Colors, Shapes, and the ABC's

Description: It's Scorpius's first day of preschool, and Draco finds that it's harder to watch your kid grow up than he would have thought! Oh, and about the whole Asteria/Astoria thing…it says "Astoria" on under character search, so that's the name I'll use.

Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling, not to me.

Thank you to Noir Lime Canuto, rainbow melons, and ohemmgeeit'sAlex for reviewing my first two stories!

Draco groaned as he heard their alarm clock buzz. It was funny how his alarm had gone off at the same time every weekday morning since his first year at Hogwarts, but it had never gotten any easier to get out of bed. His wife, Astoria, stirred next to him.

"It's time to get up already?"

"Unfortunately" Draco leaned over and kissed his wife's forehead. She reached up and tenderly cradled the back of his neck and kissed him, stroking his hair. Would it be so bad to be just a little late to work? He was the head of the company after all; it wasn't as though he had a boss to answer to. Surely the imbeciles working under him could handle things for an extra hour. He kissed Astoria in return. "We don't have to get up right now", he whispered.

It was then that they heard their door bang open, followed by the sound of Scorpius running towards their bed. "I'm going to school today!" he shouted excitedly.

Crap! Draco thought, as he heard Astoria gasp and yank the sheet up to cover her chest. Draco quickly moved to the other side of the bed, and grabbed yesterday's issue of the Daily Prophet, trying to look nonchalant.

"Morning, Scorpius. I'm glad you're so excited about starting school."

He glanced over at Astoria and had to fight to suppress a smile. Her eyes were the size of Quaffles.

Scorpius jumped up onto their bed, bouncing up and down. "Mummy, when is it time for school? You said I could have anything I want for breakfast on my first day of school, I want pancakes. Can you make them for me?"

Astoria cleared her throat. "Yes, honey, of course, just, um, just…go get dressed, okay? Remember, we picked out your school clothes last night, they're hanging on your closet door." Her eyes were still wide with shock.

"Okay!" Scorpius moved to the edge of the bed to jump down, and then looked back at his parents. His eyes flicked from Astoria, to Draco, and then back to Astoria. "What are you two doing?"

Draco suppressed another smile. He supposed from Scorpius's point of view they really must look odd.

Astoria spluttered as though someone had forced steaming hot coffee down her throat, but Draco smirked and shook his head. "Nothing. Just go get dressed like your mother asked."

Scorpius cocked his head slightly to the side in confusion. Then he shrugged. "Okay!"

They could hear him skipping down the hall, singing, "I'm going to school today, I'm going to school today, I'm going to school today…"

"Not very excited about starting school, is he?" Draco laughed and shook his head as Astoria groaned and slumped back onto the bed. "Relax, he didn't see anything."

"No, I guess not." She laughed a little and pulled the covers over her head. Then she suddenly jumped up. "Oh my God! School! I know he was talking about it, but…Oh my God, I can't believe it's already time for my little boy's first day of school…okay, hopefully he's actually getting dressed, now I just have to make breakfast, I have to make sure he's ready…" she glanced over at the clock and leapt out of bed. "Oh my God, can you believe what time it is? I'm running late!" She hurried off to their closet, frenzied. Draco was surprised she hadn't remembered when they first woke up; she had obsessed over Scorpius starting preschool for the last week, carrying on about he was growing up so fast and she didn't know where the time had gone and…there was probably other stuff, but Draco had to admit, as much as he loved his wife, she talked so much that it all started to sound the same to him.

Draco shook his head. Women, he thought. Why did they have to go get all emotional at perfectly normal life events? Draco knew that Astoria thought he was callous for not getting worked up about their son's first day of school, but it wasn't that he didn't care, he just had confidence in Scorpius. Mothers, in his opinion, tended to underestimate their children.

Scorpius skipped back into their bedroom, fully dressed. Draco noticed that he had managed to put his shoes on the right feet. When had he learned to do that? Draco usually had to tell him which was his right and which was his really was growing up.

They ate breakfast together, and Astoria left for work; it had been pre-arranged that Draco would be the one to drop off Scorpius on his way to work, as Astoria had decided that it would be much too hard for her to do it. ("I'd better let you take him, I don't know if I'll be able to leave him!") Mothers, Draco thought. They always seemed to overreact over their child's first day of school, even Astoria, who Draco normally found to be above what he considered to be nervous, overwrought behavior. It seemed like motherhood brought out the lunatic in even the sanest of women.

After Astoria left, Draco and Scorpius Apparated to the front door of the building, Scorpius by Side-Along Apparition. As Draco and Scorpius approached his classroom, Draco wondered to himself just what it was that Astoria was so worried about. It wasn't that he never worried about his child, but Scorpius starting school just didn't seem nearly as much cause to worry as other things did. People always talked about how once you had children you worried about them nonstop; Draco had shrugged off this pearl of wisdom when Astoria was expecting, but it hadn't taken long after Scorpius was born for him to realize he knew exactly what they were talking about. But really, how could preschool be a cause for concern? He was going to play with blocks and make a few friends. It was hardly something to panic over. Astoria was just unreasonable, as were all women, he'd concluded years ago. They let their emotions take control far too often. At least he, a man, was there to be the voice of reason.

They entered the classroom, Scorpius holding his hand, talking excitedly. One of the especially nice things about Scorpius, Draco thought, was that he was almost always in a good mood. Draco peered inside the room, noticing that it was brightly decorated in a jungle theme, with pictures of cartoon wild animals posted everywhere and a large sign on the back wall that said, "We are WILD about learning!" The letters were zebra and leopard print. How…cute, Draco thought sarcastically. As if lions actually smiled. A beaming young woman was standing at the door, holding a clipboard and a pen.

"Hi!" Scorpius said, grinning up at her. Another nice thing about Scorpius, Draco thought. He was friendly and outgoing, not shy and clingy like other kids he'd seen.

"Hi sweetie", she answered, smiling back at him. "Can you tell me your name, honey?"

"Scorpius!" he answered brightly. The teacher laughed gently and turned her attention to Draco. "Aren't kids funny? Just a minute ago I had a little boy come in and tell me his name was Superman. What's his real name, please?"

Slightly offended, and wondering who the devil "Superman" was, Draco retorted, "Scorpius is his real name."

The teacher looked embarrassed, and stuttered, "Oh, of course, I'm so sorry…yes, here he is on my roll, Scorpius Malfoy. Here's your name tag, sweetie!" She handed a brightly colored name tag down to Scorpius, who eagerly took it and put it on his neck. This was it; his son was going off to school for the first time. He was taken aback by the sudden swell of emotion that he felt. He suddenly wasn't ready to let Scorpius go, which was ironic, because they'd been worrying about getting Scorpius ready for school, not him. Draco saw another parent and her child approaching the door, and picked up Scorpius and moved off to the side. It still amazed him how readily Scorpius latched on when he reached down to pick him up. There was really no feeling quite like reaching down to your child and seeing them immediately reach back up to you, and feeling their arms wrap around your shoulders and their legs around your waist. The action was so simple, yet so profound. It was a true expression of the complete, implicit trust his son clearly had in him. Draco couldn't remember ever having that with his father. How had he gotten so lucky as to have such a great relationship with his own son? Draco could only hope that he continued to earn the trust that his child so freely gave him.

Still holding Scorpius, he said to him, "Okay, Daddy's going to drop you off here, and you're going to play, and have fun, and make some new friends. Listen to your teacher, be good, and I'll be back before you know it. Okay?" (It was another thing about parenthood, he had noticed, you began to refer to yourself in the third person. Why hadn't he just said I'm going to drop you off?) Draco hoped that he was keeping the nervousness he suddenly felt out of his voice, but when Scorpius answered it was clear that he needn't have worried. "Okay, Daddy!"

Draco shook his head as he put Scorpius down. Wasn't it the kids who were supposed to have separation anxiety, not the parents? Scorpius gave him a quick hug before entering the classroom. "Bye Daddy!"

"Bye…" Draco found himself standing in the doorway waving. He hadn't expected this to be so hard…maybe Astoria was right. Dammit. He hated it when she was right. He'd scoffed at her emotional reaction to Scorpius starting preschool, but now he knew what she meant.

Draco lingered outside the classroom, listening to the sounds of children laughing and playing. He could even hear Scorpius playing with another little boy. "Look what I built with these blocks! It's a Quidditch stadium!" "Cool! Look what I made with the play dough, it's a Hungarian Horntail!"

Draco gave into himself and slipped into the classroom as surreptitiously as possible. As nice as the teacher had seemed, at the start-of-school orientation Astoria had made him attend with her, the school had emphasized that classes ran most smoothly when parents weren't there ("getting in the way", Draco figured the teacher who made the presentation was silently adding). Draco spotted Scorpius playing animatedly with blocks on a rug featuring the letters of the alphabet and sat down beside him, hating himself a little for giving in to his silly, irrational worries. Scorpius looked up in surprise. "Daddy! What are you doing here?"

Draco put an arm around his son. "Well, I thought I would just play with you at school for a little while. Doesn't that sound fun?" Scorpius tilted his head to the side, puzzled. Then he shrugged. "Okay! But why aren't any other mummies and daddies at school?"

Draco cleared his throat, slightly embarrassed. Even his son knew he looked out of place. "I, well, maybe they…couldn't take off work."

The boy who had made a dragon out of play dough looked over at Draco. "Why is your daddy at school with you?" he asked Scorpius.

Scorpius added another block to his tower. "Because he wants to be"

The other boy shrugged and returned to his play dough dragon. The play dough had an enchantment that caused it to behave like what it was formed into, and the play dough Hungarian Horntail flapped its wings and bared its teeth. Draco supposed there must have been another enchantment on it to make sure it didn't do anything potentially dangerous, like breathe fire.

He glanced back at his son's "Quidditch Stadium", and noticed that the blocks were similarly enchanted, because he could hear quiet cheering sounds coming from where the seats would be on a real one.

They then heard the teacher clap three times and call out, "One, two, three, eyes on me!" Most of the children obediently looked up. "It's time for everyone to put away the toys, please, so we can have circle time!"

After all the blocks, play dough, and toy wands had been put away, all the children gathered in a misshapen circle around the alphabet rug. The teacher took a seat in a chair next to letter "z" and pulled a book off a nearby shelf. Draco sheepishly took a seat next to his son, feeling rather foolish sitting cross legged on a rug with a bunch of four year olds. The teacher once again called out, "One, two, three, eyes on me!" and the children once again looked up at her. Draco had to admit that it was slightly impressive that she commanded enough respect for most of the class to pay attention to her with nothing but a silly rhyme.

"I'm so glad to see what a good group of listeners I have! Thank you so much for picking up the toys and finding a seat on the rug just like I asked!"

Oh for God's sake, Draco thought to himself. How did preschool teachers manage to be so freaking cheerful all the time? They acted like children had reinvented the wand every time they managed to put toys in a box. Sure, he knew that kids needed praise, but this woman took it to a whole other level.

"We are going to have circle time every day, and we are going to have so much fun learning about all kinds of things, like colors, shapes, the ABC's, and so much more! But since today is the first day, we're going to go around the circle and everybody is going to tell us their name and one more thing about themselves. It can be your favorite color, your favorite animal, anything!" She looked around the circle and noticed Draco there. She looked over the rims of her glasses at him. "Mr. Malfoy!" she said in surprise. "What are you doing here?" Her tone indicated to Draco that she knew exactly what he was doing here, and that he did indeed look as ridiculous as he felt.

Draco cleared his throat, uncomfortably aware that he had just become that parent, that overprotective, neurotic parent he had accused Astoria of being. "Well, er, I just wanted to learn about…colors, and shapes, and the ABC's, and…stuff."

"I see", she replied, with, Draco thought, the faintest hint of sarcasm. Sweet as she was to the children, Draco could see that she was tough with adults.

"We'll start with you, sweetie." She nodded to a small girl sitting to her right.

They went around the circle introducing themselves, Draco awkwardly stating that his name was "Mr. Malfoy" and saying that his favorite color was green. The teacher then proceeded to read a story to the class and announce that everyone needed to find a seat at the tables because they were going to learn to write their names. As the children scrambled for seats next to their friends, the teacher approached Draco and said, "Mr. Malfoy, I understand how difficult it is for parents to see their children go off to school. It's a big rite of passage, and I'm sure that while you're excited he's growing up, it's a little hard to see your child need you less." Her tone was sympathetic, but her arms were folded in a manner that said she meant business. "Anyway, while we have an open-door policy here at the school, we do appreciate it when parents refrain from staying if they are not here to parent volunteer. If you would like to parent volunteer, there is a list by the door, you are more than welcome to sign up. As for today, I assume you are needed at work?"

Crap! Draco thought. Work! He checked his watch, it was nearly ten o'clock. He cleared his throat awkwardly. "Er- I'll just say goodbye to Scorpius then."

One some level he felt foolish allowing a silly little teacher to shoo him out of her classroom (but women seemed to have a knack for getting men to do things they didn't want to, he'd noticed, especially after he'd gotten married), but she was right, everybody at work was probably clamoring for him. The cretins didn't seem to be able to handle anything without him there.

The teacher took a stack of construction paper and a few boxes of crayons off a shelf and began setting them on the tables. Scorpius was sitting in a green chair at a blue table, happily engaged in conversation with the children next to him. Draco bent down next to him, and Scorpius turned to face him.

"Okay Scorpius, I'm going to leave now. Have fun and be good, son." He gave his son a quick squeeze.

Scorpius returned his hug and said goodbye, and went back to talking with the children next to him.

Draco left the classroom, happy that his son was enjoying school. He was also happy that there would be no way for Astoria to find out how he had…"overreacted"; especially after he'd rolled his eyes every time Astoria had made such a big deal over leaving Scorpius at preschool. She'd never let him forget it if she knew that he was the one who ended up staying for half the morning.

Draco got finished with work a little earlier than usual that day, and spent the afternoon relaxing in his favorite chair, reading the Prophet and drinking coffee. He hadn't been home long when he heard Astoria and Scorpius come in, and he set his paper aside, eager to see intelligent people after a day at work when an intern had botched an assignment that he had considered of utmost simplicity.

"Hi honey", he said to Astoria, who bent down to kiss his cheek. "How was school?" he eagerly asked Scorpius. "It was awesome, Dad! I can't wait until tomorrow when I get to go back!" He skipped off to his room to play.

Draco looked up at Astoria, who had a pinched expression on her face, as though she was trying not to laugh. "What's so funny?" Draco asked, curious.

Astoria giggled before composing herself. "Well, I went to pick up Scorpius at school, and I got to talking to his teacher, and you won't believe what some dad did today!" She raised her eyebrows at him and was overcome with mirth as she saw Draco turn red. "Oh God…" he groaned. He knew he would never live this down. Astoria sank into the chair next to him, laughing.

Author's Note: This may be a little over-exaggerated, and I know Draco is probably a little OOC, but that's what makes it funny, right?

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