Draco receives an owl from Potter on a chilly Tuesday morning. It's overcast and drizzling outside, just as it has been for the past week, and Draco's world has all but shrunk to the sofa chair in front of the living room's fireplace. The flames send out licks of heat and Draco, comforted, doesn't even blink when the owl lands on the arm of his seat. He doesn't look at it at all, just lazily running his fingers through its feathers as he picks up the letter it'd brought him.
"I have treats on the kitchen counter," Draco whispers to it. The owl hoots, perhaps a bit offended that Draco hadn't fetched the treats himself, but does ultimately swoop away in the direction of the kitchen. He hears the subtle, startled squawk of Astoria and the light laughter of Scorpius coming from there and he bites back a grin.
Draco, still comfortable, opens the letter. His good mood vanishes almost instantly.
The thing is—Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter are no longer enemies. They've had many civil conversations whenever they stumble into each other (which happens at least two or three times a year, these days). Perhaps he and Potter could even be considered acquaintances, something eleven-year-old Draco would never believe. It's just that…they've never really talked to each other with such clear intent since the end of the war. Every conversation was an accident, a run-in while shopping or an introduction at a charity event. Once, Draco had even literally stumbled into him at a pub, which resulted in a pleasant (and very tipsy) conversation.
Needless to say, they've never written each other letters before…and, yet, Draco would recognize his chicken scratch anywhere.
It takes Draco a while to figure out what Potter is trying to say but, when he does, he can't help but feel a pit of anxiety. Potter wants to meet him sometime within the next week. Potter wants to discuss something of great importance with him.
Draco wonders if Scorpius has finally awakened his true Malfoy purpose and started bullying one of Potter's children—but no, Scorpius is too sweet for that and all three of Potter's children have enough of a backbone to not go crying to their father about it. If anything, Scorpius would come crying to him.
Does he need Draco's help with something? Draco can't think of anything that he could help with, though—his life since he'd graduated from Hogwarts has been spent lounging in the luxury of no longer being at the mercy of a madman. He's taken over his late father's businesses and stocks, gaining a handsome income from both, and his inheritance has been nothing to sneeze at. He'd even managed to escape most of the confusion immediately following the war, running off to Paris to live with his paternal grandmother's side of the family. From there, he'd provided testimonies and read the conviction notices of his former colleagues and somehow managed to court Astoria Greengrass.
He'd only gone back to England for his own family's trials and, eventually, for his wedding, when he finally settled back down in Malfoy Manor.
So, yes—the Draco of the present is nothing more than a lazy, rich gentleman who spends his days in comfort with his wife and child.
Harry Potter, museum curator and philanthropist extraordinaire, would hardly need Draco's help.
So, as Draco sends back a response, watching as the owl flies away into the distance, he frets. He asks Astoria, "I haven't done anything incriminating, have I?"
"I certainly don't think so, dear," Astoria says patiently.
"Good because otherwise my lawyer and I ought to have a word." Draco, still curled up in front of the fire, scoots to the side, throwing his wife a pointed look. Astoria snorts before sitting next to him—or, at least trying to. There is definitely not enough space for them to actually sit side-by-side, so she eventually resigns herself to sitting half-on, half-off him.
Scorpius, the delightful child that he is, takes the opportunity to splay out on the floor in front of the fire, flipping through his book with ease.
Draco thinks, This is all I am, Potter. All I've ever wanted. Please don't ruin this for me.
The fire burns on.
Potter comes on the first clear day of the season, almost as if he brings the good weather with him. Draco, who's learned that, whether he likes it or not, his entire school life has revolved around the other man, is simply resigned to his misery.
One thing Draco is thankful for is that Potter has brought his son—the one named after the man Draco had failed to kill, along with the man who had actually killed the man Draco failed to kill—because Scorpius receives a pleasant surprise. Scorpius and Albus Severus Potter (who Draco thinks is nothing like either of his namesakes, thank Merlin) run off deeper into the manor to play. Astoria, as kind and attentive as ever, ushers Potter into the living room and serves both Draco and Potter some tea, exchanging just the right amount of pleasantries before heading off and giving them some privacy under the guise of checking on the children.
After a few more minutes of inane, anxiety-inducing chit chat, Potter finally cuts to the chase. "I'm actually here to talk about something kind of important," he says almost apologetically, setting his tea cup down. Draco, who is a stress-tea-drinker, keeps sipping on his.
"Of course," says Draco, wondering what on Earth Potter wants from him.
Potter says, "I believe you're aware of my godfather's death in 1996?"
As in the godfather who Potter had a precious three years with before being murdered by Draco's insane aunt? Draco nods numbly because of course he remembers Sirius Black—he also is very much dreading where this conversation is going.
Potter nods back at him. "Upon reaching the age of seventeen, his will was fully executed and I came into possession of Number 12 Grimmauld Place. It hasn't been used in years and, quite frankly, I'd forgotten about it. Up until very recently, it was written in my will that its ownership would be handed over to Edward Lupin, my godson, following my death."
Draco does not want to think about Potter's death—as much as the man unsettles him, Draco's quite sure the world itself may crumble when Harry Potter is returned to the Earth. He very carefully does not let that show, instead saying, "Of course. That's completely within your right." He's also unsure of what, exactly, Potter is trying to do.
Potter says, "Yes…but I recently had a conversation with my godson that prompted a…change of plans. Teddy—ah, that's what we call Edward—was staunchly against ownership of Grimmauld Place, stating his long-lasting offense at his grandmother being disowned from the House of Black. Per his wishes, he is no longer listed as receiving Grimmauld Place in my will, but I found myself unsure of who to give it to, instead. I had considered giving it to my children but they seem to see it as more of a burden than a benefit. My in-laws, though liking the place, have expressed a similar sentiment to Teddy on account of the disowning of Arthur's mother from the House of Black." He pauses, perhaps for emphasis, before continuing, "After more closely inspecting the family tree of the House of Black, I've come to realize that the closest living relatives who haven't been disowned are you and your son."
Draco stares, and stares, and stares.
Then, comprehension slowly coming back to him, he asks, "You want to give us ownership of Grimmauld Place after your death?"
"Yes," Potter says simply. "I wanted to make sure you didn't have the same qualms with it that the others had so I decided to discuss it with you in person."
Draco says, "I'm not a Black, Potter. In all legal and social senses, I'm very much a Malfoy, as is Scorpius. Sirius Black was the head of the House of Black because he descended from the eldest male of every line since Licorus Black. He had every right to transfer ownership to you, but only because he himself didn't have any children. It's expected that your own children—your eldest son, specifically—are to take over ownership following your death."
"I know," Potter says cheerfully, "but they don't want an old house with a portrait that screams at their father for being a half-blood and I respect that. If you and your son don't want Grimmauld Place, that's fine, I'll track down other relatives. I don't particularly care about which family line gets ownership."
Draco resists the urge to put his face in his hands. Of course this is why Potter came here—it's always something with him, whether it's aiding and abetting an escaped prisoner or getting tortured by a pink harpy from the Ministry or trying to hand Draco the Black ancestral home—
"I don't want it," says Draco. That place is surely cursed—his mother used to tell him horror stories about that place, about Orion and Walburga Black and their son who died and the other son who was in Azkaban for all the wrong reasons. His mother never stepped foot in there, and neither did the Longbottoms or the Crouches or anyone else who had claims to the place. Only the Order of the Phoenix ever used it. If Draco were to step into that place, he'd either be overcome by his mother's ghost stories or forced out by the pure magic wards that Dumbledore surely set up.
"I don't want it," Draco repeats, compiling his thoughts, "but I'll discuss it with my son." Scorpius won't have the same negative associations with Grimmauld Place that Draco does and he's kind enough to pass whatever wards Dumbledore decided to place. Besides, Scorpius may end up inheriting a huge fortune but there's still security in having access to such assets.
Potter, for his part, nods. "Of course. Take as long as you need—hopefully, I won't die in the meantime."
"I hope you don't," says Draco. "Death doesn't suit you."
Potter stares. "I think that's the nicest thing you've ever said to me, Malfoy."
"Don't get used to it, Potter."
And then, for reasons Draco will never be able to explain, they both share a hearty, good-natured laugh. Astoria returns soon after that—with timing so perfect that Draco suspects she was eavesdropping the entire time instead of keeping an eye on the children—and insists that Potter and Albus stay for dinner (which Potter agrees to after ten solid minutes of heckling) and that Albus stay for a sleepover (which he agrees to after an additional twenty minutes of heckling).
Later, when Potter is gone and Scorpius and Albus are sleeping soundly, Astoria says to him, "Ownership of Grimmauld Place is a wonderful opportunity for Scorpius."
"He's probably going to accept it," agrees Draco, who doesn't even acknowledge the confirmation of Astoria's eavesdropping.
"Do you think Potter would have given ownership to your mother if she were still alive?"
"Probably," says Draco. "As far as he was concerned, she had the closest ties with it." He shakes his head. "But really, Astoria—our son is going to be in Harry Potter's will."
"Astounding, isn't it?" Astoria asks dryly. "Who would have imagined that the Harry Potter would give a Malfoy the light of day?"
"I'll have you know that we are polite acquaintances," sniffs Draco.
"And it only took twenty years."
So, yeah, Draco and Potter's relationship isn't stellar but it's come a long way from exchanging life-threatening curses in a girls' bathroom—in fact, Potter came to his house and drank his tea and offered his son the Black ancestral home!—
"I think," says Draco, "that maybe, he and I can be friends. Maybe."
Imagine that—being friends with Harry Potter. It would certainly be a change of pace. (It would make eleven-year-old Draco elated.) At any rate, the meeting with Potter wasn't a disaster at all. It was a boon and, potentially, a new beginning.
Upstairs, Scorpius and Albus are still sleeping soundly. Beside him, his wife lays her head on his shoulder. In his hands is a splendid cup of tea.
This is good, Draco decides. Yes…he thinks he likes this very much.
A/N: welp i hope you liked this lol. if you did please FAVORITE and REVIEW