Draco’s eyes widened to their utmost, his mouth opening in complete shock as he stared at the over excited Weasley.
Ginny’s jaw hung loose and slack as she stared stupidly at her brother. Her mind raced as she tried to take in exactly what he had said and why he felt the need to yell it out in the corridor in front of the children and her family.
“What?” Draco almost roared. “What’s the matter with you, Weasley?”
Ron huffed, “I don’t see how that’s relevant right now. You’re the one in the wrong, not me.”
“That’s debatable,” Hermione replied through grit teeth.
“No, no,” Harry strode forward waving his hands in the air. “Wait, just wait a minute. What is going on, Ginny?”
Ginny sighed heavily and raked a hand through her hair. “I’m not sure how to explain it,” she admitted.
“Well start trying,” Harry demanded, glaring heatedly between his wife and Malfoy.
Draco recovered and squared his shoulders determinedly. “I don’t have time for this. I’d sort your friends out if I were you, Potter. Weasley could have caused a lot of trouble today with his idiotic nonsense. Come along, Scorpius.” Draco took hold of his son’s shoulder and attempted to steer him up the corridor.
Harry placed himself in front of Malfoy, his feet shoulder width apart and his arms folded across his chest. “Hold on, Malfoy, you aren’t going anywhere yet. I just heard an accusation that my wife is the mother of your son, you could at least have the decency to hang around long enough to give an explanation.”
“Your marital problems are no concern of mine, Potter,” Draco replied dismissively. His top lip curled into a sneer that Harry was so familiar with that for a moment he felt like he was a teenager again locked in some stupid argument with his Slytherin nemeses. “Besides, what would make you think that I would want to go to bed with a Weasley?”
Harry bristled. “Malfoy, “ he said patiently. “If you make one insulting remark about my wife I will be forced to punch you in the face, in much the same way Hermione did in our third year.”
Draco scowled. “As if I was going to hit her back, he’s a girl. Even if she is a mud blood.”
“Harry, leave it,” Hermione said sighing heavily. “He’s just trying to wind you up and deflect the attention from the actual situation.”
“There is no situation,” Draco snapped, his eyes narrowing in anger.
“I have to disagree,” Hermione said, “Thanks to my husband there is a situation that we need to deal with in a calm and rational manner, like adults. We maybe in Hogwarts but we are not the same people we were the last time we were all in these halls. We were kids then, now we’re adults and we will all act accordingly.”
“I see you’ve changed dramatically, Granger,” Draco retorted, his voice dripping with sarcasm. Draco’s attention was drawn from Hermione before she had time to respond as he felt Scorpius tugging away from his restraining hand.
Having heard enough of the adults around him arguing and not really saying anything, Scorpius decided to take matters into his own hands. His heart beating wildly against his breast bone, his breath catching painfully in this throat; Scorpius moved towards Ginny who was still standing slightly back from the rowing men, her face stricken and her fingers twisting together with anxiety.
As he drew closer to the woman with the warm brown eyes, Scorpius felt his worry drop away from him and excitement began to pulse in his little body. If it was true, if Mrs Potter really was his mother that meant he could get rid of Astoria! He wouldn’t have to pretend an interest in her any more, he wouldn’t have to force himself to love a woman who didn’t want him around, and it would explain her very un-motherly attitude towards him.
Draco moved immediately, keeping close behind Scoripus as his son walked slowly, almost trance -like, to Ginny Potter.
Ginny watched as Scorpius drew nearer, fright tingled along her skin, causing the fine hairs on her arms to stand to attention. A part of her wanted to stride right past this poor confused boy and punch her brother in the face, bat bogey him and hex him into the next century. For the life of her, Ginny couldn’t work out what had been going through Ron’s head when he had thrown his accusation at her in front of Scorpius and Albus.
Ginny was surprised to see large blue eyes gazing up her in wonder, a look of delight across the young face of Scorpius Malfoy.
“Is it true?” Scorpius whispered. “Are you my mother?”
Draco sucked in a quick breath, a sharp pain piercing his heart at the undisguised hope shining in his sons eyes and throbbing in his young voice. The fact that Scorpius wasn’t upset by Weasley’s outburst, but almost desperate for it to be true rammed home to Draco exactly how miserable he had unintentionally made his son over the years by thrusting Astoria upon him.
The pain Draco felt was so acute that he could barely breathe. Tears burnt behind his eyes and Draco closed them quickly, it wouldn’t help his son if he broke down now. He would have time to analyse himself and tear himself to pieces over his horrendous parenting later when he was back home.
Ginny bit her bottom lip and shook her head. “No. No I’m not your mother,” she said quietly. “Do you see what you’ve done, Draco? Do you see the pain that you’ve caused?”
“Oh sure, put all the blame on me why don’t you,” Draco snapped, blinking furiously.
“It is all your fault,” Ginny snapped back.
“I didn’t mean it, did I?” Draco raged, dragging a hand through his hair. “I didn’t know what was happening until it was too late to stop it all.”
“You could have done something if you had really tried. If you had really wanted to tell the truth you could have at any time. You just chose not to, you took the easy way out!” Ginny accused, jabbing a finger at him.
“EASY!” Draco bellowed, making everyone jump and causing Scorpius to stare up at him in complete shock. “You think it was easy for me going through what I did?”
Ginny swallowed and took a tentative step forward. “No, I didn’t mean it that way, I really didn’t, Draco. I know you suffered, Draco, probably much more than I can even imagine.”
Draco shook his head slowly. “I couldn’t deal with it, I was broken, I couldn’t think straight. I had depression, part of me wanted to die as well and I was in no position to look after Scorpius. So, my father, as is his way, took matters into his own hands and decided to sort my life out for me. By the time I pulled myself together it was too late to change anything. I was stuck in this web of lies my father had created and I couldn’t find a way out of it.”
“You could have come to me,” Ginny whispered tearfully. “I would have helped you, Draco. I made a promise that I wanted to keep, but you wouldn’t let me. I could have helped, we all could have helped.”
“Um, excuse me, I don’t mean to interrupt this moment of intimacy and understanding, but could one of you please tell me what the hell is going on?” Harry demanded incredulously.
“Yeah, none of this is making any sense. I was sure that you were his mother,” Ron said, gesturing towards Scorpius. “I mean, I over heard you at the Ministry party, what were you talking about if you aren’t Scorpius’ mother, Ginny?”
Ginny rubbed at her throat absently. “Well, um, we were talking about Scorpius’ mother, but I’m not her.” She looked back at Draco. “You know it’s time, Draco. This might not be the ideal time, but thanks to Ron, you don’t really have a choice. I am sorry about him, he’s a moron.”
Draco nodded once. “He’s changed dramatically as well then?”
Ginny rolled her eyes and managed a small grin. “Not so much.”
“Exactly how am I suddenly getting the blame for whatever it is that Malfoy’s done?” Ron asked frowning.
“Because you’re the one who brought it to everyone’s attention,” Hermione pointed out, her forehead scrunching up with annoyance. “How many times do I have to tell you not to watch that stupid programme? Hopefully now you’ve learnt your lesson.”
Harry growled with frustration. “I have to go back to the question: What is going on? Neither one of you have actually answered me,” he complained.
Albus, who had been leaning against the wall absorbing everything like a sponge, suddenly spoke up. “So mum, if you aren’t his mum, does that mean Scorpius’ mum is his mum?”
“Does it?” Scorpius questioned, looking up at his father, the hope fading from his eyes, and a resigned expression settling over his face.
“No, Scorpius,” Draco replied throatily, reaching out and touching his son’s face with a gentle hand. “Astoria isn’t your mother.”
“She isn’t?” the hope and the excitement returned to Scorpius’ eyes and his voice, his hands reached out to grasp his fathers larger one. “Honest?”
“Honest.” Draco promised. Draco shifted uncomfortably, he knew what question was coming next and he didn’t want to hear it. He didn’t want to answer it. He wanted to stop the conversation right now and never go back to it again. How would he possibly get through that conversation with Potter looming over him?
“Then who is?” Scorpius wanted to know. The fact that he had just discovered that the woman he had for eleven years believed was his mother wasn’t in fact his mother at all, didn’t worry him at this moment. He was sure that at some point in the not to distant future he would have an onslaught of emotions to deal with, but right now Scorpius was more interested in finding out who his real mother was and finally getting rid of Astoria.
Draco took a deep breath, mentally trying to prepare himself for what he had to say. “Well it’s someone you know, sort of,” he began awkwardly, resting his hands on Scorpius’ shoulders.
Ginny made a strange sound as a strangled sob got caught in her throat. Clasping a hand to her mouth she turned away, blindly reaching for her own son, wanting to feel him close to her. Albus allowed his mother to pull him against her and hugged her back as she squeezed him tightly.
Scorpius pursed his lips. “Someone I know?”
Draco swallowed and closed his eyes briefly. “You know how I tell you about your Guardian Angel?”
Scorpius nodded, “We take her flowers.”
“She’s not just your Guardian Angel, Scorpius, she’s your mother,” Draco said softly, tears burning behind his eyes again.
Scorpius’ face fell, horror surfacing in his eyes. “But…. But she’s dead,” he exclaimed, dismayed to discover a new mother only to loose her again within seconds.
“I know,” Draco croaked, a lone tear escaping his eye and making its slow way down his cheek. “I know she is. Believe me, I know.” Taking a steadying breath Draco continued, “I didn’t want to be with Astoria, I never wanted to marry Astoria and I know I let your mother down by keeping the truth a secret for so long, but….” his voice broke and he bit his bottom lip. “… I didn’t know how to tell you.”
“This isn’t really our business, we should leave,” Hermione said softly, tears sparkling in her eyes at the anguish and dark, desperate emotions she saw in Draco.
Ron, his eyes lowered to the floor scuffed the ground with the toe of his shoe and nodded his agreement. He was so uncomfortable and felt really guilty about jumping to conclusions.
“No,” Ginny’s voice sounded old and weary, as though she hadn’t used it for a long time. “You need to hear this as well. It’s important for you to understand.”
Hermione shook her head, a perplexed look on her face. “I don’t see how any of this can affect us? It’s not our business,” she repeated firmly.
“Just wait,” Ginny insisted.
Draco didn’t turn to look at Potter, Weasely and Granger even though he was completely aware of them standing behind him. “I loved her. I love her still. I’ll always love her.”
Harry’s eyebrows drew together in a deep frown. “Who, Draco? I don’t understand what any of this has to do with any of us. Who is it?”
Draco could feel the skin of his face stiffening, he could feel his tears dropping off his chin to splatter onto the front of his expensive robes. Strangely, he remembered another time that Potter had seen him crying, and just like today it had been within these very walls. He had been scared then, terrified for his life and that of his parents, desperate to prove that he could do a man’s job and be the Death Eater that no-one else had the belief that he could be.
That was such a different experience than this. He wasn’t terrified any more, but he was hurting, a pain so deep and consuming that Draco wondered if he might collapse as he had in the past. For the first time in a long time, Draco longed for the sweet release of alcohol that had once before blessedly numbed his senses, allowing him a small measure of relief from his grief.
“Luna,” he whispered, clutching one hand over his heart, as though he could press his sorrow away.
“Luna?” Hermione repeated breathlessly, her hand flying to her mouth.
Scorpius sniffed, through his tears he could see that his father was crying quietly and that momentarily threw him. His father was so strong, so powerful, there was nothing his father couldn’t do and to see him so vulnerable was yet another shock to Scorpius’ already reeling system. “It’s not fair,” he whispered. “It’s not fair that my mother is dead.”
“No it’s not,” Draco agreed, gently stroking his son’s hair.
“How did she die?” Scorpius asked.
“Bringing you into the world,” Draco replied, a light smile tugging at the corners of his lips.
“So it’s my fault?” Scorpius looked stricken.
“No! Merlin, no!” Draco assured him hugging him tightly. “It’s not your fault, definitely not.”
“If its anyone’s fault it’s yours, Malfoy,” Harry said suddenly, his voice full of anger.
Draco turned then to finally face the one man he had always disliked. “What?”
“Harry!” Ginny cried out, appalled by her husbands reaction.
“Love?” Harry asked scathingly. “How can you claim to love Luna after what you’ve done?” His green eyes narrowed and flashed furiously, an angry strip of red colouring his cheeks.
“Luna never held my past against me. It’s not for you to judge her choices,” Draco’s back straightened, his natural urge to fight with Potter and protect Luna came rushing back to him.
“I’m not talking about your past,” Harry spat, his fingers flexing irately at his side. “I’m talking about what you’ve done. How could you be so irresponsible? How could you allow it to happen, Malfoy? How could you be so selfish to put your needs, everything you want first and disregard the risk to Luna?” Harry’s face was flushed, he was livid, anger spiralling through him with such an intensity that he found it difficult to control himself.
Eleven years ago he’d had to say goodbye to the one woman who had always been there for him, believing in him no matter what. A woman who had not had the best teenage years and deserved some semblance of happiness in her adult life, but whose life had been cut short because of the man standing in front of him with the tear stained face, red rimmed eyes and confused face.
“What are you talking about?” Draco demanded.
Harry snorted, “I was her friend remember, there wasn’t much Luna didn’t tell me, and if she told me then she was bound to tell you. You can’t pretend that you don’t know. You put her at risk, it’s your fault she’s dead!”
Draco took an automatic step back, staring stupidly at Harry he shook his head. “I don’t know what you mean.”
“Don’t lie to me! You knew!“ Harry raged. “You knew it was dangerous for Luna to fall pregnant. You knew it wasn’t possible for her to have a child in safety. Why did you allow it to happen? Why did you put Luna at risk?”
Draco was dumbfound. He stood perfectly still, his grey eyes searching Harry’s face thoroughly. “No, I didn’t know,” he gasped, his eyes widening in horror. “I didn’t know there was any reason Luna couldn’t have a child. She never told me.”
He shook his head wildly. “No. No, I didn’t know.” Draco began to shake violently, his eyes burning again and his breath coming in short ragged gasps. “Oh Merlin, sweet Merlin, it’s my fault. I killed her. I killed Luna.”