Draco liked to think he learned from his mistakes. The most important of his mistakes was joining Voldemort. In the months after Voldemort's defeat, Draco was in a sort of shock, processing what was going on around him. He and his parents were facing charges, the ministry was completely reformed. He almost went to Azkaban. But his father plead for Draco and his mother not to be sent to Azkaban, he gave everything he knew, everything he ever did so Narcissa and Draco would be spared.
Draco had learned many things from the experience, and once he emerged from his shock, he dedicated himself to making sure this never happened again. He cut ties with Pansy, as well as from Goyle as they didn't feel the same−if another dark lord ever showed up, they would join and encourage their children to join and Draco couldn't be part of that. He lent support to the new ministry, and became something of a public speaker. He was inspired by (and he'd never actually tell anyone this) Muggles who spoke about their experiences with drugs or gangs. It was the same thing really. He spoke about joining the Dark Lord, how it nearly cost him his life and did claim some of his friends.
Draco did this, and he helped several families who were cutting ties to the Death Eaters. Months and years went by and Draco realized that he actually felt good about himself. He was being helpful rather than harmful to people.
He met Astoria Greengrass in Diagon Alley. He'd published a book on dark lords and how they manipulated and abused their followers. She came in looking for a book on getting rid of pixie infestations. Draco had known her sister, but never really noticed her. Now he did. He helped her to find the book she needed, and the rest was history.
Draco tried to be a good father for Scorpius. He kept him away from the Dark Arts and made sure that he knew he could be in any house in Hogwarts. So when Scorpius was sorted into Gryffindor, he didn't mind. He just sort of wished Scorpius hadn't become best friends with Albus Potter and Rose Weasley. Of course, he wasn't completely against it, as Scorpius spoke so fondly of them. But really…this friendship meant that someday, some way, Draco may end up in the same room as Potter, Weasley and Granger (though she was a Weasley now). And that was not something Draco had ever wanted.
But it couldn't be avoided any longer by the time Scorpius was fifteen. And so it was that Draco found himself standing awkwardly by his childhood rivals as their children celebrated Scorpius' fifteenth birthday. Draco tried not to interact with their parents, but he couldn't help but keep glancing over. And as he kept glancing over, he noticed how Potter and Granger couldn't stay away from each other. Their eyes were glued onto one another; they were constantly standing beside one another. And Granger was still blushing like a teenage girl with a crush. Did they just hold hands? Draco could barely keep his composure as he saw Potter quickly extract his fingers from Granger's, as Weasley didn't notice. Then Draco observed the children. James, Albus, and Lily's parentage weren't in question. But Rose and Hugo's were. And now that he really looked, he saw their true father in them.
So Potter, he thought, looks like you've been keeping quite the secret.
The cunning mind Draco had used in his sixth year was back in an instant. A secret like this, Potter and Granger would be desperate to keep. But what did Draco want? He could likely ask for anything. See how far he could push them.
So, when the party was over, he pulled them aside and cast charms so they wouldn't be overheard.
"So, Potter, how have you been?" he asked with a smirk. Potter and Granger were on guard−they could easily see that he was up to something.
"You haven't pulled us aside to play catch up," he said. "What do you want, Malfoy?" Draco considered adding in more sneers or sarcasm, but ultimately, he had little to gain by pissing them off.
"I want three thousand galleons. And a new broomstick for my son; he made seeker last year and frankly, he needs a better one. He also needs new potion ingredients, a cauldron, and he's been asking for an owl forever, but you know my family lost much of our money in the war, and I've never quite been able to get him everything he wants. My family also needs new dress robes, and Astoria has been trying to get a job at the Daily Prophet, but they keep turning her down−and don't you dare say she hasn't got any writing skills−she has! She wrote several anonymous entries and they lapped it up like dogs, but they always scowl at our name!" Draco thought for a moment. "I'd also love it if you could get my father released from prison, but if you fulfill all the other requests, I suppose I can understand if this one's a little out of reach."
By the time Draco was done Potter and Granger were standing a gapping like fish out of water. It was sort of funny looking. Granger was the first one to recover.
"And just why would we do such things for you?" Hermione said, her voice rising in pitch. Draco smirked.
"Because you don't want anybody to know that Potter here is the father of your children." They looked so shocked, theirs eyes wide. They couldn't seem to make any words. "I'll just leave you some time to think on that. I'll give you until…Christmas. Yes, these things will all make for the best Christmas my family has had in over a decade. And if you don't comply… then the entire world will know who ruined the Potter-Weasley family Christmas." And with that, he removed the charms and sent them off.
Scorpius Malfoy wasn't oblivious to his family's reputation. His parents had warned him plenty enough times before we went to the snake pit called Hogwarts. So it was that he resolved to be in any house but Slytherin. He would show the world Malfoys aren't all bad. It's just a name. When he was sorted the Hat hadn't even considered Slytherin, only debating between Ravenclaw and Gryffindor. Scorpius asked, What about Slytherin? Because everyone in his family had been there.
You, in Slytherin? The Hat responded. You belong in that house as much as Voldemort belonged in Gryffindor. And that is where you shall be.
Scorpius had leapt down as soon as the Hat announced this and ran to a seat at the Gryffindor table, ignoring the looks some people gave him. I'm no Death Eater, he thought, you'll see. A few names later the table was joined by Rose Weasley. The table was slightly crowded and they found themselves awkwardly sitting by each other. They knew about their parents' past. Scorpius was the one who took initiative and spoke to her.
"Hello," he said, smiling in a way he really hoped was friendly. "I'm Scorpius Malfoy." She stared at him appraisingly. Finally she smiled and offered her hand.
"I'm Rose Weasley. My…my father told me not to talk to you and to beat you on every exam. But Mum and I think he's being silly. Even more so now that you've been sorted." She quickly introduced him to her cousin, Albus, and the three of them were best friends within the week.
This went on for the next several years. Throughout the first two years, they grew closer and their families relented on their friendship. In their third year Scorpius met her uncle, Harry Potter. Oddly, he noticed how close she was to him. In their fourth year, Scorpius began noticing her in an entirely different way−how she was growing nicely, how her hair looked like a warm fire on a cold day, how pretty she was when she concentrated…
He finally was able to convince his parents to invite them to their house for his birthday. He enjoyed it, testing each gift he had gotten out. But he couldn't help but notice how Rose kept looking over at her mother and uncle, who couldn't seem to stay away from each other. The party went without any incidents, but afterwards Scorpius noticed a smirk on his father's face and found himself filled with dread…please, he thought, don't do anything to ruin this. Not after all these years.
When he returned to Hogwarts he was awkward around Rose and Albus. He didn't know what his father was doing, and frankly, it worried him. He tried to ask his father several times, but each time he received some answer about Rose's father. Eventually, though, he began putting everything together by himself. And in truth, Lily had always looked like a less pretty Rose with straight hair, so he wasn't too surprised when he confronted Rose and she confirmed it.
"I figured it out when I was ten," she admitted. "I didn't really understand it too much back then. I just knew my mother loved my uncle, and after a while I put it together with how much Hugo and I look like him and his…legitimate children, how he treats us, and I knew he was my actual father. And then I knew he was Hugo's father, too. I didn't understand why that shouldn't have happened, or why my Mum's married to my legal dad, but I figured they didn't want anyone to know, so I've kept it for the past five years. I haven't even told Hugo." When she was done, she was blushing and looking at Scorpius with guilty eyes. "I hope you're not mad I never told you."
"Mad you never told me? 'Course not. Really, it's none of my business. But I think we may have a problem…"
"What do you mean?"
Scorpius groaned. He knew what his father wanted now. "I think my father figured it out back in the summer, on my birthday. If I had to bet, I'd say he's blackmailing your parents." Rose's eyes widened.
"What do we do?" she asked quickly. Scorpius frowned thinking.
"I…I'll write him, tell him I know. I'll tell him not to do it…"
"Will he listen to you?" Rose sounded rather doubtful. Of course she knew what his father had been like at their age. Back then, he wouldn't have listened, he'd have gone through with it anyways.
"Yeah, he will," Scorpius said. His father had changed since then, he wouldn't do this now.
It was finally Christmas time. Draco smiled. This year, it would be perfect. By his boon of a discovery, his family would get all they had been striving for these years. They had fallen on hard times after the war, they no longer had respect or money, and they didn't have friends on either side. But now, with this discovery, Draco could get it all back. They wouldn't struggle any more.
But Scorpius came home announcing that he knew what Draco had discovered. Asking him not to do it, that he couldn't hurt the Potters like this. The conversation quickly turned into an argument between father and son, and soon Astoria had joined in. And Draco was alone in his plan. By the end of the argument, Scorpius had been in tears…
"Mr. Weasley was right," he said bitterly. "You haven't changed. You were a sneaky git then, and you still are!" Astoria hadn't come to Draco's defense, only giving him a disappointed look.
So despite all the good things that would come from this, Draco was conflicted. He only wanted his family to be secure and respected again. But if his actions lost him his family, then what was the point of it all?
And worse yet, what if Scorpius was right? Draco liked to think he had become something of a good person, not any Potter or Dumbledore of course, but certainly no Death Eater. Had he been wrong? Was he still the spoiled, cruel, brat of a wannabe Death Eater he was all those years ago?
Nevertheless he went on as planned. Potter invited his family over for Christmas Eve, and Draco knew that it was the veil for what they'd be doing. The deal would be resolved. Astoria refused to come, scowling at Draco.
"Daphne and Blaise have invited me to their place," she said. "I can't watch you do this. Not after everything…Scorpius has decided to go with you, I think he still intends on trying to stop you." She said it all in such an exhausted voice, Draco felt guilty for pushing this.
"I won't stop this. I'm doing this for you and him!"
"And when exactly did we ask you to do this? When did we ever give the impression we wanted this?" She stopped, taking a breath. "If you do this, I'm leaving. And I'm taking Scorpius with me. I won't have my only child raised by an extortionist."
Scorpius hadn't talked to Draco since their argument. At the party, he went straight over to Rose, giving him passing glances every few minutes.
Potter and Granger were once again staying right beside each other. This time they were clearly on guard, glaring at Draco the entire time. But they also looked rather defeated- they would give in. They were going to give in to his demands. And at first, Draco was pleased. He'd get what he wanted…
Then he saw his son. Under mistletoe. With Rose Weasley. They kissed, and it lasted longer than any silly joke kiss; they wanted to kiss. And when they pulled apart, they couldn't seem to look away from each other.
It was then that Draco knew he couldn't go through with it. Because his son loved Potter and Granger's daughter, and he couldn't ruin that. He wouldn't hurt his son, and the people who Draco just knew he'd one day be bound to through his son's marriage.
So, near the end of the party, he once again pulled Potter and Granger away.
"Alright Malfoy," Potter said, fire in his eyes. "We'll give you what you want."
Draco shook his head. "No. Never mind." Granger assessed him.
"Why? Why are you changing your mind?" Granger was suspicious, her eyes narrowed.
"Because it would destroy my family. My wife and son would never forgive me. And in all honesty, I may never have forgiven myself." Draco felt ashamed. "I haven't done anything like this in years, and I shouldn't break that record now. I just hope you won't hold this against me and my family." Potter and Granger still looked suspicious, but Potter nodded.
"I know Scorpius wasn't involved. Rose speaks so highly of him, and he seems nice enough."
"And our secret?" Granger questioned.
"As long as it's your secret, it'll be mine," Draco assured them. "If you like, I'll make an Unbreakable Vow."
Potter shook his head. "That won't be necessary. Endangering your life with a secret that could be discovered at any time is no way to treat future in-laws." Draco gave a sly smirk to them.
"So you've noticed, then?"
"How could we not notice?" Granger said, jokingly indignant. "It's not as though Scorpius and Rose are bothering to hide their affection." Draco made to leave, but Potter stopped him from leaving.
"Malfoy…Draco," he said. "We aren't friends, and you aren't blackmailing us now, but here, take this money. It's only a fraction of what you asked for, but you could get something nice. Hermione's talked to the manager of the Daily Prophet, reminding them that the name of applicants is not to be considered. And I've tried to work out some compromise to your father's imprisonment. He may be out by next Christmas." Draco was shocked, then he felt a wide smile forming. He refused to tear up. He wouldn't cry, of sadness or happiness, in public. And especially not in front of Potter and Granger.
"Thank you," he said and he meant it. "This is…the nicest thing anyone's ever done for me and my family. I've never earned this, but…if you ever need any help…I'll be there. I…owe you, Potter."
When Draco returned home that night, he had a happy son, who was proud of his father, who really had changed. His wife had been back before him and kissed him upon his return.
Draco knew that by giving up his plan, he'd gotten more than he could have gotten with it.