Today was the Great Harry Potter's Birthday. It wasn't as though the Wizarding World didn't know this. In fact, many wizard pubs across Great Britain were serving red ale enchanted with a dancing lightning bolt in the glass, and were warned to be careful if they actually drank the enchantment as they would be statically charged and their hair would be as messy as Harry's for the rest of the day. Naturally, they all drank it. Yes, they celebrated his birthday as if it were a holiday. Hermione fought this on Harry's behalf, through the Ministry of Magic where she was head of the Magical Law department, and against the Ministry who indeed did wish to make it a holiday.
Harry himself liked to keep things small and quiet. While he would spend most of the day with his wife and children, and his best friends organized a party of sorts. James and Lily were allowed to bring a Gryffindor friend each. And Asp, as his Slytherin dorm mates took to calling him, was also allowed to invite a friend over for the night. For this, Harry Potter's middle child was eternally grateful.
Albus Severus Potter was generally the quiet one in any family gathering. Lately, he took to being completely by himself. He sat in a corner and read the biography of many dark wizards who came out of Slytherin just to cause suspicious glances to be sent his way. He smirked from behind the book. Being in Slytherin hadn't changed him. He was still sweet and innocent. Being in Slytherin changed his family, well, not his father. His father supported him, had even expected him to be in the most cunning house of Hogwarts. The Sorting Hat had caused a rift between he and his mother first, who still didn't trust any former school mates from his new house. Then after James was picked on for having family in Slytherin, he too stopped talking to him. When Lily was sorted into Gryffindor, James must have warned her. She hasn't spoken a word to him outside of their home since last September.
Asp, true to Slytherin nature, felt the need to make his siblings as uncomfortable as possible. He decided that inviting his closest friend would make them all squirm. He had, for a fraction of a second, reasoned against it because of his father. But decided that if his father accepted him in Slytherin, he had to accept his friends in Slytherin, all three of them as it were. He ruled out Georgette Nott and Ciaran Zabini, knowing that his third friend would never forgive him if he wasn't invited first.
The previous morning he had received a small note. It was scrawled in green shimmering ink visible only to those who had added their blood to it. A birthday present from Asp. It read that promptly at 3:00pm his friend would arrive. If Asp knew anything about his friend, it's that when he stated a time, he meant exactly that time and being late to a meeting with him would result in a lecture and a cold shoulder for the rest of the week.
So, precisely at 3:00 with the whole family in the room awaiting their guests, the fireplace burned green and out stepped a graceful young Pureblood heir. Scorpius Malfoy. He was dressed in his best high-collared robes and held a perfectly wrapped, perfectly square box with a perfect ribbon and bow. Asp sighed. He was always perfect. The grey eyes glanced around the room and caught green and Scorpius smiled and let out a laugh.
"Are you still reading that silly book? What a bunch of crock that thing is! I gave you an advanced potions theory book. I thought you'd be devouring that over the summer seeing as you're so interested in that silly subject. Everyone knows Transfiguration is the most useful and practical subject taught at Hogwarts. Merlin's Beard, Asp, sometimes I wonder about you," the blond stated haughtily.
Asp smirked over his book.
James stared incredulously. The nerve of inviting a Malfoy into their home! After everything they put had father through during the war. After everything Uncle Ron had said about not trusting them. This was a blow against the whole family. Albus was trying to hurt the family. How could-
His thoughts were cut short.
"Forgive me sir," Scorpius spoke again. "This is from Father. He gave me the task of wishing you well on your birthday, Mr. Potter."
Cautiously, Harry took the perfect box from the Draco clone and sat down in his favorite recliner to open it. From it, Harry pulled an old pair of jeans, beaten, torn, and slightly faded. It was quite obviously too small to be worn by Harry now and from the looks of it, had been through a battle. A note also came with it.
"Perhaps it is time for me to give up hope and return this."
Harry's eyes widened in surprise and searched Scorpius who tilted his head and shrugged. The rest of the family was equally confused. Only Harry seemed to understand the meaning behind the gift. Lily snorted, surely the Malfoys could have thought of a better gift than jeans that should only be thrown out.
"Before you leave," Harry began. "I will have something for you to return to your father."
The festivities went on. Cousins and brother-in-laws and grandparents came to visit and have their gifts received. Asp noted that his father's eyes kept darting to the terrible jeans that sat on the back of his recliner all through the night.
The following afternoon, Draco Malfoy received a pair of black dress trousers in a similar state. He often wondered how it was possible to get them mixed up that night after the battle of Hogwarts, the last time he ever set foot near the castle. He was however, stunned, at the note enclosed.
"Hope is the one thing we should never lose.
P.S. I can't believe you kept them. Much like I kept yours, I suppose."
Coming back to reality after a few minutes, he continued listening to his son's tirade about his day at the Potter's with little Albus Severus and his family. Draco smiled. No, hope should never be lost.