“Harry! Harry stop it!” Ginny cried out distraught.
“Why should I?” Harry demanded. “It’s the truth isn’t it? He killed her for his own selfish reasons. Draco Malfoy, son of Lucius Malfoy, the rich and powerful Malfoy, must have an heir.”
“Harry!” Hermione came forward and grasped her friends arm, “you don’t know that’s how it was. You shouldn’t say things like that.”
“It wasn’t like that,” Draco snapped, pulling himself together slightly. “I didn’t know. She didn’t tell me. I didn’t mean it.” He trailed off, gasping madly as images of Luna lying lifeless in her hospital bed rushed to the forefront of his mind. Swinging his hand out, Draco pressed his palm into the wall for support. The stone felt cold and smooth beneath his palm and he doubled over, fighting for breath, fighting the memories as nausea washed over him in large tidal waves.
“Now look what you’ve done!” Ginny raged, releasing Albus to hurry to Draco’s side, her hands tentatively touching his shoulders, hugging him lightly, offering a support that she wasn’t totally sure he would want. “Draco, it’s alright, Draco.” Ginny soothed.
“Dad?” Scorpius stared at his father in horror. “Are you ok? Dad?” He gripped hold of his fathers arm and tugged, trying to make his father look at him.
“Oh Harry!” Hermione exclaimed passionately, hurrying forward herself and reaching out for Draco, patting his back and squeezing his shoulder. “How can you be so cruel, Harry?”
Harry stared at his wife and friend disbelievingly, he found it difficult to comprehend that they were suddenly surrounding Malfoy like angry tigresses’ ready to pounce on the creature that was hurting their cub.
Ron gave him a rueful look. “Lonely on the opposite side to Malfoy, ain’t it?”
Ron surveyed the scene before him and advised, “Better back down, mate, you just lost.”
“Looks that way to me too, dad,” Albus offered, giving his father a scathing look. “You went too far.”
“Alright, alright,” Harry held out his hands in a sign of surrender. “I guess I shouldn’t have said all of those things. But you have to understand that I’m angry. I mean,” he looked from Hermione to Ginny, “Aren’t you? We’ve been lied to all these years, we thought Luna died of a charm gone wrong like her mother did, we didn’t know about any of this, we didn’t know that Scorpius was around.”
“Ginny knew,” Ron pointed out.
Hermione groaned when she saw the anger return to Harry’s face. She made a mental note to sit her husband down and have a long talk with him once they got back home; and get rid of the television set. It was much more trouble than it was worth!
“That’s another point.” Harry agreed. “Why didn’t you say anything? Why did you keep quiet about it all this time, Ginny?”
Ginny sighed, squaring her shoulders and planting her feet a little further apart when she felt Draco lean against her, his fight for breath now under control. “I wanted to, and I was going to,” Ginny admitted. “But I couldn’t get hold of Draco for love nor money. I heard on the grapevine that he was ill and I didn’t wish to make things worse, then he married Astoria and The Daily Prophet claimed that Scorpius was theirs and I didn’t really know what to do for the best. Would Luna thank me for ruining Draco’s life with scandal? Absolutely not, and if I did, I’d be going against my word. I promised Luna that if she didn’t deliver her child in safety that I’d look after both Draco and the baby. Telling the truth would not have been keeping to my promise. I couldn’t break my promise to Luna, she placed honesty in a person very highly.”
Hermione nodded thoughtfully. “It would have leaked out eventually if you’d told only one of us,” she sighed softly, “It wasn’t likely that it would have been kept a secret between us for very long. We all loved Luna and we would all have wanted to know Scorpius. Maybe, in a strange way, you did the right thing.”
Draco’s head turned slowly to look at Ginny. “You knew she couldn’t have children?”
Ginny nodded. “She was trying to pick up the work where her mother left off….”
“I know that,” Draco interrupted impatiently, “I helped her with some of it. Do you think I didn’t know my own wife?”
“WHAT!” Harry’s shout echoed down the corridor and Draco winced.
“Not my actual wife, but she was going to be, if she’d lived,” he whispered, reaching out and stroking Scorpius’ hair. “We were going to be a family.”
“Luna would have liked that,” Ron said thoughtfully. “She’d have come to us and told us how it was and we would just have had to deal with it,” he grinned suddenly. “Good thing for you she isn’t here, Harry. I wouldn’t fancy your chances arguing with Luna.”
Harry suddenly grinned. “Me neither, how do you argue with someone who stays so calm all the time?”
Hermione spoke up then, pulling them all back on track. “So, Ginny, was it a spell or charm or potions gone wrong that caused her inability to have a child?”
Ginny nodded. “As you can see,“ she paused and smiled down at Scorpius who was holding his fathers hand with one hand and had Albus holding his other arm, a firm expression on the young Potter’s face that Ginny had seen many times before. It told her that Albus was ready and willing to do battle if the occasion warranted it, and she was proud of her young son, standing by his friend. It made her heart ache a little too, it reminded her of the times that she Luna had stuck together, ready and willing to do battle for each other if need be. “Luna could conceive a child, but the after affects of a new potion she had worked on a number of years ago did something to her, no-one knows exactly what so it couldn’t be reversed, and stopped her actually delivering a child safely. We didn’t even think she’d be able to carry a child full-term, but that turned out to be wrong, so Luna being Luna, had faith that she could deliver a child too.”
“But, if she carried Scorpius full-term, why didn’t she have help with her delivery?” Hermione demanded.
“It wouldn’t have made a difference. Her insides were all messed up because of the potion. She went to see healers but they couldn’t do anything for her, they weren’t sure what actually caused it, you know, what actually happened. A child, a magical child, just destroyed her body even more,” Ginny explained, giving Scorpius a reassuring smile.
“Well no wonder we didn’t see her for months before she died. She was hiding her pregnancy from us,” Harry said, running a hand through his hair.
“She said she wanted it to be a surprise,” Draco said quietly. “She wanted to invite you to the house and show you how happy she was and ask you to come to the wedding. I wanted to marry her before the baby came but she told me she didn’t want to be fat in her wedding dress. I should have realized then that something wasn’t right,” he muttered angrily, his fingers curling into fists. “Luna of all people wouldn’t have minded being pregnant in her wedding dress, she didn’t care what other people thought of her.”
Hermione said sympathetically, “Luna was doing what she believed to be the best to protect you, maybe to save you from more pain if things didn’t go according to plan. You can’t blame yourself for that, Draco,”
“I don’t see why not,” Ron retorted stubbornly.
“Me either,” Harry agreed. “If you had stopped to think, she might be here now.”
Ginny’s face creased up into a scowl and she placed her hands on her hips. “Harry James Potter!”
“Ouch, she middle named you, now you’re in for it,” Ron hissed, Harry shot him an annoyed look.
“Are you standing there and telling me that you wouldn’t give your life for one of our children?” Ginny demanded.
“Of course not! You know I would! I’d die for any one of them in a heart beat!” Harry yelled heatedly, extremely insulted that his own wife would suggest otherwise.
“Then why should Luna be any different?” Hermione asked, her own hands coming to rest on her hips as well.
Ron grimaced, “They’re on the same wavelength now. Time to retreat, mate, you’ll only be shot down in flames if you don’t.”
“Shut up, Ron,” Ginny snapped.
“Yes, enough with the running commentary,” Hermione said.
Ginny sighed heavily, “Luna believed that because she had carried her child full-term she would be ok, that the healers were wrong. She wasn’t stupid, she knew that there was still a very good chance that she would die. But, she loved you so much, Draco, Luna was willing to take the risk because she wanted your child.”
Hermione shivered, this was a classic example of the old saying: be careful what you wish for.
Draco wiped at his eyes, squeezing Scoripus’ hand. His son looked up at him with watery blue eyes; eyes that were slightly on the large side, that could turn dreamy for no apparent reason and sometimes seemed to hold a wisdom beyond his eleven years. Scorpius has Luna’s eyes, and he had Luna’s intensity and sensitivity. Draco was glad of this, these were qualities that he had admired in Luna and he was proud that his son had them too.
“Would you change it dad?” Scorpius wondered. “If you could have her back, would you change it?”
Draco swallowed and shook his head. “No, Scorpius. As long as you’re here, Luna’s here too.”
“But you love her,” Scorpius persisted. “Wouldn’t you be happier if she were here?”
“Much happier,” Draco said. “I’d be so happy. But, then you wouldn’t be here, and Luna wanted that more than she wanted her own life, and I’m very glad that you’re here, Scorpius. I wouldn’t give you up for anything.” Leaning over, Draco hugged his son close to him, tears forming in his eyes again as he thought of Luna, and how much she had loved their child, she had given her life for him and Draco knew he had not performed as he should have done.
He really had let Luna down and he felt the hot flush of shame sweep up his neck. If she were here, would his Luna even recognize him as the man she had loved, the man she had wanted to spend her life with? Somehow, Draco didn’t think so and it made him squirm with guilt and disgrace.
Scorpius clung tightly to his father for a few minutes, crying silently. His father made him feel better, knowing that he was there, holding him close the way he had when he was small and had hurt himself or had a nightmare. Astoria never bothered with such things, and Scorpius could now feel sorry for her. Now that he knew the truth he figured it must have been hard on her loving his father so much and knowing she wasn’t even second best, she just simply wasn’t wanted.
Albus submitted to his mother’s crushing hug. He was glad of it, although he’d rather die than admit that. Eleven year old boys simply weren’t supposed to want hugs from their mothers. Today was different, Albus thought, today he really needed his mother close to him just as she needed to know he was within reach. It comforted the both of them.
Pulling away from his father Scorpius wiped his eyes with the back of his hand and accepted the tissue Hermione offered him. “Thank you.” He blew his nose and looked sadly at Draco. “It’s really not fair that she had to die before I ever knew her. Why did it have to be my mother?”
Draco ran a hand through his hair. “Probably punishment for something I did a long time ago.”
Scorpius frowned, “What did you do?”
“That’s another story for another day,” Draco said wearily.
“You can’t think like that, Draco,” Hermione chided. “You paid the price for what you did before and after it. It’s now all in the past and has no bearing on what’s happened with Luna. It’s just one of those tragedies that happen for no good reason.”
Smiling through her tears, Hermione touched Scorpius lightly on the cheek. “We are all very good friends of Luna’s, we all have lots of stories to tell you about her, and lots of memories to show you. It’s not the same, it can never be the same Scorpius, but maybe it’ll help you understand more about the woman who loved you more than anything else in the universe. Including her own life.”
“Hermione’s right,” Ginny brightened at the prospect of keeping to her word and telling Luna’s son all about her. “When you’re ready for them, all you have to do it tell us and we’ll talk till the Hippogriff’s come home about your mum. We know loads of stuff about her.”
Draco seemed to perk up a bit as well. “I’ll send you lots of photo’s when I get home and I’ve got tons of memories for you to look at. When you come home for Christmas that’s what we’ll do,” he promised, “We’ll go through all the photographs and all of the memories together.”
Scorpius smiled, he was appeased by this idea; although Christmas seemed ever so far away. He sighed softly, “It won’t be the same as seeing her.”
“It’s the next best thing,” Albus said. “Besides,” he jabbed his friend in the ribs and hissed, “you’ll get to use a pensive, they’re cool. Dad has one, but mum won’t let me use it,” he shot Ginny a murderous look.
“I’m sure you’ll get over the disappointment,” Ginny retorted.
“You can use my dad’s,” Scorpius offered kindly. “He won’t mind. You can come and see my mum with me.”
“Cool,” Albus grinned triumphantly at Ginny who pulled a face at him.
Scorpious smiled but it quickly faded and sadness returned to his face. “I wish,” he began looking up at his father, “that I could see her, at least once, if only for a few minutes.”
Draco blinked rapidly to attempt to stop his tears. “Me too,” he said, patting his son’s shoulder. “I wish for it every single day; but there’s no way, Scorpious.”
“Draco,” Harry said quietly, “There is a way.”
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