Author's note: While I'm working on various other stories, here is something to pass the time with. I don't know yet how many chapters it will be, but it won't be too long with chapters varying between 3K and 4K. While it starts out as Harry/Ginny, it will eventually end up as Draco/Harry.
Warnings: Albus' pov (for the entire story); follows epilogue only partly; a bit of drama; Lily doesn't exist
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter. J.K. Rowling owns it.
I hope you'll like it!
Chapter 1: How It All Starts
The sound of the Floo letting out a particular chime – a sign that their father was home – made the ears of two boys, aged nine and seven, perk up. They shot up from their place on the floor where they had been playing with the Quidditch playset Uncle George had gifted them with two months ago.
They reached the landing of the first floor at top speed and wanted to rush down the staircase – not caring about the scolding they would certainly receive for doing that – when the voices of their parents made them halt abruptly at the top of the stairs.
In unison, they sunk down until they were crouching right behind the balustrade; hidden from view by the broad balusters, which had flowers carved into the wood.
"And you seriously accepted him as your partner?" their mum asked incredulously and her voice gained a higher pitch.
Both boys winced simultaneously; they had enough experience with that particular tone to know that dad was in trouble. Mum was very annoyed.
"Why not?" Dad sighed and footsteps sounded in the living room. "He needs a partner, Ginny, and no one else is willing to team up with him."
Mum laughed sharply. "And that is surprising why exactly? Harry, you know what he has done!"
"Yes, and I also know it's been years since the war," Dad bit back. "He served his sentence and he has graduated from the Auror program with nearly perfect scores."
"Who says that he isn't still planning on …"
"For Merlin's sake, Ginny! Do you really think he would have been able to pass the psychological examination if he had plans to do something bad? You know how strict that examination is – Ron and I nearly got into trouble for some of the spells we used during the war. It wouldn't surprise me if the examiners were even harder on him, because of his past."
James and Albus regarded each other confused. Who were their parents talking about? Mum didn't sound particularly happy with whoever this person was.
"But why do you need to team up with him?" Mum asked frustrated and her high heels tapped sharply on the wooden floor. "You and Ron are a perfect team! Kingsley said so!"
"Because nobody else is willing to be his partner!" Dad repeated louder. "He can't work as an Auror without a partner and Kingsley asked me whether I would be willing to do it. He hopes that if the other Aurors see that he won't attack me, then someone else will step up to team up with him. As long as that doesn't happen, I stay his partner. Ron is already assigned to Sebastian."
"I just don't understand," Mum said frustrated. "You and him never got along during school – you were enemies, for Merlin's sake! And now you're just accepting him as your partner? Harry, you need to count on him to have your back – are you sure he will do that? Slytherins never change."
Dad sighed and it was silent for a long moment.
"Look, Ginny, it is what it is. I'm his partner for however long it takes and that's that. There is nothing to be discussed about this. I may not trust him completely, but I do know he'll have my back if there is a need to – he's not going to compromise his own position by screwing me over," Dad replied and he sounded exhausted. "He knows that the higher ups are keeping an eye on him; he's got no reason to screw me over. Sure, he'll be difficult – no doubt about that. But he's not stupid."
"I hope you know what you're doing, Harry," Mum retorted darkly.
"Let's just stop talking about this, all right? I don't want to fight about this," Dad murmured and then the footsteps neared the doorway of the living room and the two boys hastily stood up, rushing back to James' room before their dad could catch them eavesdropping.
The door closed behind them with a soft 'click' and they let out a collective sigh.
Albus looked at his older brother with wide eyes. "Is dad's new partner that bad?" he whispered, mulling over the conversation they had just heard.
Dad usually worked with Uncle Ron, though there had been times when he had to work with someone else for a particular case. Mum had never made any fuss about those instances, though, so why was this time different? Because dad would be working for a long time with this mysterious person?
"I don't know, Albus," James muttered troubled and furrowed his eyebrows. "But mum really doesn't like his new partner."
"Does she know him?" Albus asked curiously. Both their parents seemed to know this mysterious man really well, but mum hadn't sounded very nice when talking about him.
The older boy rolled his shoulders and absentmindedly ran his hand over the plush, dark orange carpet. "Seems so," he murmured bemused.
They nearly jumped three feet in the air when the door opened, revealing their dad, who had changed from his red Auror robes into a white sweater and faded jeans.
A smile graced his lips and he crouched down, opening his arms. "Am I going to get a hug from you two?"
Bright grins coloured their faces and they shot up, eager to give their dad a hug. They both managed to get their small arms around dad's neck and they hugged him tightly; Albus' face got pressed against dad's strong shoulder and he tightened his hug.
"Missed you, dad," he muttered and felt his dad hug him back.
"I missed you guys too," Dad chuckled and pulled back a little. His emerald green eyes – ones that Albus had inherited – twinkled when he continued, "Mum asks whether chips and hamburgers are okay for dinner."
"YES!" James and Albus cried out at the same time and their grins widened.
They didn't have chips and hamburgers a lot, because mum thought it was too unhealthy, so they were very excited to have that as dinner tonight.
Dad chuckled amused and rose up, clapping his hands. "All right, go wash your hands. Mum and I will prepare dinner."
After another cheer, James and Albus rushed to the bathroom; for once eager to wash their hands.
Their confusion about dad's mysterious new partner was forgotten.
Two months later, Albus almost hopped down the staircase with a broken toy in his hands. It was a figure of the famous Quidditch player Victor Krum and during playing, another player had bumped against Krum's figure in flight and one arm was snapped off. It had happened before with another player – apparently the limbs were the weak point of this particular play set – but mum had fixed the previous one, so Albus hoped she would be able to fix Krum as well.
Locating mum's voice in the living room, he pattered over to that room, but halted abruptly in the doorway when he saw her kneeling in front of the fireplace; her layered, dark blue skirt flared open on the floor. Her long, ginger hair was pulled up in a messy bun. As it was November, the Quidditch season had ended and so she was staying at home until the season started again in February.
Dad's voice sounded a bit distorted and Albus knew at once that his parents were Floo calling. He bit his lip and his hand tightened around the figure in his hand; he hoped dad wasn't Floo calling, because he needed to leave for an assignment immediately. Albus absolutely despised those particular Floo calls, because more often than not those assignments ended up being very dangerous and led to them visiting dad in the hospital.
"Come on, Ginny. It's just dinner," Dad murmured and a hint of frustration shone through his voice.
"But why? He has his house elves to cook for him, right?" Mum snorted and she shook her head.
"That's not … It wouldn't be good for him to spend his evening alone today," Dad sighed and Albus could imagine how he would rake his hand through his hair.
Messy hair that Albus had inherited, while James' hair was more manageable.
"And why's that?" Mum asked coolly.
Albus knew he should go back upstairs, that eavesdropping was not allowed, but he couldn't convince his feet of turning around and walking back. Instead he stayed rooted to his spot as he listened to the conversation unfolding.
"His son is spending the weekend with his mother and today is the day his father died. He shouldn't be alone right now."
"He still has his mother, no? So he isn't alone," Mum retorted sharply.
"Mrs. Malfoy is living in Spain, Ginny, you know that. She can't enter the country for at least another three years and he isn't allowed to visit her until she returns," Dad replied irritated. "It's just dinner."
"Look, his father died four years ago," Mum answered rudely. "He's old enough to get through this evening on his own. If he didn't want to be alone on this day, he shouldn't have cheated on his wife!"
A silence so icy hung like a dark cloud in the room and Albus shivered, staring wide eyed at his mum. He had never heard her speaking so rudely before and it threw him off balance.
"Fine, he won't come to dinner then," Dad finally spoke and his tone of voice frankly scared Albus. Never before had dad sounded so angry when talking to mum. "Instead I'll have dinner at his place then. That way you won't have to worry about it. You don't need to wait up for me."
"Wait, Harry!" Mum protested, but the green flames of the Floo disappeared, leaving nothing but red and golden flames behind which merrily danced around each other.
"Damn it!" Mum cursed loudly and her hand slammed down against the floor.
Before mum could turn around and see him standing behind her, Albus scurried off, back to his room where he sunk against the closed door with his heart beating harshly against his chest. His ears rang and he swallowed, letting the broken figure slip out of his hand on the carpeted floor. Mum and dad having arguments wasn't that rare – Aunt Hermione had once said that they both had fiery tempers and that was why they argued a lot.
But until now they had never really become angry at each other. And that scared the seven year old.
Aside from the moments when he was on assignments, dad always returned home to eat dinner. Would dad really stay away today? He had never done that before.
And what was so bad about this man that mum didn't want to have him over for dinner? Mum had always been happy to cook for dad's partners. Even people she didn't know, she didn't mind cooking for when dad asked whether they could come over.
Albus really didn't like this odd feeling he got in his tummy.
That evening, he ate dinner alone with his brother and mum. Mum's lips were set in a tight line and her eyes were alight with anger as she practically slammed their plates in front of them.
Usually they played with the food they didn't want to eat, but for once neither boy dared to do that, for fear of making their mum even angrier.
They went to sleep without seeing their dad at all.
After two weeks of an icy atmosphere hanging in the house – making the boys happy for once that they could escape to their tutoring lessons – somehow the fight between their parents was either resolved or forgotten.
Albus didn't care how it happened; he was just glad to hear his parents laughing and talking again. He was tired of seeing mum glare at dad and dad returning home very late to avoid mum.
One day in December, however, destroyed the restored peace once again.
It was Friday and as their tutors had to attend a mandatory meeting, James and Albus both stayed home – not that they particularly minded that. Any day without boring Miss Vitch and her nasal voice was a good day in Albus' opinion.
They were playing hide and seek in the house with mum, when her coach called and asked her to meet her at her office. Because Aunt Hermione and Uncle Ron were busy working and their grandparents were visiting their Uncle Charlie in Romania, mum called dad at his office and asked him to return home to watch them. Both James and Albus protested, saying they could stay home alone, but mum wasn't having any of it, stating that they were still too young to remain home alone.
So, right when mum had left the house to go to the Apparition point further down the street, the fire flared up green and spit out dad – closely followed by a strange, blond haired man.
James and Albus watched wide eyed how dad stumbled out of the fireplace and the blond haired man smirked as he calmly stepped out, brushing some soot particles off his red robes.
"Really, Harry," the man drawled; his grey eyes glinting in amusement. "One would think that after all these years, you'd learn to be a bit more graceful when exiting the Floo."
"Oh, shut up," Dad huffed and smacked his arm. He then turned around and smiled at his sons. "James, Albus, I want you two to meet my work partner, Draco Malfoy."
Mister Malfoy blinked when his gaze landed on Albus and the small boy squirmed, not used to the intense scrutiny the older man gave him. Sure, the public tended to stare at him whenever he was out with dad, but they never looked at him with such intensity.
"Well, seems like Albus got your looks," Mister Malfoy murmured and stepped forwards, holding his hand out. "A pleasure to meet you, Albus, James. Your father talks a lot about you two."
James quirked a grin and accepted Mister Malfoy's hand quickly, shaking it eagerly. "It's nice to meet you too, Mister Malfoy."
"Well, I'll be damned. Your son has manners," Mister Malfoy smirked, but he didn't seem to be rude on purpose.
Albus was shyer in his approach, but he too stepped forwards and shook the blond's hand; his fingers felt slightly rough against his own small ones. "Nice to meet you, Mister Malfoy," he murmured and hastily stepped behind dad's legs, clinging to his robes. He wasn't sure what to think of Mister Malfoy. Was he the man his parents had been fighting about so much?
Dad ruffled his hair quickly and smiled faintly at Mister Malfoy. "Sorry about that; Albus is rather shy around people he doesn't know."
Mister Malfoy waved his hand dismissively. "No need to apologise. Scorpius is the same way, so I understand."
Scorpius? What a peculiar name. Who was that?
"How come Mister Malfoy is here too, dad?" James asked curiously; eyeing the blond wizard carefully.
Dad smiled and beckoned them to follow him to the kitchen after removing his red Auror robes and hanging them over the couch. "We're in between cases right now and I figured it would be nice for you to meet him. After all I've been working with him for almost three months now."
Mister Malfoy hung his robes over the kitchen chair at the right end of the table. "I'm willing to bet that nobody ever thought we would last this long," he quipped and sat down, surveying the brightly coloured kitchen with curious eyes.
"Didn't you hear? They actually have betting pools on how long we'll last before hexing each other into oblivion," Dad smirked and gestured to James and Albus to sit at the table. "What do you boys think about some pancakes?"
"With chocolate sprinkles?" James chirped and his brown eyes – ones he had got from their mum – glittered.
"They wouldn't be pancakes without chocolate sprinkles," Dad answered gravely and the two boys giggled in agreement. "Draco, are pancakes all right for you too?"
"Am I likely to need an Anti-Nausea Draught?" Mister Malfoy inquired dryly and cocked his head to the right; some blond strands fell across his cheek.
Dad huffed. "I'll have you know that my pancakes are the best. Isn't that right, boys?"
"It's true." James nodded emphatically. "Not even grandma can make better pancakes."
"Well, if you're better than the Weasley matron, I suppose I can risk my health to try out your concoction," Mister Malfoy murmured; the corners of his lips curled up in a faint smile.
"I feel honoured," Dad retorted dryly and then tied an apron around himself, collecting all the ingredients he needed to make pancakes.
While dad was mixing the ingredients together in a big bowl, Mister Malfoy turned his attention to the two boys sitting across from him.
"How come you two are home, anyway?" He quirked an eyebrow. "Shouldn't you be having lessons with your tutors?"
"Our teachers have to go to a meeting," Albus replied softly, finally daring to look up from the table. "So we got to stay home."
"Lucky you," Mister Malfoy smirked. "I won't tell my son that, because he'll be jealous then."
"Is Scorpius your son?" James leant forwards; his face a picture of curiosity.
The blond man nodded. "Yes, he's seven years old now."
"That's as old as Albus," James exclaimed and then furrowed his eyebrows, crossing his arms in front of his chest. "Why is his name so weird?"
"James! That's not polite!" Dad scolded him, throwing him a warning look.
"It's okay, Harry," Mister Malfoy said calmly. "In my family it's tradition for the children to have Greek names and out of all the possible names, his mother and I liked 'Scorpius' the best, so we chose that name."
"We don't have a tradition like that, do we, dad?" James asked, turning his head to look at dad.
Dad shook his head and placed a piece of butter in the pan. The sound of the butter melting in the hot pan accompanied his answer. "No, we don't. Your mum and I decided to name you two after people we knew."
"I'm named after my dad's dad and my dad's godfather," James announced proudly and grinned.
"Is that so? And you, Albus?" Mister Malfoy inquired, leaning back into his chair.
"I'm named after the headmaster of Hogwarts and after someone dad says was very brave," Albus replied shyly.
"Oh, and who was this brave person?"
"Severus Snape," Dad murmured and flipped over the first pancake.
Mister Malfoy was silent and he looked quite perturbed, leaving James and Albus to look at each other questioningly. Dad was already flipping over the third pancake, when he finally spoke up again, "Never thought you would ever consider him brave, Potter."
Dad paused and then slid the finished pancake on the third plate, before he put chocolate sprinkles on top of the warm pancakes. "Yeah, well, it took me a while, but he got me to realise that not everything is as it seems," he muttered and directed the plates with his magic to the table. "I owe him a lot."
"Is that right?" Mister Malfoy muttered and there was a certain inflection in his voice that made Albus look up and stare at him. Then the older man shook his head and took a small bite of his pancake.
"And? Does it meet your approval?" Dad joked and sat down with his own plate.
"Taking into account your abysmal skills in Potions, I was expecting something horrific and an attack on my taste buds, but this is actually quite good," Mister Malfoy replied astonished. "How on earth did you manage to screw up brewing potions so much, while it's obvious that your skills are not entirely lacking?"
Dad snorted and shook his head. "Maybe because part of the reason why I wasn't good at Potions, was because a certain someone constantly tried to mess with my brewing?" He raised an eyebrow.
Grey eyes glanced away, focusing on the plate in front of him. "I have no idea what you're talking about," Mister Malfoy said airily.
"Sure, you don't. Shall I refresh your …"
"Harry?! What on earth is he doing here?!"
AN2: First time that I try writing in Albus' pov, so your thoughts about this are very much appreciated :) Should you spot any mistakes left, please point them out to me!
See you all in the next chapter!
P.S. For more information about my upcoming and posted stories, please visit my profile.