by Reiko Katsura
Pairing: Harry/Draco, Scorpius/Albus Severus .
Genre: Romance, Fluff, minor angst, humor, minor adventure (on Scorp's part!)
Challenge: This was written for HarryLovesDraco (LJ) Challenge 8: Dog Days of Summer
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or its respective characters. No copyright infringement intended.
Betas: Jessica and Bastian! Thanks, guys! You were major support and help. This was a rush job, and I couldn't have managed without you (or, I could have, but I would have been bald by the end. Thankfully I like having hair ^_^)
Summary: Draco Malfoy is hiding something, and his son Scorpius is determined to figure out what it is. Or who it is, rather.
A/N: I don't know how this managed to surpass 5k. Anyways! My laptop (with all my fics) is still at the company, so I won't be able to work on any of my WIP's until I get it back. Sorry, guys! Well, please enjoy Greenland Ranch! See you at the end!
Scorpius Lucius Malfoy stared at the golden object on the stand in his father's bedroom in awe. It was a necklace, bright yellow with studs of tiny emeralds and rubies embedded into engraved swirls and loops and circles, falling down like the point of a triangle. It was breath taking. There were other sets of jewelry around it, tucked safely away in velvet and silk mats protected by glass. Bracelets, necklaces, rings, pins, clips-- designed for both women and men-- ostentatiously littered the massive display case that stood four feet and ran ten feet wide. None of them, however, quite appealed to Scorpius the way the necklace did.
Scorpius Malfoy, sole heir and son to Draco Malfoy, was inquisitive by nature. His father once told him that his first words had been "why", and since then Scorpius had asked nothing else. Even as a child, he had made it his personal goal in life to learn as much as he could. As expected, his grades were the most outstanding scores Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry had seen in decades. He looked into everything, broke everything apart, and made out of instinct to let eye, ear, and nose out at all times.
Scorpius' grandfather, Lucius, often called him nosy, but that surely wasn't the case. At least, it wasn't all of it. There was something about having an unending amount of knowledge under one's thumb that appealed to Scorpius far greater than other basic needs. And so, to quench his thirst, Scorpius dug his nose into everything. He interrogated, experimented, adventured, studied, researched, and absorbed. He first endeavored to gain knowledge on his own home. Malfoy Manor, located in Wiltshire, stood five stories high and nearly ten acres wide in length. Not a single room was safe from him, despite his father's best efforts. Scorpius dug up every heirloom, treasure, book, document, and portrait he could, in his quest to know everything about the Malfoy family and the past not written in books. Every crook and nanny of the place was scourged and stooped in, he made sure of it. No shut door was safe from his spells, no hidden passages concealed from his charms.
Nothing was safe except for his father's bedroom.
Scorpius had never been allowed entry into the back rooms of Draco's chambers. He had never been truly given the chance to see just how far he could go. His father was a work-at-home parent and spent most of his time in his office, which was in another section of his extensive chambers. When he wasn't working, Draco spent time with his son and parents. Once, when Scorpius' father had ventured out to the Ministry, Scorpius had almost come close to figuring out the locking spells that barred his father's rooms. But Draco had come homeunexpectedly and Scorpius was forced to make a hasty retreat.
He had never been given another chance since then. Except for today, of course, when Draco had told him he would be visiting Scorpius' grandparent's estates in France, alone, and Scorpius was to stay in the Manor and keep his nose out of the warded rooms his father still assumed Scorpius hadn't broken into. Scorpius had smiled, pecked his father on the cheek, and seen him off. As soon as Draco evanesced into the cool, green flames, Scorpius bolted for the second floor.
He had spent months-- months-- trying to discern the privacy charms set to the backs rooms in his father's chambers, and just as much time studying ways to get around them. It had been his chance, and the only one he would get for a long while.
It had been easy getting past the first couple of doors; Scorpius was a near-expert at opening spells, as soon as he could properly detect what the locking charms were. It had taken him less than ten minutes to reach the back of his father's chamber, and with more confidence that he should have had, he pointed his wand at the double-jointed knobs, murmured the Latin incantation, and with a burst of black light the door shot up. Scorpius had almost cried in relief.
Now, he was staring at the thing-- the showcase of jewelry-- that his father had tried to conceal from him. Scorpius shook his head, utterly confused. He traced his finger along the triangle-like dip of the necklace, and massaged the incredibly thin, almost material-like gold between his fingers.
Was this what his father had been hiding? Scorpius paused, then shook his head again. He couldn't detect anything amiss-- not a shred of dark magic surrounding the shelf. There were no special wards placed on it, no traps or indicators. Nothing at all. He scanned the glass hungrily, his grayish-blue eyes critically taking in everything. A spot of white caught his attention, and Scorpius smiled. He placed the dip of the necklace back onto the green velvet, gave it another appraising look, then walked towards the end of the case where he spotted a drawer. Scorpius bent down to his knees and squinted: it was paper.
Eagerly, he pulled the tiny knob to the drawer, and to his extreme disappointment it didn't budge. Scorpius focused the next of his attention on trying to remove the parchment from where it was sticking out from the top crease, without tearing it. When the piece of white pulled free, he smiled triumphantly.
This necklace belonged to a princess I met whilst working in India, and at once I knew that it would be better suited to decorate your neck, rather than hers. It's an Ethnic Kundan necklace and a rare find, Draco. Perhaps now you will take me and my efforts seriously. When will you stop playing these games, Draco? It's been thirteen years!
I did not write to you to fight. Please, Draco, wont you consider my offer, and perhaps this time write back in a letter not riddled with just that-- riddles. Know that if you wish to see me, all you would have to do is tap the necklace three times and call my name. I would fly to you in a heart beat. While you place the necklace on your throat, I hope you'll think of me, as I think of you every second of every day.
I love you, Draco.
P.S. The necklace was bloody expensive, you wanker! If I don't get an Owl from you within a week from the time you receive this, the next piece of jewelry I send you will come equipped with a castration hex. You'd better not toss this one, either. I'm not made of money. -Harry.
Scorpius stared at the slightly crinkled paper in his trembling hands, completely thunderstruck.
What… what the hell?
Unconsciously he took a step back, eyes still fixed to the parchment, hovering hotly over words like 'love' 'thirteen years' and 'Harry'.
Scorpius had never known his mother. Astoria Greengrass had died during Scorpius' birth, and so he had never known what it was like to have a mother. In all the years, not once had his father made any attempt to marry anyone. He never brought witches home-- not for dinner, not for sex, and certainly not to meet Scorpius.
Oh, Draco had, by no means, been celibate for the fourteen years his wife's been dead. Scorpius had caught him breezing into the Manor some nights past midnight smelling of perfume and other things. His father had never talked to him about it, and so Scorpius had never commented on it. He had also never been serious with any of the women he took to bed, Scorpius knew. If Draco had even been considering marriage, Scorpius would have been the first to know. He knew his father wouldn't keep something like that from him.
Scorpius' hands tightened their grip, and the parchment crumpled almost tragically at the corners.
…maybe he would.
This person-- no, this man-- had been in love with his father for almost as long as Scorpius had been born! He sent him expensive things and proposal letters, and by the look of things that hadn't been the first time Harry had proposed to his father.
And Draco… well, there was certainly no denying that his father felt something for this person. His father wasn't a glutton; no matter the treasure, he would never take something from someone if he wished to have nothing to do with them, even for the sake of their feelings. When Pansy Parkinson had proclaimed her love for Draco at the Christmas Ball last year (in private, mind, though Scorpius had been just lucky enough to have followed them to that abandoned hall in Nott's Manor), shortly after her husband Gregory Goyle had died, Draco had been quick to refuse her. A week later he received what had probably been the most beautifully embroidered robe Scorpius (and Draco, if the look of awe in his father's eyes was anything to go by), Draco had rightfully sent it back, albeit looking rather reluctant.
Scorpius' eyes slid from the parchment and back to the necklace.
Draco had received and kept everything this man had sent him. More, he had even kept the love letter-- as mushy as it was. Scorpius had no idea who Harry was, but it was obvious he and his father had known each other for a long time, and Draco must have been serious about him, if not considering the proposal of a relationship, to have kept everything from him, which rounded up a whole other series of questions.
If Draco was serious about Harry, like Scorpius thought he was, then why hadn't Draco ever mentioned him? Why wouldn't Draco marry him, since he so clearly felt something for the guy. And then, of course, the most major factor to think about was: could his father be gay? Scorpius had no problems with guys who, er, bat for the other Quidditch team. It wasn't an altogether uncommon feature in the Wizarding World, though normally it wasn't considered with much esteem in the Pureblood Inner Circle. With such a low number of pureblooded aristocrats alive, reproduction and continuation of the line was rather important. However, since the fall of Voldemort, the purebloods have been a lot more lenient in what they consider as "laws". At least, that's what Draco always told him.
Scorpius sighed, frustrated with all the new questions that had arisen, instead of answers he'd hoped to find. He fished for his wand in his pocket, poked it at the crumpled paper, and whispered the spell to make it flat again. As soon as the creases vanished, Scorpius folded the paper in four-- as it had been when he first received it-- and stepped closer to the showcase. He knelt down so that his face was lined directly with the cabinet, and began to attempt slipping the paper inside. It was nearly there, when a cold voice sounded from behind him, causing him to pull the paper back out in haste and freeze, nearly jumping three feet skyward in the process.
"What are you doing in my room, Scorpius?"
Scorpius swallowed thickly, and closed his eyes. Bugger, he was screwed. He didn't have to turn around to know just how furious his father looked at that moment. He could hear his anger dripping in his words just fine.
"D-dad," He'd meant to say it stronger, really he did. Scorpius turned around, slowly, dreading the punishment to come.
One look at his father's narrowed glare made him want to turn around again.
"I believe," Draco said the words slowly, "that I've told you before my bedroom was not to entered without direct permission from me. I've told you, time and time again since the first time I caught you trying to sneak in here, that this was not a place for you to stick your curious nose in. You've disobeyed me, Scorpius."
Scorpius bit the inside of his cheek and dropped his eyes to the marble floor, no longer able to bear his father's intense stare. Merlin, did parents have a way with making their kids feel like utter shite.
"Have you nothing to say?" Draco continued.
Scorpius didn't even bother trying to defend himself. It was clear what he'd done, and any lies he now tried to spin would only serve to infuriate his father further. When Scorpius had been caught sneaking into the dungeons a year earlier (yes, it had taken him that long to find it), his father had taken his wand for an entire month. Scorpius was home-schooled) and father made live like a muggle for a month. It could be said that Scorpius worked very hard afterward making sure he didn't get caught.
Apparently, his good luck had run out.
Draco squared his shoulders and peered down, his ear-length blonde hair that was just a few shades lighter than his son's fell over the sides of his face wistfully.
"Stand up, Scorpius." he ordered.
"Look at me."
Scorpius did that, too.
Draco's hand reached into his robe pocket and Scorpius cringed. When he saw his father lifting his arm he opened his mouth to apologize-- anything was better than living without magic and magical assistance for an entire month-- but Draco had already begun to cast the spell. Scorpius' eyes widened as a flash of white shot from his father's wand and hit him square in the chest. Hot, rippling tremors spread from a point above his heart, linking through him, in him, outside of him, like grappling vines. The whole surface of his body tingled, and the feeling of skin being stretched and pulled made him yelp in discomfort. When the pulling stopped, and after long moments of quivering from the foreign feeling of having his insides manhandled, Scorpius opened his eyes and gasped. The world looked like a different place.
Everything was in gray. He could see nothing else but black and white and the dull mixing of those colors in between. The world also seemed so much larger and he was much, much closer to the ground than normal.
What had his father done?
Still feeling disoriented, Scorpius looked up fearfully. Draco was staring down at him, his lips pressed into a thin line and his story grey eyes piercing.
"You know what the muggles say, don't you? 'Curiosity killed the cat' is the correct term, I believe."
Scorpius' eyes grew wide and his body went chillingly cold. No, his father wouldn't--
"I'm allergic to cats, however, and so this form will have to suffice." His father's voice, flat and unfeeling, made Scorpius want to cry. He opened his mouth to plead with his father-- to tell him that he would never disobey him again, and that he wouldn't even care if he obviated him so that he would never remember what he found (because being a muggle for a month was horrible)-- and nearly died of shame and humiliation when a loud "bark" left his lips, instead.
His father had transfigured him into a dog.
Scorpius took a step back-- wincing at how odd it felt to move with four legs as his father took a step closer to him.
"Come, Scorpius." Draco said, walking closer.
Scorpius shook his head. He was… he was pissed! How dare his father turn him into a dog, and try and treat him like an animal! Living as a muggle was horrible, yes-- Scorpius was forced to learn to maneuver without magic and without house elves, a nightmare assuredly-- but nothing was as degrading and demeaning as being turned into a dog! He'd been wrong; he let his curiosity get the best of him and had disobeyed his father. But for Draco to do this to him…
Scorpius growled, and bared his teeth when he saw Draco's eye brow quirk in amusement.
"Quit misbehaving, Scorpius. You brought this upon yourself. You'll remain as you are for a week," Draco nodded stiffly, going over the idea in his head. "That should be enough punishment."
He looked down at Scorpius again, angrily. "And maybe next time you will learn to keep your nose out of places it doesn't belong!"
Scorpius had no time to react because instantly his father's wand was pointed at him. He felt the power of Petrificus Totalus hit him square on, and he could do nothing as he fell to the floor on his side.
He heard Draco sigh wearily, then mutter "Mobilicorpus". Scorpius floated in front of his father, frozen still and fuming. Draco took the both of them to Scorpius' room, opened the door, and walked inside. He leveled his re-formed son onto his large four poster bed, turned on his heel, and walked right out of the room.
For a minute, Scorpius grew afraid that his father really would leave him there, petrified.
Draco returned shortly, however, carrying something in his hand. As he walked closer to the bed, looking at Scorpius oddly, Scorpius stiffened all the more-- if that were even possible.
Draco leaned over his son and wrapped whatever it was he was holding around Scorpius' neck.
It took only moments for Scorpius to realize what it was: a collar.
"I hope after this, you will learn not to cross me, Scorpius." his father murmured, then turned around to leave again.
Scorpius wanted to shout. He wanted to scream and yell at his father, for being such an unfeeling, cruel bastard.
When Draco reached the door he paused, and then hesitated slightly. He craned his head around, not bothering to rotate completely, opened his mouth as if about to say something, and then shut it with a shake of the head and a sigh.
"Finite," Draco said, and cast the spell wandlessly.
The hard, stone-like shell around Scorpius evaporated, and as soon as it did he inhaled sharply, feeling overly warm.
When Scorpius looked up, Draco was gone. He lay on his bed, staring at the door with hooded eyes.
Had his father been contemplating on whether or not to leave him petrified? Had he really?
He closed his eyes, and let out an unrestrained whimper. He didn't understand why his father was being so cruel. Yes, he disobeyed him. Yes, he uncovered something that his father had wanted to conceal. His father was being dramatic! It wasn't as if Scorpius had betrayed him, or that he had found something disastrous.
He didn't understand. More, he didn't understand his father, and that was the worst part.
Fuck this, Scorpius thought. He hopped onto all fours, blushing at the thought, mind, and walked to the end of the bed. He grew tentative as he leaned over the edge, looking down at the floor that seemed so far away. With another shake of his head, Scorpius leaped. How hard could it be? Dogs jumped all the time, didn't they?
Thankfully, it was as easy as it looked. Scorpius landed on the floor painlessly, his hands-- or paws, he thought bitterly-- perfectly fine. He peaked at the door, making sure that no one was there, then jogged to the opposite side of his bed, closest to his walk-in closet.
The dark rug that lay there was rather heavy and it took a few failed attempts before he managed to move it fully. How Scorpius wished for extendable thumbs! He wasn't happy about having to use his teeth to pull either. Sure, the house elves did a thorough job of cleaning, but still…
He dragged the rug until it was completely moved to the side, then barked in delight when he looked down at the trap door.
Not even his father knew of this passage. It had taken Scorpius years to build, and mostly because he had to do it slowly and carefully, so as not to alert his father. Beside said reasons, it wasn't the best of passages. The opening that lead to the tunnel was narrow, and the tunnel it lead to even smaller. When Scorpius had finally finished it about two years ago, he'd had trouble fitting through. It led down a steep trail to the dungeons, which was on the other side of the Manor. It was a single trail, but it was dark and almost unbearably cold. Scorpius didn't use it often, and so had never taken the time to cast permanent illumination and heating charms. He regretted that greatly.
Thankfully he was big enough to hover over the door to bite the ring without having to step on the door and prevent it from opening. For a moment, Scorpius wondered what kind of dog his father had turned him into.
Rolling his eyes at his own digression, Scorpius bit into the circular knob, hissed as the metal scraped against his teeth, and tugged.
It barely budged.
Scorpius let the knob clatter to the floor after a while, and stared at the door murderously. He waited a minute before he attempted to open it again. No such luck.
'Bugger!' Scorpius growled. He wasn't strong enough to open the door. The further he tried to pull, the more he felt like his teeth were breaking. It had been so long since he had last opened the door that the edges between the floor and the lid were stuck from stagnation and crusted grime.
Scorpius growled and scanned his room wildly. There had to be something…
His eyes fell on a bottle of shampoo on his dresser, and he grinned. Perfect.
Anxiously, Scorpius trotted to the wooden dresser and looked up. It was too far up for him to reach, and that left one other option: he had to make the bottle come to him. Hoping it wouldn't hurt much, Scorpius backed up a few paces, closed his eyes, and without restraint shoved into the dresser. It took a total of three thrusts before` the bottle was close enough to the edge to fall over, and when it did it landed right on top of his head, causing him to yelp.
Ignoring the pain in his head, he grabbed the long bottle with his teeth, and returned to the passage door.
The only way the door would open is if the edges were slick enough to pull. Scorpius would open the bottle, apply the liquid to the corners, and tug on the knob as hard as he could. Being a dog, however, his plans had to be altered a bit. Scorpius lacked hands to open the bottle, and so had to bite into the plastic hard. The taste of shampoo in his mouth made him cringe.
Next, he did his very best to pour the shampoo into the sides of the door. That was even harder, having to hold the bottle in his mouth and trying to get it all there. When the bottle finally stopped leaking, Scorpius dropped it onto the floor with a grimace. His mouth tasted horrible! That, and his front was completely drenched in shampoo..
Scorpius sighed. No use worrying about that just yet.
He positioned himself over the door once more and picked up the ring with his handle. Praying that worked this time, Scorpius clamped hard and pulled with all the strength he had. The door creaked, budged, and then shot open, causing a loud banging sound to reverberate throughout the room..
With a clank, the ring fell from Scorpius' mouth, and he smiled. He'd done it! And who said animals weren't smart?
This was it. Without looking back, Scorpius jumped into the open floor and disappeared.
It was blazing outside.
The air was humid and thick, bereft of winds of any temperature or strength. It smelled of pine and heat and dirt, and Scorpius swore he could almost taste the sunshine.
All around him were trees, dirt roads, and hills. There wasn't a car or a house or a person in sight, and he'd been walking for at least three hours.
Getting out of Malfoy Manor had been simple enough. Scorpius had simply walked the steep hall down to the dungeons (freezing cold and without sight, mind), and escaped through another trap door leading outside, one that Scorpius had not invented, but had found years earlier. That passage had led him to the gardens, and from there escaping was all but inevitable. The only other place he could have gone but out was back to the Manor, and he'd had no intention whatsoever of doing that.
Scorpius had run through the gardens, past the bonsai trees and crossing fences, and eventually out of Malfoy property. He had felt the wards slipping past him, feeling like silk brushing against his skin-- er, fur-- and had at once known that he'd breached the wards.
Still, despite his trepidation, Scorpius hadn't looked back. He'd set out to spite his father for being unfair, and Scorpius had every intention of doing it. So he until he could no longer see Malfoy Manor standing behind him. Even then, he continued to push forward. The farther he was from the Manor, the hotter the weather had become. It was August, sure, so he'd expected some heat, but….
The humidity exceeded even his expectations.
The dry, tepid air felt as if it were sinking into him, drying out every pore in his body. The suns' beams were prodding down on him, pushing him further into the brown, flat dirt. Scorpius could almost taste the hotness on his tongue, feel it stick itself to his body like a heating comforter, wringing him out completely. His back was burning under the heated gaze, making his fur damp with sweat and the skin underneath to tingle uncomfortably.
Merlin, was he thirsty.
Eventually, it felt as if the temperature had wiped his mind. He should have gone back at some point. Should have turned around and walked back to the Manor, and hope his father never realized he was gone. He should have, since there was no way anyone would be able to survive the penetrating heat, but he didn't. He kept on moving forward, feeling as if something in his mind was compelling him to do so. That, or the sun had frizzled his brain cells so that he could no longer think.
When Scorpius finally passed out, he didn't even realize.
"Dad, he's waking up!"
The sound was soft, and it was close. There was something touching Scorpius, moving softly above his head and around his ears. He didn't know what it was, but he hoped it wouldn't stop.
Someone else chuckled, and Scorpius squeezed his eyes tight. His head felt groggy, and his throat was almost painfully dry. A small whimper escaped him.
"Is… is he hurt?" the first voice whispered again, albeit not very quietly.
Yes, Scorpius wanted to snap. Merlin, what were the house-elves doing? His head felt weird, his body felt uncomfortable, and he was parched! He would definitely need to tell his father about the inadequacy of the staff.
Where was his water?!
"Come on boy, open your eyes," the second person coaxed, and Scorpius opened his mouth to snarl that no, he didn't want to open his eyes, and that if the person ever wanted to be employed anywhere in the future he would do to refrain from treating Scorpius like a dog, but when Scorpius started to say that, a bark ripped through his lips-- sounding almost like a growl-- startling him into awareness. His eyes shot open, and as distorted as his eyesight was, he couldn't deny the grayish tint the world had taken, or once again the feeling of being so small.
"That's a good boy," the first boy whispered, and patted his head.
Ah, that's right. His father had a prick attack, and turned him into an animal. He'd escaped from the manor, ventured far past the wards, and somehow must have passed out without realizing it.
Great. Just bloody great.
And what did a dog have to do to get some water around here?
"I think he's thirsty, Dad," the boy said, and Scorpius wished he could have turned to him, and patted him on the head while calling him a "good dog".
Plebeians, he sniffed.
Scorpius looked up and watched wearily as the man approached. The man smiled at him, pulled out his wand-- which caused Scorpius to flinch, incidentally-- and configured a bowl from thin air. Tapping his wand into the bowl, he muttered "Aguamenti", and at once the bowl was overflowing with water. When the man placed the bowl beside him on the floor, Scorpius pushed aside his feelings of humiliation, leaped to his feet slowly, dipped his head, and lapped it up.
Salazar, he didn't care if he was drinking from a bowl like a goddamn dog. He didn't think he'd ever tasted anything so wonderful!
He wished he could take the bowl into his hands and gulp it down. After a while it became almost frustrating at just how little he was able to drink at a time. How dogs managed to drink without driving themselves crazy was beyond him.
The hands returned to the area above his neck, and Scorpius sighed. He retreated from the bowl satisfied, and all but purred at the feeling of being petted.
"He's gorgeous, Dad," the boy said, and Scorpius took the time to look up. As soon as he did, his breath caught in his throat.
That was the only word Scorpius could come up with to describe the boy. He couldn't see colors-- and it was such a shame, really-- but the boy's features were nevertheless striking. His face was soft and heart-shaped, smiling bright underneath the largest, most endearing mop of dark hair. He wore spectacles, small rectangular lenses that fit his face perfectly. Scorpius couldn't see his eyes, but he knew they were beautiful, too. Blue, maybe. Or brown?
"He is," the older man agreed, and a quick glance between the two strangers was more than enough to assure Scorpius that they were father and son. The resemblance between them striking, almost as accurate as the one between Scorpius and his own father.
Thinking of Draco made Scorpius' tongue sour.
The younger boy-- the angelic one-- cupped Scorpius' chin and pulled his face towards him. Scorpius would have growled if it had been anyone else, but really, he didn't mind so much looking at the boy.
"I'm Albus," the boy introduced, rubbing his ears, "Albus Severus."
The world seemed to tilt.
Albus Severus.. Scorpius knew that name. Hell, everyone knew that name. Albus Severus was the only son of the famous Harry Potter. And if the younger boy was the son, then…
Scorpius looked at the man and inwardly groaned. He was Harry Potter. He hadn't noticed-- not being able to see the black hair and the burning green eyes and tanned skin that he often saw in photographs and magazine covers.
Most likely, it had been Harry Potter who had picked him up and taken him to Merlin only knew where they were at. Harry Potter had saved him. Harry Potter had given him water and he'd drunk from it-- in front of him-- like an animal.
If Scorpius didn't die of humiliation, then his father was going to kill him when he returned home.
Which brought upon a whole other issue entirely, one that Scorpius had no desire to currently dwell on.
"Can we keep him, Dad? Please?"
Scorpius watched as Potter winced, and slanted his eyes to the side. "We can't, Al. Look at his collar; he belongs to some other family."
If anyone else, Scorpius would have said he was right. But then Al, and Scorpius decided he would call him that, too, widened his eyes to a ridiculously (adorably) large size, jutting out his lower lip (which trembled!), and threw his father the most heart wrenching, pitiable, pleading look Scorpius had ever been given the misfortune of seeing.
If he could have talked, he would have assured the lad that he didn't care for his father that much, not really, and would be glad to stay with him forever.
"Dad…" Al said brokenly, and looked down to the floor.
Scorpius had to refrain from barking at Harry Potter like a savage for causing such an expression on such a cute boy.
Potter sighed, probably thinking along the lines of Scorpius.
"Listen, Al, it's not right to take things that aren't yours."
Al opened his mouth to protest, but Potter cut him off-- damn him!
"No, Al. He's probably separated from his family. They're probably worried sick trying to find him now."
Al glared at his father. "Well, maybe they don't deserve him if they lost him, then!" he shot back.
Potter groaned. "Don't be difficult, Al. Plus, do you even know how to care for a dog?"
Al spluttered, blushed, then crossed his arms over his chest petulantly. "I can learn."
"Not with this one, you wont." Potter said, sternly.
"Don't make me take your wand away for a month, Al."
Scorpius growled. What was up with fathers threatening to take their kids' wands away?
Al shut his mouth immediately, folded his arms tighter, and glared at his dad.
Potter exhaled deeply, "It's the right thing to do. What if he had been your dog, and you lost him somewhere? Wouldn't you want someone to bring him back?"
Al didn't waver. "I wouldn't have lost him in the first place," he said stubbornly..
Potter chuckled softly. "Maybe not, or maybe you could have-- unexpected things happen all the time. Tell you what."
Al looked up, guardedly.
"I'll let you play with him for the day, but tomorrow we'll bring him to the station and have the authorities take him from there, yeah?"
Al looked like he wanted to argue. After a few moments he sighed and nodded his head in resignation.
"Great! You're a good lad you know, Al."
Potter laughed again. He knelt down next to Scorpius, who stiffened, and ran a hand over his head.
He was never going to get over how amazing being petted felt.
Potter's hand reached lower and it took a moment for Scorpius to realize that he was aiming for his collar. He conceded, and didn't fight as Potter lifted his head up a bit. What he saw must have surprised him because his eyes opened wide in shock and his mouth all but dropped open.
"Dad?" Albus questioned, confused by his father's bewilderment.
Potter shook his head, his shaggy hair whipping around his head softly, and cleared his throat.
"Ah, nothing. Sorry about that."
Al didn't say anything. Instead, he continued to look at his father suspiciously.
"Why don't we name him for now?" Potter suggested, an attempt to change the subject.
It worked because Al's eyes brightened and he beamed at his father. "How about we call him--"
Al froze, and gaped at his father.
Scorpius did the same, only seconds after.
Potter smiled mischievously and patted Scorpius on his head.
"We'll name you Strawberry."
"This way, Strawberry!" Al shouted, and ran off into the back of the house.
Scorpius sighed, and followed after.
He wanted to kill Potter. How dare that menace name him Strawberry? Did he look like a strawberry? Well, he didn't know what he looked like at the moment, but he was certain he didn't resemble a piece of fruit!
Worse, Al had agreed.
"That's perfect!" he had exclaimed, and gone to strangle Scorpius in a bone crushing hug. "His hair is almost strawberry-blonde, yeah? You're a beautiful dog, you know. Very sweet, like a Strawberry!"
And Al had started calling him that ever since.
Scorpius had other, and more pressing, matters to deal with at hand than dealing with being called a bloody fruit. For starters, when will he get home? How will he get home? It's not as if he could come out at any moment and say, "Hey, you're great and all but I would really like to return home now. Nothing personal, but I'm rather homesick. Oh, and my name's Scorpius, not Strawberry, and if I hear you calling me that again I'll bite your hand off." He could wish, though.
"Hurry, Strawberry!" Al shouted again, and Scorpius jogged after him faster.
As soon as Potter named him-- the cretin-- he had excused himself, and locked himself in what Scorpius only assumed to be an office. Al had then fed him some curry from a bowl (he would never be able to get used to that), and shown him around the house. The Potter's house was not very big-- only about a quarter of Malfoy Manor, actually. It had a homely feel to it, despite the horrible décor.
Al had taken him to his room, brought Scorpius to his bed, and then got in next to him. There, he started telling Scorpius a bit about his life. Scorpius had been interested, yes, but wondered why Al was talking to him. First, he was a dog. He could understand him quite well, yes, but that's because he was actually human. as far as he knew, dogs didn't understand people-talk. That, and it wasn't as if he could have responded.
Still, it was relaxing just laying on the giant canopy bed and just listen to someone speak. Al told him about his mother, Ginny Weasley, who he was doing his best to avoid. She and Potter had divorced a year after he was born, and Potter had taken his son and moved them to America. Ginny had just recently married someone, and every time Al saw her she did her best to make Al treat her new husband a if he were his father.
No wonder Al was now avoiding her.
Al and Harry moved around a lot because of his job. Al hadn't elaborated on exactly what it was that Harry did, but he told him about all the places they had been to: Japan, China, Korea, India, Africa, Greece, Sudan, Britain, Russia, Germany, Canada, Egypt, The States, everywhere. Scorpius had been impressed.
Al told him about himself, too. How he was lonely, how sometimes he wished his father would settle down, how he wished he could have gone to school instead of being home-schooled. And Scorpius had wanted to ask him why he didn't just do that, and almost as if Al had sensed the question, he told him. He didn't want to leave his father alone, and he enjoyed spending time with his Dad a lot. He loved being with his father, even if it meant practically having no friends and no one to talk to at times.
Scorpius figured that was why he was so desperate to have a pet.
"You know," Al said loudly from a few feet ahead of him, "I always thought dogs were animated and energetic. You're rather lazy, aren't you?"
Scorpius narrowed his eyes, growled, and sprinted.
He'd show him lazy.
After they played-- meaning, after Scorpius had chased after flying sticks every time Al screamed "fetch"-- they had gone inside to get cleaned up. Like Malfoy Manor, the area around Potter's house was charmed to be cool. Despite this, Al had been sweating bullets, and Scorpius had been so damn wet he could barely walk from the extra weight.
They'd proceeded to the wash room, where Albus had immodestly stripped naked, threw himself into the shower, and all but dragged Scorpius in there, with him.
Scorpius had tried very hard not to look at anything he shouldn't have. Really, he did. Every time his eyes strayed-- and who could blame him for that? The fourteen year old teenager was hot-- he scolded himself for behaving like a pervert (or a very horny teen), and looked away. Of course, a second later his eyes would stray again, and the routine would continue.
Al got dressed, dried off Scorpius, and they both went down to the kitchen for a snack before dinner. They had curry again. According to Al, he and his father had just returned from India, where his father had formed an obsession with curry. They'd been eating almost nothing else ever since.
"You know, I'm really going to be sad to let you go. It's been ages since I've talked to anyone besides my cousins and my father." he paused, and the shook his head despondently. "That sounded so pathetic…"
Scorpius nuzzled Albus's hand.
"Maybe I could convince dad to buy me a dog after you leave. It wont be the same, but it's better than nothing."
They spent the next couple of minutes in peaceful silence. Harry came downstairs shortly after, smiling.
"Good news," he said, clapping his hands together. "I just found Strawberry's owner."
Al dropped his fork onto the table.
Scorpius gaped at Potter, stunned. What? How was that even possible? He didn't have an owner! He must have made a mistake! Who the hell could possibly--
A loud bell-like chime cut through his panicked thoughts, and Scorpius' head whipped to where the noise came from so fast his neck hurt.
"Ah, that must be him." he said brightly, and jogged out of the kitchen and to the foyer.
Scorpius couldn't even concentrate on how forlorn Al was. He needed to get out of here! What, some average bloke just claimed he had a dog, and Potter had so naïvely trusted him? He didn't have an owner! Never did, never will!
He needed to get out of there. He needed to get out of there before--
Scorpius turned around, making an attemptto bolt out of the kitchen through an opposite door, and hopefully out of Potter Manor, when a flat, all-too-familiar voice called his name. And not the new stupid name everyone thought fit to call him. His real name.
Scorpius stiffened. Father?
He rotated around and-- much to his embarrassment--barked at the sight of his father, standing by the doorway.
Draco Malfoy walked into the kitchen and sighed.
"Leave it my wayward son to find a way out of the manor." he said, tiredly.
Scorpius heard Al choke from the dining table, but made no move to glance at him.
"Scorpius, you are the most troublesome child I've ever known. How you always find yourself in these circumstances is beyond me."
Scorpius dropped his head. Truthfully, he didn't know, either. Maybe curious people really were unlucky?
Draco sighed, and pointed his wand at Scorpius. Scorpius hadn't even been given enough time to flinch. A burst of yellow light shot out at him, and his world began to spin. When the Potter's kitchen finally stopped rotating around him, and he was able to breathe again, he shot his eyes open.
He almost cried in relief at the sight. Colors. He could see colors.
The world didn't look as big as it had, either.
Ah, and there was Al doing that choking thing again.
"Come along, Scorp. Let's go home. We'll talk about your disobedience later."
"Oh, don't be like that, Draco." Potter's voice rang out.
Scorpius didn't know when he had arrived in the kitchen, since he was sure he hadn't been there before.
"I'll be starting dinner soon. Curry. Why don't you stay?"
His father narrowed his eyes at Potter.
"I don't think so, Harry. Come, Scorpius: we're leaving." Draco continued to move forward, clearly intending to push past Potter. Scorpius made to follow him, then stopped in his tracks as his father's words floated into his head.
Apparently he said it aloud, because Draco whipped around and glared at him. At that moment, Scorpius knew that Harry Potter was the same person who'd sent his father all those jewels and the letter.
Scorpius couldn't quite contain his bewilderment. "Harry Potter, the same Harry Potter that you so incessantly grumble and complain about from time to time, is the Harry who's been sending you the jewels?!"
Jesus, nothing was making sense anymore.
Harry looked surprised. "I didn't know you told your son about the letters, Draco."
Draco closed his eyes and said tightly, "I didn't."
Harry looked confused. "But--"
Draco sighed, "He snuck into my room and nosed his way through my stuff, the insufferable boy. Obviously, he must have found the letters."
Harry's eyes were wide. "Oh. So that's why you punished him."
Draco sneered at Harry, and then turned his glare to his son. "Apparently, not enough!"
Scorpius cringed. There was another question eating at him, though, and he'd rather quench his curiosity now than try to do so later when his father had the time and space to be more upset.
"But how did you find me?"
Draco was silent for a moment, and then: "Your collar has a tracking charm. Just in case you decided to roam the house and hide from me. I figured you had a way to leave your room. Imagine my surprise when I send the house elves up to your room to bring you supper and they found a trapdoor in your floor leading to the dungeons."
Scorpius looked down quickly.
"You have a dungeon?" Harry asked, startled.
Draco sighed, looking absolutely taxed.
"Anyway, I received an owl from Potter saying he had something of mine. His location matched the one the tracking spell gave and I put two and two together."
"But," Scorpius started, fully ignoring his father's glare in favor of getting his questions answered, "how could Harry Potter be the one who sent you the letter? I thought you hated him! He's an attention-seeking plebeian who lives to make your life miserable, even indirectly. Remember that?!"
Draco groaned and covered his face with his hand.
"Draco doesn't hate me," Harry informed Scorpius, since it was clear that Draco wasn't going to. "He loves me, really. He just likes complaining about me. A habit he formed in Hogwarts and still hasn't manage to break, unfortunately. Don't worry, Draco," he turned to Scorpius' father and wiggled his eyebrows, "I like you feisty."
Draco groaned again.
Scorpius nearly gagged.
Pushing the gag-reflex to back of his mind, Scorpius pushed forward, determined to get answers to his questions.
"But, I don't understand. You said you wanted to be with my father, and clearly my father feels something for you since he's kept all the jewelry you sent--"
Scorpius jumped at the outburst.
Draco's head shot up and he turned to Scorpius, his eyes reading, 'You imbecile, why'd you open your trap?!'
If looks could kill, Scorpius would be dead.
"You kept them?! Bloody wanker, you told me you tossed them all!"
Feeling just a little bit braver, and because he saw the perfect opportunity to get revenge on his father, Scorpius added, "That's right, Mr. Potter. Dad has a whole showcase of jewelry from you in a warded room in his chamber. I saw it myself."
Harry looked from Scorpius to Draco, and scowled when his eyes landed on the older Malfoy.
Scorpius didn't know if he'd ever seen his father looked so unsettled.
Scorpius' head jerked at the sound of his name, and he swiveled to his dad.
"No buts, Scorpius. Leave, or you'll find yourself in Chihuahua skin next time!"
Scorpius growled, stomped his foot on the floor angrily, glaring at his dad.
Draco rolled his eyes at his son's antics. "Quit being dramatic. Take Harry's son and leave, would you?" He glanced at Harry, and continued flatly. "Harry and I have a lot to talk about."
Harry muttered something under his breath that sounded very much like, "you bet your arse we do", and sneered.
"Albus," he told his son sharply, "Go with Strawberry."
It was on the tip of his tongue to shout at him that his name was not Strawberry, but the Scorpius' eyes moved to where Albus was still sitting at the table. His black haired, blue eyed angel was glaring daggers at him.
Albus hopped off the chair, which was just a little too big for his small frame, and stomped out of the kitchen without looking back.
Scorpius sighed, glanced at his father and Harry Potter once more, and then followed suit.