harry's face.

Harry brought both hands up to Scorpius' face, caressing the soft skin free from lines. He raised his knees and squeezed Scorpius thighs between them. "I honestly don't know, but I do know I want you."

The bright smile was one Harry was sure would be captured in the links of the bracelet someday. "Then this will wait until I return," Scorpius said laughingly, and pushed himself up and off the couch.

Harry groaned as he sat up. "And if I said something different?"

"Then we'd be fucking, but only because I'd know it was my only chance."

Harry snickered. "You're going to be trouble, aren't you, Scorpius Malfoy?"

"Yes, sir, most definitely, sir. But I'm sure you'll try to make me mend my ways. However, I was lying about the fucking. I have to get back home before one of the house-elves discovers my absence. They're loyal to my grandparents, much to mine and Father's regret. I should've never agreed to stay there over the holiday."

Harry stood up and retrieved Scorpius' cloak and hat.

"Scorpius," Harry said as Scorpius put out the fire and picked up a handful of Floo Powder. "Come directly here after reporting to Kingsley.""

"I promise," Scorpius said as Harry kissed him one more time.

"Scorpius," Harry said, without knowing why. He just couldn't bear to see him go, knowing it could very well be the last time he would see him.

"Harry," Scorpius said as he stepped backwards into the fireplace. "I'm a Malfoy; we always survive."

Harry couldn't help but laugh as the green flames took Scorpius away.

*********************
Harry curled up on the couch in his pyjamas and raised the fire. The fairies on the tree were tired and only random flickers of light lit up the tree. Holmes looked up at him expectantly, not knowing quite what to make of the situation. Harry sat up and patted the cushion down at his feet. The dog wagged his tail and lumbered up onto the couch and rested his head on Harry's legs.

The house, despite the holiday decorations, seemed desolate and he couldn't face his bedroom alone tonight. During the holidays, when the kids were young, they would always end up in his and Ginny's bed. Even when he got his own room, Ginny would often come in on Christmas night. Harry sighed and picked up his book.

Halfway down the page, Harry's thoughts drifted to Scorpius and what lay before him. The day after tomorrow, he would fly into Germany, a British Muggle who'd been jilted over Christmas by his fiancée. He'd check into Hotel Adler Bärental in Feldberg and go skiing for a few days. At night, he would eat at the hotel and then possibly go to the local pubs. It was also likely he'd indulge in the health spas in Lenzkirch. It was up to Scorpius to decide how long he would stay before he moved onto Bad Urach. It was there, in Bad Urach that the Wraith made his home. His father was German, his mother Persian, and both were now dead. Harry shivered as he wondered if Mustafa Krueger, the Wraith, but known as Bergen to the local Muggles, murdered his parents. They hadn't been seen for over a decade. His maternal grandfather, though, still lived by the Caspian Sea.

The bracelet lay in the box on the table. Harry kept glancing over at it, wondering exactly what Scorpius had meant when he'd said he didn't need it right now but that Harry did. He set the book down, saving the page with an old Gryffindor bookmark of James'. It was one of the few items he kept, along with the dressing gown and his Auror robes and certificates. He reached over and picked up the bracelet and held it in his palm. He felt nothing. He slipped it on and with his thumb and forefinger he lifted it up by one link and caught his breath.

It was a room Harry knew, one where horrible things had taken place, but now there were open ovens burning red and Scorpius was in front of one, holding large tongs with dragon hide gloves. He was startled that Draco was also there; he came up behind Scorpius and helped him withdraw the tongs from the oven and put the tips in a cauldron of water. It sizzled and steamed. When Scorpius lifted it out of the water, at the end was silver shaped into a ring. Scorpius brought it over to a long table where small instruments lay. Draco patted his son on the back and kissed him on his head. Harry smiled. He felt acceptance.

The next link Harry gasped. It was of him, Scorpius had warned him, but he had no idea what emotions he would be attached to. It was Scorpius at eleven, the morning when they first laid eyes on each other. Harry watched himself cast the spell and collect all of the Slytherin boys' wands. And then he saw the grey eyes watch as he left the room. Awe.

For the next hour he rotated through every link. Basic emotions and those more complex were all covered. Each link represented an important, but many times a simple event, which had happened to Scorpius Malfoy. Harry was brought to tears as he witnessed Scorpius submitting to his grandfather's will, but then there was Lucius showing remorse many years later and Scorpius feeling pity. Harry smiled as he was labelled with the emotion of jealousy. Somehow Scorpius had seen him with a visiting Auror from Italy. They were in a pub drinking ale and obviously flirting with each other. Harry had no idea that Scorpius had been assigned to the pub on a stakeout. Harry was thankful Scorpius wasn't able to see what happened after that. Giovanni had been the only wizard Harry had been with since Demitrius. Then there was love. It wasn't romantic love, but unconditional love. And Harry grimaced seeing how drunk he was the night Scorpius spent with him. He watched as the young wizard took care of him and held him.

There was so much more and the ones with James while always jubilant in some way broke Harry's heart. The final link was one of pride, Scorpius receiving his scores for his Hit Wizard final training lesson a few years ago. He had placed first and by a wide margin. Harry placed the bracelet back in its box. He felt emotionally spent. He lowered the flames and said goodnight to the fairies, and the Christmas tree turned dark. As he drifted off to sleep the realisation hit, Scorpius had experienced all of these emotions. He'd had a good life. So, if anything happened to him, Harry surmised, Harry would know that Scorpius had lived, had been happy and was truly in love with Harry.

*********************
Scorpius fell in love with the historical town of Bad Urach. It hadn’t been harmed during the Muggle war so long ago and many of its timber-framed homes and businesses from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries remained. However, its history went further back than that. It was located in the centre of the Swabian Alb, a major centre of volcanic activity during the Jurassic period, which left it with an underground world of caves. Prehistoric animals and early humans had inhabited the caves. A scattering of small farms and homes from the middle ages made it charming, but the castles and churches gave it its noble feel. The atmosphere reminded him of Scotland, where a strong feel of magic was in the air.

In the previous weeks, Scorpius learned as much as he could about the magical history of the area. The land was not spared from the witch trials of the 1600’s and it was during this time that the Wraith’s family had been torn apart. The family had first scattered across Europe and then other continents. It was unclear to him and others whether the Wraith’s vendetta was based on ancient history or something more recent.

The outside of the hotel was quaint and fit in with the small town of Bad Urach. Four stories high, painted white with the traditional Bavarian brown framing and diagonal beams. Flower boxes from each window, bare in the winter, but overflowing in the summertime, brought it charisma. The streets and houses were all neat and clean. It was delightful, even in winter. Scorpius dressed appropriately for the season, entered the establishment and headed towards the front desk. The pub to one side he was sure he'd be visiting later, the restaurant to the other, maybe.

The desk clerk welcomed him with a smile and quickly changed from German to English when he saw the confused expression on the young man's face. Scorpius responded that it was nice of the hotel to take him on such short notice. The key to a small room on the third floor was handed to him. He declined the offer of help for his suitcase and skiing equipment.

The room inside was basic, the hotel exterior was deceiving. He'd expected a place like the family run hotel he'd just left in Feldberg. This room had white walls with the very basics; a low-lying bed, a desk, a telly, and a wardrobe, all modern with stark clean lines. He hated it; just as he hated the lobby of the Victory Building, there was no charm. His father’s personal office, though, revealed something about Malfoy’s that most people didn’t know. They felt most comfortable in overstuffed chairs and couches, with blankets, and lamps, from times gone by. Only on the outside did they appear so angled and perfectly attired. The inner rooms of the Manor, where they did their daily living, were not only sumptuous but cosy.

He unpacked his clothes, trying not to cringe. He hated wearing them. The only objects that would give him away as a wizard were his wand, the tunic and the Assassin's knife. The bathroom mirror gave him a fright. He hadn't become accustomed to the man looking back at him. Short cropped black hair and dark brown eyes. No magic, just hair colouring and contacts. He blinked his eyes; the contacts were less of a hindrance every day.

The bed, despite being too low, was exceptionally comfortable. Scorpius stacked the pillows and leaned back. He reached over to the bedside table and picked up the remote control and turned on the telly. He wondered briefly how his family would react when he didn't come back until after the New Year. He felt a moment's guilt and then brushed it aside, that family didn't exist right now. He did indulge in one quick thought about Peasegood hitting the roof when he found out he'd already left.

*********************
"You find him interesting. Don't you, Gudrun?"

"Shhh, can I help it if I like to look? Klaus says he's English, you know how much I love the English."

The dark haired man roared with laughter. His sister glared at him but soon joined him. "To the English," she said and took another long draught of her beer.

"To the English, who get what they deserve. The bastards."

"Oh, but it would be fun to play with him."

"You'd eat him for lunch."

The woman pushed her long, wavy hair behind her ruby studded ears. "Maybe the other way around, dear."

"Ack, I didn't need to hear that."

"Phhht, like I don't have to hear about your escapades."

"I'm discrete. Not like you. You've had Jonas watching him, haven't you?"

"So what if I have. I'm being careful, isn't that what you are always complaining about?"

"Yes," the man groaned. "I can't wait to get the fuck out of this place."

Gudrun smiled. "I know. Soon, brother, soon. I'm sure they'll strike back somewhere in January. They're probably at home still enjoying their holidays. The Minister wouldn't want his sorry ass Aurors to be put out during Christmas or New Years."

The man sneered. "We could force them to. We could blow up this pretty little town and a few others on New Years and the Muggles would be frantic."

Gudrun 's hand came down upon her brother's wrist. She dug her long red nails into his skin. "No. Not father's homeland."

Scorpius kept calm as he ate his dinner. The venison goulash in red wine sauce was especially good and the spätzle had the right amount of cheese. He brought a slice of apple with lingonberry preserve to his lips and allowed his eyes to glance over at the couple eating next to him. He never expected Mustafa Krueger to be out in the open and especially to be eating dinner right next to him. So much for him being the Wraith. His mind raced with any hint of this being more of a coincidence. His eyes returned to the newspaper. He longed to use just a simple spell so he could hear more clearly what they were talking about. He recognised that they were using a Muffling Charm.

Was he that sure of himself? That comfortable that no one would find him? Scorpius pondered the situation and came to the conclusion that after ten years of being hunted, whether people knew it was him or not, the wizard had become complacent. He wasn't a giant that they'd made him out to be. Orion, that is what Harry had started calling him. Different scenarios played out in his head. Could he just point his wand and kill the wizard here and then Obliviate the Muggles? Who was the witch with him? She didn't appear to be a lover. Scorpius allowed himself one another brief look as folded the London Times and set it aside. Sister, he decided. They looked alike.

He calmed himself down enough to begin to savour each bite of the Goulosh again. Dinners in Germany were wondrous, but the breakfasts were too much for his tastes. He finally settled on just having one type of wurst as opposed to the variety that usually accompanied the lovely bread, Holzofenbrot, which he enjoyed with plum jam.

Scorpius looked up to the waitress as she set down a halbe of Hefeweizen. She laughed and pointed to the witch he'd been trying to avoid looking at. The witch raised her glass and smiled at him, he did the same. He found her quite attractive, but in an off-putting way.

"Englishman, come join my sister and I for the rest of your meal." Lessons upon lessons raced through his mind about what to do when confronted with an adversary in public. This was his specialty, but he didn't remember them covering what to do when a terrorist asks you to eat dinner with him and his sister.

"Oh look, Bergen, he's blushing. I think he's shy. Don't worry, English boy, this is common in our land, we're just being friendly and would love to hear about your country. Frau, this young man will be sitting with us now," Gudrun said, before Scorpius could reply. His plate was soon whisked away by the waitress; he brought his Hefeweizen.

Scorpius introduced himself as Nigel Baker. Harry's administrator, Connie, had a Muggle cousin, living in London, with that name and who was Scorpius' age. As he shook hands with both Bergen and his sister, Gudrun, Scorpius wondered what Harry would think about this. Could he have sat down with Voldemort over dinner? He knew his father, grandfather and grandmother had on many occasions. But this wizard was a different beast than Voldemort. Voldemort, Scorpius had learned from his family's tales and those he learned at school, was a sociopath and in it for the power, and that he had the power to make it happen. Bergen, Scorpius recognised, was a strategist and may not be a powerful wizard. He found that comforting. Not that he feared a powerful Dark wizard, but that he enjoyed the cat and mouse game, that is, as long as he was the cat.

The conversation, Scorpius found entertaining. He looked at the wizard, who he guessed to be close to his father's and Harry's age but he looked significantly older, his hair was close to being completely grey. His sister, he'd guess, was in her mid-thirties. They questioned him on his family and about London. Scorpius gave his condolences when they mentioned a sister who had been recently killed in London. Scorpius thought of the witch sitting in Azkaban who hadn't talked since her capture. She didn't need to, they had her blood.

The brother and sister seemed a bit surprised when he told them he was originally from Wiltshire and they went on to ask many questions about Stonehenge. Given that he was so free with his information, he felt no qualms about asking reciprocal questions. He hoped he didn't show too much interest in when they spoke of their grandfather in Iran. He literally bit his tongue in trying not to say Persia instead of Iran. The grandfather was a smith.

He did his best not to pry when they spoke of their parents' death. It wasn't just their parents but also their maternal grandparents. Answers to questions he wondered about were being filled in. Not directly, but he understood the subtext. This was an old vendetta, this reached back to the sixteenth century. There was another family involved that had turned their family in to the witchcraft hunters. Only three members of the family survived and their children swore that revenge would be administered.

"We had our own brushes with the witchcraft trials in England," Scorpius said and then drained the last drops of his Hefeweizen. "It seems so silly, doesn't it?"

"What does?" Gudrun asked.

"That people would believe in witches," Scorpius said with a chuckle and began to order another round of beer.

"Ah, my friend, they say the Black Forest has Erklings. But we should be good hosts and show you around the town. We'd like to take you to our favourite Gaststätte."

"I've heard of Erklings, but don't they just eat children?" Scorpius replied playing along. "And what, may I ask, is a Gaststätte?"

"A pub, my friend.

"Then I would love to. You're both very kind. However, I need to go to my room and gather my coat and scarf." He knew those at the Ministry would be horrified that he'd agreed. But, being a Hit Wizard meant that any actions he would take were best done without Muggles around.

He excused himself and went to his room to gather his winter coat, the inside pockets held his wand and knife. He took one look in the mirror as he wrapped his scarf around his neck. The makeup was doing its job in hiding his scar. The reflection smirked at him; yes, even with the physical changes of hair and eyes, there was no doubt that he looked like a Malfoy. And he knew deep down that he was probably the most dangerous one of them all. He briefly wondered if, in the end, Harry could look past that fact. He stared straight in the mirror for one final comb through of his short black hair and froze. The brown eyes glaring back at him told him more than he wanted to know. He could do this in cold blood. His heart was in another place, safe and warm.

His new friends were waiting for him at the hotel door. Gudrun was eyeing him approvingly. He faked a smile, but his insides ran cold. The cuckoo clock on the stairwell wall opened its door and the bird chirped eight o' clock as he passed by. He was prepared to go drinking, he was prepared to be kidnapped, he was prepared for anything.

Bergen opened the hotel door. Gudrun stepped out first into the clear winter night. She shivered. Scorpius breathed in the cold air as he glanced around. Not another soul was on the path or in the street. He wasn't surprised when the arm went around his shoulder and everything Vanished.

The one thing Scorpius wasn't sure of when he opened his eyes was whether they made him out to be a wizard or not. With one quick sweep, he took in his surroundings. It was a massive cave, filled with natural rock creations of stalagmites and stalactite, and an underground river. A small campfire on the bedrock of limestone was the only light.

"Look, brother, he's stunned. The poor boy who didn't believe in witchcraft hasn't a clue of what to think," Gudrun said as she circled in front of him. The firelight danced in her eyes as she smiled at him suggestively and rubbed against his body.

"Gudrun, slow down. You can have him, but I think I'd like to have a little fun with the Muggle first. Wouldn't you like for me to have him begging for you?" Bergen said as he gripped Scorpius' shoulder even harder.

"Who are you?" Scorpius asked. "What do you want from me? I have money if that's what you're looking for?"

"Ha ha ha! He has money Gudrun. As if we couldn't tell. Does he think we're paupers?" Bergen asked. His sister laughed at his sarcasm.

"Does it matter? He's English and he should pay for Ulrike's death. It's only right. But first, I do think I'd like you to loosen him up a bit."

"Ahem, I hate to disappoint you, Gudrun," Scorpius said as Bergen held on even tighter, "but I won't be begging for you."

The fist to his face was expected; he turned his head in time to lessen its blow. "What, you don't think she's good enough for you?" Bergen sneered as he broke through any semblance of personal space and put his face right in front of Scorpius'.

Scorpius' tongue flicked across the corner of his mouth and tasted the thin stream of blood flowing from his nose. "I only beg for cock, you fucker, but I'll be damned if it will be yours," Scorpius spat out and raised his hands reaching out and grabbed each of them by the throat. With one quick turn they were against the wall. Gudrun was sputtering, trying to find air as her hands clawed at his. Scorpius squeezed harder.

Out of the corner of his eye he saw Bergen reach for his wand with his right hand. His left hand was wrapped around Scorpius' wrist. Scorpius banged Gudrun's head against the limestone wall. Her body went limp, but he still felt a perceptible pulse before he let her go. He caught Bergen's arm just as he raised his wand and forced it against the wall. The wand dropped to the ground and rolled towards the river. "NO!!!" Bergen mouthed as he continued to choke. His colour was turning blue and his eyes began to bulge. But with one last desperate moved the wizard let go of Scorpius' wrist and his arm dropped briefly. Scorpius saw the flash of silver and then felt the impact as a knife's tip tried to penetrate his stomach. He laughed as it failed to reach his skin. He let go of Bergen and watched him slide to the floor.

The wizard coughed violently as air came rushing into his lungs. Scorpius reached into his coat pocket and pulled out his wand. Bergen's eye bulged again. "Hello, Mustafa Krueger," Scorpius drawled. "It was really so nice of you to bring me here."

"Who— who are you?" Krueger asked as he struggled to a standing position. "Are you a Reinhardt?"

Scorpius shook his head. "No, Krueger! One more guess and then you can say your last words."

Krueger stared at Scorpius with horror. "You— you're from the British Ministry," he said and then began to laugh. "Oh, but my Auror friend, you aren't allowed to kill foreigners on their land. And this, my friend, is my land. These caves have been in my family for over six hundred years."

"Incarcerous," Scorpius said, binding the wizards' arms and legs. "I believe you are correct, Krueger, and that is why you and I will be going on a little trip. We're going to use a Portkey, a Ministry-made Portkey. Do you have a problem with that?" he asked as he saw Krueger begin to pale. Scorpius stepped forward, reached into his pocket and withdrew a handkerchief. He tapped it with his wand and then laid it on Krueger's foot. He reached for Gudrun's leg and dragged her towards her brother. She groaned. He placed her hand and his on the material and within a few seconds he felt the familiar pull in his stomach.

"Where are we?" Krueger asked.

Scorpius looked around. The mist was thick and cold and he could hear the waves crashing on rocks below. He cast a chain of Bluebell Charms around the three of them. "Scotland, I believe. And you know what that means, that means you're on British soil."

"You wouldn't. I know your laws; Aurors can only kill in self-defence."

Scorpius shook his head and barked out a laugh. "I never said I was an Auror."

Krueger's forehead wrinkled as he glared at Scorpius. "Then what are you?"

A few steps brought him closer to Krueger. He bent down and reached into his coat and withdrew the Assassin's knife. "I'm Scorpius, and you Krueger, are Orion."

"No, no, no! It's not yours! It's mine!" Krueger spat out.

"Really? I do believe you left it for Auror Potter to find, didn't you? And look at this," Scorpius said with a grin, "I do believe it has your name on it and also mine."

"I— I didn't leave it there. Shaheen must have stolen it that night. He must've done it. I should've never trusted someone from father's side of the family."

"So you admit to murdering Demitrius, you fool. And then what did you do? Obliviate Shaheen the next day so he wouldn't remember the murder or you? If you did, you did an arse of a job. It's been wearing off over the years."

Krueger began to shiver, the cold ocean air dampening their clothes. The dead heather covering the moor swayed. "Don't kill me," Krueger begged as his teeth chattered. "We just wanted our land back that the Muggles stole. They've desecrated our caves. Thousands upon thousands of visitors have walked into our homes."

"And the Portkeys?" Scorpius asked.

"To gather all remaining members of the family from around the world to start a new sovereign nation. We would have our own laws."

"And Audun? He was a relative?"

"Yesss," Krueger hissed.

"And the family that betrayed yours centuries ago?" Scorpius asked as he bent down next to the man and fiddled with the rope bindings.

"Almost wiped out."

"Tsk, tsk," Scorpius said as he pricked Krueger's neck with the tip of the knife. A single drop of blood oozed out. "I guess your sisters will have to finish the vendetta."

"Ulrike is alive? Please, please don't kill me! Arrest me, instead!"

Scorpius glared at the wizard. "Can't. You're the Wraith, you might just disappear on me, though I'm thinking that's just a fancy name you gave yourself. You're no Orion either, you're a small pitiful wizard," he said with a sneer. "And, besides, Wraith, you know how the knife works. If I don't kill you with it once the names have been engraved, eventually I will go mad and kill myself with it. And, my friend, I have too much to live for."

"But— but I'm sure my grandfather knows a way around it. I sto— took it from him."

"Sorry. Any last words?"

Krueger stared up at Scorpius trying to look deep into his eyes; he gave one last struggle against the ropes. "I— I'm sorry."

Scorpius nodded. "Okay, I will tell Auror Potter that. I'm sure it will make up for the loss of his son."

"I..."

Scorpius stopped the wizard from uttering another word with one quick slash across his throat. He removed the magical ropes with a flick of his wand and with another levitated the body over the edge of the cliffs. He walked over to the edge; the freezing ocean spray reached his face. He couldn't see the rocks below but he could hear Poseidon calling for his son, Orion, to come home. He took a deep breath and let the body drop into the mist along with a part of his soul. He stepped back and dropped to the ground holding onto the witch he doubted would ever be the same. Scorpius Disapparated.

con't

Chapter Text

Scorpius stood on the balcony, looking into the bedroom. The moonlight pierced through the sheer curtains, but the scene was blurred. The wizard, the man he'd admired his whole life, was lying in bed asleep. Scorpius placed his hand on the door latch and felt the tingle as it unlocked for him. He slipped into the room, closing the doors behind. He smiled at the covers arranged haphazardly; one naked leg was revealed. He wondered what it would feel like wrapped around his. He stepped quietly across the Persian rug to get a closer look; he saw a fist clutching onto the medallion he knew it held.

The shower beckoned him, but he couldn't tear his eyes away. Only once before had he had the chance to observe Harry so closely. To notice the fading of the scar, the grey around his temples, and the ease in which his full-lipped mouth turned into a smile. It was in contradiction to his father's. This moment he'd waited for his whole life, but the fear was there that he wasn't worthy, a left-over from being a Malfoy. James had once told him, when quite inebriated, that Harry had seen something in Scorpius that had to be protected and cherished. For the life of him, right now, he didn't know what that could be. In the previous hours, lines had been crossed and lies of omission had been told. Kingsley had just nodded and put his hand up for Scorpius not to say more than necessary. Scorpius would bury the details within his own mind, within his own soul. His soul he knew had been damaged, and even though his position meant that he had a permanently reserved bed at St. Mungo's, he knew there was nothing a Healer could do.

He padded over to the loo and was determined to wash the night's work down the drain. But first he laid the blood-stained knife on the bedside table.

*********************
The noise of someone being in the house had filtered into his dreams and then into his subconscious. Harry jerked up into a sitting position, wide awake; the adrenaline was coursing through his veins and his ears tried to localize the sound. Water was rushing through the old pipes. He admonished himself for getting so riled up. His Protection Spells were still in place, and, therefore, it must be Al or Lily. He fell back onto the bed and pulled the warm covers over him. His heartbeat had just begun to slow when he spotted the knife lying next to his glasses. "Scorpius," he whispered.

Harry wrapped his body in the luxurious brown silk dressing gown, which had once belonged to his son. His knuckles were close to knocking on the door when he heard a sound that he'd only heard from Scorpius once before. He tried that glass doorknob and it turned. The room's steam made it difficult to see, but he could tell Scorpius was not standing but sitting on the shower floor. As he got closer, and the steam dissipated out into the cool bedroom, he was startled to see a stranger with short black hair. He couldn't see his face; the wizard's forehead was resting against his arms wrapped around his bent knees. The sob released by the man, though, told him it wasn't a stranger, but Scorpius in pain. He removed his robe and then opened the glass door; streams of black were running down Scorpius' back and, to Harry's horror, a stream of red down his knees.

"Scorpius," Harry said as he knelt down beside him. Grey eyes rimmed in red peeked over the arm shielding his face. Harry thought of his children when he saw the look of desperation. It was one they gave when young, especially Albus when he knew he'd done something wrong, something to disappoint Harry. "Scorpius," Harry said as he reached up and turned off the tap. He wrapped his arm around Scorpius' wet shoulders. "I'm so sorry I asked you to do it."

"Don't be," Scorpius said defiantly as he raised his head and stared directly at Harry. "I enjoyed it. But he wasn't a giant, Harry, he wasn't Orion; he was just an ordinary wizard consumed with hate and revenge."

Any other Malfoy saying those words that he enjoyed killing someone would have given Harry grave concern, but not this Malfoy. "Come on; let's get you out of here and into bed."

A small smirk broke through Scorpius' solemn face. Harry reached over and wiped the thin stream of blood coming from Scorpius' nose away. "Maybe a Healing Spell first," he said as he stood up. He wiped his hand on a wet cloth and then held his hand out for Scorpius to take.

"I didn't think our first time being without clothes together would be like this," Scorpius remarked as he looked down at both their flaccid pricks.

Harry chuckled and reached out of the shower and handed Scorpius a dry towel before he took one for himself. He dried off quickly and put on his dressing gown and stepped out of the loo and returned with his wand. He leaned the tip of it against Scorpius' nose. "Episkey." Scorpius looked in the mirror, seemingly pleased with the results.

"The hair is different?" Harry said as he brushed his hand over the top.

Scorpius gave a short groan. "Couldn't use magic. I had brown eyes up until a few moments ago. Want to see?"

Harry picked up his towel and helped finish drying Scorpius off. He couldn't help but admire the power the lithe muscles contained. He knew the consistent training the Hit Wizards were put through, it was much more strenuous than his Aurors were required to do. And Scorpius was also instructing the teams in self-defence. He finished wiping over Scorpius' back and shoulders and was unsure whether to continue down further. Scorpius turned around. Harry's eyes focused on the bruise on his abdomen and quickly healed it.

"I'll finish. Can you get my dressing gown? It's in my overnight bag."

"Sure," Harry said and hung the towel on a nearby rack.

"I'm hoping I wasn't too presumptuous," Scorpius said, almost asking it as a question as Harry left the room.

Harry returned with a handful of midnight-blue silk and helped Scorpius put it on. "No, you weren't. I wanted you to come here. I guess you could say I've seen the potential," Harry replied with a grin as Scorpius closed the dressing gown and tied it with the sash. He took Scorpius' hand and led him into his room and over to the bed. Scorpius sat down on the edge of the mattress. "Are you hungry? Tired? Would you like a drink? Do you want to talk?"

Scorpius smiled at Harry who was standing before him. Harry rolled his eyes, knowing that he'd been caught being a bit nervous. "I'm knackered, Harry, physically and emotionally."

"Okay, then, why don't we go to bed." Harry replied and walked around the other side of the bed where he increased the fire before disrobing. He crawled between the sheets and pulled back the covers when Scorpius stood up and removed his dressing gown.

Scorpius lay down and Harry covered him with the warm blankets. He shifted next to Scorpius whose back was to him and spooned his body against his. "You okay?" he whispered in Scorpius' ear.

"No."

Harry withheld the sigh. With Ginny, he knew this meant she was mad at him and she wanted him to press on and keep asking. He learned quickly from Demitrius that most of the time he didn't really want to talk about it until he was ready.

"Anything I can do?" Harry asked as he wrapped his arm over Scorpius' arm and chest. The skin was soft but the body underneath was hard.

"Hold me down," Scorpius whispered and turned over on his back. "Just hold me down."

Harry didn't quite know what to think of the request, but he didn't feel it was time to inquire. He took Scorpius' hands, which were void of rings, in his and intertwined their fingers. He placed their hands on each side of Scorpius' head and wrapped one leg over his thighs, his head rested on Scorpius' chest. Harry could finally hear the heartbeat he'd been protecting. Scorpius' fingers squeezed Harry's tight; Harry let him without resistance. Soon the grip relaxed and Harry heard soft, rhythmic breathing. Carefully he disentangled his right hand, reached back for his wand and lowered the fire.

*********************
Light touches on his backside woke him. They were methodical movements starting at his shoulders and working their way down, as if the fingers were mapping his physique to memory. The exploration was welcomed and Harry kissed the chest he was laying on. Dawn was breaking through the balcony's French doors.

His own fingers traced the muscles of Scorpius' chest and abdomen. Harry marvelled at the body responding to his every caress. He lifted his head to see sleepy grey eyes smiling at him. Harry shifted his body up and stole the first kiss. It was quick but the ones to follow were not. His hand moved over Scorpius' neck and his fingers slid to the back and pulled him in closer; he wasn't sure they could ever get close enough. Their tongues wrapped around each other and delved past to discover what had been denied for so long.

Scorpius abruptly turned on his side and Harry could feel how much he was wanted. His hand released his grip on Scorpius' scalp and skimmed down Scorpius side, he felt the shudder under his fingertips. He reached Scorpius' arse; the round cheeks were firm, but his fingers spread and pressed down and worked their way over the solid curves. It was the only part of Scorpius body that was rounded; the rest Harry could feel was angled and hard with taut muscles. Their kisses became shallow as both arched into each other.

Scrorpius' hand moved between their bodies and without hesitation wrapped his long fingers around Harry's straining erection. Harry moaned and moved his mouth away from Scorpius' lips; he kissed and licked every part of his face as he pumped into the hand holding him tight. His own hand squeezed into the opening and palmed the cock waiting to be touched. Scorpius' whole body jerked. Harry ran his thumb over the drops of wetness already present and smeared it up and down Scorpius' shaft and felt the tremors running through his body. "Harry," Scorpius mumbled and within moments warm liquid was erupting onto their stomachs.

Scorpius began to laugh and his hold on Harry lessened. Harry looked up to see a strong blush over Scorpius' cheeks. "I—I, um, that's never happened before—I mean that quickly."

Harry kissed his nose. "I think I'll take that as a compliment."

"Yes, please do," Scorpius said and rolled his eyes. He tightened his hold on Harry and began what he attempted to do before. Harry's hand came down on his wrist and moved Scorpius' hand away.

Scorpius' eyes widened. Harry shook his head. "Scorpius, I'll probably only get one shot at this right now and there are other things I'd like to do to you. Don't forget I'm an old man," Harry said with a wink. "If my memory serves, you, however, will rebound quite quickly."

"Well, then old man, what is it you would like to do to me?"

Harry laughed and moved his hand down to the wet limp cock. "I will be sucking on this later but the difficult decision is whether I do it before or after I fuck you."

"Oh, my God, I didn't know you'd be all Auror-like in bed," Scorpius whinged.

Harry's right eyebrow cocked up. "Hmmm, and here you thought you knew everything about me. What did you expect?" Harry asked teasingly as he fingered Scorpius' balls.

"Well, when I—oh shit," Scorpius muttered as Harry ran his fingers through the come on his stomach and went back to playing with his stones. Scorpius opened his mouth to finish what he was saying, but was silenced when Harry's middle finger slid down and over his perineum before slipping between his arse cheeks.

"Yes," Harry asked while staring at Scorpius expectantly. "I'm sure over the years you imagined something about me. Did you think I would be like your other lovers, fawning at your feet?"

"Wha?"

Harry laughed. "Scorpius Malfoy! Don't pretend that you didn't see me watching every move you and your lovers made while in my presence."

Scorpius smiled. Harry loved that smile and had since the first day he'd seen it. "I wasn't sure you were paying attention."

"Bollocks," Harry bantered back and ran his lips briefly across Scorpius'. "You were teasing me even before you were legally old enough for me to do something about it. If I'm wrong, set me straight."

Scorpius huffed and puckered his lips. Harry cracked up seeing the Malfoy pout.

"Scorpius, I will adore you, however, I take my lovemaking very seriously," Harry said after kissing the full lips again. "In my bed, you are mine." Harry added another finger in its exploration of Scorpius' bum, causing Scorpius to moan. He took a quick glance down and saw Scorpius' prick beginning to come back life. "Is that something that interests you?" Harry asked.

"I— I, yes, but what does it mean that I am yours?"

Harry grinned. "It means that there will be no games. I want you tell me what you want and I'll tell you what I want. Like right now, I want to fuck you, to be the first to do so. In the shower, before breakfast, I'm going to want to get on my knees and take your dick in my mouth and suck you off until you scream, and later tonight, if you want to fuck me, I want you to tell me."

"You'd let me fuck you?" Scorpius asked, completely flummoxed.

Harry nodded. "I may be old, but I think I can still get my legs over your shoulders or press them up against my shoulders. Or do you prefer your men on their knees. I bet you do, don't you?"

"Fuck!"

Harry laughed as he felt Scorpius' prick strike against his forearm. He kissed him on the forehead. "It also means that bed is metaphorical." Scorpius' brow furrowed. Harry's fingers continued to move up and down the crack and suddenly stopped at the tight hole. A fingertip pressed through. Scorpius' eyes widened. "I'm not above breaking a few rules at work, just don't ever tell your father that," Harry added with a smirk. "If work is slow and you happen to stop by in the afternoon for some tea while wearing one of your vintage outfits, we will be drinking tea after I take you over my desk. You see, Scorpius, you're not the only one who has had fantasies over the years."

"Fuck!"

"Such a dirty mouth. I think I like it," Harry said. "Now, why don't you stretch over and open the bedside table drawer. There's a pot of lube in there."

Scorpius strained to reach the drawer; he fumbled with the handle before succeeding. Harry attacked the stretched tendon on his neck. A glint of gold caught his eye as the morning sun's rays reached the bed. Scorpius worked his way back onto the bed and held up the green glass pot. Harry removed his hand from Scorpius' bum and took the pot from his hands and set it aside. He grasped the chain around his neck and brought it over his head. Scorpius looked at him with concern.

"Lift up," Harry said and placed the chain and medallion over Scorpius' head. He gave the short black hair a quick brush over.

"But why?"

"Because, Scorpius, it's safe now. I will never break it."

Harry kissed the closed eyelashes as they became wet. "I just pray you don't break mine," Harry whispered.

Scorpius eyes shot open. "Never, Harry," he blurted out.

Harry sighed. "Scorpius, I don't want to hide this relationship. And you know your family and others are going to put us through hell."

A long arm reached past Harry and picked up the green glass pot and brought it to Harry's hand. "I think we've been in hell for a while now and since when did you think I care what my family and others think about me?"

"You will, Scorpius."

Scorpius reached up and traced his fingers over Harry's lips. "It won't be hell if you're with me."

Harry ran the tip of his tongue over each fingertip. His own fingers lifted the small latch of the pot and then dipped into the viscous substance. He brought it back down to the area his fingers had been before; Scorpius raised his knees and spread his legs wide allowing full access. The anticipation was there, for both of them. There would be other times, though, where he wouldn't have to be so careful, but this time, he would take all of the precautions necessary. This was for Scorpius to enjoy. Harry bent down and kissed Scorpius full on the lips, his tongue entered his mouth forcefully as the first finger entered Scorpius' virgin hole.

Scorpius lifted his hips, forcing Harry in deeper. The second finger was added and Harry waited patiently until Scorpius relaxed. Slowly Harry moved the two fingers in unison, touching the walls inside Scorpius, treasuring each moan he received. He smiled when Scorpius' bum lifted off the bed when he curled his fingers and found his prostate. He brushed over it again and again and the third finger was added with the same care. He only stopped when Scorpius began fucking his fingers in earnest.

The pot opened again and Harry glanced over to see Scorpius dipping his own fingers in. He groaned loudly as the lubricant was coated on his dick. "Not too hard," Harry whispered and grinned. Scorpius' brow arched and gave Harry a final squeeze before releasing his hold.

Harry removed his fingers and grabbed a pillow from behind him and placed it under Scorpius' bum. He gave Scorpius a final kiss before moving between his legs. The sight of the relaxed hole waiting for him to fill took his breath away. He kissed each calf as Scorpius lifted each leg over his shoulders. Harry grasped his prick and ran the tip of it up and down the exposed crack; Scorpius' body shuddered. He looked up to see Scorpius staring at him with eyes showing so much desire his heart stilled. He knew once he breached Scorpius' entrance there would be no going back. Harry swallowed hard; he didn't want to go back.

Scorpius' lower lip was taken in by his teeth. Harry knew that even with this much preparation, the first time feeling someone penetrate you was a shock to the system. He waited for a moment before pushing in further. Scorpius' body tensed, but his voice called out for more. Harry didn't know where the emotion came from when his dick was finally fully encased. It was warm, and it was tight as he expected, but this was Scorpius, his Scorpius. "God, you're beautiful," Harry whispered as he pulled out and drove back in.

He'd planned on taking the first time slow, but plans had changed the second Scorpius grabbed his legs and flung them over his own shoulders. His toes grasped onto the upper bar of the headboard and Harry winced, knowing the flexibility it took to do that, to be folded in half. His cock reached deeper into Scorpius than he thought possible. They both groaned with every hard thrust. Harry penetrated further and Scorpius took it all in and begged for more. The bed rocked against the wall with the brutal pounding. Harry had no warning as his whole body quivered and then rammed into Scorpius unrelentingly.

Long legs came down and over Harry's sides as he rested on Scorpius' chest, panting. When Scorpius had spilled his seed, Harry didn't know, but it was there splattered across his torso when he fell forward. Fingers were wrapped in his hair and others were intertwined with his own. "I love you, you know." Harry heard whispered. "I always have."

Harry kissed Scorpius' chest, his tongue lazily licked across his nipple. He could taste Scorpius' come along with his sweat. It was an intoxicating combination. "I know," Harry replied knowing Scorpius didn't expect him to say it in return today.

"I know you were concerned about me worshipping you, Harry, which I can't help but do," Scorpius said with a small chuckle. "But, I think you need it no matter how much you deny it."

Harry raised his head and turned to look at Scorpius, ready to set him straight. Fingers moved from his hair to his lips, stopping him from saying a word.

"You were denied it growing up, and every child needs to know they are loved unconditionally. My father and I will fight over this relationship, I have no doubts, but even if he disowns me, I know I possess his heart. He loves me as does my mother." Harry let his mind try and absorb what Scorpius was saying, something was ringing true in it. "You need to be loved, Harry, more deeply than most. I know that, even if you don't. I trusted you with my heart for many years; I just hope someday you will trust me with yours."

Harry strained his neck up and kissed Scorpius gently on the lips. "You're very wise, young one."

"I know, I'm a Ravenclaw," Scorpius said with a smirk.

"Well, my pet Eagle, I think those talons of yours already snatched part of my heart," Harry said as he rolled off Scorpius and onto his side. Age over desire was winning, he'd never felt so tired after making love. He snickered to himself, knowing he'd never made love with that much intensity before. He yawned and closed his eyes as he wrapped on arm over Scorpius.

"How do you feel about rimming?"

Harry's eyelids popped open. Scorpius broke up in laughter. "Just curious as to what I can ask for later tonight."

"Anything you want. I'm pretty open to most things, and given your flexibility, it opens a lot of possibilities," Harry replied and one corner of his mouth quirked up. He pulled the blankets up around him, snuggled into his pillow, and covered his mouth while yawning again.

"Hmm, so what were you just thinking of right now, besides going to sleep?" Scorpius asked as one finger trailed over Harry's bicep.

Harry smiled but didn't open his eyes. "I was thinking of you bent in half, like you just were and rolling you over. From there I could clean you up after fucking you. Now, I'm old, Scorpius, let me go to sleep."

"Bastard."

"Yep, that's me," Harry mumbled.

*********************
The strong scent of coffee eased Harry out of his sex-induced slumber. He reached over to find the sheets next to him cold. His initial disappointment was alleviated by the small cup filled with thick black coffee on his bedside table. Before he indulged, he raced to the loo, pissed and then washed up quickly before brushing his teeth. He wrapped up in his dressing gown and then sat by the fire. He picked up the Daily Prophet, the knife had been placed on top of it. There was nothing out of the ordinary mentioned, which he recognised as Scorpius' point in leaving the knife there.

He savoured each sip of the thick brew, the same as he did the last time Scorpius had made him coffee. Knowing he'd left Scorpius still wanting more when he fell asleep, he finished his coffee and then walked out of his room and down the hallway in search of him. He smelt bacon and he could hear someone in the kitchen cooking.

"Scorpius!" Harry yelled down from the stairwell balcony. "Do you want the rim job or the shower blowjob now?" He heard a pan crash to the floor. He covered his mouth from laughing out loud.

"I'm sure he'd want the blowjob, Dad! But I'll ask him when he comes in from the backyard," Lily yelled up.

"Fuck!" Harry blurted out as he heard Al and Lily burst into laughter.

con't

Chapter Text

January 2032

 

Harry tried to relax. He was sure the baby could feel how tense he was. She was squirming and on the edge of crying for her father. His young son, unaware of what was happening, seemed perfectly satisfied inspecting the purple drawing room's furnishings. Harry was thankful that most breakables were high on the marble mantelpiece, but he lurched forward as Cy made his way behind the drawn, floor-to-ceiling, velvet curtains. Cy giggled and soon reappeared. Harry sat back and put his pinkie finger in Ella's mouth, satisfying her for the moment. The room was as quiet as a museum, as if no lived here, or if they did, they were well past the time for enjoying children running across their highly polished wooden floors with dirty trainers.

The wait for Scorpius to appear with his parents was nerve wracking. If they appear, Harry thought to himself. He hoped to God they would, for in the end, it was family that mattered most of all. Ella yawned and her soft-grey eyes began to close. Slowly, he pulled his finger out of her bowed lips and then relaxed; her body's warmth spread across his chest and into his heart, which she, her brothers, sister, and Scorpius possessed.

Harry could hear voices; they seemed to be shouting at each other, but it was coming from far away and he couldn't tell whose they were. He was sure, though, that at some point today he would face Draco one more time. The last time had been five years ago. Draco had stormed past Connie and barged into his office. Kingsley and Peasegood had both been there then, Kingsley trying to smooth things over with Arnold. Scorpius had told no one but Harry the details of that night. Gudrun was now permanently brain-damaged and committed to St. Mungo's and Ulrike, upon learning of her brother's death and sister's condition took her own life the night before. Peasegood wanted answers, but not very many were forthcoming. They all jumped as one furious Draco Malfoy had entered Harry's office with his wand drawn.

Draco had been quickly disarmed, but Harry then had asked Kingsley and Peasegood to give him and Draco some time. Harry would never forget how angry Draco was with him. Scorpius, Harry had guessed, had taken his father's ultimatum and left the family. Harry had let Draco rant without interruption. It was only when Draco accused him of molesting Scorpius when he was younger that Harry began shouting back. Finally, Draco had worn himself out and had fallen into the chair across from Harry's desk. "Why, Potter? Why did you have to take my son? I have never really hated you until now. I know you lost your James, but for God's sake don't take my Scorpius away from me," Draco had pleaded.

Harry remembered shaking his head, not knowing what to say. Draco would never believe that what he and Scorpius had was love and that it didn't mean Scorpius didn't love his family anymore. "Five years," Harry whispered out loud.

He looked over at his son, knowing that the Malfoys had missed out on so much. It had been on Harry's insistence when Ella was born that Scorpius reach out one more time to his family. The children were unknown to everyone but their half-siblings and select others. Even though those wizards and witches related to the Wraith's case who had committed crimes had been arrested, neither Harry nor Scorpius ever felt comfortable exposing the children to the public. They knew they would eventually have to and this was a first step. Scorpius had been reluctant to try and reconcile with his family, but without Harry having to explain, Scorpius knew why Harry wanted him to do so. Children deserved to be loved by as many people as possible, especially by family.

"Mr Potter?"

Harry's head jerked around at the soft female voice coming from behind him. He hadn't heard a door open. He squinted his eyes, trying to decipher who the older witch was, dressed in fine robes from the previous century. He held back the gasp when the realisation hit. "Mrs Malfoy," he said back and gave a hesitant smile.

"May I ask what you are doing here? Draco is going to be very upset. And who are these two young ones?" she asked as she slowly made her way across the room using a cane. Harry took in the changes; it had been at least ten years since he'd seen Narcissa Malfoy. Her hair was no longer golden but white, her nose tip a little more drawn down and her face showing deep wrinkles.

"Scorpius is with Draco right now, I assume. And these two, Mrs Malfoy, are your great-grandchildren." Harry delighted in seeing her eyes light up and her pace quicken as she crossed the wooden floor.

"My great-grandchildren?" she asked. Her voice cracked and Harry wasn't sure if it was because of age or excitement. He couldn't understand why she looked so aged. Even McGonagall, who was closing in on one hundred, looked in significantly better health.

"Yes," Harry said holding Ella up a bit so Narcissa could get a better look. "This is Druella Malfoy, we call her Ella. And that young rascal," Harry said pointing to his son playing peek-a-boo once again behind the curtains, "is Cygnus Malfoy."

Narcissa grasped onto the back of the chair Harry was sitting in. She was visibly shaking. He quickly enlarged the chair into a couch and held onto her wrinkled hand as he led her around to sit next to him. Her hand reached out and she touched Ella's cheek with back of her fingers. "Those are my parents' names," she whispered.

"Their biological mother is a Black, Mrs Malfoy. These are Scorpius' biological children. I adopted them, but they are to keep the Malfoy name."

"Oh, sweet Morganna, Mr Potter. I didn't know."

"Mrs Malfoy, please call me Harry. I know you didn't know. Scorpius didn't want anyone to know. I'm sorry. But we're here now and I think these two young ones deserve to know Scorpius' family. Would you like to hold her?"

Narcissa's eyes brightened even more. "I would love to, Mr— Harry."

Harry carefully placed his sleeping daughter into Narcissa's waiting arms. She leaned back against the stiff cushioned couch and cradled Elle tight. "She's beautiful," she whispered. "May I ask who the mother is?"

The question didn't surprise him. Scorpius had told him that would be one of the first things they'd want to know. While part of Harry was irritated, the other part understood that the Malfoys, the elder Malfoys, still held on to the beliefs ingrained in them from long ago. "Her name is Callidora, she was named after Callidora Black her great-great-grandmother."

"I see. I didn't keep up with that line of the family, but Ella certainly has a Black look about her. May I see Cygnus?"

Harry called for his son, who shyly approached the old witch. "Cy, this is your great-grandmother. Mrs Malfoy, this is Cygnus, who likes to be called Cy."

Narcissa inspected the black-haired boy with soft grey-eyes from head to toe. "He looks a bit like Regulus and Sirius," she said with a smile.

"I think so too, but he has Scorpius' smile and definitely his intellect."

Narcissa held out her hand. "Come here, young man, and sit by me. It's been years since I've seen such youth in this house. Harry, may I call for Lucius? He hasn't been well and..."

"It's fine, Mrs Malfoy. I want these children to know all of you."

Narcissa gave a small laugh and patted Cy on the knee. "Yes, we are getting a bit old to still have these grudges aren't we?"

Harry touched her green robe covered arm. "I couldn't agree more. I just hope your son feels the same way."

Narcissa's brow shot up. "If he has a tantrum, you let Lucius handle it, Harry. He maybe an old man, but he still has some influence with his son."

Harry didn't know whether to laugh or swear. An ancient house-elf appeared after a simple call and was given instructions to tell Master Malfoy that he had visitors in the sitting room. Narcissa smirked. "He'll probably act gruff, but ignore it. He'll be itching to show Cygnus around the house. And, Astoria, oh hell, Harry, we have to bring the children up to see Astoria."

"Is something wrong?"

Narcissa shook her head. "Nothing a few days lying off the liquor won't cure. She started after Draco and Scorpius rowed. I can't remember for the life of me what it was about."

Harry laughed. "It was about me, Mrs Malfoy. Draco gave Scorpius an ultimatum to leave me or leave the family."

"Hells bells, what did he do that for?" Narcissa snapped. She then brought her hand over the baby's clenched fists and held them in hers. "I miss my grandson. He always dressed so exquisitely and he made me the most spectacular jewellery."

Harry wasn't sure if reminding Narcissa that her family didn't like him much was the right thing to do or not. He chose not to.

"Narcissa, Kelby said we have...Mr Potter, this is a surprise."

Harry rose from the couch as Lucius Malfoy unsteadily made his way towards the couch. The years hadn't been kind to him either. He had a brief thought the Malfoys could all die at one time in this museum of a house and no one would know. Harry held out his hand. "Mr Malfoy, I hope we haven't disturbed you. Scorpius is upstairs with Draco and...."

"And these two young ones are ours, Lucius. These are Scorpius' children, Druella and Cygnus Malfoy. Their mother is a Black."

Lucius stumbled and Harry reached out and grabbed his arm to steady him. Lucius looked at him oddly. "They're not Potters?" Lucius asked as he sat down next Narcissa.

Harry Summoned a chair from across the room and sat across from them. "They are my adopted children, Mr Malfoy. They are mine in my heart as much as Lily, Al and James are mine, but their surname is Malfoy."

Lucius leaned forward and looked across Narcissa and the baby and stared at Cy, who was staring at Harry looking quite afraid. "He looks like Sirius," Lucius grumbled.

"A bit, yes, but he's definitely a Malfoy, Lucius. You should see him smile and he's smart as a whip. And look at Ella, she has the Malfoy hair."

Harry almost choked. Cy hadn't smiled or said a word to her. He quickly grasped that Narcissa still was a Slytherin at heart.

"Really? Well, young man, do you like horses?"

Cy looked at Harry. Harry nodded to him and then Cy looked over to Lucius. "Yes, great-grandfather, I do. My father takes me riding on the weekends."

"Does he now? And does he take you on his broom?"

Cy shook his head. "No, great-grandfather, Dad does that. He's a better flyer than Father."

Harry wanted to give his son a hug.

Lucius sniggered. "Don't tell your grandfather that."

Harry laughed.

"Where are Draco and Scorpius?" Lucius asked looking around the room. "I would like to see my grandson."

"They're upstairs arguing, Lucius. Why don't you go up and set your son straight. Take Cy with you."

Harry was about to object but Cy hopped off the couch and ran over to Harry. "Can I go, Dad? Can I go up those stairs?" Harry chuckled. The grand staircase was an attraction for any child. He wondered if Scorpius had ever slid down the long curved banister or, for that matter, if Draco ever had.

"Yes, you may go."

Tea was soon set before Harry as he and Narcissa waited for the four generations of Malfoy wizards to return. He was finishing his second cup when he heard deep, hearty laughter. He turned around to see Scorpius beaming as he walked slowly into the sitting room with his arm around Lucius. Cy was in Draco's arms.

"Potter," Draco said as he let Cy down onto the ground, but he didn't release the little boy's hand.

"Draco," Harry said, thinking that saying Malfoy in the present company made no sense at all.

"I understand I'm a grandfather of two and that I have you to thank for forcing my stubborn son into bringing them here to meet us."

"Uh, er..." Harry stammered. Long arms reached over the chair and slid down his arms. Scorpius gave him a quick kiss on the cheek.

"Ignore him," Scorpius whispered.

"Grandfather?" Cy said pulling on Draco's robes. "Father said you would teach me how to catch winter fairies. Can that someday be now?"

Draco smiled down at the boy. "You can only catch them on a clear winter's night, when it's freezing cold. It slows their wings, and then only if you're quick enough, you might catch one. I think tonight might be cold enough. Should we try?"

Cy's grey eyes grew big. "Really? We can stay until night time?"

Draco looked over to Harry. Harry shrugged. "Ask your son; I don't have any objections. I've never heard of winter fairies before."

Draco groaned and shook his head at Harry.

"Don't say it, Father," Scorpius said with a laugh. "Now, come over here, Father, and meet your granddaughter. I think she inherited your stubborn streak."

*********************
May 2032

"It's too quiet," Harry said as he sipped his Greek coffee out on the patio.

Scorpius took the cup from his hand and set it on the rickety table. He leant over and kissed Harry's cheek before he sat down, straddling his lap. "We'll be home tomorrow, pick up the kids from the Manor, and then the house will be back to its usual noise level."

Harry reached up with one hand and ran his fingers through the long blond hair. The other hand grasped onto to the medallion on Scorpius' chest. "So what should we do until then?"

Scorpius grinned and wrapped his fingers around Harry's hardened prick. "I was thinking we could go down to the beach and you could make love to me as we look out at the Mediterranean Sea."

finis

 

The additional chapter is composed of drabbles written for Adventdrabbles 2009. They cover this relationship during the holidays from before it started through to a very happy ending with Fathers finally getting along....somewhat. :) Enjoy!

Chapter Text

Prompt: Silent Night


Premonition
Christmas Eve, 2006

The feeling descended upon him like lighting finding a metal spire; his whole body shivered with the chill.

"Daddy?" James asked.

Harry blinked rapidly as he looked into worried brown eyes.

"I'm fine just a chill," Harry responded and patted the spot next to him on the couch. James crawled up and snuggled next to his father. Harry reached over to the pile of presents on the table, handing one to James. Ginny looked up from the floor by the tree as she helped Al unwrap his gifts. Harry gave a reassuring grin.

The scene was wrong, things would change.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Prompt: Wreath

Blue Holly
Early December, 2028

It was by chance he saw the wreath on the front door; friends and co-workers used the Floo. A tired owl missed the open window and crashed into the hydrangea bushes. This wreath was different. In previous years, the Christmas wreath was delivered by Molly and Arthur on December first, and was always made of evergreens and pinecones with a large Gryffindor red bow.

He didn't expect one this year, but there it was, welcoming anyone who passed by. He touched the green spiked leaves and was impressed with the abundance of red berries. Holly – with a large, blue bow.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Prompt: Scrooge – Bah Humbug

Fatherly Advice

Christmas Eve, 2028

“Don’t worry about it, Harry. He’s an arse and he’s pissed.”

Harry scowled at the Howler, which refused to burn but instead continued to repeat its message.

Scorpius, you’ve broken your mother’s heart! Merry, fucking, Christmas! Fa la la la! And, Potter, fuck you, too.

Scorpius raised his wand, silencing the offending missive. He stood in front of Harry and untied his mother’s red, silk dressing gown, revealing a growing erection. He whispered in Harry’s ear, “I believe Scrooge said something about Christmas and fucking.”

“Bah Humbug!” Harry laughed, dropping to his knees.

“God bless us, every one,” Scorpius gasped.

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Prompt: Sleigh Ride


Christmas Traditions
Christmas Day, 2028

Harry could sense the melancholy in Scorpius’ words and movements as they sat on the new couch by the fire. The presents had been opened; Albus and Lily had left to have dinner at the Burrow. Little words here and there let Harry know that this Christmas was very different for Scorpius from previous ones. It was for Harry too. There would be no grand feast tonight or boxes to be packed for delivery tomorrow.

A small smile passed between the two. Harry rose off the couch and excused himself with a crack of the air. Startled grey eyes blinked.

***************

They snuggled into fur-lined blankets. Harry tried to lick the hot chocolate moustache from Scorpius’ face. Scorpius laughed. The bumpy path through the snowy forest made it impossible. Sloppy chocolate kisses turned into more, and mugs were tossed from the horse-drawn sleigh.

Hands unlaced trousers from a bygone era. Scorpius’ breath hitched when leather gloved fingers wrapped around his prick. Harry snickered and Scorpius knew why. Scorpius was always hard. Jeans were lowered, pants removed, and his legs straddled. “Holy fuck,” Scorpius mumbled as his cock was forced into tightened heat. A pointed tongue licked snowflakes off his scarred cheek.

***************

Scorpius stared into the fire warming their bedroom. His backside, though, was warmer than his front. Harry’s body was wrapped around him, and his hand and fingers were placed where they always were, around his medallion, around his heart.

Snifters, empty of warmed brandy, lay on the bedside table, a gold cock ring beside them. Scorpius snickered quietly, remembering Harry’s words when he'd opened the gift. Are there four more? Scorpius filed the moment away, knowing next year he would make another and there would also be another sleigh ride.

“Merry Christmas, Harry,” Scorpius whispered.

Flames lowered, grey eyes closed.

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Prompt: Christmas Crackers


The Last Present
Boxing Day Night 2028

Harry's chest slipped across Scorpius' as he reached over and opened the bedside table drawer. His hand grasped something wrapped in gold and silver.

"A Christmas cracker? I thought we were done with gifts."

"Open it," Harry whispered, kissing Scorpius' damp forehead before trailing more down his scar until he reached his mouth.

Soft pointed tongues played as nimble fingers untied each end of the roll. The loud pop and puff of blue smoke broke them apart. Scorpius strained his neck up to see what had fallen on his stomach. He could feel magic emanating from metal.

Grey eyes sparkled with the glint of gold caught by candlelight.

"Bond with me."

Scorpius held the ring up to the nearby flame. Owner of my heart. Single tears escaped the corners of his eyes.

"I know it's not as good as the ones you..."

Words were stopped with a kiss.

Fingers took the ring away, only to slip it on a non-jewelled finger when words of Yes, God, yes were voiced in ecstasy.

****************

"May I make you one?" Scorpius whispered in the dark as Harry held him tight.

A soft laugh filled his ear. "You mean one I can wear in public?"

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Prompt: Chestnuts


The Other Side of Town
December, 2029

Scorpius eyed the cart as he and Harry strolled down Piccadilly in Muggle London. Harry purchased the roasted chestnuts, and together they warmed their hands holding the bag and breathed in the sweet, nutty scent.

This was something he loved doing with Harry: going into the city, where no one gave them more than a glance.

They peeked into the storefront windows decorated with Christmas scenes before stopping into the pubs and drinking wassail with the locals.

At midnight, they staggered down the snowy street and kissed sloppily before entering the establishment with a witch and cauldron sign over it.

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Prompt: Candy Canes
A/N: This particular drabble was inspired by 's Christmas Eve 2 AM. I commented that I hoped Harry stole a gingerbread cookie before returning to his cupboard.

Candy Cane Advice
December 2029

The missive in his morning mail caught Scorpius off guard. He recognised the Potter stamp, but not the writing. Satisfied that it had been put through the standard security charms, he opened the letter.

Scorpius,

I should have written to you last year with this advice, but the wounds were still too fresh. I hope you understand.

You probably would have noticed, sometime in the future, that a candy cane will be missing from the tree every Christmas morning. Just let it be. There will always be a little boy who needs amends for his childhood.

Merry Christmas,
Ginny Potter

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Prompt: Present

Christmas Dreams

Christmas Day, 2029

Harry’s hands shook when he read the tag on the red and gold present.

Merry Christmas Dad,

Dreams do come true.

Love, James

It was a recycled tag, from three years before. James had wrapped up a scroll announcing his engagement to Julia.

“Open it,” Scorpius whispered.

Harry took a deep breath, setting aside the tag before removing the wrapping. Scorpius had made the intricately designed, golden demitasse cup.

“Don’t touch it. It’s a Portkey.”

Harry’s stomach dropped. He hadn’t touched a Portkey since… Harry glanced at Scorpius questioningly. Scorpius smiled and held Harry’s hand.

“Trust me.”

Their fingertips touched the handle.

“How?” Harry gasped.

“James read the file, he saw the pictures, and he loved knowing you had this. He’d dreamt you would find another.”

“I was selfish.”

“No, Harry, you deserved it, you deserve this. But I do think it’s too cold to fuck on the beach.”

Harry grinned as he poured thick coffee into a cup and sipped it. The sky was crystal clear, snow covered the Greek mainland mountains, and holiday lights lit the Muggle cottages nearby. He threw the dregs over the railing, ran down the hillside, and yelled up laughingly, “Warming Charms, Scorpius!”

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Prompt: Kittens and Mittens



Weasley's Special Christmas Edition of Chocolate Frogs
December 2030

"What happened?" Scorpius asked while biting the corner of his lower lip, trying not to laugh.

Harry glared at him from behind his desk.

"Weasley."

"George?"

Fuzzy ears twitched.

Scorpius snickered as he noticed a wrapper from the Chocolate Frog Christmas edition.

"Haven't you learned not to eat something from that shop?" he asked and scratched behind one of the grey ears. A soft purr emerged.

"Oh, this could be fun."

Harry raised his hands.

"Maybe you need some mittens, kitten."

Harry growled.

"Anything else I need to know about?" Scorpius asked, sitting on Harry's lap.

Harry flicked his tail.

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Prompt: Snow Globe

Captured Memory
Christmas Day, 2030

The large snow globe was smeared with small, sticky handprints.

A black-haired toddler touched it again and again. Inside the glass ball was his father, standing in front of a Christmas tree along with Lils and Al. The other boy he didn't know, but he had a funny smile, and Cy loved when his fingers appeared over his father's and Al's heads. He giggled every time when his father smacked the trickster boy, and then his dad came running into view, pulling them apart.

"Merry Christmas, Cy," Lily said, kissing her baby brother's rosy cheeks.

"Thank you, love," Harry whispered.

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Prompt: Hot Toddy


Indulgences
January, 2032

Scorpius chuckled to himself as he descended the stairs. Cy was entranced with captured winter fairies, Ella asleep in Narcissa's arms, and Harry's grin was lopsided. It'd been a while since he'd seen Harry indulge too much. Harry would be mortified tomorrow morning, wondering if he'd said anything wrong. However, Scorpius thought, it was best that Harry was feeling comfortable enough to banter unapologetically with his father and grandfather.

The visit with his mother had been tenuous. Scorpius cringed knowing his mother's deplorable state was partially his fault. Desperate promises had been slurred as she had sipped her hot toddy.

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Prompt: Candles

Fruitcake Musings
December, 2032
Scorpius leaned against the kitchen doorway, watching Harry spread each fruitcake with apricot jam glaze and then carefully arrange the glace cherries. Scorpius rolled his eyes as Harry grabbed a handful of sultanas and shoved them in his mouth and then washed his hands thoroughly. He wasn't sure everyone was so meticulous when they baked.

Harry had attended to fruitcakes for the previous five weeks. Every five days he added more brandy. Earlier, he had commented that Molly used sherry, but that he couldn't stand the smell, something to do with Trelawney and his father.

Neither his father nor Harry spoke much about their childhood history together. It was only through others he learned things he'd rather not have known.

"Should I add one to your family's hamper?" Harry asked.

Scorpius jumped, not realizing Harry knew he was there.

"Sure, but I'll send a note to mother warning her that there's brandy. Enough brandy, in fact, to get Grandfather pissed."

"What is Lucius like when he indulges?" Harry asked as he wrapped each cake in red cellophane and tied it with gold curling ribbon.

"He can be quite entertaining, but if he has too much, he starts droning on about previous times. Father and I would try and leave, but Grandmother would coerce us to stay. By the way, no offense, but you might put green cellophane on theirs."

Harry snickered as he lifted his wand and altered the colour to blue. "And how did Narcissa coerce you?" Harry asked as he arranged the fruitcakes on the table and began writing names on tags for each of them.

"Um, how much do you know about Black witches, Harry?"

Harry stopped and turned towards Scorpius. "It depends on which one," he said and then went back to labelling.

Scorpius' lips thinned. Maybe this was another family topic that shouldn't be discussed.

Harry sighed and removed his glasses, wiping his brow.

"I don't judge an individual by their surname, Scorpius. I love Andromeda; I despised Bellatrix, and I have mixed feelings about Narcissa; but in general, I like her. She saved my life once, which was fair, I guess, given that I saved her son."

Scorpius felt his blood turn cold. This wasn't a story he'd been told. He wondered if his father or grandfather knew. Scorpius stepped across the kitchen floor and sat down next to Harry. "I- I didn't know," he whispered.

Harry set down the quill and turned to face Scorpius. Scorpius reached out and touched Harry's face; his fingers traced the lines that had only recently started to appear. He didn't care.

"Will you tell me?"

Harry licked his lips and nodded.

"Sure, but only if you help me put these in the proper hampers."

*****************
Scorpius stared into the fireplace. Harry was asleep, with an arm and leg wrapped possessively over him. He watched the flames and tried to imagine the horror his father must have had felt in believing he would burn in the Fiendfyre. And then how an outreached hand, the hand that held his heart right now, saved his father, saved his family. For the first time in years, he longed to feel his father's embrace.

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Prompt: Icicles


The Fortress
Christmastime, 2033

The Manor looked like a winter fortress; icicles as long as he was tall were hanging from the roof and balconies.

Harry thought that Ella might be frightened as they approached the front door, but she scrambled down from his arms as it cracked open. Her grandfather bent down with opened arms and scooped her up. They rubbed noses before grey eyes settled on him. "Potter, tea is ready if you'd like to join us."

Harry shook his head. This was their special time. "Thank you, but Cy and Scorpius are waiting at Al's."

Draco nodded and shut the door.

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Prompt: Nutcrackers


Sleep Well, Draco
December, 2034

"Scorpius, are you sure Astoria will like this?" Harry asked.

"She'll love it. I promise. She's been missing the queen from her collection for years. It was quite the family drama over who should have rightfully inherited Nana's nutcracker collection. Aunt Daphne put a hex on the queen; it continually spits up walnuts. Father refuses to have it in the house."

Harry chuckled. "So how many does she have?"

"Hmmm, last count was around fifty. She has them lined up on a long shelf in their bedroom."

Harry bit his lower lip. His shoulders shook.

"I'm sure Draco sleeps well."

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Prompt: Father Christmas


Christmas Fathers
December, 2036

The kids tore through the house, screeching as they chased the new puppy and kitten. The wooden floor was covered by wrapping paper and ribbons. Harry glanced at Scorpius sitting next to him on the couch; his expression, for once, was not concealed.

"Merry Christmas," Harry said. He grinned while sipping his strong brewed coffee.

Scorpius rolled his eyes. "You told me that I would love having children but that I might question it when they destroyed the house."

"You're a wonderful father, Scorpius."

"Phhht, they're lucky I haven't hexed them."

Harry snickered. "You wouldn't be the first father to do so."

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Prompt: Stockings


Ministry Work
Early December, 2037

Harry stared at the parchment filled with the first year's performance rankings for the first months of training. He tapped his fingertips on his desk.

"Potter, pay attention," he mumbled to himself. He glanced at the clock, willing the minute hand to budge forward.

Both kids were staying the night at Lily's. It would be the first time he and Scorpius had the house to themselves in five years.

The clock chimed. It was only ten in the morning.

A knock on the door claimed his attention. "Auror Potter, Hit Wizard Malfoy would like to speak to you," Connie announced.

***************

Harry set down the parchment and took a deep breath as Scorpius strode in. "Scorpius," Harry murmured and cleared his throat. The suede mid-thigh boots were always his undoing. They were partially covered by a black robe cinched at the waist with a silver rope. Scorpius smiled at him and pushed his long hair behind his ears.

"Harry, I hope I'm not disturbing you."

Harry snorted.

"I wanted to let you know the kids were settled at Lily's. She's taking them ice skating this afternoon."

Harry raised a brow. "And?"

"And nothing."

"Is nothing what you're wearing under those robes?"

***************

The corner of Scorpius' mouth curled up. "No, I'm wearing something else; given the season, I thought it was appropriate."

Harry raised his hand and crooked his finger, beckoning Scorpius to come closer.

Scorpius rounded the desk and stood before Harry. The rope was untied, the myriad of buttons undone, and the robe pushed over wide shoulders.

Harry's hands glided over the soft white skin and gave the erection a not-so-gentle squeeze.

"You're starkers."

Scorpius raised one booted leg, settling his foot between Harry's legs.

Harry carefully pulled the suede over Scorpius' knee. His fingertips slid over red silk stockings.

***************

"Stockings are usually hung by the chimney," Harry noted as he tugged the boots off.

"I thought they'd look better over your shoulders."

"Fuck," Harry groaned. He lifted his wand, sealing the room. One swipe and parchment fell to the floor. One quick push and Scorpius was on his back with long, red silken legs flung over Harry's shoulders. Harry's fingers slipped into the hole waiting for him. It was already slickened. Trousers were unzipped and his cock thrust into heat.

"Couldn't wait for tonight?" Harry teased as his hands gripped Scorpius' hips.

Scorpius smirked. "I knew you couldn't."

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Prompt: Candles


Shadow Love
December 22, 2037

Scorpius paced next to the balcony's French doors. He had learned to hate Harry's requisite two missions he took during the year. This was the first time, though, one had fallen close to the holidays. Harry was ten hours late.

He glanced at the children snuggled in their bed. He freely admitted that he felt better with them sleeping by his side when Harry was gone. He glanced up at the chandelier candles. They flickered.

The crackle of air was met with Scorpius' deep sigh of relief.

Harry glanced down, gently touching each child's forehead. "Put them in their rooms; I'll be in the shower."

"And?"

"And then wait for me in bed."

*********************

Scorpius became entranced with the shadows on the headboard wall, he on his hands and knees and Harry between his legs thrusting unmercifully into him. The disturbance of air reached the highly placed flames, creating images more animal like than human.

"Love you. Missed you," Harry panted as he spooned Scorpius.

"Fuck me again."

Harry gently laughed. "Wake me in a few hours."

"Promise," Scorpius whispered.

Harry raised his left hand in front of Scorpius' face. Scorpius didn't need the flames to know what it said.

"Nox."

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Prompt: Plum Pudding

That Malfoy Look
Christmas Day 2037
There were moments when it struck Harry that Scorpius was a true Malfoy. Sometimes it would be a turn of a word, or a gesture, but more often than not, it was a look. Tonight, even Harry was nervous for the cat's and dog's lives as Scorpius glared at them.

Five weeks prior, while Harry made the mixture for his fruitcakes, Scorpius attempted a Christmas pudding. It hung in the basement, nestled in cloth, waiting for its Christmas steaming. Now, it was on the floor, half-eaten by the dog, while a torn empty hanging sack was the cat's new toy.

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Prompt: Gingerbread House


Witches in the Kitchen
December 2038

Fingers found Harry's lips as he exited the Floo into the family room.

"Shhhh," Scorpius hissed, pointing towards the kitchen.

Harry quietly stepped over to the arch leading into the kitchen. His eyes watered; Ella was decorating a gingerbread house that deserved the title of mansion. There were three Malfoy witches sitting at the table, only one by blood.

Astoria hugged Ella as she added the final sprinkles of fairy glitter to the snow capped roofs.

"You are your father's daughter, Ella; for that you should be proud."

For an additional time in his life, Harry wanted to thank Narcissa.

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Prompt: Fireplace Mantel


Life on a Mantel
December, 2038

The pictures on the mantel, surrounded by garland and candles, told the story of three lives for Harry. Scorpius studied each carefully.

The pictures of Harry's parents told of love promised. And the ones of their friends and his friends, of love defended.

Pictures of James, Al, Lily, Ginny, and even the dogs, revealed that love had taken Harry for a ride. Only Scorpius could detect the hint of sadness in his smile.

The newer pictures of him and Harry and the kids showed hope. Harry looked happier than ever before, but still, love had taken a toll.

Love, Scorpius decided, persevered.

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Prompt: Ice Skates


Daddy Knows Best
December, 2039

"No, Ella! Daddy does not and will not ice skate."

Big grey eyes filled with tears. "B-b-but, Daaadddyy."

Harry shook his head. "Honey, I'm too old. I'd probably break my leg."

"I'll take you, Ella," Scorpius said as he entered the room and glared at Harry.

Harry grimaced back.

"Can you get her dressed appropriately and brush her hair while I change?" Scorpius asked curtly.

Harry didn't mention he'd just brushed it.

**************

"Mr Potter, you should go home. His two broken ankles will take the night to heal. He'll be fine in the morning."

Harry kissed a sleeping Scorpius goodbye.

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Prompt: Reindeer


Waiting for Rudolph
December 2040

Scorpius glared at the clock as it chimed eleven. Decadent truffles and brandy eggnog were on the bedside table. He poured another goblet of the holiday drink.

He knew Harry's job, and his own, required sacrifices, but it bothered both of them when special occasions were interrupted. Harry hated to attend the Ministry parties alone, but Ella was ill, and Scorpius refused to go. He wouldn't leave the kids on Christmas Eve.

A silvery wisp appeared, which emerged into an elegant stag, and to Scorpius' amusement, it had a shiny red nose.

"I'll be home in fifteen. Warm the bed."

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Prompt: Winter Storm


Let It Snow!
December 2041

Harry stretched his legs, burying his toes in the sand.

"Can we stay permanently?" he asked hopefully as Scorpius handed him a Scorpion's Tail.

"No, Peasegood is already frothing at the mouth that we extended our stay until tomorrow," Scorpius said while sipping his drink from the long straw. "They're having a record breaking winter storm right now," he added with a wry grin.

Harry lowered his sunglasses and peeked over the top. "Kids okay?"

Scorpius nodded as he undid the towel wrapped around his waist and sat in the low-slung beach chair next to Harry. "They're fine. Al and Lily have it under control.

Harry took a deep breath as he took in the naked, tan body next to him. A pair of pink flamingos strode nearby.

"We should go for a swim."

"We should."

"We should probably go for a walk."

"We should."

"We should think about packing."

"We should."

Harry took a long final sip from his drink and set it down in the warm pink sand. Scorpius reached over and took Harry's hand, placing it firmly on his prick.

Harry's fingers lazily wandered their way up and down the hardening shaft.

"We should fuck."

"We should."


© Medioimages/Photodisc/Getty Images

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Prompt: 17 – Christmas Carrols


Slytherin Carrols
December, 2043

Harry watched in amazement as the Malfoy family decorated the enormous, frost covered Christmas tree. It was a warming and rare moment. Everyone but Scorpius began to hum, and then Cy began to sing.

Joy to the world,

Voldemort is dead.

We barbequed his head.

Don't worry about the body; we flushed it down the potty

And Myrtle and Voldemort will sing.

And Myrtle and Voldemort will sing.

And Myrtle, and Myrtle and Voldemort will sing.

"Good God, Cy, stop that!" Harry bellowed. His face turned white, despite the embarrassment he felt. The Malfoys stared at Harry in disbelief.

"Did Teddy teach you that?" Harry asked, staring into worried grey eyes.

"No, Mr. Potter," Lucius drawled. "It's a Slytherin version, which I must say, I was quite enjoying until you interrupted."

"Slytherin?" Scorpius asked.

"Yes, son. You would've made up your own version, if you had been one," Draco added as he put his arm affectionately around Cy.

"I remember Mother clapping when I sang about the demise of Sinastra," Narcissa trilled.

"I said Trelawney," Astoria added.

Harry, horrified, glanced over to Lucius.

Lucius raised a brow. "Dumbledore."

Harry narrowed his eyes and turned towards Draco. "And you?"

Draco smirked.

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Prompt: Joy to the World


Ode to Joy!
Christmas Day, Way in the future.

"Harry, it's almost time," Scorpius said loudly but with a monitored tone.

"I'm ready," Harry replied as he made his way down the stairs. The carved walking stick, a recent but necessary addition, clicked on the wood stairs.

Scorpius couldn't help but smile. The retired Auror still made a presence when he entered a room.

*************

Harry snuck a wry grin at Scorpius as grandkids raced through the house and pounded up and down the stairs. Scorpius returned the gesture with a smirk, knowing that they both adored the sound now.

"Potter, would you like some more tea?"

Harry glanced over at Draco and nodded. "Yes, but only if you spike it."

"As if," Draco drawled, and then reached into his robe and pulled out a silver flask. One that Harry had given him for Christmas years before.

"Draco!" Astoria commented as he poured a healthy amount into each of their cups.

"Well hells bells, Astoria, how can one make it through Christmas with all of these children? You'd think we were part Weasley."

Harry laughed generously as he noticed seven of the ten small witches and wizards terrorizing the house carried the blood of Malfoy and Black in them.

"Grandfather, don't be a curmudgeon," Cy said as he sat down next to Draco.

Draco grimaced at him. "Cy, I am an old wizard that spreads joy to all that I encounter."

Harry lifted the flask and added a little more to Draco's cup. Scorpius nudged him in the side and more trickled in.

"You've been reading Dickens again, haven't you, Grandfather?" Ella yelled from across the crowded living room. "Did Great-grandfather come visit you in your dreams?"

Harry coughed trying not to laugh. Al and Lily showed less restraint. Al's wife frowned at all three of them.

"And for this, I suppose I should thank you, Potter, for saving my life." Draco sighed as he leaned back and sipped his tea.

The room became silent, even the Christmas tree fairies stilled.

Harry put his arm around Scorpius' shoulder, nervous fingers played with the long blond locks.

"I believe you saved mine, too, Malfoy."

"Phhht, it wasn't the same," Draco mumbled.

Harry looked at the old white-haired wizard and pulled out his holly wand. Astoria gasped. Harry reached over and poked Draco in the leg.

"Was too."

Draco swatted it away. "So we're even, old man?"

"I suppose so, Father-in-law."

finis