Harry had always known Scorpius Malfoy would be a bad lot. He'd warned Ginny the moment Al's letters had started talking about his new friend Scorpius and how they had lots of fun together in Slytherin. Unfortunately, she hadn't taken his warning seriously – probably because he'd spat whisky all over himself when he'd read Al's letter. And now here they were; he was waiting for Al to get off the train after his sixth year at Hogwarts, and the boys were still best friends.

Still, surely now things would have changed, Harry thought in surprise. Because Scorpius had just got off the train, and someone seemed to have replaced a snobbish, but largely unoffensive teenage wizard with James Dean.

He'd dumped his outer robe somewhere, and 'customised' the rest of his uniform: the sleeves of his shirt and most of his tie had been hacked off. The shining Malfoy hair that had been gelled into submission by Draco in his youth was artfully ruffled and obviously designed to scream 'bad boy'. What put him forever beyond the pale, though, wasn't the uniform, or even the smug adolescent expression that had Harry grinding his teeth; it was the cigarette.

Harry heard a groan from behind him, and recognised Draco Malfoy's voice. (He chose not to dwell on the fact that he recognised the man's groans.) "Thank Merlin Astoria's in Milan," Malfoy muttered to himself. "She'd kill me if she could see this."

Harry, smiling slightly, turned to see Draco Malfoy. "I wouldn't worry too much." I always knew I was a better parent than you! "I'm sure it's just a phase, every boy needs to rebel a – bloody hell is that Al?"

Oh God. This was even worse. Not only had Al hacked off the sleeves of his shirt and destroyed his tie, there were green streaks in his hair! Harry could see an acid-green T-shirt under his school shirt, which Harry was morally certain would have something obscene on it – or worse, a Slytherin Pride slogan.

Harry's eyes narrowed when he saw Scorpius say something to Al as the other boy caught up. Al laughed, and Harry decided Scorpius was clearly a satanic influence on his son.

Harry's ears began to smoke as much as the fag when Scorpius offered it to Al. Then Al reached to accept it.

"Albus Severus Potter! Don't you dare take that cigarette!"

Al looked round, and rolled his eyes. "Whatever, Dad. Don't get your knickers in a twist." He turned to Scorpius. "I'll see you soon, yeah? No way I'm hanging round the village all sodding summer listening to my cousins be annoying." Scorpius grinned, and handed him a packet of cigarettes. "Cool."

Staring at the brat who'd replaced his smiling, wholesome son, Harry heard Malfoy snicker.

Lily followed soon afterwards, walking with Isabel Weasley and surrounded by a buzzing crowd of boys. Harry smiled ruefully; his only daughter always had admirers. He would have worried at Lily's popularity and how much she did to cultivate it, if Ginny hadn't quietly explained that Lily's giggling meant she liked to tease the boys without giving them much.

She tossed her hair and laughed as Isabel spoke. Harry was nearly blown away by the collective sigh of hormonal teenage boys. "Hello, Lily."

"Hi Dad!" She grinned up at him, and Harry's throat felt tight for a moment at her resemblance to Ginny. He tried very hard not to glance down at his bare left hand; he'd done it endlessly in the first six months after the divorce, and he was sick of it.

"Ready to go? Al's already waiting."

Lily rolled her eyes. "He's probably smoking and having a whine about how long I take. He's so moody lately, and he's getting way more detentions."

"When did he start smoking?" Harry tried very hard to keep his voice calm.

Lily shrugged, preoccupied with calling goodbyes to her friends as she followed him along the platform. "Don't know. Scorpius Malfoy's been doing it since January though, and they always do that sort of stuff together."

"What stuff specifically?" Harry asked. "I was under the impression that they do most things together."

Lily shrugged again, and Harry tried to remember that teenagers did not remain so forever. "Yeah, but you know what boys are like – they're always egging each other on to do bad stuff. They think it's oh so hilarious to play stupid pranks, and – "

Harry was no longer listening. He'd always known it, and now Lily had proved it once and for all. Scorpius Malfoy was a demon leading his shyest child astray, and his influence was changing Al for the worse. They had to be kept apart, at least until school began again, and then Al would change back to how he had been and see that little blond bastard for what he was.

When they got home, Harry waited until Al had unpacked and told him he didn't want him to see Scorpius over the summer.

Three hours later he went downstairs, leaving Al behind his slammed door but still yelling, and knelt in the fire to Floo Malfoy Manor.

As ever, the sight of the Malfoys' drawing room sent a faint shiver of unease running down his spine. He'd seen it a few times, but never quite got used to it. Still, Harry wasn't going to react as badly as he had the first time. Ginny had been training for the new Quidditch season and he'd been forced to take a thirteen-year-old Albus round for a summer visit. He'd been horrified enough at the idea of taking Al to a home with Draco Malfoy as its head as it was; when faced with the drawing room where he'd seen Hermione tortured he'd refused to leave Al for over an hour. Both Ginny and Al had been furious.

But then, Ginny had been furious with him a lot around then; it had been barely six months after that when they'd divorced, so horribly aware that they'd each married an ideal and neither matched it any more. Harry wasn't a hero, but an Auror who did a lot of paperwork; Ginny wasn't going to provide him with the home he'd always wanted, she had a life and Quidditch career of her own.

"Potter." Malfoy's cool voice pulled him from his brooding, as it always had. "Do come through."

Harry gritted his teeth, and walked through the fire to the Manor.

Malfoy looked annoyingly handsome; he might be losing his hair, but he wasn't losing his looks. Harry had become acutely aware of his own aging recently – it was hard to avoid when blown-up photos of his face kept appearing in Witch Weekly with red circles around each new wrinkle. He glared sourly, having the illogical thought that of course Malfoy would be looking better than him for their age, the bastard. He was probably doing it deliberately.

"You're looking well," Malfoy said, eyelashes fluttering slightly in surprise. Harry tried not to growl at this blatant sarcasm.

"Sure, Malfoy," Harry said flatly. "Listen, Al's changed over the school year – "

"Believe me, I know," Malfoy replied, tone full of vindication. "Scorpius has too – well, you saw them together. He's started smoking, and he's being a brat whenever I want him to do something. He's virtually a different person, and I preferred the old one."

"Al's the same," Harry agreed. "I know adolescence is a difficult time, and I'm trying to be tolerant. But it's so sudden. James was never like this." He smiled and rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly. "Of course, that's probably because he was never shy or good to begin with."

Malfoy laughed. The deep, genuine sound seemed to vibrate through Harry's chest, warming him from the inside. "Since Scorpius is my only child – and at the moment, all I can say is thank Merlin for that – I wouldn't know. Listen, Potter, was there something you wanted besides some commiseration over the loss of our polite, talkative sons? Tea, maybe?"

Harry followed Malfoy into the kitchen, and stood leaning against the counter. Malfoy pulled tea bags from a cardboard box, and grinned at Harry's raised eyebrows. "I couldn't have you setting Granger on me for having house-elves make my tea."

"Ah," Harry said. "I'll pass on your attempts at tea then, if it's all the same to you." Malfoy's mouth opened in outrage and he quickly went on before Malfoy could speak. "Look, I really don't think it's a good idea for the boys to be seeing each other at the moment. I've told Al he's not to see Scorpius, and it'd be really helpful if you could back me up."

Malfoy nodded. "Of course. I don't want Scorpius seeing Al at the moment either. I don't think their friendship's good for him."

"Well, quite..." Harry trailed off, frowning. His inner Hermione was telling him not to say it, but then he'd never taken much notice before. "Wait, what exactly do you mean their friendship's not good for him?"

"Albus is obviously a bad influence," Malfoy said, the light of battle in his grey eyes. "Scorpius was never like this before, and while they've been friends for years he didn't go off the rails until he started spending huge amounts of time with your son."

Harry gaped. His son, his shy, hard-working son who came from a family of good Gryffindors, who everyone liked, had been spending time with a blond brat from the peaks of evil aristocracy, had visited this den of iniquity – and Malfoy was suggesting Al was the bad influence?

"I – what – how dare you?" he spluttered, shoulders bunching unconsciously in his outrage. "Al was never anything like this bad before this year! Strange it's happened now, isn't it – Scorpius is the bloody image of you at that age! Sneering little Slytherin. No wonder Al's changed, caught in that house!"

Pink spots appeared on Malfoy's cheekbones, and he took a step towards Harry. "Don't you dare talk about my son that way," he spat. "You don't even know him. Al knows him. You're blaming him for everything I did to you at that age."

"He looks exactly like you – he acts exactly like you – "

"I take it you'll be apologising for everything you always said about Snape, then," Malfoy returned scornfully. "Sins of the father, and I'm sick of it, sick of people blaming Scorpius for things that happened before he was ever born!"

"I'm not!" Harry shouted. They were squaring up to each other now, shouting into each other's faces, glaring into each other's eyes. "I'm blaming him because he – he made Al smoke! And he's turning him into a snake, a – "

"Just because Voldemort came from Slytherin," Malfoy yelled, "is no reason to decide we're all the villains of the piece, for ever and ever!"

"That's not why," Harry retorted. "Actually, it's because of you!"

"What?" Malfoy's stiff shoulders eased a little in his shock, and hurt appeared in his eyes; but Harry was too angry to stop now.

"You were always the epitome of Slytherin, everything bad about it – I'm not the only one who thinks so!"

"Oh, of course not," Malfoy replied with scorn, cheeks pink with fury now though the shadow of hurt in his expression remained. "As ever, you and your little circle of heroes are entirely agreed. Slytherin's bad, I'm bad, and oh, horrors! It's infecting your son!"

This sounded a little ridiculous, but it was exactly what Harry thought, so he said nothing.

"Al's just like you, so of course he's the bad influence! He has the same approach you do: rules are for other people! And of course he never gets punished for breaking them. He's the shining star who's only doing it for the good of the world! Maybe I shouldn't blame him – it can't be easy coming from a pack of self-righteous, has-been heroes!

"And God knows I can only imagine what it's done to him, having no mother around – you're enough of a meglomanic as it is without being a single parent, and your scarlet woman ex-wife isn't around enough to be any sort of mother's influence – "

Harry cringed. Clearly the years had done nothing to dull Malfoy's unerring instinct for finding the chink in your emotional armour. He worried about how the 'war heroes' background affected his children, and whether the lack of a female role model was damaging them in some way. He could feel his face crumbling, like brick falling away from a wall as thick sand, leaving defences useless.

"It's not her fault," he said tiredly. "The divorce, and all – and she's away with the Harpies a lot." Harry sat back heavily on a kitchen chair.

The slur on Ginny angered him but it was a weary anger, and he suddenly felt too tired to pursue it. Sometimes being a parent was like running upwards on a down escalator while people fired flaming arrows at you, and this was definitely one of those times.

"I'm sorry," Malfoy said in a subdued voice. "I shouldn't have said that. It was unfair, to Weasley as well, and anyway Scorpius' mother lives in Milan. I – you make me furious," he said, a little accusingly. "I can't ever think straight around you."

A sincere apology from Draco Malfoy: would wonders never cease? Harry looked up to see Malfoy's face creased in remorse. He was standing in front of the window and it was difficult to see his face clearly. Light limned his hair, turning it into a white-blond halo.

He'd always loved the brightness of Ginny's hair.

"I'm sorry too," Harry said, staring up at him. Malfoy came and sat by him now, and Harry blinked, Malfoy's bright head still shining in his vision. The vivid after-image refused to fade and was impossible to ignore, much like Malfoy himself. "I shouldn't have said all that stuff; hell, I know perfectly well Slytherin's not evil. I told Al that myself, right before he got on the train his first day at Hogwarts.

Malfoy blinked, startled, then smiled.

"I think keeping the boys separate for a while is a good idea, anyway," Harry continued; with a slight blush, he finished, "whichever one's influencing the other."

Malfoy grinned a lopsided grin: his pink lips pulled up further on the right side, creating a dimple. That faint imperfection sent an entirely rush of warmth through Harry. "I think they're probably a bad influence on each other – remember the Weasley twins? Or Sirius and your father, if Mother's stories are to be believed. That's probably it, actually: both of them are descended from horribly behaved double acts."

Harry waited for Malfoy to come to him again, and let him in. The fire was obviously magical; it gave off an itchy feeling, like stubble rash and measles. He glared irritably into the Malfoys' drawing room. He couldn't stand the idea that he was kneeling and asking for Malfoy's permission for anything, even if it was the only polite way to Floo. It should be the other way round...

"Potter! How did it go?"

Malfoy's clear voice sounded from the doorway, and Harry jerked as he was pulled out of his thoughts. Very glad that the glow of the fire hid his blush, he said, "not well. He screamed at me, said I just wanted to stop him having anything good in his life and slammed the door."

"Business as usual with a teenager then," Malfoy commented wryly. Harry couldn't help returning his grin.

"What about you?"

"Scorpius said he'd put scorpion poison in my Earl Grey if I made him stop seeing Al. Then he said that if he was going to have to have ghastly, hideous, humiliating 'bonding' with the horrible man who was destroying his life, he wasn't doing it without Al."

Harry tried not to think about humiliating bondage – bonding, with Malfoy. His eyes narrowed. "They couldn't be in some form of secret communication could they?"

"I take it Albus said the same thing?"

"He didn't threaten me with scorpion poison."

"That's because he didn't want to warn you," Malfoy smirked.

Harry sighed, knowing what they'd have to do, and steeled himself to say it. Jaw flexing, he gritted out, "how about a joint outing?"

"Joint?" Malfoy said, blinking so hard it looked like his eyelashes were about to take flight. "As in, all four of us doing something together?"

Harry smirked at the loss of poise, then in a deceptively casual tone said, "unless, of course, you're too busy."

Malfoy's eyes narrowed, and Harry could almost hear him thinking, damned if I'll let you think you're a better father than me!

"No, Potter. I do, of course, have plenty of work on since the Ministry asks my opinion so very often," he said, watching Harry's hands clench slightly with a wicked smile. "But I'm always willing to spend time with my son."

"Fine. How about a Quidditch match?"

"Quidditch?" Malfoy looked appalled.

"What?" Harry returned, hunching his shoulders. "They both like Quidditch – Scorpius is a Chaser, for goodness' sake! – and I know you remember how much I like the game." He smirked, and Malfoy looked sour. Ha, one point to Potter!

"I know you have the emotional maturity of the average Labrador, but Quidditch is not the only option for a father-and-son day out. We need something that will allow us to talk with them, not scream ourselves hoarse. Something that will force them to behave well for one day of this holiday. Preferably something educational."

Harry wrinkled his nose a little, but he could imagine Malfoy's response if he whined, "does it have to be educational?" so simply agreed. "Any ideas?"

Malfoy's forehead puckered. "I'm not sure..." He went and got teabags again, putting the kettle on while he thought. Harry felt a little impatient, but after what he'd said to Malfoy he wasn't going to risk another vicious argument. He didn't even mean most of what he'd said, and he wanted to make it up to the other man. So he sat quietly and watched the blond. It wasn't what you'd call a hardship.

By the time the kettle was boiling, Malfoy had it. "The Tower of London!"

"The Tower of London?" Harry repeated, a little sceptical. "Well, I've never been there, and I don't think Al has either."

"I have. I've taken Scorpius a few times, but there's usually a new exhibition or something. Besides, it has everything we need, and a very valuable bonus."

"What's that?"

Malfoy flashed a grin like light catching a sword. "A drop, in case you annoy me."

Three days later, they were off to the Tower. Harry doubted any of the people who'd been imprisoned in it had felt more anxious about going there then he did.

Al's reaction to the idea had been surprisingly positive, but then he would get to see Scorpius. Of course these days, 'positive' meant he'd given a vague smile from his position on the bed, and not shouted the house down. He wasn't smoking much, but his room was already messy and filled with objects that recalled Fred and George's explosive excesses. Harry was considering increasing his fire insurance.

They Flooed to the Tower. It had a small wizarding section, which Harry had been surprised about. He hadn't known magic had ever been involved in the British monarchy. Even after all these years, sometimes he still felt acutely aware of his Muggle childhood. He knew he wasn't inferior, but he'd never know quite as much about the magical world as...

"Malfoy."

"Potter," the other man returned, brushing soot off his clothes with an air of disbelief that the soot had had the front to land on him.

"Al!"

"Scorpius!"

The boys' reunion was considerably warmer than the men's. They talked as if they hadn't seen each other for six months, exchanging news and affectionate punches and complaints about their respective oppressors (aka parents).

"And Mum's in Milan with her boyfriend – I told you about him, right, he's one of Dad's exes and it's like a farce, or possibly a Greek tragedy – "

Malfoy went pink. Harry regarded him with a grin, and considerately didn't say a word. He didn't need to; Malfoy was blushing enough already.

"Anyway, she says I can come and

"Oh really?" Malfoy cut in. Scorpius went quiet for a moment, then rushed on.

"Listen, Potter," Malfoy said in an undertone while Al told Scorpius all about why having a little sister was the Greek tragedy. "We need to try to appear friendly – I know Scorpius, and he'll exploit the differences between us if he sees the opportunity."

"Such a little angel."

"Such a little Slytherin. At least I notice: I wouldn't be surprised if Al's been running rings around you for years. Either way, I think we should call each other by our first names."

Harry raised his eyebrows. "All right." He was about to say more, when Al and Scorpius grabbed their attention again.

"Let's go to Tower White first!" Scorpius was saying enthusiastically. "I've been there before, it's great!"

"Hmm, yes," Malfoy agreed dryly. "It's where two boys who became an irritant were disposed of."

After that, the boys were off. There was a blood-and-guts exhibition on at Tower Green, where prisoners were once executed, and they barely waited a moment after poking around Tower White before they were running off to see it, Scorpius ribbing Al about his usual aversion to gore.

"We'll meet in the café for lunch!" Malfoy called after them. The emphasis on father-and-son bonding had vanished rather quickly, but Harry told himself they could do that after lunch.

"Sure!" Scorpius yelled back, then they vanished into a crowd of American tourists.

Both men smiled tiredly. They couldn't be bothered to hurry after them; the early start on a Sunday, and the strain of spending a day in each other's company, was quite energy-sucking enough. Instead, they wandered at a leisurely pace, heading over to look at the crown jewels together.

"Why does the crown jewels area even have a wizarding section?" Harry said in bemusement.

Malfoy rolled his eyes. "Perhaps because showing the Muggles a goblin-made crown is a bad idea?"

"Not that. Why are there magical crown jewels at all? We have separate governments, after all. I didn't know there was any overlap involving the monarchy."

"The government's not like the monarchy, you uneducated twit," Malfoy snapped. They stared at each other, bristling like angry cats. For a moment it looked like their fragile detente was going to fall apart, but then Malfoy visibly forced himself to relax, and began to explain.

"The king or queen always knows about magic – they have to, since they're head of state. Not that they need to know it in the way a Prime Minister does... but it's just the way things are. Queen Elizabeth is the queen of all of us, even if the Minister is the one with real power. She has to know about wizards." Harry nodded.

"Besides, plenty of our monarchs have been wizards."

"Seriously?"

"Of course!" Malfoy said, with an expansive gesture. "Haven't you ever heard of Anne Boleyn?"

"She was one of Henry the Eight's wives, wasn't she? Executed for being a witch!" Harry remembered.

"Exactly. And her daughter was Elizabeth I – a witch too, coming from a very distinguished bloodline. And unsurprisingly, our witch queen ushered in a golden age for England," Malfoy said smugly. He was smiling, looking bright and enthusiastic suddenly, his cheeks a little flushed. Harry liked it. Malfoy could be so cold sometimes, but when he got excited –

Harry cut that thought off at the knees. Just because Malfoy was showing a more likable side didn't mean all those flickers of lust he kept feeling could be allowed to grow. Still, as they wandered the Tower and chatted, joking away, Malfoy doing a very rude impression of Gloriana after all his admiring talk of 'ushering in a golden age for England'... Well. Harry reminded himself that they were there for bondage – bonding! Bonding! And not with each other.

Although come to that, Malfoy didn't seem over-eager to catch up with Al and Scorpius either...

Malfoy turned out to know a lot about the Tower of London, although it tended to be the magical or the ridiculous. Harry flatly refused to believe what he said about the Martin Tower.

"Rubbish, Draco."

"It's not rubbish! The Tower is haunted by the ghost of a bear."

Harry snorted. "Who exactly has seen this bear?"

"One of the Beefeaters! He saw it and died of fright."

Harry gave him a look filled with scepticism. "Tell me, Draco, how did this guard tell people what he'd seen if it killed him?"

"Fine," Draco muttered, pouting. "When you have to exit, pursued by a bear I will laugh and laugh."

He looked up, and caught Harry's stare. "What?"

"Want to go annoy the Beefeaters now?" Draco suggested. "I'll do impressions of them and you can heroically save me from their pointy weapons."

"Let's not."

"You're no fun."

"I'm loads of fun." Harry gave him a lascivious look and deadpanned, "you just have to get me in the right mood."

They did end up seeing a couple of Beefeaters up close, although Harry forbade Draco from teasing them. Draco began to do it anyway, but when Harry firmly gripped a pale wrist and told him "no", Draco shivered and stopped it.

"Why're they called Beefeaters anyway?" Harry said idly. "They're the Tower guards, you think they'd have a more terrifying name."

Draco shrugged.

"You don't know? But Draco, you said you knew all," Harry teased. "Besides, you have so much in common with them."

"If you make any puns referring to eating, swallowing or meat, I will hex you right here."

They found Al and Scorpius in time for lunch, and headed to a café. Harry and Draco went to get food while the boys claimed a table.

"I'll pay," Harry insisted. "It's fine."

"Coming over all chivalrous are we?" Draco smirked, fluttering his eyelashes coquettishly. Harry blushed at the teasing. "Don't worry, Potter, I like to pamper my dates." He handed over a £50 pound note.

Harry blinked. "Do you know the exchange rate?"

Draco fidgeted. "Not really."

Harry smiled indulgently and quickly handed over a twenty.

They came back and distributed sandwiches and juice. The boys were already deep in discussion. Harry smiled when he noticed Scorpius' wild, angry hand gestures; it reminded him forcibly of the teenage Draco and his melodramatic impressions.

"I hate that club!" Scorpius said, wrinkling his pointed nose.

"They're not that bad." Al rolled his eyes.

"Oh they so are, Al. They got me to do their banners when I first joined, but they never even added my name to the members' list! I can sell cookies, but I'm not invited to sleepovers."

"I'd forgotten that. I guess they only want me coz they're Potheads – "

"And they can congratulate themselves on accepting a Slytherin."

Al's eyes narrowed. "Time to go Creevey on their arses."

He and Scorpius exchanged high-fives, while Harry and Draco stared at their sons and wistfully recalled a time when they'd understood half of what came out of their mouths.

"What on earth are you two on about?" Harry said mildly.

Al pulled a face. "There's this club at school – the Defence Association, only everybody calls it the DA and it's so obvious it's a tribute to Mum and Luna and Neville."

It became clear he wasn't going to mention Harry's name. At the look on Harry's face, Draco started to laugh. Harry stuck his tongue out, and Draco blushed furiously, still laughing.

"Okay," Al said carefully, looking at them as if wondering whether he should check for Imperius. Scorpius, on the other hand, was wearing a smirk that said if he'd been alone with his father, he'd have been saying "get in there, Dad!" and offering STD-prevention spells already.

"What's the problem with that anyway?" Harry asked, meaning the Defence Association.

"It's fake," Al scowled. "And it's stupid. It's full of self-righteous Gryffindors and mindless Hufflepuffs, and they all think it's their duty to save the world. From what, might I ask? And they just practise Defence all the time and think they're all so heroic, but I don't see anything great about flipping out or getting violent the second someone doesn't worship their precious little selves. And they all think we don't like them because we're evil, when really it's because they're so annoying!"

Draco's mouth was twitching. "I feel your pain. Believe me, I do."

"Shut up, Malfoy," Harry said, rolling his eyes.

They traded playful insults all through lunch. Harry could feel their banter slipping inexorably into flirting, but at this point he felt no need to fight it. Draco was entertaining and he was making an effort and a connection had formed between them. He was going for this, no matter how much Ron would tease him for being ruled by his cock.

"So, what are we doing after lunch?" Scorpius said suddenly, grey eyes wide and innocent. "Do you two want to go off alone again?"

Draco gave him a look. "No. This was supposed to be father-son bonding, if you remember."

Scorpius quirked an eloquent eyebrow. "If you say so. Can we go back to the Muggle area then?"

Harry raised his eyebrows in surprise; he'd assumed the Malfoy heir would be far more comfortable safely away from Muggle 'vermin', as Lucius had once described them.

Draco grimaced at the suggestion. "More Muggle history? I blame your mother for this."

Harry's stomach clenched as he remembered Draco's teenage prejudice, and wondered how much had really changed. Then he saw Draco's rueful grin, and Scorpius' answering smirk. Their eyes stayed on each other, family love suddenly shining between them, bright and certain as the sun.

"Sure you do, Dad. Sure you do."

They took another look at the rest of the crown jewels, eventually ending up in the wizarding section again. Albus and Scorpius rhapsodised over the diamond necklace that strangled any wearer without royal blood, while Harry and Draco chatted, having seen this area already. Harry was telling Draco about the time he was called out to save a kitten up a tree – "it savaged me Draco, I've still got the scars" – and both were too busy laughing to pay attention to their sons.

In retrospect, this was a serious mistake.

However, it did firmly solve the problem of who was doing the influencing. Al had brought a large pile of cut-price Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes fireworks, and Scorpius had brought the salamanders. They were entirely a double act.

They weren't the only effective double act in the building, though. Harry started Accioing salamanders in an attempt to minimise the chaos, and avoid any serious trouble for the boys (though he was already planning some suitably severe punishments). The moment the salamanders landed Malfoy froze them, sending them into hibernation and quenching the fireworks they'd swallowed. Wizards and witches were fleeing with sparks at their toes, Al and Scorpius were laughing like hyenas; but they managed to capture every single one.

As one, they turned glares on their sons. Al and Scorpius began to shuffle.

Draco strode over to his son, and gripped his shoulder. "I'll take him home and ground him," he said. His narrowed grey eyes went wide and hopeful when he looked back at Harry. "Maybe we can meet up again soon, Harry – before the next child-related catastrophe?"

"Before Tuesday, then?" Harry said casually, and went hot all over at the way Draco nodded, even as he was laughing. "I'll look forward to it."

Draco gave him a wicked grin that made Harry's mouth go dry. "I'll make you do terrible, terrible things, Potter." He laughed as Harry swallowed. "I'm told I'm a bad influence."

FIN