Title: How to Introduce Your Boyfriend to Your Parents; or, A Narrative of Personal Experience and Trials Written for the Committee Helping Organize Laws on and Examples of Relational Affairs (C.H.O.L.E.R.A.), April 24th, 2024.
Disclaimer: J. K. Rowling owns all characters appearing in this story. I am writing it for fun, not profit.
Warnings: Deathly Hallows spoilers including epilogue, language, slash, alternating first-person POV, extreme misapplication of canon.
Rating: Er. PG-13, maybe?
Pairing: James Potter/Scorpius Malfoy.
Summary: Hermione has asked James and Scorpius to write about their personal experience of being gay wizards from different families—one more relaxed, one very traditional. This will go well.
This is a birthday fic for gossymer on LJ, who challenged me to write James/Scorpius.
How to Introduce Your Boyfriend to Your Parents
I still don't see why we had to tack on that whole ridiculous subtitle. Look at this one. It's short and very precise. You know, like you.
James, you prat, this is meant to be serious.
We need to create a final draft of this before tomorrow, you know.
I am telling this story in my own way, Scorpius. I'm sure Auntie Hermione would be horrified if she knew that you were trying to stifle my free and creative expression.
Because I should fear the wrath of a woman who still has no skill at choosing acronyms.
Let me get on with my free and creative expression of a time that was very important in the formation of my identity, please. You'll get your turn in a moment.
[Here follow several stains which might probably be blood, and other, slightly yellow ones which the reader is petitioned not to examine too closely.
Well. I'm very glad that I was invited to speak to this committee on this august day, April 24th, 2024. As a young gay wizard of nineteen reared in a home with a pure-blood but not at all traditionalist mother, a father who saved the wizarding world, a brother who has not even now forgiven me for turning out considerably smarter than he is, and a sister whose only ambition is to try on her wedding dress as soon as possible, I'm sure you'll agree that my experience introducing my boyfriend to my parents could be nothing short of remarkable.
Why is there a blank space there?
I want to give them some time to laugh in genuine amusement before I proceed to the next part of the story, of course. Really, Scorpius, this anti-intellectualism of yours and lack of any attempt to see into the subjectivity of others is distressing to me.
I'd been certain that I was gay for about two years before I left Hogwarts, but that was still a school occupied—at the time, as now, because why should it have changed?—by obsessions with children and the continuation of family lines that made me frankly uncomfortable. And everyone else seemed to assume I would share the obsession. After all, my mother came from a family of seven children. My father was from one of the most ancient pure-blood lines—most people seem to prefer to ignore the existence of the Muggleborn woman who in fact saved the wizarding world—and had had three children in a relatively short period of time.
Few people seem to have noticed that he and my mother stopped at three.
So I remained quiet, and waited, and watched. And it soon occurred to me that I couldn't have just any boy as a partner, either. Obviously, some were attractive and some weren't, and I preferred the attractive ones. (There is a useful lesson to be learned here: anyone who says looks do not matter at all in their evaluation of a partner is lying).
James, for Merlin's sake, that lends itself to all sorts of stereotypes about gay wizards.
It's not a stereotype, it's my experience.
There was really only one who stood out to me: Scorpius Malfoy. After all, he had a reasonable amount of good looks, but more than that, he didn't look as though he wanted to make children the center of his life, either. He played Quidditch with much enthusiasm at a time when some boys in his year were about to give up, not because he was childish but because it was fun to him, and he was brave enough to admit that things which were fun to him were still all right. He played Seeker, of course. I've always had rather a fascination for lithe bodies, though I myself was a Keeper.
Won't that make them uncomfortable?
Anyone who has a problem hearing about why I started to fall in love with you can go fuck themselves.
I didn't mean that, I meant that—thing—about lithe bodies.
I know you did. And the point still stands.
I started pranking him, to see how he would respond. That's not something that many people who know me have realized. Pranks aren't just jokes to me, they're a testing ground. How people react to one tells you many things about them. For example, my brother still half-believes me when I tell him about how eighteen-year-old wizards who have just left Hogwarts and want to work with owls will find no opportunities available for them.
Imagine my delight when Scorpius pranked me back!
Oh, all right, you probably can't. But he didn't just get upset or stomp about or try to break my nose the day that I made his shower spray him with sticky Muggle sweets that were enchanted to dry along his body like a second skin and not wash off for a week. He found his wand and immediately, coolly Transfigured a great goblet of pumpkin juice into an evil-tempered gnome, which followed me about and found ingenious ways of pulling down my trousers and pants when I wasn't looking, as well as causing inappropriate erections. Embarrassment for embarrassment, you see.
I knew he was the one for me, and I still pranked him, and he still responded, and by the time I finished school, while Scorpius had one more year to go, I knew there was no way I could ever imagine being with anyone else. But my family still didn't know. My brother Albus Severus Potter still wrote tattle-tale letters home every week talking about how horrid I was to "poor Malfoy," and Lily burst into tears when she saw me. And my parents just thought I had a persistent rivalry, not a persistent love affair, because, my parents? Heroes and all, but not the most imaginative people.
Almost a year ago, though, Scorpius left Hogwarts, and then we could carry on in earnest, and I knew it was time to tell my parents.
Your family will be so insulted, you know.
It's not my fault that Al is so embarrassed about his middle name he never says it in public. I think Severus Snape was an eminently fascinating individual—
You just think he was probably gay, too.
Notice that I did not deny this.
I didn't have any plan for it. Scorpius, on the other hand, did, and he will tell you all about it in a few moments. I'm sure he's making faces at my back at the moment for trying to preempt his story, so I'll leave the formation of his identity to him and move along to a foundational moment in the creation of my own.
I chose the winter holidays last year. I knew that Al and Lily would be at home, but it was a day before Uncle Ron, Aunt Hermione—the organizer of C.H.O.L.E.R.A. and many other wonderful events promoting cultural coexistence between wizards and Muggles—and our other multitudinous relatives were due to visit. I wanted Scorpius to meet just my family at first, lest he overwhelm them.
At least you had the good sense to say that I would overwhelm them, not the other way around.
Love, have you ever been less than poised?
You make an excellent point. I could, in fact, give my father lessons in that respect. He loses his control too easily.
My family was seated around the hearth in the main room of our home when I took the chance to open the door and beckon Scorpius in. I didn't see the need for elaborate preparations, since I didn't have a plan. I just announced, "This is my boyfriend," and let Scorpius follow me. I knew Al and Lily would recognize him from school, and there was no way that my parents, who had been at school with Scorpius's father, would fail to recognize that face and that hair.
It was everything I could have hoped for.
My mother blinked several times in rapid succession. Then she said, "Oh. You're gay, James?" She added a few moments after that, "And you're dating a Malfoy?" to be sure that I knew the one thing had her neutrality, the other her disapproval.
Al leaped to his feet and pointed a shaking finger at Scorpius. I'm still not sure what he thought that would accomplish. There have been a few wizards in history who could perform magic with their hands alone, notably Merlin and Dumbledore, but my brother should have stopped trying to be the first one and should have realized that his first name doesn't make him the second by now.
"You!" he shrieked. Then he said, "Him!", apparently under the delusion that Scorpius has a secret vulnerability to pronouns.
Lily burst into tears and wailed something about how she'd never get to be a bridesmaid at her brother's wedding now. But she could be forgiven, because all sixteen-year-old girls are silly. They can't help it, it's built into them. I think she forgot she has two brothers, and Al will probably turn out to be heterosexual, poor bloke.
I looked at my father, because I knew that while my mother would fuss and scold, and Al would be jealous like he always is, and Lily would cry and cry, it was my father's reaction that was most important, and not because he's Harry Potter. He can soothe my mother when she gets into her rages. He can calm Al down with a few words about how he's important, too, and just because he got a stupid name doesn't mean Dad loves him any less. He can just look at Lily, and she'll understand that she shouldn't be ridiculous—for a little while, anyway.
My father raised his eyebrows. Then he looked down at the floor as if he'd lost something there and wanted to find it. Then he took a deep breath and stood up the way he did when my team lost the final Quidditch game of my seventh year at Hogwarts to Scorpius's Slytherins, and he went up and shook Mr. Malfoy's hand anyway.
His smile was strained when he held his hand out to Scorpius, but it was there.
"Welcome," he said.
And that was it. Shrieking and crying and pleading and my mother's disappointments about a lack of grandchildren aside, Scorpius was part of the family from that moment on. Oh, sometimes it's the center of a whirlwind around Dad and Scorpius and me, and I wouldn't recommend my method of non-planning to everyone, but I'm here to tell you that it probably won't be as bad as you think. Some parents mean all that nonsense about how they would rather have a child turn out to be dead than gay. But others don't—or they'll change their minds when it's their own children, or they can get over their prejudices. My mother's doing the latter, slowly.
I do recommend having a younger and sublimely straight brother that you can easily embarrass when he overhears you having sex later, though. That's an advantage no matter how you look at it.
Done staring at the parchment with a silly grin on your face?
I was contemplating the evidence of my genius.
I might call you a genius at several things. Telling a story, however, is not one of them. Allow me to demonstrate.
What James has told you about our younger years at Hogwarts is essentially correct, so I see no point in repeating it. It is true that I noticed him for many of the same reasons. He responded to me, and he acted when I did not have to act upon him.
I do not know how many of you in the audience have spent any time in the Slytherin common room at Hogwarts; I suspect it is not many, since Slytherin has ever been the smallest of the Houses.
Would it kill you to use a contraction? Or regular syntax?
Says the man who only knows the word "multitudinous" because of association with me.
But the Slytherin common room—as I am sure those who have experience in it will tell you—is not a truly varied place. There is plotting, and snide laughter, and little else. It is claimed, by the current Head of House at Hogwarts as well as those in the past, that this is necessary to establish a sense of House unity among the Slytherins. I suspect that, in truth, the Heads of House have been the kind of people who find this atmosphere of vicious maneuvering comfortable and simply want to maintain it as long as they can, out of misplaced nostalgia for their own adolescent years.
That's rather impugning the honor of my brother's namesake, there.
Let him fight for it, then. It would be a more honorable conflict than those he has been involved in in the past.
…What do you mean? I didn't think you'd ever fought with Al, or at least only about petty things like the Slytherin and Gryffindor feud.
Yes, you say that's petty now, when you're past the point of making your own enthusiastic contributions—
Stop changing the subject, love. What did Al do?
There may have been insults of a—sexual nature. Also animal noises. Both connected to the fact that he suspected I was gay about the time I also started thinking it.
What are you planning?
Nothing drastic. Mum and Dad will just have to get used to having two children instead of three, that's all.
No one does that to you but me. No one.
Here was a boy, even if he was from another House and a year older than I was, who responded, who had laughter and anger and passion and irritation and other emotions openly on display. I will borrow his metaphor of the whirlwind; it is appropriate for what he is, and what I became when I was around him. I took a long and suspicious time before I was convinced of the honor of his intentions towards me, and then before I was convinced that I was—I am—in love. I had at first thought a fling with another boy possible, but I still planned to get married and have children. It took me months to change my mind, to realize that the things which are important to my father are not necessarily important to me.
I understand how it was for him, of course. His choices were restricted by war, and prompted by his own true sexual orientation. But to try to extend the past into the future and determine that I behave the same way, when I had neither limitation nor prompt, became intolerable to me, and his hints about marriage likewise. That was part of the reason I finally decided to introduce James to my parents as my boyfriend a few days after he introduced me to his. At the very least, it would shut my father up. And, much as I love him, I regret to say that Draco Malfoy needs shutting up fairly often.
He won't be happy about that either, I suspect.
Do be realistic, James. Do you imagine that he'll attend this event at all?
I chose my time carefully, especially because I could predict my parents' reactions fairly exactly. My Grandmother Narcissa is still alive, but she has health complications, and I chose to exclude her from the meeting until such time as I could be sure her heart would not burst when she was presented with the spectacle of a gay grandson.
I entered with James behind me. My father was gazing broodingly into the flames, appearing to give the impression that he was meditating on the history and future of humankind. In fact, his mind is much more often occupied with his own indigestion. Intellectual matters rather confuse him.
My mother, Esmeralda, who bore the name Rosier in her maiden days, was seated on the couch clockwise from him, consulting a newspaper from Greece which informed her on the progress of the integration of the Muggle and wizard communities there—the first effort of its kind in the world. My mother has always had an interest in both international politics and foreign languages, and she has followed the Greek experiment since its earliest days. She looked up at me, and then her eyes darted to James, and I suspect she knew the truth before I said a word.
No, I know she knew the truth. My mother lost the battle to name me Sebastian, as she wished, and so my father gave me a star name in the worst tradition of the Black family. But she vowed then to lose no other battle to my father, and she never has.
"Scorpius," she said, and that attracted my father's attention at once; he has always suspected that my mother has a more interesting mental life than he does, so he wants to intrude at every opportunity. "This is your boyfriend, isn't it?"
I had known she would say such a thing, and rather counted on her support. I smiled at her, and had time to say, "Yes. He's also James Potter," before my father trampled into the conversation like the bull he is.
"No son of mine will be gay!" he said. "There has never been a gay Malfoy!" And other such commonplaces. I need not illustrate them by reference to the words. Imagine what the archetypal pure-blood bigots of your own acquaintance will say about Muggleborns when they meet them, and then imagine such a pure-blood bigot on learning that his heir will marry a Muggleborn. It went rather like that.
I should have done something.
Why should you have had to? After all, you were there. You know how satisfactorily the story resolved itself.
My father screamed. He expostulated. He yelled. He waved his arms. He stamped back and forth and declared that, even in times of great personal trial, Malfoys had always made sacrifices for the good of the family. He compared wizards living together to wizards living with dogs and cats, and predicted the downfall of society.
My mother drew her wand and cast a curse that replaced my father's mouth with his arsehole.
When he went silent in sheer astonishment—and, of course, trying to speak through several layers of cloth was probably also difficult—she said, "Draco Lucius Malfoy. I do not mind the opinions you keep silent in that small pointy head of yours. You don't even have to approve of our son's choices immediately. No one requires that of you." The disdain in her voice was marvelous, and I fear my poor imitation of it does not do it justice. "But you will express politeness around our son and his partner, or I will file for divorce tomorrow."
Before anyone can accuse me of being the cause of troubles at home, I honestly do not think that my mother would divorce my father. She enjoys the challenge of turning him into a semblance of a human being too much. But the threat was a serious one to my father, and disastrous meanwhile, because the Malfoy finances had rather collapsed since the war and Rosier money—which my mother firmly controls, thanks to her own cleverness and an Unbreakable Vow my father made before the wedding—is the architect of their current comfortable lifestyle.
He made some noise that my mother must have taken for assent, because she cast the countercurse. Then she came forwards to take my hand, and James's, and drew us in to dinner, talking cheerfully about her employment of free house-elves, and leaving my father to cogitate on his mistakes.
In closing, I recommend that a young gay wizard use the knowledge he—or she—possesses of family. There may be someone more sympathetic than you think on first consideration. And such support makes all the difference in the world.
Thank you for the opportunity to present on this.
I have to admit yours was more graceful.
Thank you, James. But you won't add any synonyms such as "pretentious?"
I'll get to that later. Right now, I have to make sure that my brother spends the next six months, at least, being sorry that he ever taunted you. What do you think of the Procrustes Curse?
I always have said that your pranks served an important social purpose.