The family walked towards the station, the boy edging ever closer to his mother as they proceeded. 'Do you want to hold my hand?' she asked him quietly, and felt rather clammy skin pressing into hers.
'I'm not scared.'
'That's alright then.'
'I am a little bit.'
She gave his hand a squeeze. 'So are all the others.'
'Really?' His voice was the most hopeful it had been all morning.
'Of course. It can be a bit scary at first, but within a couple of days you'll make friends and play Quidditch and gobstones and it will all be alright. You'll see.'
'Were you and daddy friends at school?'
Draco caught his wife's eye and suppressed a smile. 'We…knew each other.'
Scorpius held his mother's hand tightly and closed his eyes as they walked straight at the barrier between Platforms 9 and 10 at King's Cross. When he didn't smack into anything he opened them again and looked around in amazement. There were people everywhere, more than even Diagon Alley, and cats and owls and steam and a huge train and just everything! There were children, too. Hundreds and hundreds of them.
Scorpius had had a very quiet life until now. Not lonely – he didn't think so, anyway, but quiet. His parents ran a school deep in the Gloucestershire countryside – it was called the Dumbledore Foundation, and located in Ariana Mansion. Scorpius wondered about that because over a lot of the doors was a letter M, in a shield. His dad told him it stood for "Mansion", which seemed logical enough but Scorpius secretly thought it should stand for "Malfoy" because his parents were in charge.
They didn't have many visitors and it was rare for them to ever leave it, except when they went on holiday. Then, for two weeks, they would go to the seaside and he always enjoyed that. They always went somewhere with sand, and he and his dad would spend hours building sandcastles; some of them were huge. Once they were built they would all hold hands and then jump on them and his parents would laugh so hard that sometimes they couldn't stand up properly.
They had ice cream every day, too, and on the last day he was allowed to have whatever flavours he wanted. He loved holidays, and sometimes he would meet other children and play with them.
At home the only other children around were the ones at the school, and they left over the summer. Anyway, until recently he'd been too young to really get to know them.
The Malfoys made their way to the end of the platform and watched the clock tick the seconds down. Part of Scorpius wanted it to stop so he wouldn't have to leave, but part of him craved this new adventure.
The steam cleared briefly at one point, and they saw a group standing not too far away; four adults and five children. Two of the adults had bright red hair, and were obvious related. With them were a woman with darker skin and long black hair, and a man with sticking up black hair and glasses. Scorpius recognised that man; he visited them very occasionally and his mummy was always pleased when he did. It looked like three of the children, two boys and a girl, were getting ready for the train.
'So that's little Rose Weasley is it?' said Draco. 'Hogwart's newest princess. Make sure you beat her in every test, Scorpius. Thank Merlin you inherited your mother's brains.'
'Draco!' said Hermione Malfoy, half outraged and half laughing. 'Don't try and set them against each other before they've even started school!'
She crouched in front of her son, giving him a hug by pretending to smooth non-existent creases out of the new robes he had already changed in to. 'Don't get too friendly with her though, Scorpius. I don't think daddy will be too impressed if you marry a pureblood.'
Draco chuckled. 'And, for the life of me, I can't imagine what Granddad Lucius would have thought of the idea!'
Hermione stood up and gave Draco a kiss.
'Urrgghh, mum! Do you have to do that in public?' They were always hugging and kissing.
Hermione looked along the platform, and saw Harry looking back at her. She gave him a half smile, and saw him raise his hand to her before her eyes misted over.
Harry felt a hand on his shoulder. 'Go and say "Hello" if you want.'
'Are you sure?'
'Of course, mate' said Ron. 'James and I can handle the trunks, can't we Jamsie?' James Potter nodded.
'No, I mean…are you OK with it?'
Ron smiled. 'Sure I am. It was a long time ago. Why shouldn't you talk to her just because I'm here? You didn't have a row.'
Harry looked around the group and saw his wife, Ginny, nodding in agreement and smiling. 'She is your friend, and you haven't been to see her for ages.'
'Yes, I think you should go' said Padma Weasley, softly. She looked at her husband and back to Harry. 'Maybe it's time to put the past behind us. See if they'll come and have coffee with us once the train's left.'
Harry started walking along the platform, his steps getting faster and faster until he broke into a run.
All would be well.
AN: I must thank everybody who has reviewed, alerted and favourited this story. And big thanks once again to (xCailinNollaigx) who has been such a good beta. I'll say it again, she's a good writer, too.