Scorpius Malfoy was probably the only Hogwarts student in the past 200 years who liked History of Magic most out of all his classes. It was strange, how that had happened, really. His parents' house did not include much entertainment, besides large dusty volumes. The extensive collection of books was the only thing his father had been allowed to take with him before the entire Malfoy estate was taken apart by the Ministry after the war. Draco Malfoy often said it was a small price to be paid, compared to what would have been his fate had Harry Potter not strangely stepped in during his trial.
On Potter's weird request, the Malfoy estate was dismantled, Lucius Malfoy was sent for fifteen years in Azkaban, and Draco Malfoy spent one year in house arrest. The Wizengamot's original plan had been life in Azkaban for everyone involved.
Life was not a fairytale, and he did not turn into a perfectly friendly and lovely man in a year – but in the absence of a mean, bullying father, and no longer fearing death from a lunatic evil overlord, he managed to grow into the kind of person that could make Scorpius's mother fall in love with him. And, in the middle of the almost fully stocked Malfoy library (only the items on Dark Magic had been removed by the Ministry), the young ex-Death Eater developed a knowledge of books that was surpassed by no one else than Hermione Granger.
That was how it came to be that Scorpius Malfoy grew up in the middle of books, as his father discreetly managed the Wizarding world's most successful book mail-order business. No one would have thought during his childhood that this was Draco's future – and still, very few knew, because the Malfoy name was not written anywhere on the catalogue. Association with ex-Death Eaters was not good for business.
At any given time, the large house that they had moved into when Scorpius was just four was stocked almost to the ceiling with books. As his father sat in his office, answering requests for completely obscure volumes, Scorpius sat on the floor, from the day he learned to read, and discovered all there was to know about the History of the Magical World from the books that were coming and going.
The goblins wars were by far his favourite. It wasn't out of a strange love of gore (and Merlin knew they were gory), but the fascination with the amount of ways goblins could get offended at each other and at other magical creatures. But really, Scorpius Malfoy was interested in absolutely everything related to History.
When he had been sorted in Ravenclaw, he hadn't been very surprised. His parents, proud Slytherins, hadn't batted an eyebrow. The rest of the Wizarding world had apparently released a giant collected gasp – "a Malfoy! Not in Slytherin!"
The first few weeks of his Hogwarts career, a few jeers were sent his way, mostly about his family. He knew that members of his family had been on the wrong side of the last war, but he knew that in the same way that he knew the sky was blue. It was an undeniable truth that he could do nothing about, so he just lived with it. He ignored the whispers, and they went away.e hated
He had been ridiculously excited at the idea of his first History lesson, and quite disappointed when he realised that the teacher was not nearly as exciting as his books were. His disappointment was short lived, though, when he set his eyes on the size of the section dedicated to History in the library. He had way enough material to last him the next seven years, boring teacher or not.
From that day on, it was a common sight to see Scorpius Malfoy sitting in the library, reading a dusty volume on the Goblin Wars, or the witch trials of the Middle-Ages, or Merlin knew what. He was sometimes joined by Al Potter and Rose Weasley, with whom he had started a strange friendship that no one outside of their small circle understood.
After a few months, Scorpius Malfoy had been declared weird-but-harmless by the rest of the student body, and he started to disappear in the crowd.
At age 14, Scorpius Malfoy could have taken his History of Magic NEWT and get an Outstanding on it – that was, unless said NEWT included the past thirty years.
In all his reading, Scorpius had made a point of ignoring the last war entirely. He didn't feel particularly responsible for his father's and grandfather's mistakes. He just did not want to know about them. He was also vaguely aware that his family was larger than these few people (and he hadn't even met his grandfather), and he filed that under "things he'd rather not think about." The only reason he even knew his second cousin's name was because his best friend Al completely hero-worshiped Teddy Lupin.
When the time came for them to study that period in class, Scorpius was almost as worried about the actual topic as he was about not knowing something they were about to cover in a History lesson. Rose and Al were absolutely frantic, mostly because their own parents were the main topics of several chapters. Like Scorpius, they just wanted to have the whole thing over and done with as soon as possible.
The first class, on discrimination based on blood status, was almost bearable. He did wonder a few times why and how his father could have ever cared about such a thing as blood status; and Rose's muttering about the idiocy of pureblood families didn't make things easier.
The second lesson, however, almost had him running out of the door.
Professor Meister seemed completely oblivious to the fact that the topic of her lesson made her top student want to disappear below his desk.
"Lucius Malfoy was one of Voldermort's right hand men during the first war."
"Draco Malfoy was recruited primarily in the Death Eaters to kill Dumbledore, who was instead killed by Severus Snape."
"Robert Greengrass, while never a Death Eater, gave a large part of his fortune to Tom Riddle in the hopes of removing Muggleborns from society."
"In the second war, Malfoy Manor was used as a main base for Death Eaters – it is rumoured that Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger and Harry Potter were captured and tortured there." Scorpius cringed at this point and send what he hoped was his best apologetic look to Al and Rose. The other students in the room were starring at him as if he was about to conjure a Dark Mark in the middle of the classroom.
He thought it could not get worse.
In his lifelong effort not to think about the generations before him, he'd forgotten that the most evil members of his family were not on the Malfoy or Greengrass sides. They were the Blacks.
When the name Bellatrix Lestrange first came up, he didn't react. He'd actually never known that his evil Great-Aunt had been married. But when Professor Meister mentioned that she had been born Black, he understood. That woman, who was described as the second most evil person to live through the war, was his grandmother's sister. He was related to her. The same blood went through his veins. He sat, numb, for the remainder of the class, hearing about all the horrible things that woman had done. Al had to nudge him when the class ended, and he left in a daze.
The whispers that had ended so quickly in his first year started again, but he didn't notice. Al and Rose, using the celebrity-child status they normally never called upon, ensured that the whispering stopped. He didn't notice either. He burned his fingers in Herbology on a new plant they were supposed to study, but he didn't notice, because all he could think about was that Professor Longbottom grew up without parents, and it was practically his fault.
He'd never thought about it, really, how much evil ran through his blood, but now that he was confronted with it, it was all he could think about. He did not notice the worried glances Al and Rose exchanged, and he wouldn't have noticed it was a Hogsmeade weekend, had his two friends not forcibly dragged him out of the castle.
Before he knew it, he was sitting in the Three Broomsticks, a Butterbeer in front of him, and he wasn't quite sure how he had ended up there. He wasn't sure of anything, least of all why Al and Rose still wanted to be his friend, even though they'd heard, just as well as he had, just how evil people in his family – and by extension, Scorpius – could be. Why weren't they running away?
They suddenly stood up together, and he was almost relieved. Now they understood, now they were walking away, it was really for the best. Better to leave him alone, he would only end up hurting them.
He did not expect a complete stranger to sit in their place.
He looked up, ready to apologise and leave the table free, but the stranger (why is the world was his hair blue?) smiled at him softly.
"Hi there, Scorpius. We've never met, but I feel I know you already, with Albus never shutting up about you. I'm your cousin Teddy."
Scorpius gaped. Then realised he probably looked stupid and closed his mouth, and stayed silent.
"Albus wrote me, said you might want someone to talk to after this week's lesson."
Teddy stopped talking, clearly expecting the younger boy to say something, in vain.
"It was hard for me too, when we had that lesson. So much evil to hear about, and to think I'm sort of related to some of them..."
Again, he went silent, obviously hoping Scorpius would say something.
"Merlin, Harry is so much better at this than me. Listen, Scorpius, I know we don't know each other at all, but I've thought about you a great deal over the years. Mostly because I figured you'd be one of the very few people who would understand how weird it is to hear about your family in passing, in History lesson. Well, obviously, the entire Potter-Weasley clan knows as well, but it's different for them. The entire family was always in the right. For the Blacks... well, you get it, don't you? It's hard to believe that anything good could come out of a family that used to have Bellatrix Lestrange in it. But it did. They made my grandmother, they made Sirius Black – and they made you and me. The fact is, one thing we all remember from the war is to not accept it when someone tells Muggleborns their blood is impure. You shouldn't think that about yourself either. There's nothing you can do about your ancestry – but you can decide who you are. From what I know, that's what your father's been doing for the past 20 years. Give yourself the freedom to do the same."
Scorpius looked up at the blue-haired stranger that was his cousin.
"So you're my family too?"
"I sure am."
"Nice to meet you," he said, extending his arm. "I'm Scorpius."
"It's a pleasure to meet you Scorpius. Welcome to the family."
Coolest. Cousin. Ever.
AN: that's it! This little two-shot has been floating in my head for a while, and I just managed to write it down. Hope you liked it!