"Make sure you stay away from the Weasley girl."

Those had been Draco Malfoy's last words to his son the first time they parted at Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. Scorpius had paused in the doorway of the carriage, nodded solemnly, and sworn by Salazar Slytherin that he would avoid Rose Weasley like dragon pox. Draco had breathed a sigh of relief and closed the door behind his son, his most pressing fear alleviated. As long as Scorpius didn't befriend Ron Weasley's spawn, Draco had felt quite certain that he could accept any other choices Scorpius might make during the course of his adolescence.

Which was why he didn't protest when, six years later, Scorpius wrote home asking if he could stay with the Potters for the first half of the holidays.

"At least it's not the Weasleys," he pointed out to his father when he expressed concerns over the damage a week surrounded by Potters might do to Scorpius's upstanding moral character.

"At least it's not the Weasleys," he reminded his mother when she complained that the brazen behaviour for which the Potter men (and, to some extent, women) were notorious would surely be a bad influence on Scorpius.

"At least it's not the Weasleys," he reassured his wife when she tearfully declared that Scorpius was a delicate child who needed personalised, high quality care that only they could provide.

At least it's not the Weasleys, he told himself a week later, as he stood before the full-length mirror in the entrance hall of his manor and straightened his travelling cloak. He never enjoyed trips to neighbourhoods less respectable than his, but at least the inhabitants of Godric's Hollow were relatively civilised compared to the plebeians who lived in Ottery St. Catchpole.

Draco gave his reflection one final once-over and smiled, pleased with what he saw. Even when he didn't put any effort into looking good, there was no denying that he was devilishly handsome for a wizard his age.

"I'm leaving to pick up Scorpius now," he told Astoria as he passed the open door of the drawing room.

Astoria looked up from the copy of Witch Weekly in her lap. "Don't forget to thank the Potters for their" – she sniffed – "hospitality."

Draco nodded and continued on down the hall. Once outside, he shut the door behind him and Apparated to the Potter residence.

His Apparition brought him to the pavement just outside the white picket fence surrounding Potter's humble cottage. Draco stepped over the low fence, taking care to avoid touching it, and strode down the narrow, snow-covered path towards the porch.

The knocker was, predictably, gold and shaped like a griffin. Draco sneered at it before lifting it and rapping it smartly.

Moments later, the door opened a crack, revealing one-quarter of Harry Potter's face. Half of his left eye, bright green behind his round glasses, peeked out at Draco from under a few stray strands of salt and pepper hair.

"All right, Malfoy?"

Draco glared at the visible slice of Potter's face. "Where's your Christmas spirit, Potter?"


Draco gestured at the barely open door. "Unless you always welcome your guests so warmly..."

"Oh, right. Er... actually, do you mind waiting a minute or two? Scorpius is busy saying good-bye to his, er, friends."

"Nonsense," said Draco, placing a palm flat against the door and pushing, hard. Apparently Potter had not expected this, because he stumbled backwards, letting the door fly open. Taking this to mean that Potter had run out of objections, Draco strode into the house and kicked the door shut behind him.

"Wait!" said Potter, flinging an arm out to stop Draco. "Malfoy, you really can't go any further."

Draco swatted Potter's arm aside and continued down the hallway. "Honestly, Potter, I'll just go wait in the sitting room. Have the Weaselette bring us some tea and fruitcake, and we can reminisce about –"

Draco broke off there, for he had just passed the doorway to said sitting room, through which he had glimpsed something so implausible that it couldn't be real, and yet so disturbing that he doubted even his imagination could have produced it. He backpedalled to the doorway with lightning speed, looked into the sitting room, and thanked the heavens that jaws couldn't literally drop to the floor, because otherwise he would have more to worry about than the undeniably real scene before his eyes.

Suddenly, Draco understood why Potter had tried to prevent him from entering the house earlier.

Because there, in plain sight, stood Scorpius – with his arms entwined around another body.

Another male body.

A male body with a head of spun-copper waves that did not even begin to resemble the flaming red rat's nest James Potter had inherited from his parents.

Draco's son was standing in the middle of Harry Potter's sitting room, snogging Hugo Weasley.

The sound that escaped Draco's gaping mouth was a mortifying cross between a whimper and a shriek. It was such an alarming sound that the two boys on the other side of the doorway broke apart and turned to gaze in Draco's direction.

"Aw, fuck," said Scorpius, assessing the situation with the reflexive speed of a true Malfoy.

Draco gripped the doorframe. "Potter," he choked out. "Potter, I'm feeling faint."

Potter was immediately at his side, smelling salts in one hand and wand in the other. "I've got you," he said, hooking an arm around Draco's waist. "Boys, clear out."

Scorpius and Hugo obediently scampered past the adults, faces red and eyes downcast.

"At least it's not Rose," Scorpius offered meekly, as he ducked under the arm Draco was using to support himself.

Draco groaned and buried his face in Potter's shoulder.