On September 1st, 2017, a variety of very strange occurrences happened in the Atrium of the Ministry of Magic.
It is not to be said that odd events do not happen regularly in this particular corner of Britain, of course, but today was unusual. Clocks unwound, paper airplanes delivered the same summons over and over, and everyone seemed to have the most persistent case of déjà vu. Night after night, the Unspeakables had been up to a rather mysterious something, deep down in the Department of Mysteries; its existence was to be kept an absolute secret, so naturally, the entire first floor knew about it.
There was only one question on everyone's mind; what in Merlin's name could it be?
"It's a Time Turner."
Draco Malfoy slowly raised his head from the sign-in form, giving the fresh-faced receptionist his best, most Severus Snape-ish expression.
"Pardon?" He drawled.
"A Time Turner, it's got to be!" She said, overflowing with a certain kind of self-absorbed bubbliness that he hadn't seen since Pansy Parkinson. "They brought whatever they've been messing with through the Atrium last night when nobody was here, y'know, to keep it all hush-hush; but the house-elves say they found some weird glowing sand spilled in the Fountain. They can't get it out, so it's still there; look!"
This was all said very fast, and in a most Hermione Granger manner. But Draco was not going to look, for Malfoys did not indulge in rumor-mongering. (These days, anyway.) And also because it would have been rather difficult for him not to see, on his entrance by fireplace, the grand marble statue which depicted a sunrise. It was shimmering oddly and cordoned off from public use.
So resolved was he not to look again at the Fountain of New Horizons, that after a moment of simply starting at the receptionist, Draco couldn't help an audible sigh.
"Look, Miss-" He began, glancing surreptitiously at her nametag. "Lisa- and I'm assuming the happy face was drawn to 'spice it up a bit', and is not, in fact, your surname?"
Lisa laughed. "No, sir, it's-"
"Oh, that's good." Draco cut her off, brow slanted disinterestedly. "For a moment I'd feared the vapidity of Muggle naming conventions, that our culture is so rapidly absorbing, had somehow fallen even further."
Lisa opened and closed her mouth for a moment, clearly trying to decipher whether she had been insulted or not. (She had.)
"Now, Lisa, I realize you have a very difficult job to do." Draco continued sarcastically, as he picked up the thin Muggle ben that had been provided for him to continue signing, in lieu of a proper quill; probably more of Granger's work… "And I know you have to find your entertainment where you can."
He finished writing his name with a flourish, admiring his elegant signature for a moment, before leveling her with a tired glare.
"However, please do understand that it has not been a good day for me. My son has just left the hearth for the very first time, and we won't see him again until Christmas; presuming he survives life at Hogwarts with the reputation my name has given him. Furthermore, instead of being comforted in the loving arms of my wife at the moment, I am forced to come here, and brave a veritable legion of dunderheads- present company excluded, of course-"
Judging by her furrowing brow, Lisa had certainly not missed the sarcasm this time.
"-in order to sit through an interrogation with my very most favorite person in the entire world, one Harry James Potter." Draco allowed himself a small smirk. "You may have heard of him. So please, please; do not waste my time or yours with frivolous gossip. Enter me into the gumputer at last, so I may get this over with and be home before my next nervous breakdown."
Overblown yet satisfying rant finished, Draco calmly pushed the signed form towards her, and gestured at the god-awful Muggle contraption on her desk, which was now keeping track of Ministry coming and goings.
"It's a computer, sir." Lisa said defiantly, as she went to process it. "And I think between us you're the one taking up more of your-"
And there it was.
Draco watched carefully, as he always did, at the split second between when someone learned his name and when they realized that they were speaking with a Death Eater.
"M-Mister Potter is waiting for you in his office." Lisa stammered, unable to look at him again. Draco nodded, satisfied at last, but found his feet refusing to lead him away. The poor girl looked about to hyperventilate, and as much as Draco Malfoy always strived to keep his empathy locked up tight, raising a child had permanently wedged that door open.
Taking pity on her, Draco tried to smile, which only seemed to scare her more.
"Thank you very much for your time, Lisa." He said sincerely, even throwing in a little inclination of his head.
"A-ah- do you n-need directions, Mister Malfoy?" She responded with a gulp.
"Oh no, my dear," Draco replied as he turned away, conscious of the wonderful manner in which his fine black robe flared behind him. "I know the way."
He'd certainly been in the Head Auror's office enough times.
"Remember to write."
"And remember to brush your teeth before bed every night!"
"A-and to floss!"
"Draco, please." Astoria Malfoy said between her throaty laughs, putting a steadying hand on his arm, and a loving one on their embarrassed son's pale cheek. "Scorpius will be fine, dear; we have raised a strong son."
Scorpius couldn't help perking up at that; as intimidating as his stern wife could be, the boy admired her greatly and preened at every bit of praise she gave him. Of course, he did the same whenever his father or his grandparents did so. For all his fussing, Draco knew there was a very special kind of bond between a boy and his mother, and so it didn't hurt when sometimes Scorpius seemed to prefer Astoria over him.
(Not much, anyway.)
Draco let out the breath he'd been holding and smiled apologetically down at his boy, who gave him a reassuring grin back. He knew his son felt smothered sometimes, between his father and his grandmother's constant pampering, but he just couldn't help it.
Because when his son left his family, Draco knew he was not going to have an easy life. And it was his entire fault.
Scorpius let out an anxious breath, looking around aimlessly. "I wish Grandfather and Grandmother could be here…"
"You know they wanted too, Scorpius." Astoria said. "They just… didn't think it best; considering how many war survivors would be here today."
Scorpius hung his head, and Draco pulled him close with one arm. Astoria and he shared commiserating looks. Their son had been spared nothing of what family he'd come from, Merlin knew the rest of the world hadn't.
"What if they pick on me, Father?" Came the tiny voice in his side.
In the beat that followed amidst the hustle and noise of the platform, Draco shared another stare with his wife, who was somewhere between sad and furious at the idea.
"Hex them, of course!" Astoria said, punching their son playfully in the shoulder, the move managing to draw a genuine laugh from him. With every day that passed, Draco was more and more thankful he had let Astoria bully him into teaching their son to duel from a young age. At least he'd know how to defend himself at school.
Still, he'd rather his little boy not have to be involved in violence one way or the other.
"As a last resort only, Scorpius." Draco revised firmly, meeting his son's equally gray eyes with an unusually stern look. "If you need help, get Vincera to protect you first."
At that, he watched his son search out the girl in question in the crowd; an unusually large and bulky child, carrying her entire trunk one-handedly. Her parents, Gregory and Millicent, were seeing her off as well, rocky faces for once displaying the emotions they were feeling; in this case, sorrow and worry.
Scorpius nodded and turned away from the Goyles. Draco knew Vincera bothered him, as did her parents, and he understood it; most Death Eaters had not raised their children as lovingly as he had. But the Goyles were loyal to the end, and that was very hard for the Malfoys to come by these days.
"Or, hex them and have Vincera beat them up." Astoria dead-panned, effectively breaking her boys' dour mood into laughter. She blinked balefully at them; that had very much not been a joke.
Scorpius pulled away, hoisting the cage of his screech owl Hector over his shoulder, and looking confidently up at him. Draco almost took a step back at the look in his eye; for a moment, he was strongly reminded of Potter.
"Alright, I'm going to do it!" Declared his son, his brave, beautiful boy. "I'm going to go to Hogwarts, and make friends, and redeem the Malfoy name!"
"And what else?" Draco nagged, cocking an eyebrow. Astoria and Scorpius let out identical sighs; but this was the one area they could not budge him on.
"…And I'll make the hat put me in Hufflepuff." He said ruefully.
"Atta boy, Scorpius." Draco said happily, straightening his collar. His son would have a good life in Hogwarts, a good house, even if it meant shaming proud Slytherin tradition. Because if there was just one house in whole school that would be able to overlook where Scorpius came from, then it was the house of loyalty, fair-play, and tolerance.
(Draco wasn't exactly thrilled at the prospect, but it was the best chance his boy had at a normal school life, and there was nothing he wouldn't do for him.)
Something in the air shifted then, and Draco turned his head just in time to meet Harry Potter's neutral gaze from across the platform, where he stood surrounded by his own massive brood. And like always- like always- there was no trace of their schoolboy enmity within those piercing green eyes. Or even a hint of dislike. If he looked for long enough, Draco might even see that old wretched compassion directed at him… as if they were friends.
It made him burn inside, the way he hadn't since Hogwarts, to see how easily Potter put the past behind him the way he never could. Only it was even worse this time, because along with that old familiar envy came something new, something he hated even more.
With a hand on his wife and son's shoulders, Draco nodded meaningfully at his old enemy, and saw his son off. He only hoped the first meeting between the Malfoy and Potter boys would go better than their father's.
Draco gave the photos a cursory glance as they landed on the desk in front of him.
"Care to explain?" Potter said pleasantly, leaning his hip against the edge.
"I really don't see what there is to explain." Draco replied cordially, not even bothering to look at the incriminating evidence, mind already whirling with escape plans. "I wasn't aware being in Knockturn Alley is a crime, Potter. Unwarranted surveillance may be, though…"
"Oh, it was very warranted, Draco." Potter continued, still agreeable as could be. Draco felt his knuckles whiten with the strength of his grip on the armrest; Potter always assumed they were on a first-name basis, these days. "One of my men was tailing one Nicodemus Barrister, suspected on nineteen counts of dark artifact dealing, and, well…"
Potter looked at him over his glasses, pinning him to his chair as effectively as any Body-Bind.
"You can imagine my surprise when we caught you there with him, in the middle of an exchange."
Draco barely heard what he said, so frozen was he. There was something so very Dumbledore about that look, and it made him feel just as tiny as his old headmaster always had. The Malfoy heir didn't need to feel the teasing brushes of Legilimancy against his shields to receive the message he was sending.
I can still see right through you, Draco.
Draco looked away, at long last.
The moment broken, Potter sighed and ruffled his already ridiculous hair, as he went to plop down behind his desk. "What I want to know, Draco, is were you buying…or selling?" He took a swig of his butterbeer, propping his legs up on the desk, and watched him with annoyingly understanding eyes. "Come on, man… tell me it was the latter."
Draco didn't need to look at the moving photos to know what they showed; himself, cloaked and hooded in an alleyway, hands clearly exchanging money and objects with an intensely seedy looking man.
For a moment, a single wild instant, he imagined confessing to it all. Telling the Head Auror about the Malfoy family's increasingly waning fortune, of the embargo placed on them by both the wizarding world at large (because of the mark on their arms) and by former Death Eaters (because they betrayed it).
Of how he suddenly understood more and more of what it was like to be a Weasely with each passing year, and how much it hurt to actually have to deny his son that new broomstick or toy he wanted, because they just didn't have the money. No Malfoy had ever known that disappointment growing up; it was a crime that his son had to become so familiar with it.
Draco certainly didn't like delving back into the black market after all these years, but something had to be done. His family had many leftover artifacts from the old days, dangerous things he didn't want in his manor anymore. People like Barrister were too greedy to care who they were buying such rare items from, and the money was increasingly becoming all that was keeping Scorpius' inheritance afloat.
And I would do anything for my boy, Potter. He thought darkly.
He should tell him; Potter was a hero, after all, he would go easy on him.
But then Draco's eyes darted around the office, and saw the rowdy pictures filling it to the brim. They were of Potter and his family, his absurdly massive extended family; on trips, on holidays, or in their richly decorated houses. The scales had shifted, and now the blood-traitors were the wealthy, the powerful, the beloved.
And the Malfoys had to fight for anything they could get.
Professor Snape was right. He seethed. You've always been handed everything on a silver platter.
"I'm not saying anything without my attorney present." Draco snarled at last, a sea of bitterness and jealousy drowning all thoughts of trusting the lanky Auror. "You should know that by now, Potter, after all these interrogations."
Potter just looked at him sadly for a moment, before taking another drink.
"These have never been interrogations, Draco." He said quietly. "It's always just been me trying to give you a shot. Maybe you should think about accepting some help once in a while?"
Draco stood so fast his chair dropped to the floor, towering over the so-called Chosen One. Potter remained where he was, utterly unconcerned.
"I don't need your charity, Harry." He spat. "I'm doing perfectly fine. And, just so you know, this little ceasefire of ours is done with. Don't contact me again."
Potter only quirked an eyebrow in response, and Draco turned to leave before his temper got even more out of hand. He was stopped at the door by the nonchalant voice calling after him.
"I had an interesting talk with Luna the other day."
Draco froze in the doorway, the nonchalant voice sending him scrambling to shut down all the panic in his mind, before it could show. Headmistress Lovegood may be a madwoman, but she could also be alarmingly perceptive. If she had noticed what he'd been doing in her school recently…
"Apparently, there was a big plot by the school governors to keep your son out of Hogwarts." Potter said from behind him, his chair scratching against the ground as he finally stood. "And then, out of nowhere, they changed their mind. Some of them even seemed to now support Scorpius' attendance." His voice took on one of mock thoughtfulness. "Weirdly enough, she said they seemed a bit jumpy… a bit scared..."
Draco cursed under his breath, and let silence reign. I said I'd do anything for Scorpius, Potter, and I meant it.
"I'd always hoped that you'd end up better than your father, Draco." Potter sighed finally.
Draco snapped his head around to glare at him across the room. "My father is a great man."
For the first time, a touch of frost crept into Potter's expression, a flicker of fire in his voice. "I think my wife would have something to say about that."
Draco's mouth opened wordlessly for a long moment, but nothing came out, and his eyes dropped. Suddenly the floor was very fascinating.
He didn't like thinking about the things Father had done… the things he'd done willingly. For a moment there was just the sound of Potter's rattling ceiling fan, as they both tried to bury memories of a certain diary. And then-
"Y'know… sometimes, I really wish we could have been friends, Draco."
Shocked gray eyes met guarded green.
Potter sighed and faltered, looking almost embarrassed, but carried on.
"I think-I think we could have done a lot of good together, back then."
For one more moment, they watched each other, history yawning between them.
And then Draco picked his jaw off the floor, scoffed derisively, and swept out of the office.
"Accursed Potter…" Draco mumbled under his breath, furiously, as the lift he was thankfully alone in rattled up towards the Atrium. "Damn, stupid, sentimental fool… who does he think he is, judging me- oh, hurry up already, would you?!"
Kicking the side of the lift did not, in fact, seem to make it move any faster. It was very satisfying, though. When it finally did arrive, Draco slammed the grates open with much more force than necessary, barked something mean at a confused intern, and positively rushed over to the fireplaces.
Considering how this day was going, he really should have known there would be something to keep from him going home.
"Are you kidding me?!" Draco deadpanned, staring as a massive dragon made of green flame, whirled passed. The Floo flickered oddly every time it circled close to them, as if it was sucking the fire out. Counting to ten until the urge to break something passed, Draco moved closer to the huge crowd that had gathered, and caught a familiar voice.
"Yeah, somebody tried to use the Floo earlier and this happened!" Lisa Happyface said excitedly to a bored clerk. "Weirdest thing that's happened today, and that's saying something; looks like the Floo's out of order for now... nobody's going anywhere, I guess."
Draco rolled his eyes, batting away green embers, and wandered past from the crowd. He'd certainly had enough dragons to last him a lifetime, thank you very much; the Weasley twins' parting gift for Umbridge was one memory he could scarcely forget.
One of many.
As the throng of dunderheads 'oohed' and 'aahed' at the majestic product of magic gone wild, Draco ducked under the tape surrounding the Fountain of New Horizons, looking for one small piece of serenity in the middle of this hellish day. It glowed as he approached it, making its sculpted sunrise look more realistic than ever. At its base was a wrought iron plaque.
FOR THE BOYS AND GIRLS WHO LIVED
MAY THE DAWN BRING NEW HOPE
(ALL DONATIONS GO TO ST. MUNGOS HOSPITAL FOR MAGICAL MALLADIES AND INJURIES)
"New hope…" Draco scoffed. "Yes, for everyone but us."
Since the Dark Lord's defeat, it had been nothing but up for his victims. Society rebuilt, an actually competent Ministry was formed, and all of the people's heroes were put in charge. They were calling it the 'Golden Age'… all thanks to Potter and friends.
It was not an era meant for the Malfoys.
Chalk it up to his frayed nerves, or nostalgia brought on by seeing the Hogwarts Express after all these years; but Draco suddenly found himself remembering that day in Diagon Alley, so many lifetimes ago.
A nervous little boy in too-big Muggle clothes and broken glasses had entered the shop, allowing himself to be directed to the stool beside him. Draco had eyed him curiously; he certainly didn't look presentable, but Draco was bored stiff and, looking back, perhaps a little lonely. The only people he had ever talked to his age were Crabbe and Goyle, who didn't talk back, and Theodore Nott, who always treated him like a child even though they were the same age.
That's it, isn't it? Draco mused. I wanted a friend.
And it had driven him absolutely up the wall when Harry Potter said he didn't want to be his friend.
Draco rubbed the bridge of his nose exhaustedly. More and more it felt like he was living in memories these days; like the world was leaving him behind, to stand there ruminating on times long since gone. It was why he hated having to leave his family for any length of time; without them the old days came in on tidal waves, and none of them were good.
A tired gray eye reread the plaque again, as if looking for some relief from it. Instead, the mention of the wizarding hospital only made him remember the kind of injuries it treated… the kind he had inflicted on the Dark Lord's orders, on his threats to his parents, shouting the twisted curses over his victim's screams, the monster's laughter, his own sobs.
He had always been too scared to find out if anyone he'd tortured was there, with Gilderoy Lockhart and Longbottom's parents. Out of their minds.
I wish I'd done better. Draco thought, eyes shut tight against sudden tears. For Scorpius, for my family… for all of you.
And on a sullen whim, he flicked a single galleon into the shimmering pond. It was all he could give.
And the mysterious case of the Floo dragon was soon solved, and Draco's regret was buried once more. Off to Malfoy Manor he went, to find solace in his wife's warm grasp, to ask his parent's council on how to survive losing your son to Hogwarts, to tear open Scorpius' letter and learn that it had gone better than he could have imagined, that one 'Al Potter' had been very nice to him and that he'd somehow ended up in Gryffindor…
Draco Malfoy went to sleep that night content, or something like it, with the knowledge that his son was going to be alright. And he forgot all about the Fountain.
But it hadn't forgotten him.
MUCH, MUCH EARLIER
On August 1st, 1991, nothing particularly strange or worrisome was supposed to happen to Draco Malfoy.
Which is why the man in question was quite confused to be awoken by the clinking of a bell in a shop door, especially considering he wasn't in his bed. Wondering how, and why, he had been apparently napping standing up, Draco tripped and went careening back, off the stool and face-first into a young boy.
"Wh-what… what?!" Draco gasped, as he shot to his feet, to stare slack-jawed at Diagon Alley through his window. "I was just in… how did I… what?!"
"Oh, I-I'm so sorry!" Said a high voice from the floor; shy and achingly familiar and totally impossible.
In horror, Draco slowly turned and looked down; eleven year old Harry Potter was gingerly sitting up from where he'd been sprawled.
"I didn't see you there, sorry! I keep getting, um, distracted. It's just..." The boy grinned. "I mean, isn't this place amazing?!"
Draco gaped soundlessly down at him for a moment, before catching sight of his own young face in the nearby mirror.
He too was eleven years old, and today was the day he first met Harry Potter.
Shopkeepers and customers alike stopped and pointed at Madam Malkin's, wondering why the Malfoy boy was standing in the window, screaming bloody murder.
A/N: Reuploaded with some tweaking after, oh, a year of inactivity. And to think this was my first attempt at NaNoWriMo. XD