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Scorpius Malfoy dug his heels in as he and his father approached the school house. The little boy, just four years old, had complained and pleaded all the way from their house, begging his father not to make him go to school.
"You'll love it," Draco Malfoy told him, mustering up as much enthusiasm as he could. "You'll make new friends and learn really interesting things. School is so much fun. I promise."
"But what if it's not?" the little boy asked as he worried his bottom lip between his teeth.
Draco stopped walking and crouched down so he and his son were eye level. "I think you'll like it, but I have a little something planned in case the day isn't a good one," he promised. "But I need you to give today a try. No coming home to tell me that you hated it just so you can see what the surprise is."
Scorpius pouted, but agreed. "Daddy, what if none of the other kids like me?" he wondered.
"Who wouldn't like you?" Draco wondered. "I think you're the coolest kid ever. The other kids will see that too."
The small blond's mouth hung open in retort, but once they reached the school, a little brown haired girl introduced herself. "Hi, I'm Rosie. I like your hair," she said to him. "It's yellow like butter. Do you like butter?"
Draco covered up a laugh as his son stared up at him for guidance. "He loves it," Draco told her. "Puts it on everything. Including his bedroom ceiling. This is Scorpius. Scor, say hi to Rosie."
From his hiding place behind his father's leg, Scorpius mumbled a shy, "Hi."
After successfully prying the little boy from his leg, Draco bent down to their height. "Do you like your school, Rosie?" he asked. The tiny brunette nodded vigorously. "It's Scorpius's first day and I think he's a little nervous. Do you think maybe you could help him out a bit?"
Rosie nodded, but with less enthusiasm. Then she turned toward the building as a warning bell rang. All around them, other small children lined up to be led inside. "Maybe we'll get the same teacher," she commented. "The teachers here are really, really nice."
Draco loosened his hold on his son's hand and placed him in line behind Rosie. "Looks like you've made a friend already," he whispered. "Try to have some fun today."
"Will you come back?" Scorpius asked.
"Of course I will," Draco promised. He waited until the students were brought inside and the doors closed behind him. The other parents left, going their separate ways to begin the day. But Draco stayed behind, staring at the schoolhouse, preparing himself for the moment his son made his escape. But when the door opened, the escapee wasn't who he expected. "Granger?"
Hermione Granger's head snapped up at the sound of her name. "Malfoy?" she asked, her tone just as curious as his. "What are you doing here?"
Draco smiled sadly. "Just dropped off my son for his first day of school," he replied. "Do you teach here?"
She nodded, her brown curls bobbing with the movement. "I have the four and five year olds," she told him.
He found himself breathing a sigh of relief. His son was in good hands. Though he and Hermione Granger had a long history of animosity, he knew she wouldn't hold his child accountable for his past mistakes. She was also the brightest witch the wizarding world had seen in centuries. Scorpius Malfoy would receive the best education possible.
"I have your son," she told him. "Well, he's on my roster. I haven't actually met the class yet. The headmaster is addressing everyone right now."
"I thought you worked for the Ministry," he said as if he'd heard nothing else.
Once again she nodded. "I used to," she replied. "Um, I should get back inside. The orientation doesn't last very long, so I should get to my classroom."
"Right, yeah," Draco mumbled. Hermione turned back to the door, ready to open it when he stopped her. "I just...well, Scor's a bit nervous. Could you keep an eye on him? Just make sure he's okay? He's never been away from me for this long, and ya know, I'm just worried. And rambling. So, okay, I'm gonna go now."
Hermione chuckled, pleased by the change in his behavior. "I'll take good care of Scorpius," she promised. "If he's anything like you were, he'll be a full time job."
Draco shook his head. "No, he's so much better than I was," he replied. "He's the greatest kid in the world. A bit shy, but really sweet."
"He's not going to call the other children 'mudblood' is he?" she inquired, arms crossed over her chest.
"He doesn't know that word," Draco promised. "It's verboten in the Malfoy house. Shocking, eh?"
"A bit," she conceded. "I'll see you later, Malfoy. You'll be picking him up, right?"
Draco nodded and turned away from the school. She watched him go before returning to her classroom. With just seconds to spare, she made it back before her new group of students. Scorpius Malfoy was easy to spot in the small group. Pale blond hair and gray eyes, he was the spitting image of his father. He quietly took a seat up front when she allowed them to choose a desk. Beside him sat Rose.
Hermione smiled as she knelt down beside the little girl's desk. "Did you make a new friend already?" she asked her.
Rose nodded, a wide smile stretching from ear to ear. "Uh-huh, and he's nice," she replied. "He doesn't talk though."
The teacher glanced at the little boy to her right. "I think he's just a little nervous about his first day," she whispered. "Maybe you could do me a favor and help him out a bit today."
Rose nodded and began to unpack her art supplies. "We get to color?" Scorpius asked, glancing nervously at Miss Hermione.
"All the time," Rose replied, her enthusiasm infectious. "My mu...Miss Hermione likes coloring."
"Is she nice?" he asked her, receiving a sheet of paper from Hermione. They were instructed to write their names and then list the numbers from one to twenty.
Rose nodded and pulled out a purple crayon. "Always," she promised. "You'll like her."