His heart stopped, Draco was sure of it. He couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t think straight, all he could do was stare. Luna, his Luna was there, standing just in front of him, as radiant, as beautiful, as utterly odd as she always had been. Emotion flooded him; love poured from him and pain lashed through him. His body trembled and his bottom lip quivered as hot, salty tears stung his eyes.
Luna tilted her head to the side, a loving smile playing at the corners of her lips. “You aren’t usually lost for words, Draco.”
“Luna….” Her name fell from his lips in a croak.
Luna turned her attention from Draco and stared at Scorpius. Her large blue eyes drank him in from head to toe, devouring him as hungrily as Draco knew he was devouring her. “Scorpius,” she whispered, “I’ve been watching you, watching you grow, and I’m proud of you. I love you so very much.”
Tears dripped off Scorpius’ chin but he was hardly aware of it, so busy was he in staring at the apparition before him that shimmered and glowed with a strange golden hue. He couldn’t take his eyes off Luna, wanting to commit her completely to his memory, to know every freckle on her face, every curl in her hair; he would never have this opportunity again, to see her, talk to her, and yet he couldn’t seem to find his voice.
“Please, please forgive me, Luna. I didn’t mean for things to turn out this way. I didn’t mean to erase you from Scorpius life, to pretend you didn’t exist. I just, I was a mess. I couldn’t function properly without you, I don’t work right without you and you know my father, he just takes over. By the time I came to my senses there wasn’t anything I could do about it. I didn’t….”
“Draco,” Luna held up a hand to stop him, now that he had started to speak Draco didn’t seem like he was going to stop. He wanted to get everything out, he wanted her to know how sorry he was for keeping her a secret from her own son. “You love our son, I know that, you’re a good father, I see it every day. I’m not angry with you. I know how you suffered, I saw it all. Astoria, she loved Scorpius once, when he was little, when she thought she could mould him into her own son. You put paid to that, once you were strong enough, you shut her out. She never even experienced a shadow of the love you’re capable of giving. I feel rather sorry for her,” she added softly.
Draco couldn’t help his eyes rolling skyward. “You would, even though she hates you.”
Luna smiled again. “You never understood people, did you, Draco? It’s you she hates not me, because she loves you and you don’t love her. She can’t let you go and yet you make her miserable. It’s a vicious cycle Draco, you should know that; you’re living it too.”
“Me?” Draco frowned. “What are you talking about?”
“You love me, and yet I make you miserable because you can’t let me go,” Luna said quietly.
“No!” Draco denied the gentle accusation vehemently. “You could never make me miserable. Never! I loved you. I still do.”
“I know,” Luna nodded her head. “I love you too, Draco.” She came forward a few paces and dropped her voice to a conspiring whisper. “I’ve taken it with me, Draco, all the love I had for you on Earth, it travels to the other side too. I may be gone, but my love for you isn’t, love never dies, Draco and I’ll be waiting for you until its time for you to join me and we can be together again. Some day, we’ll all be together as a family once more.” Turning again to look at Scorpius, Luna said, “You must stop grieving for me, the both of you.”
“I want to be just like you,” Scorpius blurted. “I want to be like the woman everyone loves and misses.”
“Scorpius, you must live a life that is full and complete, a life that you want to live and makes you happy no matter what anyone says. I always did and I had a wonderful life with good friends and a love that was so intense I sometimes had to pinch myself to know it was real. Life is what you make it, Scorpius, and looking at you now, knowing how well you’ve been loved and have grown, I wouldn’t change it. My life was worth living because it gave me you.”
Harsh sobs clogged Scorpius throat and he struggled to breathe as tears still tracked quietly down his stiff and reddened cheeks. “I… I have so many things to say,” he told her, his voice catching and choking with the effort to keep calm.
“There is never enough time to say all the things we wish to say, especially to those we love,” Luna told him wisely.
“No,” Draco hissed violently. “You can’t, Luna. You can’t leave again. Please don’t leave me again.” All the energy seemed to leave his body and Draco’s shoulders sagged, his knees almost buckling. He suddenly felt old and tired, drained of the will to live if Luna was to be taken away from him again.
“Darling Draco,” she said softly. “I never really left you. You love me, so I live in your heart. I live…” she whispered, “in Scorpius.”
Luna’s hand reached for Scorpius, but she didn’t touch him, instead she let her arm fall back to her side and her image shook violently for a moment. “I wish I could touch you both. I wish I could hold my baby one more time and give you both the kisses I have stored up for you, but I can’t, it’s impossible, and the longer I spend with you being denied what I want, what I crave most in the entire universe, the harder it is for me.”
“Not yet,” Scorpius begged, his hands reaching for her, passing through her, the slightly cooler air around his hands the only thing he could feel to tell him his mother was there.
“No,” Draco gasped, his hand clutching at his chest as a fresh jolt of grief pierced his heart. “Please, stay.”
“Just a little bit longer,” Scorpius implored, his eyes wide with pain and anguish.
“You’ll send my love to Harry, won’t you? Oh Scorpius,” she clasped her hands together at her breast. “You’ll have such wonderful new friends in the Potter’s and the Weasley’s. Draco, please try not to fight with Ron all the time.”
Draco’s lips twisted into a crooked grin. “I’ve never made you a promise I couldn’t keep, Luna and I don’t intend to start now.”
Luna laughed then, as wild and carefree as she used to. “Don’t change, Draco.” Her face suddenly turned serious and she shook her head slowly. “I love you, I love you both very much and I’ll always be with you, watching over you. But it’s time now. It’s time to let go, Draco.”
“I don’t want to let go. I’ll never let you go,” Draco told her stubbornly, his chin tilting to a defiant angle that made Luna’s spirit ache. He hadn’t changed and he never would and for that she was grateful. He was her Draco.
It was Scorpius who pried his father’s fingers off the Resurrection Stone, and looking at his mother, a woman he now felt was braver than anyone he knew for coming back to a world that had moved on without her, a world into which she no longer belonged, he lifted his head in an imitation of his father’s and said with a wisdom that mirrored his mother’s, “I love you, mother, I wish you didn’t have to go. I’ll see you again one day.”
The stone was warm in his palm and Scorpius held it tightly for a moment, his link with his mother, before he let it fall from his fingers. The painful cry that left his father’s lips echoed the silent scream in his own heart as Luna shimmered and vanished into thin air.
Ginny was pacing back and forth at the entrance to the forest, her forehead puckered as she chewed absently on the pad of her thumb. She wasn’t sure it was such a good idea, leaving someone as emotionally unstable as she felt Draco was when it came to Luna with the Resurrection Stone. Draco and Scorpius had been gone a long time, and she was just about to suggest that they go in after them when father and son emerged from the path.
Scorpius blinked in the sudden brightness, tugging on his father’s arm as Draco plodded along behind him, his head low and his shoulder sagging. “I saw her!” he exclaimed to Ginny, a large smile on his face.
Ginny laughed and threw her arms around him, hugging him close to her. “We have so much to catch up on. We have loads of stories to tell you, and you can tell us everything that happened when you come to us for Christmas.”
“Cool!” Albus grinned. “Someone other than James to talk to at Christmas. He’s never any fun anymore, not now that he thinks he’s all grown up. He’s not,” he added to Scorpius. “He just thinks that he is. He still sucks.”
Scorpius turned to look at his father, his young, tear streaked face suddenly filled with hope. Draco, who was leaning wearily against a nearby tree trunk with Hermione hovering close by in case he collapsed, hadn’t the heart to refuse his son something he so very clearly wanted, something he perhaps craved and Draco could understand it. “Fine,” he agreed.
Hermione had the nagging suspicion that Draco was going to regret that one little word a lot over the course of the next few months until Christmas came around. She hid her smile at the thought that he was probably going to try and come up with all kinds of excuses not to actually attend at Harry’s and Ginny’s; but he would, she also felt that, because he was a good father and Hermione was proud of him. Something that she felt would probably amuse and annoy Draco if he ever found out about it.
Draco waved a hand dismissively. “Don’t worry about her. I’ll deal with it. When you come home for Christmas it will be just us two. I promise.”
Suddenly, Hagrid appeared with an axe slung over his shoulder. He stopped dead in his tracks, utter bewilderment on his face at seeing Draco Malfoy with Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione. Noticing the two small boys he wondered if the Malfoy kid had been picking on Albus the way Draco used to pick on Harry and Ron. “I thought you were at the Quidditch tryouts,” he said, sending a particularly confused look at Ginny, he would have put money on her being at the tryouts. “What are you all doing down here?”
Harry glanced at the others before speaking. “Nothing,” he said casually. “We aren’t doing anything.”
Hagrid raised an eyebrow and snorted. “You lot doing nothing? Ha, that’ll be the day.”
“You have a suspicious mind, Hagrid,” Ron said.
“Comes in handy where you lot are concerned,” Hagrid retorted giving Harry a long and searching look.