A/N: Well here's the epilogue I promised you...a week late. Sorry! I didn't like what I originally had so I ended up completely rewriting it. Can't let this story end on something I'm not proud of.
I got a lot of comments/eye-raises at how I ended the last chapter with it being public. I went back and forth a few times on how I wanted it to end and the reason I went with such a public forum is because everything else they had ever done or talked about was in private and the only way to make it real was to make them heard by everyone. It's one thing for Scorpius to tell Rose everything he was feeling if it was just the two of them. It's another making it real.
Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling is my hero. She owns all of this world and I love her for it.
Different Kind of Love Story
Rose was pinning up the last of her curls when there was a knock on the door. Before she could say anything, the door creaked open. Looking in the mirror reflection, she smiled as Scorpius sauntered in. He smiled but it turned into a groan.
"Dammit, I see I'm too late," he sighed, dropping on to the edge of her bed with the shake of his head.
Rose's eyebrow shot upward. "For?"
He smirked, brushing the hair from his face. "You're dressed. Enough said."
She laughed, shaking her head at him. "Is that all you ever think about?"
He chuckled, pulling himself off the bed and making his way over to her. He wrapped his arms around her from behind, leaning over to kiss the side of her face. "Nah, you're beautiful with or without clothes, babe," he whispered. "But for the record, your ass does look incredibly fine in that dress."
She blushed, finding it humbling that he could still make her blush five months later. "You're still not getting laid right now."
He groaned, pressing a kiss to her cheek before releasing her so she could finish her hair. "How else am I supposed to get through today?"
"How is a graduation something 'to get through?'"
He shot her a knowing look. "When your family and mine will be forced under the same roof."
"The Quidditch pitch doesn't have a roof."
"You know what I mean."
She turned around to face him where he now sat perched against her desk. "Did your father ever confirm he was coming?"
He frowned, slowly shaking his head. "Not to me but we are still very much in the 'not talking to each other' phase."
Rose's brow furrowed guiltily, turning her gaze away from him with a sigh. When Scorpius' father found out about his relationship with her, Scorpius had expected him to be outraged or disgusted or confused. Instead, his father said it was very wise of his son to butter up to the Weasley family in an attempt to make amends between the two families and ultimately the divide that was there between evil and good. Scorpius used that time to tell his father it wasn't about "buttering up" or "making amends." It was about love.
That was when his father became outraged and disgusted and confused.
He proceeded to tell his son that he was a fool for ever thinking it could ever really work. There was too much history. Too much damage. Too much baggage. And it wasn't even about their surnames but the side of the war they had represented. Draco had been trying to build himself a name that could take his family away from the war prejudice and was urging his son to do the same but Draco knew it was all about appearances and had nothing to do with reality. Because the reality was, in his mind anyway, that a Malfoy and a Weasley could never be anything more than just a façade of disingenuous emotions that weren't really emotions at all.
Draco told his son in a very blunt fashion that his relationship was destined to fail and Scorpius was kidding himself if he thought he and a girl who stood for everything they had never believed in could ever be anything more than the enemies they had once been. And Scorpius told his father to fuck off.
Two days later, Scorpius accepted the reserve position with the Winbourne Wasps.
They haven't spoken since.
"He'll be there," Rose said, ever the optimist between them.
Scorpius could only shrug. "I'm more worried about your father than mine."
"Don't worry, he wouldn't kill you in public."
"Well that just makes me feel so warm inside."
She grinned, walking over to him and wrapping her arms around his neck, pressing her body into his with a content sigh. "We'll be fine."
He draped his arms around her waist and held her close to him, feeling such comfort in the simple gesture. "Well, of course you will. Your family loves you. Me, on the other hand, they're not particularly fond of. At all actually. Don't you remember the howlers?"
Rose grinned sheepishly at the reminder of her father and James and Fred all sending separate howlers to Scorpius with warnings to keep his Slytherin arse out of Rose's room at all times.
She could still hear the laughter from every single student in the Great Hall who was there to witness Scorpius' unfortunate embarrassment.
"Yes, they love to throw around the occasional death threat – and by occasional, I mean frequent – but when have they ever actually done anything with it?"
"Yet," Scorpius amended with a sigh. "But that's only because we've been here at Hogwarts and they have not been. All of that ends today, love."
Rose shrugged. "Yes, but you have to remember that they love me and because they know I love you, they'll play nice."
Scorpius snorted. "James Potter is going to play nice?"
Rose grinned sheepishly, pulling her head back to look at him. "Nah, he'll rip you from limb to limb. But don't worry, I'll hex him in retaliation."
"Well, it's the least you could do considering I'll be limbless and therefore unable to hex him myself."
Rose could only laugh as she leaned over and pressed her lips to his. It was these small moments she often found herself treasuring with Scorpius the most. The times it was just the two of them, kissing and talking to each other as if they hadn't hated each other for so many years.
"Who cares about them?" she whispered between kisses. "We've been ignoring the judgment and the gossip for months now. Today won't be any different."
When the press got hold of the relationship between a Weasley and a Malfoy, they had a field day with it. Articles lined Witch Weekly and Daily Prophet, not spinning either one of them in a good light. They said she was a golddigger and he was just searching for fame. They said she was too good for him and he was bad news. They said she was the rebellious daughter of royalty and he was the son of a Death Eater. They rehashed war stories and reminded the world that it was in Malfoy Manor itself that Rose's mother had been tortured. She became the most hated girl in the school, other girls jealous that she had Scorpius settling down for her when they couldn't get him to do the same. Guys high-fived Scorpius and made derogatory comments at him, saying he was only in it for the sex and congratulating him on bagging such a hot piece of ass. All of it had nearly destroyed Rose. She spent her nights crying and the only way she ever really got through it was with Scorpius there reminding her how much he loved her. In her darkest depression, he had stood by her as if she was the only thing that mattered to him. She had heard of students winding up in the hospital wing with suspicious illnesses and she knew it was Scorpius though he denied it every time.
He had protected her and made her feel safe during a time that the world wanted her to feel anything but. If that wasn't love, she didn't know what was.
"I can handle the world's judgment," he sighed. "Your family's is a different story."
She grimaced. "Just remember that I love you."
He sighed but nodded. "It's a damn good thing I love you too, Rose Weasley," he said, pressing his forehead to hers. "Now where did we land on getting you out of those clothes?"
"Right, because my family would fall in love with you if I showed up smelling like sex."
He swore. "Fine, but I plan on having my way with you later tonight, Red."
She grinned. "I wouldn't have it any other way."
"YOU TWO BETTER NOT BE NAKED IN THERE!"
Rose and Scorpius pulled away from each other with a laugh as they heard the hurried footsteps rushing up the stairwell. Seconds later, the door burst open and in rushed Albus and Alice.
"Believe me, I tried," Scorpius drawled.
Albus glared at him. "The right answer would have been 'Rose and I have never been naked around each other.'"
Alice snorted. "Kinda hard not to be naked when shagging."
Albus shot her a look. "Oy, don't encourage them."
"Please. You know perfectly well that that ship has long sailed, Al."
Albus sent her another dirty look while the other three just laughed. Grabbing a flask out of his back pocket, he said, "I knew there was a reason I brought this."
Alice swiped it out of his hands while he protested. "You brought that so we could toast to our last day at Hogwarts, you immature prat."
"Ah, I love when you sweet talk me, baby," Albus teased, reaching over and pulling her into him to press a kiss to her cheek.
She tried shoving him away but inevitably just laughed and pressed her lips to his. "Now, let's toast to us, shall we?"
"As Head Boy, I should strongly advise against drinking before our graduation ceremony."
That earned Scorpius three incredulous stares.
With a grin, he added, "Just kidding. Bring on the flask!"
With a laugh, Alice uncapped it and held it up. "Here's to one hell of a seventh year," she said before taking a sip and passing it off to Albus.
He pondered his next words before saying, "Here's to us crazy kids actually settling down."
Scorpius pulled it out of Albus' hands after he took a swig. "A year ago I would have laughed if I ever thought I'd be saying this but here's to the three best friends I ever could have asked for."
He gulped down the firewhisky and passed it off to Rose who was chuckling inwardly. She glanced at her boyfriend and her cousin and her best friend and all she could do was smile. "Here's to remembering the past, enjoying the present, and looking forward to the future. Together."
The four of them swapped smiles before Scorpius spoke, reaching over and pulling his girlfriend into his side. "Well, someone has a way with words," he spoke, kissing the side of her face. "If that was anything like that speech you'll be giving today, there won't be a dry eye in the house."
Rose smiled gratefully at him as the four of them settled on to her bed to reminisce on the year while passing around the flask until the tears of laughter took over and the firewhisky was gone. And then they picked themselves up off the bed, looked at each other with the knowledge that even though they were graduating it wasn't the end for them, and walked out arm in arm with their heads held high.
Scorpius said the finals words as they exited the Head Dorm.
"Whatdya kiddies say we go bloody graduate, shall we?"
"Seven years," Rose started her speech, staring out into the crowd of her peers and her professors and her family. "Seven years at a school that gave us the proper knowledge and education to go out into the world and become something of ourselves. But that's not all it gave us. It gave us friendship and laughter. Adventures and fun. Hopes and dreams. We grew up here. We grew up into the people we are today. And my advice to all of you as we each settle into the next chapter of our lives is to embrace who you are. Don't let anyone else decide who you get to be. Don't waste your time trying to be someone you're not. It's your life. You get to decide how to live it. So live it the way you deserve.
"I can stand here and tell you to go after your dreams but it's taken a long time for me to realize that just because you dream doesn't mean it'll come true. You have to put in the work. The effort. You have to care enough about it to go after it. So don't just dream, do. There is no shortcut to life. There is no shortcut to success. So do what you love to do and with the people you love because you're in it for the long haul.
"Our parents and our professors tell us to focus on school and education. And I am a prime example of someone who did just that. But I also focused on friendship and love. Because having people I care about and who I can have fun with motivates me to go out into the world and be the best version of myself. They make me happy and at the end of the day, that's all any of us can ask for. You can change a job. You can change where you live. You can change your dreams. But you can't change what's in your heart. So embrace it. Listen to what your heart is saying. Your head tells you what you think you want or you need. Your heart tells you what you deserve.
"Trust your heart. Trust your friends. But most of all, trust yourself."
Rose barely heard the applause as she turned around and recaptured her seat on stage beside Scorpius. With a smile, he reached over and grabbed her hand, squeezing it tightly. "I love you" he mouthed.
All she could do was smile back and mouth "I love you, too," as Headmistress McGonagall got back up to the podium and introduced Scorpius.
She winked at him as she slowly made the trek up to the podium. He immediately spotted Albus in the crowd, now making faces at him, and he smiled.
"Expect the unexpected," Scorpius started. "Nothing in life is predictable. Nothing in life will be handed to you. Nothing in life will be the way you plan on it being. Life is one big curveball. Things happen you won't expect. But live anyway. Learn anyway. Dream anyway. None of us really know what the future will bring to us. Yes, some of us are going off to become famous Quidditch players and others will be joining the Auror Department and some are going to be Healers and Ministry leaders and gossip columnists and Potions lab technicians and shop owners. But these are just jobs. They don't make us who we are. They don't define us. The world doesn't define us. We define ourselves. People like to talk. They like to gossip. They like to judge us. But they don't know us. They don't know our thoughts and our feelings. They don't know what's in our hearts. They don't know us and they don't want to get to know us. So you have to find the people that do. Because these are the people worth living for.
"Once upon a time, I didn't believe in the power of love. I believed we only had ourselves to count on. I believed being alone was better than being let down. But loving someone and being loved in return is the most powerful motivator in the world. So don't hold back. Be who you need to be but don't just be yourself for you. Be yourself for your friends and your family and your loved ones. Find those people who you are proud to know, people you admire, who you respect and who respects you in return. Find those people that make your day a little brighter simply by being in it. Because as we all go out into the world and search for what we want to do and who we want to be, these are the people that motivate us to do so.
"We've all had our struggles in life. And those struggles aren't going to go away. But if we didn't have challenges to overcome, we'd never know the people we can be. We'd never know the strength we have in ourselves. We'd never know what we like and what we don't like. We all have passions. We all have dreams. We all have goals. It's just a matter of finding them within ourselves.
"Believe in your dreams and they may come true. But believe in yourself and they will come true. Only you can be in charge of your success. So I leave you with this last question: today marks the first day of the rest of your life. How do you want to live it?"
When Scorpius finished and made his way back to his chair, he noticed the tears in Rose's eyes. Sitting back down, he leaned over and whispered, "You okay?"
She nodded as McGonagall got back to the podium. "Months later, you still somehow manage to find ways to surprise me."
He glanced at her hesitantly. "And that's a good thing?"
She leaned over and grabbed his hand. "That's a great thing."
Glancing over at her, he smiled but his heart trembled at the reminder that things were about to change. He had long thought he was going to miss Hogwarts but he realized then that it wasn't Hogwarts he was going to miss. It was Rose. The two of them weren't going to be living across from a common room anymore and that very thought left him with an unexpected sadness. He was moving in with Albus and she was moving in with Alice so there was no doubt they would all get to see each other more than frequently, but it wouldn't be the same. Both he and Albus would be busy with their separate Quidditch schedules. Rose would be knee-deep in Auror training. Alice would be busy with her apothecary apprenticeship. They were entering the next chapter of their lives and Scorpius knew that meant everything was going to change. And he was rather fond of the way things were going. He didn't want anything to mess that up. It had been easy avoiding the judgment and the disdain from the world when he was hiding at Hogwarts. But now that they'd all be entering the real world, he didn't know what to expect.
And not knowing is what scared him.
But as he once again glanced over at his beautiful girlfriend, he realized that she was the only thing that he was ever confident in. They may not see each other every day but he knew if anyone could handle the change with grace, it was the two of them. They had already been through so much. This was just another obstacle that he knew they could overcome.
Letting himself love her was the best decision he had ever made.
It wasn't hard to find the Weasley-Potter clan. One just had to look for the mass of red hair and there they all were. The Potter family was there, including James who appeared to be bombarded by adoring fans alongside Caleb Lee, both of which seemed more interested in the girls than they did their own family. Then there was Hermione and Ron beside Hugo and Lily, the latter whose arms were currently around Wes. Rose's grandparents stood there beaming as one held Dora in their arms and the other held two-month-old Remus. Teddy and Victoire looked exhausted beside them. Neville had met up with Hannah and Frankie and their oldest daughter, Augusta, who watched on with disgust as James and Caleb flirted with prepubescent teenage girls.
The Malfoy family on the other hand appeared to be absent. Something Scorpius pretended not to care about. But Rose knew him well enough to know that it stung.
"C'mon, it's time you met all of my family," Rose urged, pulling them off stage.
"I've met them," he whined.
"As Albus' friend. Not as my boyfriend."
"That's because your father chased me off the platform last holidays before I could meet them!"
Rose giggled, earning her a pout from Scorpius. Needless to say, Ron Weasley was not pleased when Rose informed her father the morning of their return to Hogwarts after the holidays that she was not only dating Scorpius Malfoy but she was in love with him. He made it a point to tell Scorpius that he was a dead man if he ever put his hands on his daughter. "Oh, cmon that was funny!" Rose teased. "My father looked like a madman!"
"You didn't find it so funny then."
"Well, no, he was acting like a child," she said sheepishly. "But looking back, you had never looked so frightened before."
"Your father just found out I was the guy sticking his tongue down his little girl's throat. He was out for blood."
"You're meeting them, Scor."
He let out a whimper but followed her into the crowd anyway. He liked to joke about the scariness of her family but he'd do anything for Rose, even if that meant attempting to get along with her family.
"Mum! Dad!" Rose greeted as she shuffled through the crowd and met up with them.
Her mother instinctively reached down and embraced her daughter. "Oh, you were so good up there! I'm so proud of you!"
Rose couldn't help but beam as she let go of her mother and ventured towards her father, who was looking over her shoulder with a scowl. "What's he doing here?"
"Ron!" Hermione groaned as she glanced towards a very hesitant-looking Scorpius. "Dammit Ron, we talked about this before coming here! You be nice!"
Ron let out an exaggerated sigh as he nodded at Scorpius. "Nice speech."
Scorpius blinked. "Oh, uh...thanks, sir."
"You can call him Ron," Hermione urged.
"Nah, sir works just fine," Ron said with a smirk.
Hermione glared at him. "Don't think I won't divorce you, Ron Weasley."
"Oh, great," the familiar voice of James said as he strolled over. "Now the Malfoy kid is causing divorces in our family. What else does he plan on destroying?"
"JAMES!" Harry's voice scolded from where he stood with his wife and other son.
Rose could only roll her eyes at her older cousin. "Nice sunglasses, James. You do realize it's been cloudy all afternoon, right?"
"I gotta disguise myself somehow, kid."
"If you think wearing an old pair of sunglasses counts as a disguise, it's a miracle that you managed to scrape 7 N.E.W.T.s at all."
"Good thing I hardly need my N.E.W.T. scores as a rock star," James smirked, reaching over to ruffle his cousin's hair.
She punched him in the gut. "I think you mean pop star."
He gasped. "You take that back!"
Albus' laugh rang out behind them and James turned around to glare at him. "Mind your own busi—Oy, what do you think you're doing, Taylor? Keep your lips where I can see them!"
James disappeared as he stormed off to admonish his sister's boyfriend some more.
Rose glanced towards Scorpius who looked torn between being amused and being frightened. "I swear there are normal people in my family," she urged.
She laughed, reaching over and pressing a kiss to his cheek. That earned him a glare from James and Ron, though the rest were nice enough to pretend not to notice.
"So, Scorpius Malfoy, hm?"
Scorpius glanced over his shoulder as Teddy came up, now with a sleeping Remy in his arms. "Er...yeah, we've met a handful of times, Teddy."
"Never as Rose's boyfriend before."
"Why do people keep saying that?" he sighed, chuckling as Rose squeezed his hand.
"She's a special one," Teddy said, winking at the redhead. "You take care of her, y'hear?"
"I already am," he urged with a nod.
Teddy smirked mysteriously, leaning in close to them before saying, "I remember those Head dorms and the privacy that came with it. My guess is the way you've been taking care of her thus far are ways the family would hardly approve of."
Rose's eyes widened while Scorpius could only stand there dumbfounded. "Teddy!" Rose finally scoffed when she found the urge to say something.
He winked at his cousin-in-law. "Good thing I have all the time in the world to keep an eye on you now that you're joining the Department, Rosie."
Rose sighed as Teddy smirked and wandered over to Albus to offer his congratulations. It was Scorpius that told her if she wanted to be an Auror she needed to go for it. Not wanting to go after her dreams because she was afraid people would cry nepotism or compare her to her uncle was no better than her going after something else just to not be associated with her family. When the article came out about her joining the Auror Department, she made it a point not to read it. She knew it would be all about how she only got accepted because of her uncle even though she and her family and Scorpius knew her brains got her in all the way.
Rose turned towards her boyfriend with a sheepish grin. "Remember that you love me."
"I want to break up."
She laughed at the whimper in his voice. "They'd hate you even more if you broke my heart."
"Probably, but by that time I'd be in hiding in a remote country off the beaten path where they could never find me."
"It's cute that you think you can hide from the Weasleys."
Scorpius sighed. "It's a good thing I love you, Rose Weasley."
She wrapped her arms around his shoulders, ignoring the looks she was getting from her family members. "I'm glad you won't be running off to a remote country because I'm not sure I could live without you," she whispered, offering him a very quick kiss.
"OY! LIPS WHERE I CAN SEE THEM!"
Rose broke away from her boyfriend and glared at James. "Don't make me tell those prepubescent girls that you're lined with STDs."
Some laughed, some groaned, some just looked shocked. And Rose loved every minute of it.
He stiffened in surprise, slowly turning around to face his father. "Uh...father," he spoke stiffly. "What are you doing here?"
"My son is graduating."
He frowned. "Is grandfather here?"
Draco hesitated before shaking his head. "I'm afraid not."
Scorpius wasn't surprised by that. When Lucius found out about him dating Rose Weasley, he sent Scorpius a howler at school with all sorts of reasons why he was a traitor to the family. Rose had looked horrified but Scorpius merely shrugged it off and offered Albus a biscuit, diving into a conversation about the upcoming Quidditch match. Later that night when Rose told Scorpius she felt guilty for causing a rift between him and his grandfather, Scorpius told Rose that he'd choose her over him any day.
"Scorpius, can I speak to you? Alone?" his father requested.
Scorpius was inclined to say no, but the pleading look on his father face had him sighing and nodding. With a sigh, he realized that Rose's entire family was staring at them and he felt the heat rise to his cheeks as Draco led him away from the group. Draco eventually turned around and said, "I want you to come home this summer."
Scorpius blinked. "I…I got a place with Albus."
Draco frowned. "Already?"
"It used to be Teddy's old flat. He rents it out."
"When do you move in?"
Scorpius let out a frustrated grunt. "Dad, what are you doing here? I haven't heard from you in five months and now you've shown up here asking me to come home? Maybe my home isn't with you anymore."
Draco fell quiet, the hurt evident in his expression. "Don't shut me out, son."
Scorpius wanted to laugh in his father's face and storm off. It wasn't in either of their nature to have any sort of heart-to-heart and Scorpius wasn't sure he wanted to start one on his graduation day. He wanted to be happy. He wanted to spend time with Rose and Albus and Alice on the final day before they ventured off into the Real World. He didn't want to spend it angry or bitter.
But as he looked up into his father's eyes, he saw a man who looked scared and hurt. And so for the first time in his entire life, Scorpius told his father how he felt. "You were the one who shut me out," Scorpius spoke softly. "All these years, you never saw me for me. I was just the guy who was going to pass on the Malfoy legacy. The guy who was going to put your mistakes in the past. Your mistakes, not mine. I didn't make friends with Albus because of some publicity stunt. I didn't fall in love with Rose to bridge the gap between our side and theirs. I did all this because they are good people who make me feel like I can be a good person myself. You say I'm naïve. You say it will all end. You say we are bound to fail. But they are the ones that have stuck by me through it all when you neglected to do the same."
His father could only gape at him, his jaw hanging open in surprise. He said nothing, letting those words sink in slowly before he cleared his throat and said, "I just wanted you to have everything I didn't."
Scorpius shook his head. "No," he argued. "You wanted me to have everything you gave up."
Draco looked even more surprised at that comment. "What?"
"You gave up your freedom and your soul and you sold it to the devil. And you never really got any of it back. So you tell me to honor the Malfoy name and to make them proud but only because you're ashamed that you're the one who dishonored them in the first place. But it's not up to me to make up for your mistakes. It's up to me to be me, Dad. Not the you you never got to be."
His father was dumbfounded. "That was never my intention."
He shrugged. "I know. But you did it anyway and you never seemed to care to change it."
Draco could only frown. "Is it too late for me to try and change?"
Scorpius glanced over his shoulder to where Rose stood. She was talking to her mother but her eyes kept flitting over to where he stood. She met his gaze and smile. He smiled back before turning back to his father. "I love Rose, Dad," he spoke softly. "You and I will never be okay if you can't accept that."
"It's not that I don't accept it," he argued hesitantly. "It's that I don't want to see any of them hurt you. You don't think they will but I know what they're capable of."
Scorpius shook his head. "Wrong answer," he snapped, quickly walking away.
He hesitated before reluctantly turning around. "Rose isn't her mother or her father or her Uncle Harry. Albus isn't them either. They are their own people and I trust them. More than that, I love them. They've been my family for the past five months. And they'll continue to be my family. And maybe I still hope that you can be a part of that, too, but you can't if you don't accept the fact that they'll always be there with me."
His father frowned, his brow furrowing with shame and guilt. "You still want me to be a part of your life?"
Scorpius said nothing at first, pondering the question carefully. It would be easy to just shut him out. Push his father away for good so that he could stop feeling the pain that came with a neglectful, uncaring father. He could stop feeling so disappointed when his father said and did all the wrong things. Yes, it would be easy to shut him out. But he wasn't sure that was what he wanted.
He had already lost his mother. Was he ready to give up his father, too?
He glanced up at his father and shrugged. "You're my father" is all he said.
Draco looked slightly surprised as he slowly lifted his gaze and glanced over Scorpius' shoulder to where the Weasleys and the Potters all stood pretending as if they weren't watching on in extreme curiosity. The frown on his face jutted into his jawline hesitantly, his lips pursing before he slowly returned his gaze back on to his son. "Okay," he said.
Scorpius' eyebrow shot up curiously. "Okay what?"
"Okay, let's go over there so you can introduce me to your friend and…girlfriend," he spoke, the word coming out a bit awkwardly.
Scorpius blinked. "Really?"
He nodded. "If they're going to be a part of your life, I may as well meet them properly, don't you think?"
Scorpius hesitated before nodding himself. "But, uh, try not to strangle Rose or Albus' father in the process, alright? I have a feeling that might put a damper on my relationship with Rose and my friendship with Albus."
His father's lip twitched in slight amusement. "Not to mention your relationship with me since I'd be thrown into prison for the rest of my life. And something tells me you wouldn't come visit me at Azkaban."
Scorpius found himself chuckling. "I never realized you had a sense of humor, Dad."
"I guess there are still a lot of things we'll get to learn about each other, son," he said, clapping his son on the back. "Now stop stalling and introduce me to these people who are so important to you."
Scorpius felt an odd sense of relief wash over him as he steered the two of them over to where the Weasleys and Potters still stood huddled around each other. Rose quickly broke away from her mother and wandered his way with a hesitant smile on her face, her eyes flickering over to Draco. But as her gaze fell back on to Scorpius, she saw a hopeful smile on his face and wondered if maybe that day signaled the beginning of a new relationship with his father. She really hoped so because Scorpius deserved the best.
Scorpius had told her numerous times over the past few months that he didn't mind not talking to his father but Rose saw the anguish in his eyes every time his father was brought up. Maybe he claimed he was okay but she knew he would never truly be okay knowing that his entire family had written him off.
"Rose," Scorpius said with a smile, reaching out and grabbing her hand. "I'd like you to meet my father. Dad, this is Rose. This is the girl that makes everything worthwhile in my life."
Rose blushed and as she extended her hand towards Draco's, Albus' voice called out in protest. "Oy, what about me?"
Scorpius rolled his eyes. "And that jackass happens to be Albus."
Albus strolled over to the man with a welcoming smile on his face. He would always be wary about Draco Malfoy for he knew all too well the heartache Scorpius had endured over the years, but if Scorpius was going to try and bury the hatchet, Albus was happy to do the same. "Hello, sir. It's nice to meet you."
Draco nodded hesitantly as he shook the boy's hand. Nodding to where Harry stood just a few feet away, he said, "You look remarkably like your father."
Albus shrugged. "Yeah, I try not to take that personally."
"Albus," Ginny groaned as Rose and Scorpius burst into laughter. "Oy, stop you two! Don't encourage him insulting his father!"
"Don't worry about it, Ginny," Harry said, making his way over to them. "I'll just pull out the embarrassing stories about my lovely son at dinner tonight. Remember when he was a kid and he stripped naked to run around our garden after the Cannons won their playoff match?"
"Have I mentioned just how wonderful your hair looks today, Dad?" Albus said with a sheepish grin.
Harry smirked, reaching over to ruffle his son's hair. "Just remember I have plenty more of those wonderful stories in my back pocket."
Albus' cheeks were red and he smacked Rose in the arm who was still laughing before glancing back towards Draco who looked torn between wanting to laugh and trying to be respectful. "We're all hitting up the Leaky Cauldron for a celebratory dinner. Will you be joining us, Mr. Malfoy?"
Draco looked surprised by the invitation. He glanced over at the adults, taking in the scowl on Ron's face and the curiosity in Harry's. He visibly noticed James Potter glaring at him and Ginny offering him a cautious smile. Hermione's hand was on Ron's shoulder, her eyes solely on her husband. He recognized the skeptical gleam in George and Angelina's eyes. But as he finally settled his gaze on to his son, wondering how he could possibly bow out of this after just telling his son he'd try to accept his new friends, it was Harry that actually spoke.
"You should join us, Draco," he spoke softly. "I think your son would like that."
The murderous look Ron sent Harry did not go unnoticed, but Draco only met his son's gaze, who was smiling up at him. "You in?" Scorpius asked.
Looking at the hopeful gleam in his son's eyes had him nodding. "I wouldn't miss it."
The Leaky Cauldron was packed with people but Rose only saw Scorpius. She sat by his side for most of the evening, but there had been a lot of mingling and there had been times the two of them had been dragged away from each other. Her father spent most of the evening swapping glares between Scorpius and his father until her mother announced in front of the entire pub that he better get his act together or he could find somewhere else to crash. Harry told Ron that it wouldn't be his house because he also believed Ron was being far too stubborn for his own good. And when Ron suggested getting a room at the Leaky Cauldron, Hannah and Neville said they were staying out of it. So Ron sat down and had a rather unexpectedly civil conversation with Scorpius about Quidditch. Before long, they were arguing about which team was the best in the league with Draco chiming in with his own thoughts, and while they were bickering, it was mixed with jesting laughs and had Rose thinking that maybe things could work out after all.
James and his band played a quick celebratory set, of which Albus considered slinking under the table and hiding out until it was over, and then the speeches began. All of the parents of the graduates got up to say something commemorative or nostalgic, of which had most of the women in tears and most of the men rolling their eyes, and even Draco got up to say how proud he was of Scorpius, though he kept it short and sweet for he clearly felt uncomfortable addressing a room full of his childhood rivals.
By the time the cake was rolled out, the evening had faded into night and it was pitch black outside. James and Fred had had a bit too much to drink and were getting admonished by their parents while Albus was scowling at Lily for planting a kiss on Wes in front of them all. Alice was there trying to drag Albus away, but as Rose swept her eyes around the room, she became aware that Scorpius was missing. After doing a thorough check throughout the pub, she slipped outside thinking he may have been in desperate need of fresh air.
She found him leaning against the building with a wistful look on his face. He hadn't noticed her walking up to him, or maybe was just too deep in thought, but he jumped slightly when she placed her hand on his shoulder. "You okay?" she asked.
He smiled down at her, wrapping his arm around her shoulders and drawing her into him. Rose had this uncanny ability to make him feel like nothing else mattered but the two of them when he was with her. Inside, he kept worrying about how his father was feeling in a crowd full of his enemies. He felt the glares from certain Weasley members. He wondered what would happen between him and Rose in the future. He worried that his father might change his mind about accepting Rose. But outside, in the dark of the night with Rose in his arms, it was like all of his worries faded away.
"I am now," he whispered, burying his lips into her hair.
Her brow furrowed as she twisted around to face him. "Which means you weren't?"
He hesitated before shaking his head. "It's just been an interesting day," he explained with a shrug. "It hasn't exactly turned out the way I had expected it to."
"Yeah, I know. Here you thought you'd be able to drag me back to our room after the ceremony and have your way with me and instead, we were dragged to this stupid dinner."
He threw his head back and laughed. "Well, having my way with you certainly would have been far better than pretending to ignore the glares I keep getting from your family, but-"
"They're not glaring at you."
He shot her a look.
She sighed. "Okay, maybe they are. But I really hate that they are. I hate that they don't see the side of you that I see. I hate that they look at you and see your father. I just want them to love you as much as I do."
Slowly, Scorpius' eyebrow perked upward.
"Well, okay, not exactly as I do," she laughed, squealing when he poked her in the ribs knowingly. "But if I could get over my distaste for you, then shouldn't they be able to also?"
"You got over your distaste towards me because we started fooling around. Somehow, I don't see that happening with your father or James."
Rose recoiled in clear disgust. "How about we never joke about you having sexual relations with my father or my cousin ever again, 'kay?"
Scorpius chuckled, leaning over and pressing another kiss to the side of her head. Sometimes, he still felt disbelief that he was with her. Actually, that she was with him. He often felt as if she was too good for him. Something he was certain her father would agree on. But she made it clear she wasn't going anywhere. That there was no one else in the world for her but him. And every time he brought it up, she chided him for thinking so little of himself. It almost always broke out into an argument, one that inevitably would be resolved with sex. Because while they were both aware that their relationship was unconventional, the moment their lips touched and their clothes were discarded, it was as if they were one person. One mind, one heart, one soul. And suddenly, everything made sense again.
Of course the surprise pop-ins by Albus had sometimes made it difficult being together. Albus had threatened to dismember Scorpius more times than any of them could count. But he also saw how happy they were together and while the idea of his cousin and his best mate partaking in sexual relations with one another made him squeamish, he learned to accept it.
"There's absolutely no one I'd want to be having sexual relations with but you, Rose Weasley," he whispered as he leaned over and pressed his lips to hers.
She smiled into the kiss, their lips dancing so serenely against one another's. "Good answer," she said back as they continued to kiss each other as the darkness of the night enveloped them. Her heart still ached hungrily for him every time she was with him. Her heart beat wildly inside her chest as his hands scaled the side of her face, his body leaning into hers and pressing her up against the cool stone of the pub. Her dress slid up her thigh, a pool of warmth settling into her stomach as his lips trailed down her jaw and nipped at her neck.
And suddenly, she felt unexpected tears prickling the side of her eyes. Happy tears. Here she was on her last day as a student and she was kissing the man she couldn't imagine her life without. She never wanted to let him go. She wanted to grab him and hold on to him forever. She feared that leaving school might tear them apart. Scorpius had always told her that that could never happen, but it still scared her to know she wouldn't be able to see him and hold him and kiss him every day.
"Are you okay?" Scorpius whispered, pressing his forehead against hers.
She nodded. "How can I not be when I get to be with you?" she said with a smile.
He smiled as he brought his lips to hers once again. "I love you, Rose Weasley."
She kissed him back, murmuring, "I love you, too, Scorpius Malfoy."
For so many years, neither thought that they could ever be happy. As is turned out, all they needed for their happy ending was each other.
A/N: Can't believe this story has come to an end but there it is! I love these characters and hope one day I can return to them because I have some ideas floating around in my head for a sequel. But at this time, I must say good-bye. Thank you to all who have supported this story and reviewed throughout this process. I write because of you. These stories would not exist without you. Until next time, kiddos!