When the Lightning Strikes
"He will rise again!"
The teachers assembled in the Great Hall all turned to look as Sybil Trelawny made her proclamation. A few of those newer to the school looked horrified; most simply raised their eyebrows, calmly awaiting another prediction of imminent doom; Minerva, the oldest among them now that Flitwick had left, looked positively livid.
"Are you saying, Sybil, that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named will rise again, when you know very well that he was killed, and his body burned, mere inches from where you stand now?"
A pause. Then, "No."
The tension in the room vanished.
"But there will be another."
…White lightning streaks across the dark, starless sky…
"Well, we've got your robes, potions kit, and wand. Shall we take a break and go look at broomsticks? There's a nice crowd of boys your age in front of the store. Probably your classmates. What do you say, Scorpius? Want to take a look?"
Most boys would have jumped at the opportunity, especially when they knew their father was rich enough to buy them any broom they took a fancy to, whether or not first years were allowed them. But Scorpius just shook his head, and squeezed his father's hand a little tighter as they neared the crowd. Draco sighed.
"Alright, the bookshop then. We'll buy you a nice going away present there."
…Thunder roars overhead…
"Harry, did you know that Draco Malfoy was back in the country?"
"Yes," he replied, without looking up from the report he was reading.
"For close to three years?"
"Yes." He sighed when he realized Ron was still standing there. "I was the one they sent over when they became aware he was living in the Manor again."
Ron stared. "But we take all our cases together."
"Well, they knew they couldn't send you, Ron," Harry replied, chuckling. "You have a grudge."
"And you don't?"
"No, but I can look past it." He sighed again. "Look, Ron, we're adults, and we've all changed. He has a son, about the same age as Albus and Rose, who he's doing his best by. He just remarried last year. He's working as a translator for a small publishing company. And his use of magic is still monitored. I've checked him twice, personally, in the last year, and I've found no evidence of anything suspicious."
Ron was silent a moment. "You're sure?"
Harry nodded. Ron stood there another moment, then turned and started to leave the office. Just before he shut the door though, he looked back at Harry.
"I wish I could be."
…The storm is so close now that the thunder crashes again before the flash of lightning even fades…
Draco put his quill down and looked at the door of his study. There, clutching a book in one hand and a worn stuffed owl in the other, was Scorpius. His scowl softened.
"Come here, mio regazzo."
Scorpius hurried over to his father's desk, and Draco picked him up and held him the way he had since Scorpius was little. "Now, tell me what's wrong."
Scorpius hesitated. "It's loud," he finally murmured, referring to the storm that was currently raging outside the large windows.
"Oh, Scorpius," he sighed, "What am I going to do with you?"
It wasn't a scornful tone, and the comforting hand that stroked Scorpius' hair was proof enough that he wasn't disappointed. But he was worried. Scorpius was unusually shy for a boy his age, and though he liked books and learning well enough, Draco worried about sending him away to school. But unless Scorpius said he didn't want to, there was nothing for it but to let him try.
"Ready to go back to sleep?" he asked, after the storm had calmed considerably.
…A scowling face is briefly illuminated as the lightning strikes a final time…
Scorpius nodded against his father's chest, and quietly dropped back to the floor. There was no reason to tell him about the nightmare he'd had. His father already had enough to worry about.