"Rhianna darling what happened? Why is my little princess sad?" her daddy's strong voice washed over the little girl with the softest blond hair and the most soulful grey eyes that one would ever see. Pearls of tears dotted her cheeks as she sniffled "daddy, Scorpius says that if I am not in Slytherin I am not fit to be a Malfoy. Is that true?"
Draco knelt down and drew her to him. He ran a hand through her hair so like his own and sat Indian style lifting her onto his lap. Cradling her in his arms, he looked down at his daughter with a look so soft that no one would believe it of him. "Sweetheart, you know that your brother is just riling you up. And I want you to know that it makes absolutely no difference to either your mum or I if you are not in Slytherin. Your mom was in Gryffindor and she did more for the Malfoy name than any of your ancestors."
"Really?" she asked her voice as innocent as only an eleven year old could be and Draco nodded solemnly "really" he affirmed. "So I can tell Scorpius to get stuffed if he teases me again?" she asked with a spark in her eyes and Draco could not help the laughter that bubbled within him as he threw back his head and laughed heartily. His daughter had only his looks, inside she was all Hermione and he already felt sorry for his son who was elder and as Slytherin as they come. His daughter was as brave as her mother was and he was fairly sure that his second born would wind up in Gryffindor. Deep down it still rankled just a teensy bit for his daughter to be in Gryffindor but being in Ravenclaw had thawed him out enough to accept it.
"You definitely can Rhiannon Emma Malfoy," he answered her question "if I know you at all you are a candidate made for Gryffindor and that is not a bad thing at all. Just look at your Weasley uncles and your uncle Harry, they were all in Gryffindor too you know" he reassured his daughter as she gave a serious nod to show that she was convinced.
"But Scorpius will not be there with me" she added as an afterthought and Draco once again had to reassure her "But you already have Hugo in Gryffindor and for all you know Priyanka would be in Gryffindor this year. After all, Ron and Parvati were in Gryffindor too. Plus, you already have James in Gryffindor and Albus might be sorted there with you. So you would definitely not be alone in Gryffindor".
"What if I am in neither Slytherin nor Gryffindor?" the next question came in a worried tone. Draco held his daughter tighter and looked into her beautiful grey eyes "Every house has it's plus and minus and they are all equal. If you are in Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff you just get to make new friends alright? Relax, it's just a house, it does not define you" he said relishing in the feel of holding his daughter.
Life had come full circle and he wondered at how much things had changed. All of them had children going to Hogwarts now and he thanked Merlin for the beautiful family he had. His musings were however interrupted as Hermione came in followed by his youngest daughter who immediately claimed a spot on Draco's lap next to Rhiannon.
"Daddy" she squealed as Draco shifted to accommodate both his daughters. "When do I go to Hogwarts?" she asked her voice carrying the lisp of an eight year old. Draco held onto her and regarded her solemnly although his eyes twinkled."Oh darling, I am not sending you to Hogwarts. I need at least one of my princesses here".
Hermione was trying hard not to laugh at the alarmed look on her daughter's face. "But how will I learn magic?" her daughter asked getting distressed at the prospect and Draco continued in all seriousness "Oh don't worry about that, I will get fine tutors to come here and teach you".
"But I want to go to Hogwarts, Mum and shorp have told me so much about it and now even Rhianna would go. Daddy please I have to go" the little girl whined. She was still struggling with pronouncing Scorpius and it always brought a smile to Draco's face.
"But I will be all alone here" he gave a mock pout and was instantly rewarded with a kiss from his youngest daughter as he knew he would. "You are not alone, you have mum" she clarified in utter seriousness.
"Hmm let me think, that's true which means I have to send my princess after all" Draco said taking pity on his little one as his daughter whooped in delight. Hermione laughed "well if the princesses have finished talking to their daddy can we get to breakfast?" she asked taking in the three smiling faces with a small note of thanks of her own.
Draco had had doubts initially on whether he would be a good father considering he had no proper role model but when the children had arrived it seemed that he had rediscovered himself. He had relived the childhood that he had never had and he had relished being a family man. Hemione shook her head in wonder, who would have ever thought that he would turn to mush at the hands of his kids!
The three of them got to their feet "where's Scorpius?" Draco enquired as they walked to the dining hall. After their engagement, he and Hermione had redecorated the manor and converted it into a large warm dwelling instead of the cold manor that it had been. The Weasleys and Harry dropped in often with their children and Christmas was always celebrated here with every one of their friends in attendance.
It still seemed weird that he was friends with Neville Longbottom of all people. Neville had married Luna though and he had never forgotten the kindness she had shown him when he had been re-sorted in Ravenclaw.
"He just finished packing, he will be right down" Hermione answered his question just as they heard the sound of feet down the staircase. Scorpius seated himself at the table with a "Hi dad" and turned to Rhiannon. "Are you all set?" he asked as she nodded proudly.
Draco turned to look at his son wondering again at the play of genes. His son was a curious mixture of Hermione's brown hair and Draco's grey eyes and features while his youngest daughter Lydia Charlotte was the opposite. She had the distinct Malfoy hair and Hermione's chocolate brown eyes and features. He remembered being a tad disappointed that Scorpius did not have the Malfoy hair but he was more than overjoyed when both his daughters had it. It was a bit childish he acknowledged but it made him all the more prouder.
"You are all set I presume?" Draco addressed his son knowing that he would be. His son was more like him, reserved compared to the girls and would not give much away. Sometimes you had to pry things from him but thankfully he was not as bad as he had been. A liberating family environment had helped to counter the stoicism and brought about a boy who also knew how to have fun.
"Yeah, all set. Did you know that we are covering the second wizarding war this year? You are in our text book" he commented quietly. "Really?" Draco exclaimed and turned to Hermione with an enquiring look "Did you know about this?" he asked. Over the years Hermione's love of books had led her to become an accomplished author and sometimes she would be asked to take a look at the Hogwarts curriculum as well.
"No I did not know but I would like to take a look at what the book says" she commented idly. "Sure mum" Scorpius said happily, love of books is something he shared with his mother and Draco had no doubts that he would have already looked through all his textbooks for the year.
As they got busy with eating Hermione turned to Draco "So what is your plan today? Are you going to the labs or staying home?" and immediately there was a shout of "stay home daddy. Please... tomorrow we are leaving for Hogwarts anyway. Let's do some fun things today" from Rhiannon.
"I am staying home with the kids" Draco said replying to Hermione. Let's plan a picnic, what do you say?" he asked resulting in another delighted whoop from the girls. Hermione smiled; once the Malfoy fortune had reverted to Draco he had set up a company to manufacture potions with Severus leading the team. Both of them had loved the research and over the years had come up with revolutionary formulations including one where werewolves could stay in their human form through the full moon. It had freed many who had been bitten by Greyback from the curse and most of them were able to lead normal lives. Having his own company also gave Draco the freedom to do his own thing and now he was determined to spend time with his kids.
"Fine" Hermione acquiesced and then paused as though stuck by a thought "do you want to invite the others?" she asked. Draco considered the proposition and promptly discarded it. The children will be seeing each other soon and this was his private time with his kids.
"No, not this time" he said as Hermione nodded and got up from the table. "I will set up a few things" she said and then turned as she heard the floo flare up. Soon Harry's voice carried over from the fire "good morning ...Hermione,Draco are you around?".
Draco ushered the children away to go do their thing while the elders talked and he and Hermione walked to the fire. "Yes Harry we are here" Hermione said "what is it?" she asked. "Did Scorpius tell you about us being in the text books?" he asked. Both Draco and Hermione nodded. "Yes he did, although we haven't taken a look yet" Draco answered for the both of them. "Why? Is there a problem?" Hermione asked as Harry looked as uncomfortable as he could in a fire.
"Do take a look...it has everything in it...everything from that night and I was wondering if we should give the kids a heads up" he said causing Draco to swear. The kids only knew that they had been instrumental in causing the evil wizard's death and had therefore been awarded for it.
"How did they even get all the details?" Draco muttered and Harry answered wryly quoting in the air "according to one Miss Skeeter"...you get the gist" he said. "That interfering cow...what about Ron and Parvati? What is their take?" Hermione asked thinking of the Weasleys.
Everyone had been surprised when Ron and Parvati got together but really there was nothing surprising about it. Parvati was lonely and bereft when she lost Padma and she had found comfort in Ron's sense of humour and sense of family. It had been what was missing in her life and he had filled the lacuna. Now they were happily married with two children, a son and daughter both named for their parents heritage Hugo Devansh Weasley and Priyanka Miranda Weasley.
"They feel the same or at least Ginny did when I fire called" Harry replied. Draco sighed and started to comment but was interrupted by a sound behind him. He turned to see his son standing with a hesitant expression.
"Hi Uncle Harry" he called out and Harry responded with his own greeting. "What is it Scorp?" Draco asked, Scorpius looked distinctly uncomfortable as he asked "The book mentioned Lucius Malfoy, that is grandfather right? Well the book said that he was a follower of Voldemort and that you refused to be one. Is that true?"
Draco sighed, that was one can of worms he was hoping he would not need to open until much later. For one thing his children did not know anything about Lucius and he himself met the man only once in all these years...that too just before his marriage. Draco did not know what he had hoped for, some change...a little bit of regret...something. But Lucius had remained well...Lucius, only more embittered and angry. He was not the man Draco remembered and he had told himself that the relationship was closed and now it was all coming to the fore again.
Damn the ministry and damn Skeeter he thought as he pondered the answer to his son's question. While considered the best way to broach the topic, Harry spoke up "I think it's time Draco. I will talk to James as well. They need to know before they go to school" he urged.
"You are right Harry. Draco and I will talk to the kids over picnic" Hermione said sharing a meaningful look with her husband as Harry faded from the fire, bidding farewell. Draco walked to his son and laid a hand across his shoulder. He tucked his son to his side and took a deep breath "So, Scorpius Duncan Malfoy... are you ready for a long story?" he asked with a smile.
Author notes: So this is 'From the abyss' officially complete. I thank all those who followed and favourited my story. A quick note to those who reviewed: Dark Ravie thank you so much for your comments for each chapter and for your contribution to the epilogue. And prettylily potter...from the abyss is set in sixth year and hence no Umbridge and as it is I was trying hard not to let Harry overshadow Draco. If I had run a parallel Harry Ginny shipping, with my style of writing ,not only would 'from the abyss' be a cool hundred chapters but it would become a Harry Potter story and not much of a dramione.
Having said this, I do hope to see you on the other side of another story and if there's any request from your side do drop in a line and I will see if I can spin a story based on reader demand. I will also take some time to fine tune some of the first few chapters where I was still figuring out how fan fiction works. So until later Namaste! Take care.