Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to J K Rowling, not me.
His name is Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy, and just now, it seems far too big for him. He'll grow into it with time. At the moment, however, his parents gaze, enraptured, at their new son. There isn't much Malfoy dignity in a squirming infant with a tiny tuft of pale hair, but he'll grow into that, too.
"Well, we can guess who he's going to resemble," Astoria observes wryly.
"I'd be happy either way," Draco notes, wearing a rather fatuous smile, of a sort most would have thought impossible for him.
When Astoria announced that she was pregnant, there were all of the congratulations one might expect. Lucius and Narcissa were happy, of course.
Draco just stared.
Then, just when Astoria thought she might have to say something to get his attention, he beamed and came over, hugging her ever so lightly, as though her announcement had suddenly made her fragile beyond all reckoning.
"I won't break, you know," she laughed.
He looked as though he wanted to ask if she were sure on that, and she made a mental note; accustom Draco to finer points of pregnancy and babies before he drives me mad with worrying over me. It was sweet, really, but also unnecessary.
Astoria can't help but smile as she remembers Draco's uncertainty. She'd known why he'd felt that way, and loves him all the more for it. She loves him more for it because it had been uncertainty born of the need to get this right. 'What if I do something wrong?' She knows that Draco wants to be sure he's looking after them the 'right' way, even if he isn't sure what way that is.
That's okay, though. Astoria isn't sure either. She figures they can make it up as they go along. If the amount of love or good intent has any weight at all, everything will turn out just fine.
There is an Obstacle. Scorpius Malfoy does not like this. The pouting three-year-old gazes wistfully up at the jar high on a nearby shelf. Biscuits come out of it, when Mummy's in a good mood. She's not here right now, though.
He wants biscuits anyway.
He toddles off, a child on a mission. His fine pale hair, still so light it stands up away from his head, gives the impression of an overly cute dandelion clock wandering the house.
At last, he reaches his goal. His grandfather is sitting, reading quietly. Scorpius arranges his face in the sad-eyed, pleading look he's discovered gets him all kind of things, and waits to be noticed.
Lucius looks past his book, a smile rising unbidden to his lips at the sight of his grandson. "What's the matter?"
Scorpius points into the kitchen. "Biskit please?"
Lucius stands automatically. "Come on, then." He picks Scorpius back up and carries him into the kitchen, over to the shelf, the Obstacle vanishing just like that once the toddler has someone tall to help.
As he picks out a biscuit, Scorpius giggles quietly to himself. He's seen Mummy call things from across the room plenty of times. One day, he decides, he'll do that too, and it won't matter if he can't reach something.
"You probably shouldn't be having that just now," Lucius observes, but smiles anyway, giving his grandson a conspiratorial look. "Let's not tell your mother."
"'Kay." Scorpius has his biscuit, he has his grandfather, and all is well with the world.
Draco stares at his son, feeling his resistance crumble. "Well... all right. We have room on the Manor grounds. Just be careful."
The four-year-old claps his hands in delight as his father pays the shopkeeper. They just need to get home, now, and he can fly on his very own broom.
It's a toy broom, of course, one that barely lifts above ground-level, but for a small child, even that much is thrilling, and a chance to fly like grown-ups do.
Scorpius skips and bounces along beside his father, still happy over the broom. "Are we going home now?" He wants to play with it as soon as possible.
"Not yet," Draco tells him.
Scorpius endures the next shop, despite the boredom of watching his father buy new quills, ink and parchment. He doesn't like shops where he isn't allowed to touch anything.
"Are we going home now?"
"No, Scorpius, not yet."
"What about now?"
Draco just sighs. In retrospect, he thinks, bringing a child in the 'multitudes of questions' stage may have been a slight error in judgement.
"...Yes, Scorpius. We're going home now."
Scorpius whoops in delight, and holds his father's hand all the way home.
Draco sat and watched as his son flew, toes just skimming the grass. There was something pleasant about it. It wasn't just his fondness for seeing Scorpius enjoying himself.
No, this reminded him of Hogwarts. It reminded him of flying, playing Quidditch, back when his only concerns had been those of children. He'd wanted to be the best, back then, but it had been a more innocent ambition, before he'd become entangled in Dark plots and sinister goals.
It was a better time to remember, and he silently promised himself that he would do whatever it took to ensure that his son retained that kind of innocence far longer than Draco himself had.
"Scorpius," he calls. "It's getting dark out. You can fly again tomorrow. Come in, now."
With a minimum of grumbling, Scorpius obeys. Together, they walk inside, into light and warmth. The gathering dusk outside is no place for them.
"Dad, why does Julie's dad not want her and Eric talking to me?"
Draco sighs. He's been anticipating a question like this for a while now. He gestures for his son, eight years old and serious-faced, to sit down beside him. "Because of the War, Scorpius. A lot of bad things happened back then. Your grandfather and I made some... mistakes. People got hurt. That kind of thing gets remembered for a long time."
"But why aren't they supposed to talk to me?" Scorpius asks, not quite understanding yet.
"...People are afraid that you'll turn out like we did, and make the kind of mistakes we made."
"Why wouldn't I want to turn out like you?" Scorpius just looks at him.
"Scorpius..." Draco has to pause for a moment. Somewhere along the way, he seems to have become someone his son can admire and want to emulate. The realisation feels better than any Cheering Charm could. "...I'll be proud of you. I wasn't someone you should be like, back then."
"So I'll be like you are now," Scorpius announces simply.
"You do that, if you choose." Draco swallows the lump in his throat and manages a smile. "You do that."
"If you need anything, anything at all, send an owl to let us know. Or even if you just want to write to keep in contact," Astoria insists, folding and packing away last-minute additions to her son's luggage.
"I'll be fine, Mum," Scorpius assures her.
In truth, he reflects as they head to the station, he's not entirely certain on that. He's going to be away from his family for so long at Hogwarts. He's never been away that long before. He's going to miss them, he knows it. Not having his parents and grandparents around, always ready to make time for him if he needs them, is a strange and frightening prospect.
Not that he'd admit he's afraid, of course. His mother is nervous enough for both of them. Besides, he's a Malfoy, isn't he? Malfoys don't let themselves get frightened by new things. Malfoys are better than that. He should be confident, ready to go and prove himself amongst the other students.
Maybe if he pretends long enough, he'll feel more confident in reality. He hopes so, anyway.
Then, they're at the station, waiting for the train to arrive. Scorpius looks around curiously. The other kids here are ones he's going to be going to school with, after all. He wonders what they're like.
He spots a cluster of kids, a number of whom are very clearly related. Several have red hair. Amongst them... Scorpius recognises the black-haired man shepherding some of the younger ones back into the group. His father has told him a lot about Harry Potter. He's never quite understood the strange tone his father uses when he confirms that yes, Harry Potter is a hero. Everyone knows that.
"There's the train. Good luck," his mother murmurs, and then hugs him tightly.
His father just rests a hand on his shoulder. "You'll do fine. No matter what happens, you're going to make us proud."
Buoyed by this assurance, Scorpius manages to stand a little straighter. He can do this. With that thought in mind, he steps onto the train.
"You're the Malfoy kid."
Scorpius looked around at the older boys, nervousness imparting to him a touch of defiance. "Yeah, I am. So what?"
"So your dad's a slimeball, that's what. And your grandad too." One of them folded his arms, smirking a bit.
"They are not." He glared.
"My dad reckons they ought to be in Azkaban. They just weaselled out of it."
"I don't care what your dad thinks," Scorpius snapped. "I don't care what my dad used to be, he's not like that anymore. And I'm proud of him no matter what you think."
"You hear? He's proud of his Death Eater daddy." There was sniggering.
"You shut up about my family!"
"Or what? Going to curse me? Going to sic your dad's buddies on us? Oh wait, you can't. They're all dead or locked up. You probably should be too, you're going the same way."
"Leave him alone." Another boy of Scorpius's age stepped from a nearby compartment. He was visibly nervous, but not letting it stop him. "It's not right, picking on people for their families."
"Whatever you say." The apparent leader of the older boys rolled his eyes. "Come on, this is boring." He and his friends sauntered off down the train.
"...Thanks." Scorpius looked over at his benefactor.
"It's nothing. It wasn't fair of them." The other boy gave a slightly embarrassed smile. "I'm Albus Potter."
"Scorpius Malfoy." He looked at Albus interestedly. From the brief sight of Harry Potter earlier, Albus seemed to have taken after him quite distinctively.
"You can sit in here with us, if you want," Albus offered.
"Thanks." He followed Albus into the compartment, where a redheaded girl was sitting, reading a very thick book.
"This is my cousin, Rose Weasley. Rose, this is Scorpius, I said he could sit in here with us if that's okay."
"Hi." Rose looked up from her book. She smiled a little. "Are you nervous too? Where do you think you'll go?"
"Slytherin," Scorpius stated confidently. "All my family's been there."
"We're hoping to be Gryffindor," Albus noted quietly.
"Good luck, then." Scorpius headed over to the door as the trolley came past. Buying a few things, he returned to his seat. "Chocolate Frog?"
"Sure, thanks." Albus grinned suddenly, the quiet nervousness disappearing. He caught the sweets Scorpius tossed easily, passing one to Rose.
Outside their compartment, Scorpius hears the murmuring of other voices, other conversations between other people. They don't matter, though. He's just fine in here, talking to these two.
At some point on the journey, they start to realise it – they aren't just getting along. They're friends, or heading that way.
The train winds on along its way. The past lies behind them... the future unfolds before them. From whatever Scorpius can see, they're going to make it a good one.
A/N: And there we go. Quite possibly my longest fic to date. I hope you liked it. Reviews very welcome. :)