What is this? An add that didn't take a year to post? It's a miracle!

I made sure to put some time aside to get this chapter finished as I have a busy next couple of weeks coming up. I'm going to be in England in a month's time as a birthday present to myself. If any of you are McFly fans, I'm going to be at their 10 anniversary show on the 20th. I can't wait!

In regards to the chapter, it's a bit of a filler to set things up for the next few chapters. There is more Draco/Harry interactions on the way but, as I said in the beginning, I like to make these things as realistic as possible so I just need to get through some important set up moments before we get to the good stuff. Just repeat to yourself that good things come to those who wait.

I'm working on some fluffy and smutty standalones (not related to this story) to tide you guys over until we get to the nitty gritty here. I'll try to have one up before I leave for my vacation, if not, it will be up once I get back.

Finally, thank you so much to: xxxxParvati-Patilxxxx, TearfullPixie, Sarahamanda Klaine, 107602, Lori94, Allyieh, Tenshi Yami- Angel of Darkness, Coralie, AJB66613, Jen Belikov, yess, Tiliapetiolaris, Emilia-InkHeart, poopy666, beauty0102, WolfandWhitlock, Guest, Mashkai30, and Angelic Snowdrop for your lovely, funny, and downright humbling reviews and to everyone who added this story and myself to your favorites and alerts. It means the world to me that you guys like the story and it's you guys that make me want to keep writing and make it fun to do!

Chapter 9

The afternoon sun shone brightly through the high ceilings of the Hogwarts library, casting warming rays down on the tables. The soft echoes of the birds chirping and the children's laughter from outside provided a distraction to those few students who decided to spend their Sunday indoors, trying to make up for their week long procrastinations and last minute studying for their early morning exams.

Books lay forgotten on the tables as children gazed longingly outside, wishing they could be enjoying the last warm days before the cold fall weather arrived.

All except one.

Hidden at a table in the back of the library, away from prying eyes and even the sun's cheerful light, sat a small pale haired boy with his nose buried in a thick tome.

He had been there since early morning, never moving from his space, the only sounds leaving his station were of pages turning and the faint growl of frustration as he set down one book and picked up a new one from his dwindling stack.

The boy refused to acknowledge anyone who may have passed him by, as most of them either looked at him suspiciously or only wanted to throw insults in his direction. He had become used to it all now and remained unfazed.

The boy was so absorbed in his reading that he had not noticed another boy heading right towards him and gave a jump fright as a brown satchel landed with a loud thump on his table.

"Oh, it's you," Scorpius said, watching as Albus Potter sat down in the chair across from him with an amused smirk, before going back to his reading as if nothing had happened.

In the weeks following the fight in the Charms classroom, Scorpius and Albus had formed a tight friendship. While Scorpius did not have any friends to begin with, when Albus stood up for him that day, the Gryffindors took it as a sign of betrayal and many ostracized him and persuaded their friends to do the same. Even his brother, James, acted as if he did not know him.

The two of them avoided the Great Hall, as no one in the their houses wanted to sit near them and Scorpius was tired of all the whispering. They usually were given food from the elves in the kitchens and then ate in empty classrooms. Other times they joined Albus' father in his private room and ate with him.

Scorpius liked Albus' father. He was friendly and always seemed genuinely interested in what the boys had to say. He listened and gave advice. He told them stories of his adventures while he was in school (though they both had a sneaking suspicion that he was leaving out some of the scary bits), and he was always making sure that no one was causing them any trouble.

Albus was very much like his father in that aspect, Scorpius noticed. He boldly declared on their second day of having lunch together that he was going to look out for him 'because that's what best friends do'.

Scorpius did not even know what you did with a friend much less a best friend but he was learning as he went and found that he was enjoying himself immensely in the process.

"How did your potions test go?" Scorpius asked, after a moment of silence between them.

Albus shrugged and reclined back in his chair, lifting it up onto two legs, clearly only in the library because of Scorpius.

Scorpius just rolled his eyes then returned them back to his book.

There was another moment of silence then Albus returned his chair back to it's proper position, crossing his arms on the table and resting his chin upon them. "What is that you're reading, Scorp?"

Scorpius could not help but grin at the nickname. "It's a book about the war." He said, keeping his eyes trained on the book in front of him.

"Another one?" He heard Albus sigh.

"Yes, but this one is different," He argued, turning the page. "It's more about the Death Eaters."

"Why are you so curious about them?"

"My dad has the Mark and he won't tell me why so I'm going to find out," Scorpius said, turning the page again. "Except this one doesn't name any names."

The story behind Scorpius' father and his Dark Mark was quickly becoming one of the great mysteries in the young boy's life. He slammed his book close and tossed it onto his ever growing pile of discarded books.

"I just want to know why!" He exclaimed. "I feel like everyone know but me. I mean, why won't he tell me if he wasn't a bad guy?"

Albus glanced over his shoulder to make sure that no one was around them then leaned in closer and whispered, "I think he may have been a spy."

Scorpius leaned in so that their faces were inches apart. "Really?"

"Yeah! I mean he was really nice when I saw him last. Death Eaters aren't nice people."

"That has to be it," Scorpius whispered, more like his was trying to convince himself rather than agree with Albus.

Albus sat back again and regarded his friend. He had been visiting Scorpius in the library nearly every day for the past week and a half and every time the Slytherin had a look on his face that reminded Albus of a lost puppy or a child who just found out that Santa was not real.

"Come on," Albus said finally, standing up and swinging his school bag over his shoulder.


"You need to stop moping," He declared, moving to grab Scorpius' things. "Let's go play a game of chess or watch the Quidditch tryouts. James is going for chaser."

Scorpius could not understand how, despite all the mean things his brother does to Albus, he still wants to be there to support him. It must be some weird Gryffindor thing, he thought.

Scorpius bit his lip, unsure. He still had four more books to look through and a Charms essay to finish…and a Potions essay…and some questions from his Transfigurations chapter. How had he fallen so far behind in his homework?

"I don't know, Albus…"

"Please!" Albus whined, lightly stomping his feet in a mock fit. "I'm tired of always hanging out in the library and I know you're tired of reading those books all day long."

Scorpius sighed. "I know but I have all this work to do still."

"How about this: You and I go watch the tryouts for a bit and then we'll come back here and I'll do your Transfiguration homework while you look through your little War books. Deal?"

Scorpius could not fight the grin that crossed his face and, without another word, he stood up and the two of them raced off to enjoy the last remaining hours of the weekend daylight.

The warmth of summer slowly gave way into chilly autumn. The lush green leaves of the forest trees began to change into fiery oranges and reds. The students began to switch out their vests for sweaters and began sporting thicker cloaks when crossing the grounds for the greenhouses.

Eventually, the chill in the air intensified, the leaves fell and decayed, frost glistened on the grass every morning then the snow began to fall. Winter had arrived and the castle was abuzz with the excitement of the upcoming Holiday.

And for two months, Harry Potter's life passed with very little excitement. Two months of lectures and practicals. Two months of giving exams, grading papers, monitoring detentions, and two months with no word from Malfoy.

They had enjoyed themselves and Harry felt like they had crossed some of the hurdles of their past and maybe even became friends? Acquaintances at least. Definitely not enemies.

Harry told himself that he should not feel so disappointed. He should not glance at his window every now and again, hoping an owl would appear.

It was not as if Harry was completely alone, however.

Even though Scorpius had completed his detentions, he still spent much of his free time with Harry in his office. Some times it was just the two of them, cleaning up after a class or just sitting in silence while he read and Harry graded papers.

Once he was finished with his last class of the day, Albus would join them for tea and they would talk about their day and laugh at Harry's stories of his not so famous adventures within the school.

Harry enjoyed getting to spend so much time with his son - he had feared that once Albus had started school, he would follow James down the path of ignoring that he had any relation to Harry unless he needed something or to get himself out of trouble - and had even begun looking forward to his time with Scorpius as well.

It was one week before the Christmas holiday and Harry was sitting at his desk in his private chambers, Albus and Scorpius were on the couch across from him, telling him all about how their final Potions and Charms exams of the term went.

Harry smiled and listened as the two boys bickered back and forth over who brewed the better Cure for Boils. Albus had inherited Harry's dismay potion making abilities but with some tutoring from Scorpius, he quickly rose to nearly top of the class.

He could not help but notice, however, that the boys kept giving each other looks over the tops of their tea cups whenever they paused to sip or he would catch them with their heads together, whispering.

"Alright, what is it?" He asked finally, having caught them again in a hushed conversation.

Albus and Scorpius jumped of fright and sprang apart.

"I don't know what you mean," Albus said, exchanging a quick glance at Scorpius, then took a large gulp of his tea.

Harry's eyebrows lifted slightly and the corners of his lips pulled upwards. "You two have been sneaking glances and whispering at one another for over ten minutes now. Clearly, there is something you want to talk to me about so why don't we just get it out of the way now then go back to our tea?"

Albus set his tea down on the coffee table and laid his hands on his lap, twisting them anxiously. Scorpius gave Albus a little nudge in the shoulder and nodded in Harry's direction to encourage him to get on with it.

Harry felt his heart beat increase as he waited for Albus to speak. He had not seen his son so nervous to talk to him since the time he accidentally broke one of Harry's awards when he and James were playing in his study once.

"Well…" He began, taking a breath and then straightening up and clearing his throat. "I was wondering if Scorpius could come and visit over the holidays."

Harry blinked. "I'm sorry?"

"I know it's normally just the four of us but I've never had a friend over before and I really, really want to show Scorp my book collection, and I promise we won't make of mess of my room and if we do I'll clean it all up, and we won't make a lot of noise and-"

Harry could not help but chuckle as he held his hand up to stop Albus' rambling. The boy immediately fell silent and looked down at his hands.

Harry looked over at Scorpius, who stayed silent but looked hopeful back at him.

"I have no issues with Scorpius coming over some time over break. He's more than welcome," He said with a smile and an approving nod to Scorpius. "As long as he gets permission from his father first," He added after a pause.

"I'll write him first thing in the morning about it!" Scorpius said, clapping a stunned but grinning Albus on the back.

"Thanks, dad!"

Harry reached behind himself for his tea, leaned back in his chair and watched the two boys become absorbed in their own world again, making plans for what they were going to do when Scorpius came to the house.

He shook his head in amusement. Leave it Albus to make a mountain out of a molehill and give Harry a few more grey hairs in the process.

Albus was a rare breed of child, as Mrs. Weasley always said of his youngest son. He was a giver. He would take such care and thought into his presents for the family but never asked for anything in return and was always grateful for whatever he did receive.

Ginny would complain that it was like pulling teeth just to get a Christmas list out of him each year but Albus insisted that he did not need anything too big. Just a new book or some writing tools and he would be satisfied.

Asking his father to have a friend over was probably the biggest thing he had ever requested and it was not as if Harry would ever deny his children anything. He never had and he had no intention of starting any time soon.

Plus, it opened up a possibility of seeing Malfoy once more and Harry felt more excited about the prospect of that then he should have but he told himself it was just because it was nice to talk to someone new for a change. Someone who did not know him completely. Someone who, somehow, seemed to understand him better than even Ron and Hermione.

The following evening, as Harry was getting ready for bed, he was surprised to find an owl perched outside his window.

He opened the window with a wave of his wand and the eagle owl swooped in and landing on the back of his desk chair, holding out its leg.

He crossed the room and untied the letter. There was no name written on the front of the parchment. He turned it over and grinned at the Malfoy seal on the back.

He sat down and slid his finger under the fold, breaking the wax seal and opened the piece of paper.


I'm sure by the time you receive this owl, our sons will have beaten down your door in their impending excitement but, if they have not yet, then I am writing to inform you that I have given Scorpius permission to visit over the Holidays.

Respond at your earliest convenience so we can find a time that is suitable for us both.

Humblest regards,

Draco L. Malfoy

Harry set the letter down on the desk, reached for his quill and some spare parchment and wrote a quick reply before giving it to the owl. It took off back out the window and disappeared into the night.

Harry fell asleep quickly and peacefully that night and dreamt of nothing but the upcoming holidays.

Not as long as previous chapters but again, it's just a set up for what is to come.

Let me know what you thought and I will see you all next time!