A/N: Hi all. I apologize immensely for how long it took for this to happen and for me to get my life in gear and actually post a chapter. I am the worst.
I am so, so sorry. I make no promises that I will update quickly, as you who have followed this story for literal years well know. However I do promise that I'll finish this story.
Also this is unbeta'd because, well, I figured you would want an update over perfect, grammatically correct work.
Anyway, thank you all so much for sticking with me! I sincerely appreciate you all
Chapter 23: Fifteen
Orion awoke on the day of fifteenth birthday rather slowly. Most teenagers, hell most people are excited for their birthdays. Some people celebrate for days or can't contain their excitement about the day of their birth. To be fair, for most people, birthdays involve celebration, cake, presents and being surrounded by those you love. For Orion, birthdays had never really been that thrilling. In fact, as Harry, birthdays had continually be a source of disappointment and pain while living with the Dursley's. If he was being realistic his fondest birthday memory was when Hagrid had came to rescue him from the small island in the sea the Dursley's had fled to in order to avoid his Hogwarts letters. It had been a wholly wonderful moment, but now it was tainted by the reality of what Dumbledore had done. Sighing, Orion closed his eyes again, turning on his side and burying his head under his pillow.
Unbeknownst to the sleeping boy upstairs, the downstairs dining room was bustling with excitement and anticipation. A large pile of gifts was stacked artfully on the table just waiting to be opened. Charmed green, silver and blue balloons floated around the room, moving slowly across the ceiling in slow circles. A large banner was also charmed to float above the table, the writing sparkling and almost shiny looking as it proclaimed "Happy Birthday Orion!"
The small of delicious breakfast foods wafted around the room as charmed platters landed on the table directed by a small army of Malfoy house-elves. "I'm glad he has a summer birthday" Narcissa commented softly to Lucius as she directed her wand and sent more balloons spinning around the room. "Me too, I can't imagine if he was at Hogwarts for this" Lucius agreed, smiling and nodding as a housefly lead a grinning Sirius and a more demure Tom into the room. "Where's the birthday boy?" Sirius practically shouted, he was radiating excitement and Narcissa was sure he'd be gesticulating wildly if his arm's weren't full of gifts, all of which were artfully wrapped which lead her to believe Tom had a hand in the wrapping. "Sleeping" Lucius said with an inelegant snort, "He seems quite the opposite of Draco" Tom let out a loud laugh at that statement, it was true, Draco enjoyed his birthday immensely and despite being at Hogwarts, he ensured everyone celebrated accordingly. "Draco a big fan of his birthday eh?" Sirius asked, eyes twinkling. "You could say that" Lucius said with a smirk, "If it was Draco's birthday he'd make sure the world knew. As you know, he's still at Hogwarts for his birthday so we usually opt to celebrate when he gets home. However, the weeks leading up to that are filled with owls with requests, present ideas, invite lists…." Lucius chuckled. "He's very much like his father in that regard" Severus drawled, having entered the room when Lucius was talking. Levering his friend with a playful glare, Lucius accepted the gift brandished at him from the dour potions master. Adding it the pile of gifts, Lucius glanced at his pocket watch. "You know, he is sleeping in rather late" He commented to his wife as a sleep-rumpled Draco stumbled into the dining room. "Where's Orion" The younger Malfoy mumbled around a yawn, his hair falling haphazardly into his eyes. "Still sleeping" Sirius said with a pout as he slumped into a chair, perking up slightly as a mug of steaming coffee appeared in front of him. "Oh" Draco looked a bit surprised, "Really?" His father grinned and pulled his reluctant son into his arms for a hug. "Don't forget Orion's previous birthday's have probably been terrible. He doesn't feel the same excitement as you might" He explained, grinning as his son quickly returned the hug before shrugging himself free. "That just means we have to make better memories for him" Narcissa said with a soft smile, reaching out to smooth down Draco's hair. "So can we wake him up?" Draco asked, evading his mother and reaching up to pat down his hair himself. "Soon, if he doesn't rouse himself soon, one of us will" Lucius said, chuckling softly at his eldest son. Draco really was becoming quite the teenager.
So they waited, talking softly and enjoying the decorations while waiting for Orion to finally emerge. And if Tom put a sticking charm on Sirius' pants to keep him glued to his chair, no one commented.
Orion yawned as he finally gave into temptation and opened his eyes. Rousing himself, he opted to take a quick shower and dressing himself before going downstairs to join his family. Rounding the corner at the bottom of the stairs, Orion came to a screeching halt, eyes taking in the scene before him. "Wh-what?" He stammered softly, drawing his mother's attention almost immediately. "Happy birthday sweetheart" Narcissa said with a small smile, quickly drawing the young man into her arms. "Oh" Orion said with a grin, willingly going into the hug. Unlike Draco he had not, and probably would never, outgrow his family's hugs. "Did you forget?" Lucius asked with a smile. "Maybe" Orion said with a small grin, "Birthday's were never really a big deal when I lived with…them" He said, his voice getting quieter. "Well I think from here on out you're going to see how fun birthdays can be" Narcissa added gently kissing Orion's hair. Finally extracting himself from his parents, Orion was quickly greeted by the rest of his family, including Sirius who may or may not have ripped his pants clean off in an attempt to free himself from his chair. Laughing as he was practically tackled by the overexcited dog animagus, Orion allowed the mood of the room to wash over himself while Tom conjured Sirius a fresh pair of pants all while bemoaning his choice in partner, although it was playful.
Finally after a round of hugs and birthday wishes, everyone was seated comfortably at the table. Remus had sent an owl saying he would be coming for dinner for which a reservation had been made at Orion's favourite restaurant. As they ate a few owls had swooped in, including one from the Weasley twins as well as Blaise, Theo, Luna and Neville, all with a letter and a small gift. Orion was awed as he read each letter, blushing furiously at the one from the Weasleys and quickly tucking it away before his mother had a chance to see it. The ones from his friends were kind, all of them wishing him a wonderful birthday. Theo wanted pictures from their trip to the Dominican as well and Orion made a mental note to find some and send them to his friend. Luna had sent him a rather interesting pair of spectacles and a copy of the Quibbler along with a note explaining what the spectacles were and how to use them. "Good old Luna" Draco said with a small smirk as he read Luna's note. "Spectraspecs? Never heard of them"
Neville had sent Orion a little plant, something he had spent a few months cultivating. It was similar to a succulent, needing little water and it wasn't very difficult to keep alive. Orion grinned, stroking the leaves of the plant with a grin. "I can keep it on my windowsill" He said, "And Neville said it's practically unkillable, which is good because I don't think I have much of a green thumb, at least not according to Professor Sprout" He added with a chuckle.
As soon as the owls had been sent off to the owlery to rest, Orion was able to turn his attention to the pile of gifts from his family. They ranged from interesting books from Remus, various candy, chocolates and sweets from Sirius and Tom, along with a card for Honeydukes, which apparently was something new the store was trying, so it was pre-loaded and Orion would be able to use it to treat himself to sweets all school year. Draco had gotten Orion a book on wand-making lore along with a broomstick maintenance kit. "Thanks Draco" Orion said with a grin as he turned the book over in his hands, eyes gleaming. Severus had done exactly what everyone had expected of him and gotten Orion a plethora of different potions ingredients and a new cauldron, he also offered to teach Orion how to brew some different, more fun potions, which Orion took him up on. "Thanks Uncle Sev" Orion said with a grin, he really liked the idea of learning how to brew different types of potions, not just what was taught at school, which while useful, wasn't always exciting.
"Saved the best for last I see" Lucius drawled with a grin, ignoring the pointed eye-rolls from Sirius, Severus and Tom. Narcissa gently elbowed her husband in the ribs as she handed Orion over a large box. "We hope you like it sweetheart" She said with a small smile, eyes twinkling.
The box was large, but it was light, Orion was able to handle the box easily, making him think it was either charmed to be lighter or his parents had wrapped up something small. Opening it up, Orion was mildly confused when inside the large box was just a small piece of paper. "Uhhh…" He trailed off, glancing up at his parents with a look of confusion. "Read it" Lucius prompted with a grin, "It's nothing bad" He added with a chuckle. Reaching inside, Orion grabbed the paper, flipping it over curiously and reading the elegant writing on the other side. "A-are you serious?" He asked staring at his parents in shock. "What is it?" Sirius practically yelled, barely able to contain himself once again. "T-they…" Orion trailed off, staring at his parents again. Both of them were grinning madly at their son. He turned his attention to Severus, eyes wide. "Are you sure?" He asked staring at the man. "I am, I wouldn't have offered if I wasn't"
"What is it?" Draco demanded, trying to see the paper. "They're letting me go with Severus on his next ingredients excursion" Orion breathed. He honestly couldn't wait, the stories of Severus' last trip sounded amazing and Orion really wanted to see some of the wildlife. "Wow" Draco breathed, staring at his brother with only a small amount of jealousy. "You'll come right? Orion asked, glancing at Draco worriedly. He might trust Severus now and wanted to go with him, but having his big brother there would make things a lot more comfortable with the uncertain young Malfoy. Banishing his jealousy immediately and feeling a bit guilty because of it, Draco nodded immediately. "Of course, if you want me to come and Severus and Mother and Father are okay with it, I'd love to go"
"Of course Dragon" Narcissa said with a grin, "Someone has to keep those two in line" She said, eyes twinkling mischievously.
The day progressed in an enjoyable fashion. It was relaxed, everyone lazing about or pursing activities they enjoyed. Draco and Orion played a seeker game, battling over the snitch playfully as Sirius cheered them on.
As the day wound to a close, the family dressed in far nicer clothing and headed out to Orion's favourite restaurant as introduced to him by his mother. Remus met them at the table, sliding into an empty seat next to Severus and offering the potions master a quick grin.
"Thanks for the books Remus" Orion said with a grin, the werewolf had gifted him a number of different books in a variety of topics. "You're welcome" Remus said with a grin, "I'm just glad you're taking an interest in reading, like some people" He said, side-eyeing Sirius who made an annoyed sound all while glaring at his best friend.
The food and conversation where lovely. Orion blushed bright red as a cake was placed in front of him by grinning wait staff. Thankfully his family held off singing obnoxiously, he wasn't sure he could handle that. Food was eaten, drinks were drank, cake was enjoyed and a very happy family once again headed home. Orion fell asleep with a smile on his face and visions of unicorns racing across his mind. All in all it was the best birthday he had ever had.
September first came far to quickly if you asked Orion. He had been nervous about returning to Hogwarts and despite the conversation he had had with his father while getting his supplies, little had really been done to quell his anxiety. "Are you ready?" Lucius asked, hand clasped gently on Orion's shoulder. Night, who had grown into a rather large, fluffy cat was secure in his carrier and was yowling his displeasure. "Shush you" Narcissa muttered, levering a glare at the animal, "You'll be out soon enough" She added. Night offered her a disdainful glance before he began to yowl again. Tossing her hands up, Narcissa turned her attention to Draco who was busy getting his last few belongings together. His owl, Archimedes was sitting calmly in his cage, completely ignoring the cat next to him while he watched his young master gather his supplies.
Soon everyone had everything, the cat had been bribed into silence via treats, and the family was quickly making their way onto platform nine and three quarters. The typical back to school chaos was ensuing. Students and parents milled about the platform, shouts of goodbye and hello rang through the air. Above it all Molly Weasley could be heard screeching about something or other as she hustled her brood, which was conspicuously missing Hermione forward, ushering them towards one of the entrances onto the train.
Lucius carefully stepped forwards, blocking Orion from the Weasleys as he and Narcissa helped Draco and Orion get their items onto the train. "I believe Blaise will have a compartment saved for you already" He commented to Draco, the Italian boy was always one of the first to arrive at the train station every year, it was one of the reasons the Slytherins always seemed to have a good compartment waiting for them. "Of course" Draco said with a grin, he was looking forward to seeing his boyfriend after a summer spent mostly apart. "Love you both" Narcissa murmured, drawing both boys into a hug, much Draco's horror as he hissed to his mother about not messing up his hair. "Talk to Severus or Remus if you have any problems and despite what anyone says, you can come home at anytime" Narcissa added as she gave her youngest one last squeeze. Lucius clasped both boys on the shoulder, not really one to offer hugs in public, not to mention Narcissa had already embarrassed Draco enough, he wasn't sure that his oldest son could handle another hug.
"Bye" Orion said softly, smiling a bit sadly as Draco hustled him onto the train. Both boys hurried down the crowded hallways, wanting to find their friends quickly without running into any undesirables. "Draco" A voice rang out, "In here" turning, Draco noticed Blaise waving from the door of one of the compartments towards the back of the train. "I knew it" Draco said with a grin as he greeted Blaise with a quick peck on the cheek. Keeping it appropriate since they were not alone. "Knew what?" Blaise asked as he gave Orion a grin as Draco slid in next to him, Orion quickly claiming the seat closest to the window. "That you'd have a compartment already secured for us" Draco explained with a grin.
"I always do" Blaise said with a shrug, "Any word on Theo or Pansy?"
"Nope, although I'm sure Pans is just running fashionably late" Draco said with a very-Malfoy like smirk.
Soon everyone was gathered in the compartment. Blaise, Draco and Pansy were sitting on one side, leaving Orion and Theo with the other bench. Both Luna and Neville had already stopped by, however they had chosen to sit elsewhere once they had seen the crowded Slytherin compartment. "So, how was the Dominican?" Pansy asked, "I've always wanted to go, I've heard amazing things about the resort you guys went to" She added with a grin. "Awesome" Orion said with a smile. "We had a really good time" He added, eyes sparkling as he remembered the holiday. "We had a really good time, I think Mother and Father definitely want to go again. It was very relaxing" Draco said with a smile, "Might become a regular family thing" "Oooh, maybe friends can join next time" Pansy said, "I could use a beach vacation"
"Because your life is so stressful" Theo dead-panned. "What with the shopping and relaxing you do. You must be exhausted"
The entire compartment busted up laughing at the indignant expression on Pansy's face before she too began to laugh. "It would be fun to have some friends, although Sirius acts like a big kid most of the time anyway" Draco said with a chuckle. Orion nodded in agreement, "He can be pretty childish" He agreed, "But he's fun"
Before they knew it, the train was pulling into the station at Hogsmeade and soon Hagrid's voice could be heard above the general din. "Firs' years this way" The half-giant called, corralling the new group of students and leading them towards the dock where the boats were waiting to escort them to their first year of school. "It's weird, somethings about Hogwarts just never change" Orion noted softly as he glanced at Hagrid from the corner of his eye. That had always been comforting for him, back living Harry Potter's life, the stability of Hogwarts had always been comforting. It pained him now that his place of happiness and comfort was no longer that. What was stranger still was that his new place of comfort was his home. Malfoy Manor was now the place he looked forward to being the most. "Hagrid is an institution" Theo agreed, "Like Binns" He added with a small eye-roll. The studious Slytherin was not a fan of the history professor, not by a long shot. Orion flashed Theo a smile as they followed their friends to a waiting carriage.
Hogwarts was still lovely. The great hall was decked out, ready to welcome students to the welcoming feast. Candles floated above the tables, illuminating the enchanted night sky. The tables were just waiting to be ladened down with what promised to be a delicious feast and like always, Professor Minerva McGonagall was waiting with a long piece of parchment, covered in names of first years to begin the sorting. Even the short, three-legged stool was the same, although Orion wandered why they couldn't find something a bit more comfortable to use as a seat, but perhaps it was tradition.
Soon a worried group of first years was stepping through the doors and walking up to the stool, the old hat being placed on its head as it began to call out the various houses. Though the faces differed from year to year, the general atmosphere was the same. Despite how everything may have changed in Orion's life, the school itself was still the same. Orion deliberately kept his eyes trained on the sorting hat, completely ignoring Albus Dumbledore who was, of course, staring at the young fifth year. He knew it was only a matter of time before Dumbledore approached him for a conversation or a meeting or some nonsense. He also knew that his father was still building a case against Dumbledore and the Dursley's which was bound to be explosive. Lucius Malfoy left nothing to chance and he was ensuring he'd be able to crush anyone involved in hurting his son. Remus was seated next to Severus and Orion offered him a quick, shy smile. He was glad Remus was going to be here this year, he would also help provide a buffer from all the drama that inevitably seemed to follow the young Slytherin around.
Once the sorting was finished and the new students had taken their seats, the venerable headmaster stood up, "I know you are all eager to tuck in, so enjoy the feast" Dumbledore said, eyes twinkling madly as he glanced around the hall.
Sooner rather then later, everything had been eaten, puddings had been enjoyed and once again Albus Dumbledore was standing up in preparation of making another speech. "Welcome all to another year at our beloved school. I am sure you all had a wonderful holiday and now, another year of learning can begin. I would like to introduce you to our newest Defence Against the Dark Arts Teacher, Remus Lupin" Here, he paused, to allow for a small smattering of applause to take place. "Mr. Filch would like me to remind all of you that the Forbidden Forest is, in fact, forbidden and that an updated listed of banned objects can be found in his office. I implore you all to take a look at that if only to avoid detention" Here he chuckled. "Now, I bid you all goodnight" With that, he waved his hands and soon everyone was hustled off to their dormitories, prefects leading the way and herding confused first years along with them.