Thank you so much for all of your continuous support, especially when I haven't been updating much. I've been wanting to so much, but my health issues as of lately haven't been allowing me to do too much. I do apologize for the absences in between, but I do promise I'm trying my best! Anyway, thank you again for the continuous support! I really do appreciate it! :)
*Warning: Substance Use/Abuse
"Don't worry if you haven't packed everything," Draco started as he and Sophie stood in front of the Hogwarts Express. "I'll owl you the rest. And I'm sure you'll receive plenty of packages from Mum and Dad."
Sophie smiled as she looked up from her bag. "There shouldn't be anything left. My mum used to make me check at least three times before saying I was finished packing. She used to make me go bloody insane."
"Sounds like it," he chuckled awkwardly as he tried to make the uncomfortable feeling in his chest go away. "I probably should've learned that a long time ago."
A silent pause followed as Sophie looked around. When her attention was averted away, Draco turned and saw Astoria with one of Scorpius's friends' mothers. The two of them looked over, a masked disgusted look upon their faces, letting him know they were talking about him.
"When's the next time I'll see you?" Sophie suddenly asked, causing Draco to turn his attention back to her. "Probably not until the summer vacation, huh?"
"It doesn't have to be," Draco answered instantly as he heard the sadness she was trying to cover. She looked up at him expectantly, her brown eyes searching his for an answer. A small smile played on his lips as he saw the recognizable innocent look on her face. Finally, he answered, "There'll be the Quidditch matches, and I can meet you on your Hogsmeade trips if you'd like. You'll just need to owl me the dates so I can plan ahead."
"Really? You'd actually do that?"
Once the words spilt from his lips, her arms were around him, and the smile on his lips grew wider. He then wrapped his arms around her and kissed the top of her head instinctively.
He looked over Sophie's head and saw Ginny and Harry making their way over with Fred Jr., Louis, James, Albus, and Lily. His body stiffened while his eyes narrowed. Sophie could feel the difference his body language and looked up. Seeing his eyes focused on something, she looked over her shoulder to see the approaching group. The smile on her face seemed to grow as she saw Fred and Louis.
"Hey, you guys," she greeted.
"Are you done hiding from us?" Fred asked.
"Never was," she countered.
Draco smiled at the sudden change in her tone. As he was about to say something,
Ginny said, "We just wanted to come say goodbye to Sophie."
"It would've been nice if you would've given us a little notice," Astoria said as she walked over next to Draco, Scorpius at her other side. "This is a family moment."
Her arm wrapped around Draco's torso. His jaw clenched slightly at her touch, but he composed himself quickly. He looked at Harry and then at Ginny, who was looking at him from the first time since they walked up.
"Unless I was mistaken," Ginny started, her eyes darting from Draco quickly, "I am Sophie's mother."
"We should probably find out seats, shouldn't we?" Sophie asked, trying to avoid the argument. Everyone's attention turned to her, and she bit her lip.
"You're right," Draco answered after looking at his watch. "Have a good term, alright? And don't forget to keep in touch."
"Will do," she said with a smile. "See you soon."
"I'll send your care package when I send Scorpius's," Astoria said.
Sophie nodded, her brows furrowed slightly in confusion. Before she could hug Draco, Astoria moved over and intercepted the hug. She became even more confused, her arms not moving from her side.
Draco looked away from Astoria and Sophie, not wanting to give Ginny or Harry the impression that the hug was out of character. His eyes moved to watch Ginny's expression, which was a mixture of hurt and astonishment. Finally, Astoria let go of Sophie. When she did, he looked at Sophie, and the two of them seemed to be exchanging a few words.
Finally, the two of them hugged once more and said their goodbyes. Once they were finished, Draco and Astoria started to say goodbye to Scorpius. As they were, Ginny took the opportunity to talk with Sophie.
"Do you mind if I have a quick word?"
"I suppose not," Sophie said after a moment.
Ginny led her away from the group to a secluded column. She them smiled and started, "I know we haven't been on the best of terms for the past couple weeks, and I'm sorry about that. I have a lot to make up for, I know, but I want to try and make it up to you. I would like to try and have a relationship with you, Sophie. I really would."
As she finished, Sophie was flabbergasted. She looked at Ginny, not knowing what to say. Before she could say anything, Scorpius called for her. She turned and nodded. "I better get going."
"Before you go," she said as she fished through her robes. After a moment, she pulled out a locket and handed it to Sophie. "Here, I'd like you to have this."
Sophie took it and nodded. "See you later," she said as she turned and hurried over to Scorpius, shoving the locket into her bag.
Finally, all the kids were on the train, and Ginny was standing next to Harry's side waving to their children. The train then began to move out of the station and to Hogwarts.
When the train was out of sight, Ginny and Harry turned to Draco and Astoria. Ginny's eyes stayed averted from Draco, the memory of him and the bridge burning in her mind.
"Is there something you wanted?" Draco asked, his voice thick.
"We were just wondering if we could end this harshness toward one another for Sophie's sake. We would love her to be a part of our family. The rest of our family would love to get to know her too."
"How we interact has nothing to do with Sophie being a part of your family. It's her decision to make," Draco said. "She is seventeen after all."
"Of course, but we thought it would be easier for her to want to know our family if you were more accepting to the idea," Harry stated.
Draco's eyes narrowed at him and said roughly, "Don't forget everything the two of you have done to me. You're asking me to just forget everything. I just found out I had a daughter after seventeen years of her life, whereas you two knew all along! And, as I've said before, she's seventeen and can make her own decisions. Now, if you can excuse us, we must be going."
"Please, Draco," Ginny finally said. " Would you please just consider it. Think about how our lives could be. It could be as if we're one big, happy family.
As she said the words, the image of him, Ginny, and Sophie as a family evolved in his mind, and his throat seemed to close slightly. Instead of his temper taking over though, he said softly, "You really are one of the most selfish people I know. You're the only one who can fix the relationship with her. Don't you dare try to use me and what we had to get what you want."
Without another word, he turned away from them and began to walk down the platform. Astoria followed him quickly. When she reached him, they quickly Apparated.
Their surroundings changed quickly, and they were in the lounge of their home. Draco instantly moved to the drink cart and poured himself a drink in a goblet. He downed it quickly and let out a satisfied sigh.
"Draco, do you really think you should be drinking right now?" Astoria questioned, a small hint of false concern in her tone.
"Well, why not? I don't have to go into work today, and I just had to deal with the Potters. A couple drinks sounds like the perfect medicine. Why don't you join me?"
"No, thank you, you know how my stomach is this time of day," she responded. He turned away to pour himself a third drink, and a small smirk drew on her face. "Why don't we take this upstairs?"
"Now, I think that's one of the best ideas you've had in ages!" he exclaimed as he down another goblet.
Astoria's smirk seemed to grow as she took his hand and led him upstairs. When they reached their bedroom, she led him to the bed. He lied down and took a sip from the bottle he had brought with him. She leant in and began to kiss him, her hand grabbing the goblet from his hand and setting it on the table.
Her distracting tactics began to work perfectly as Draco began to take the bait and maneuvered himself on top of her. As he continued, her plan began to play out in her mind even more so.
Once he was finished, he let out another satisfied sigh, grabbed the bottle, and lied under the covers next to her. She moved closer and kissed his cheek, her fingertips playing with his hair.
Propping herself up on her elbow, she leaned closer to his ear and whispered, "You know what you need to do to make Ginny pay for everything she's done to you, right?"
"Never talk to her again?" he slurred.
"Something even better than that. To really make her pay, you should take her to the Wizengamot and sue her for the past seventeen years. Not only will it make her and Harry pay, but it'll also show Sophie how much you care about her."
"You may be on to something there," he mumbled.
"And then it can just be you, me, and our family," she responded softly, meaning her, Draco and Scorpius when she said "our family."
A few minutes passed before Draco leant over and kissed Astoria's cheek. He then stood and walked into the attached bathroom. As the sink began to run, Astoria smiled to herself and whispered under her breath, "If my plan works out right, Sophie will be out of our lives permanently."
"Sorry, what was that?" Draco questioned as he stepped out of the bathroom smelling of his cologne and holding a small bottle of a hangover potion.
"Nothing, just talking to myself. Where are you going?" she asked as she watched him dress.
He buttoned the last few buttons of his shirt and answered, "To the Ministry."
"You don't have work today though."
"No, but I want to get a head start on that idea. It could take a couple months before we actually go in front of the Wizengamot, so the sooner the better."
Astoria stood and wrapped a robe around her. She smiled and same, "That's a good idea. Do you want me to go with you?"
"I don't think that would be a good idea right now. We shouldn't do anything that would cause anyone to become suspicious. I'll see you later tonight."
Before she could answer, Draco was already making his way down the stairs. Astoria went to the railing and watched him finish moving down the stairs.
When he reached the bottom, he went into his study, to the fireplace, and Flooed to the Ministry. He walked through the bustling Ministry, feeling everyone's attention focused more on him than usual. Ignoring them, he finally reached his office.
He sat down at his desk and began to look through his drawers and files for the document that he had helped so many others fill out when they wanted to sue someone for whatever reason they came up with.
"Natalia!" Draco exclaimed as he continued to search.
"Yes?" she asked as she walked into his office.
"Where are the suing documents?" he asked as he finally turned forward and looked at her. His eyes widened slightly as he saw her. Her brown hair that was normally in a tight bun was hanging down below her shoulders, her big, black glasses weren't resting upon the bridge of her nose, and her normal, baggy pant suits were exchanged for a form fitting top and skirt that seemed to accentuate every curve of her body.
"I was trying out a new filing system," she started. When she saw the look on his face, she hurriedly said, "If that's okay, that is. I can always change it back."
"No, no, that's okay," he said as he composed himself. "I'm sure it's brilliant. Can I get that paperwork from you?"
"Right away." She turned around and walked out of the room. She was back within a few seconds and handed it to him. "Here you go. I'll have the filing done by the time you get back from your time off."
"Okay, sounds great," he responded as his eyes were still on her. He then turned his attention to the document, grabbed his quill, and began to fill it out.
"Sir, may I ask you something?" He nodded, and she asked, "Why are you here? I thought the Minister gave you time off."
"I have some personal matters to carry out and wanted it done as quickly as possible." Natalia nodded, turned and started for the door. As she was about to walk through and close it, Draco looked up and said, "Actually, I could use your input on something. Close the door and have a seat."
She turned back around in surprise, closed the door, and took the seat in front of his desk. She crossed her legs and looked at him curiously.
"You've heard of everything with my," he started to swallow the lump that had suddenly grown in his throat, "newly found daughter."
"Of course. And about the birth certificate."
"You heard about that?" he asked in shock.
"Well, I wouldn't of if Hopkirk didn't ask me about it. I think it's a really great thing you're doing - accepting her and spending so much time with her. It shows what kind of man you really are."
He looked at her, heat rising up his neck at her words. Clearing his throat, he smiled slightly and said, "Thank you."
"Is that what you wanted to ask me about?"
"No," he answered. "What I wanted to ask was what you thought if I were to sue Ginny Weasley for keeping Sophie out of my life."
Natalia looked at him in surprise as he caught her complete off guard. "Is that what the papers are for?"
"They are… You hate the idea, don't you?"
"Oh, it's not that," she answered quickly. "I can completely understand it after what they've done. But you're such a private person and hate people involved in your business. With the lawsuit, you won't have a moment to yourself."
"Yes, you're right…," he trailed. The words Astoria whispered to him earlier, about it proving to Sophie how much he actually cared for her, rang through his head. Finally, he said, "I'll have to deal with it. It'll all be worth it in the end."
"I do hope so. Would you like me to take those and send them off?" Natalia asked as she stood from the chair.
"Thank you," he said as he stood and handed them to her. "Thank you for listening and being honest. I don't normally hear, except from Sophie. It's refreshing."
She smiled and before she could say anything, Draco's lips were on hers. Her eyes widened, and she pulled away quickly, her free hand instantly moving up to touch her lips. "W-What was that?"
"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done that," Draco said instantly as he ran his hand through his hair.
"I-I-I think I'm going to go and give these papers to t-the right p-person," she stuttered.
"Natalia, wait," he said as he reached for her arm. "Please forgive me for that. My emotions took over and I wasn't thinking."
"I-It's fine. I better be going if you want these in the works. Have a good rest of the day, sir."
Without another word, she was out of his office, leaving him by himself. Once the door closed, he leant against his desk and ran a hand through his hair again. He shook his head and made his way out of the office and out of the Ministry.
That evening, Natalia was at her best friends house, Cynthia, having dinner and a couple of glasses of wine.
"So, after working with him and pining after him for years, something finally happens, and you just walk away?!" Cynthia asked.
She blushed and looked into her glass. When Cynthia egged her on, Natalia finally said, "Well, what was I supposed to do? I was caught completely off guard. Not only that, but he's married! He has a kid. Scratch that," she said before taking a sip from her glass. "He has two kids - one he just found out about! And now he's going to be suing the mother of his first child, and he just has so much going on…"
"The perfect moment for you to move in and make him yours!"
"Oh, Cynthia…," she trailed.
"Well, the clothes and makeup worked, didn't they?! You said he couldn't keep his eyes off of you! So, I was right about that! I can't be wrong about this. You said yourself that he works a lot and hardly keeps any pictures of his wife in the office. He's going to have to turn to someone. Why not let that someone be you?"
Natalia looked away from Cynthia and took a large gulp from her glass, thinking about what she had said.
The sky grew dark as the Hogwarts Express was almost to Hogwarts. Sophie was sitting with Fred and Louis at the back of the train, still catching up on everything that happened during vacation.
"You didn't!" Sophie exclaimed as she laughed. "You two are going to be in so much trouble!"
"Nah, they'll never know it was us!"
"Yeah, I mean, anyone could make toilet water change color and spurt every time the lid's lifted," Fred said.
"But everyone knows that only you two would think of that and actually go through with it."
Fred and Louis looked at each other suddenly, a look of questionable doubt on each of their faces. Seeing the looks on their faces, Sophie began to laugh even harder, her arm wrapping around his stomach. After a few minutes, the two turned their attention back to Sophie, whose laughter had begun to die down.
"So, how did you survive the Malfoys?" Fred asked.
"We've been dying to know," Louis explained.
"What do you mean, 'survive?'" she questioned curiously.
"You know what we mean. Before you found out he was your dad, you guys didn't get along. When you two ran into each other that is."
"It was pretty awkward at first, especially because of Astoria and Scorpius. Gran and Granddad were great though. Apparently, Granddad was the one who initially found out that Ginny and Draco were my parents."
"Really? How'd he do that?"
Sophie shrugged. "I don't know. Doesn't really matter though, does it? I'm just glad I found out. Now I get to make up all the lost time with Draco."
"And Aunt Ginny. Along with your brothers, sister, and cousins."
"Right," she responded awkwardly as she looked down at the floor.
"You know, you were the subject of practically every conversation in our family. Well, you, Aunt Ginny, and Malfoy, anyway."
When she didn't respond, Fred continued, "We all really wanted to spend time with you. Especially the two of us. We missed our little witch!"
"I missed you guys too. I've been wanting to hang out with you guys, but I wanted to get to know Draco. And we already have had our rough patch, where I disappeared for the day, but now we're okay. Things are going great."
"We heard about that. Why did you run? Where did you go?"
"We never heard the whole story."
"It was after a conversation with Ginny. I was just really upset and accidentally Apparated to my old apartment near Jake's apartment."
"Jake? You mean the one of the picture you have in your sketchbook?"
"Yep," she answered, a smile sneaking onto her face.
"You saw him, didn't you?"
"Yes, and he took care of me. He was quite the gentleman, actually."
"And does daddy dearest know you were in a boys' apartment, alone?" Fred teased.
"Oh, stop! It wasn't like that," she responded as she rolled her eyes. "You two better change into your robes. We're almost there, I can see the castle."
"This isn't over. We need to know all about this Jake," Louis said.
Sophie rolled her eyes again, the smile still on her face. The two of them walked out of the compartment, leaving Sophie to her thoughts. She looked out the window, staring at Hogwarts in awe.
Suddenly, the memory of Ginny handing her the locket registered in her mind, and she hurriedly reached for her bag. "Accio locket!"
The golden heart shaped locket jumped into her hand and she looked at it curiously. She turned it over to see if there was anything written on it. When she didn't find anything, she noticed there was a latch, and she pulled on it. As it opened, she looked down to see a picture of Ginny holding a baby in pink blankets. Sophie's brows furrowed and she looked on the other side to see an inscription: September 23, 2003.
Her eyes welled with tears suddenly as she looked back to the pictures. The train then came to a stop and the door to her compartment slid open.
"Time to go, Soph," Louis said.
"You okay?" Fred asked as he saw the look on her face.
"F-Fine," she stumbled as she wiped her eyes. She looked at the picture one more time before she stood and grabbed her bag. She began to walk toward Fred and Louis when she placed the locket around her neck, letting it rest against her heart. Wrapping her arms around the two of them, she smiled and said, "Let's have the best term ever."