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Chapter 1: Never a road without a turning
My feet are sore and my head is aching as I Apparate outside our home. I always find it tricky to Apparate with my hands full of shopping bags, and today is no exception. Iíve found a few smart dresses though, even if I almost never find anything suitable in Diagon Alley anymore. Itís easier to find good-looking clothes in Paris or Rome nowadays, I think. I walk up to the entrance and hand my bags to Bibi, our house-elf, before I take care of my sore feet and lie down to rest my poor head. There are probably a couple of hours left until Draco, my husband, will come home from work.
I close my eyes for a while and maybe drift off to sleep before Iím interrupted by my owl, Penny. She has a letter for me, and I smile, because I know it is from my son Scorpius. Heís seventeen years old and in his last year at Hogwarts. I absent-mindedly strike Pennyís grey feathers before I open the envelope. Every time I think of my son, I feel proud and thankful. As I grew up I always wanted two children, one boy and one girl, but when we got Scorpius I somehow felt like that I was blessed enough. How could I ask for more with a beautiful, gifted son like him? Draco, who was an only-child himself, didnít want us to have any more children either, and Iíve not regretted our decision.
Scorpius is everything to me. Heís smart and kind, and a really good Quidditch Seeker, although Iím always afraid that heís going to hurt himself in that awfully dangerous sport. Draco says that I fuss too much about him, and that Quidditch hasnít ever really hurt anyone. He played Seeker himself during Hogwarts, and I remember how I used to admire him when I was in school. I had a thing for Draco for years, really, before he even noticed me. Heís three years older than me, and it wasnít until after we both had left Hogwarts, a few years after the war, that we met and fell in love.
Sometimes I wonder if there is a girl like me now in the Slytherin audience admiring Scorpius like I admired and dreamt about his father. Scorpius has never mentioned any girl to me, but I guess most teenage boys donít talk to their mothers about the girls they are dating. Iíve asked him a few times about that girl Dorinda, whom he has been friends with since his first year at Hogwarts, but I donít really think that sheís anything more than a friend to him. IĎm thankful she isnít his girlfriend, to be honest, because sheís way too loud and unconventional. I hope that the girl Scorpius chooses will be a little more neat and well behaved, and naturally from one of the old pure-blood families. Some people say that blood status doesnít matter anymore. I guess they are right in some ways, at least in everyday life, but when it comes to marriage it still matters. A marriage is forever, and to be able to live together for a lifetime, it helps greatly if both members of the couple share the same important values.
The letter from Scorpius is short, as usual, and frankly he didnít tell me very much, except for the date of his next Quidditch game. We always come to watch when Scorpius plays. I really look forward to seeing him at the next game. Last time we went, when they were playing against Gryffindor earlier this autumn, Scorpius disappeared almost right after the game. I guess it is like that for every Quidditch parent. You watch your child play, and hope for his team to win. When they do, however, they sneak away immediately after the game to have some celebration party in the common room... If they lose, they hang around with the parents for a little longer, but who can honestly wish for your child to lose?
The air is crisp and clear, maybe a bit on the chilly side, but it is still a beautiful day. Iím sitting next to Draco and the Quidditch game is just about to begin. Scorpius and the rest of the Slytherin team are playing against Ravenclaw today. Scorpius has told me that Ravenclaw has a really good team this year, but he seemed certain that the Slytherin team is even better.
I like being on the Hogwarts grounds. It brings me so many happy memories from my youth. But I guess itís like that for almost everyone. The teams are entering the pitch, and Iím as proud as Iím always am when I hear ďÖ and the Seeker, Scorpius MalfoyÖĒ My son, the handsome Quidditch player with a heart of goldÖ
Scorpius and his team are playing well, and itís an interesting game. After just half an hour, when the Slytherins are in the lead, I see my son and the Ravenclaw Seeker race after the Snitch at a high speed, both of them flying unusually high above the ground. I feel my heart beat fast and grab my husbandís hand in horror, but Draco just nudges me and tells me not to worry. I relax a bit, but only a moment later, I see a Bludger that is directed right at Scorpius. I squeeze Dracoís hand harder, and this time he squeezes mine, too.
I cannot tell if merely seconds or an eternity passes, but then the Bludger hits Scorpius and he starts falling. A strange sound is coming from my throat as I see him falling through the sky. No sound could be more terrible than the hollow thud of your child hitting the ground. He lies still, and I want to run to him, but Iím paralysed. I can feel how Draco is almost crushing my hand now. Merlin, my son canít be dead, can he? Scorpius is everything to me; he is my life.
Suddenly, something unexpected happens. A boy in Gryffindor robes is quickly by Scorpiusís side, and he clings to my sonís motionless body. He touches his face, and it looks like heís kissing him. Draco stands up, and heís dragging me by my hand down to the pitch. People move out of our way as we run down to Scorpius. The strange boy doesnít even look up when we arrive and Iím starting to think that he might be some kind of mentally confused person or something. I try my best to ignore him as I bend down over my son.
The elderly nurse, Madame Pomfrey, is there too, and sheís levitating Scorpius up towards the castle. The mad boy still wonít let go of him. I turn to Draco, and I see how his gaze is fixated not on Scorpius but on the Gryffindor boy. Dracoís face is a pale shade of grey, and he has a hard look in his eyes. I suddenly recognize the boy. Heís so much like Harry Potter that he has to be one of his sons.
When we finally are at the infirmary, Madame Pomfrey quickly examines Scorpius and tells us that heís alive and that heíll be fine. I let out a sigh of relief, and I feel how Dracoís grip of my hand relaxes. The strange Potter boy doesnít appear to have heard or understood the nurse, though. Heís still sobbing and holding a tight grip of Scorpiusís hand. His eyes are still locked on my sonís face.
ĎHeís going to be alright, you know,í Madame Pomfrey says to him, and heís finally looking up at her. ĎIíve seen a lot worse. Mind you, your own father used to come here after almost every Quidditch game. Iím going to give him some Skele-Gro as soon as he wakes up. You can stay here with Mr and Mrs Malfoy until then,í she says, leaving us alone with the odd boy and Scorpius, who is still unconscious.
The Potter boy is suddenly looking up at us. It is like he hadnít even noticed that we were present before. He doesnít say anything, though, but resumes staring at Scorpius. Iím getting more and more sure that he isnít quite like anybody else. I wonder why Madame Pomfrey is letting him stay here.
We are sitting silently by Scorpiusís side for a while, and then I can see him move a little, and his eyelids are fluttering. The boy leans ever closer to him, and I want to shove him away. Heís taking my place. I should be the one holding Scorpiusís hand. I should be the one who is sitting close to him as he wakes up, not this strange boy.
Scorpius wakes up, and he looks into the face of the crying boy for a minute before he turns to us and tells us something that makes my heart stop.
ĎMother, FatherÖ I want you to meet Albus Potter, my boyfriend,í Scorpius says. What he says is so unexpected to me that I canít even think of anything to say back. Draco gets up immediately, and he leads me out of the infirmary, out through the castle, and outside the Hogwarts gates to the Apparation point. My chocked brain tries to bring order to the chaos Iím experiencing, and Iím stumbling in my high heels as I try to keep up with Draco. I try to digest what just happened. What did he mean by the word boyfriend? Is Scorpius, my only child, my beautiful, clever and precious son reallyÖ Oh Merlin, I canít even say the wordÖ I donít want to think about it, and I donít want to know about it. He canít be one of those, can he? What shall we do? What if people will find out?
Draco drags me close to him as he Apparates us both home, and I immediately get a new shock. There are several reporters outside our home blocking our way.
ĎIs it true that your son is gay?í
ĎIs Scorpius going to be alright?í
ĎIs it true that heís madly in love with the son of Harry Potter?í
Draco is pushing the reporters aside, and he takes me inside. I pour us each a large glass of Firewhiskey. Nothing can take away pain like Firewhiskey, and we sure need it today.
ĎDo you think itís true?í I ask my husband. He sighs and looks at me, nodding.
ĎIím so confused,í I say. ĎHow could he beÖ like that? Where did it come from?í
ĎOh, I know where it came from. It must have been that repulsive Potter boy. Heís somehow duped or tricked him into it. None of the Potters or Weasleys are sane.í
ĎWe should talk to him, donít you think?í I plead. Now that Iíve had half a glass of Firewhiskey and some time to think, it strikes me how it must have felt for Scorpius when we just left him earlier this afternoon.
ĎNo, Astoria, Iím not going to talk to him, and youíre not going to, either. Not as long heís together with Potter, and not as long he hasnít said that heís sorry. Heís not getting away with this,í Draco says with coldness in his voice, and I know that there is no use in trying to change his mind.
I walk up to our bedroom, where I spend a few hours crying in the darkness until Draco comes to bed. When he reaches out to me that night, I turn my back to him and pretend to sleep. Iím not letting him touch me tonight, not when he tells me that I canít talk to my son. I cry silently into the pillow when I realise that I havenít once in our marriage done anything against Dracoís will, and that Iíll obey him this time to. Iím not going to talk to Scorpius, even if itís all that I want to do right now.
Dear Mr and Mrs Malfoy,
Iím writing to you because I want you to reconsider your treatment of Scorpius. I know that you donít like me, and I know that you are not very fond of my family. But please, talk to Scorpius. He needs you. I know that. You canít change him. Surely you wouldnít want to lose him rather than accept who he is? I know that you love him too.
Sincerely, Albus Potter
My hand shivers as I fold the parchment and put it back in its envelope. I didnít expect the Potter boy to write to us. It does seem like heís really in love with my son, and as strange as it is, the thought doesnít feel as repulsive to me as it first did. Maybe heís right; maybe we canít change Scorpius. I might have to accept that eventually, even if it still hurts.
Itís not only Potter who has written to us. His friend Dorinda has sent us two rather angry letters. I havenít even shown them to Draco. That girl is far too outspoken for her own good. Scorpius has also written several letters to us, trying to explain. He writes that heís happy, and that he loves the Potter boy. They have apparently been going out for quite some time. He asks us to understand and forgive him. A part of me is still angry with him, and Iím still disappointed Ė how could a mother be anything else than disappointed? Ė but I miss him so badly. Iíd like to have him here and hold him like when he was a little child. Draco doesnít want to read the letters, and he has told me not to respond. I do as he says, as I always have done.
Christmas is approaching, and I dread it this year. Itíll be an awful Christmas this year without Scorpius. Thereís also a new coldness between me and Draco. Iíve tried to talk to him about Scorpius a few times, but he always changes the subject. He doesnít want to talk about Scorpius, and he never mentions his name. I donít know how long I can stand this. I think about it for some time, and then make up my mind. On Christmas morning, Iím sending Scorpius a letter and a parcel of his favourite sweets. I know it wonít make up for how we have been treating him, but it is still something.
Christmas Day passes silently. Penny, the owl, returns from Scorpius with a short ďThank you!Ē note. Nothing else. I would have expected Scorpius to write something more, but Iím also grateful that he responded at all.
A few days after Christmas something strange happens. Draco comes home from his work and seems upset. Heís rambling about Potter, and after a while I understand that it is Harry and not Albus heís talking about this time. I donít know exactly what had happened, but I understand that Harry Potter has been talking with him about the boys. Draco and Harry have never been friendly, but they do sometimes work together, as Draco works at the Ministry and Harry Potter is the Head of the Aurors. Scorpius is staying at the Potterís, as we already had guessed, and Harry Potter must have felt that he had to tell Draco his opinion on the matter. I donít get all of it, but I understand that the Potters must have accepted and welcomed Scorpius. Iím secretly thankful for that, but Draco is agitated.
Draco is huffing and mumbling for a couple of days, but the day before New Yearís Eve, he suddenly speaks up. ĎWe should talk to him.í
ĎWe should,í I say, taking his hand. ĎHeís still our son, and we canít afford to lose him.í
ĎIím going to owl him and tell him to be home tomorrow for dinner then,í Draco says and walks into his study. Iím not sure what to think, but Iím happy that he seems to come around now.
Scorpius responds almost immediately, and Draco is snorting as he reads the letter.
ĎHeís bringing the Potter boy,í Draco spits. ĎI wasnít inviting him too!í
ĎItís not the end of the world, love,í I reassure him. ĎI do believe that we have to meet him, too, sooner or later. Iíve a feeling that they are in fact serious.í I know Iím treading on thin ice here. I canít afford to upset my husband now. He only mutters something inaudible. I guess that means that he has accepted that Scorpius will bring Albus here tomorrow.
On New Yearís Eve, Iím too nervous all day to even check on Bibi, who is preparing the dinner party. Iím sure the house-elf has everything under control anyway. I can see that Draco is nervous too, because heís pacing back and forth in the living room. When they finally arrive, I almost want to rush forward toward Scorpius to hug and kiss him, but I keep myself together and remain calm but polite.
Scorpius and Albus are holding hands, and they donít let go of each otherís hands even when Scorpius introduces us to Albus. Albus looks pale and nervous, but Scorpius has put on his cheekiest and most disrespectful smile as he meets his fatherís eyes. I feel angry because I know how much this could upset Draco, and Scorpius should be aware that this isnít a good time to be cheeky to his father. Amazingly enough, Draco doesnít say anything about it.
The dinner was awkward, but not as awkward as it could have been, I guess. I tried my best to keep the conversation neutral, and we all managed to be polite to each other. Scorpius and Albus didnít show any more physical affection than the handholding, for which Iím grateful. I could tell by the way they look at each other that they care about each other. I guess that they are truly in love. I still find it strange in a way, but I know that Iím going to get used to it. Albus seems to be clever, polite and kind. I do feel guilty for what I thought about him the first time we met.
I know we all will have to speak more open-heartedly to each other sometime soon, but for now, this is enough. We could be a family again, and Iíve got my son back Ė my son Scorpius, who is the most beautiful, smart and wonderful son that a mother could ever wish for.