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Chapter 1 : Let me In
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The tears came almost immediately, followed by small sobs. It was several seconds before she realised there was a hand on her shoulder, recoiling she drew her wand turning on a dime only to be facing a familiar pair of blue eyes. She weakly pushed him away and he reluctantly obeyed. She hadn’t seen her husband in ages, it took great skill to avoid the warlock but she had persisted for so long, her persistence enough to even gather divorce papers. She couldn’t even bare to look at him.
When he drew his wand to open the door she knew it was only a matter of time before he would want to speak so she raised her hand to silence him. She hadn’t seen the impatient reply written over his face. The chilled air hit her face as she turned to step inside, sauntering in to meet the bottom of the stairs. Ignoring him she continued her ascent, despite her growling stomach and exhaustion. Finally hitting the carpet at the top of the stairs she allowed a sigh of relief to escape her lips and exhaustion to take over her body. Suddenly overcome with a chill of the household she struggled to hold onto her daily routine. Ignoring her wand in her back pocket she merely moved forward to hopefully meet her bedroom door soon, her efforts being drawn away, distracted by the warmth escaping from the door in front of her.
Struggling slightly she knew she had to stop, practically lethargic, she was hardly a match for her husband’s strong grasp. He had always been stronger than she, “just put me down Draco.” Her pleas were ignored, the doors opened, the room illuminated by firelight. Dazed she glanced up, at the shadows dancing across the enchanted ceiling. Suddenly weaker she raised her hand to strike him, only to have her hand lightly touch his chest instead. He soothed her enough to stop wasting her energy and laid her down to rest. Pulling the covers over her, he kissed her forehead and sauntered away, the last thing she was able to see before she closed her eyes.
Draco had taken refuge on the chair in their room, this was far from what he was accustomed to with her, although the past year attitudes had changed. All he wished for was not wanting to frighten his wife once she awoke the next morning. It had been hours since she got home, fought him and been laid to slumber. Wishing she would use charms to keep herself warm, and not leave herself so susceptible to a cold with just muggle means. She had been that way since the funeral, not interested in the comfort of his arms or any charms but instead in wondering what it had been like for him before he passed, what his life was like in the muggle realm life in the muggle realm that had brought his untimely demise. It had all been unreal since the day of their sons eleventh birthday, when no letter had come.
Their son, with no magic to protect him, had alienated himself from a family desperate to understand him and had fallen into the wrong crowd when trying to find a group to accept him. Scorpius had found a life without magic more dangerous than his parents life had been during their time during the Great War. The young squib often acted out and would run off from family events every time his cousins would show off what they learnt in Hogwarts. His broken heart being his greatest enemy.
Blind to the fierce love his mother kept for him and the deep adoration of his father towards him. Despite coming from generations of magical prowess on both sides of their family, his parents had embraced the idea of a muggle household. Although Draco had been resistant at first, still wanting to show his son the wonders of magic so he wouldn't be scared. However as he got older, Scorpius asked that his father stopped trying to cheer him with magic. While it was full of wonder, it only filled their son with dread and alienation. After all, when a young man loses hope, he is more endangered than any man in a war zone.
Astoria was rather okay with keeping the powerful charms to protect them from harm but otherwise they had learned to be without magic. Even prompting Astoria to take work at a muggle hospital, occasionally treating patients with miracles as a good deed with her magical prowess. While Draco still worked each day at the ministry, not wanting to abandon his connection to the magical world. It had been after their son was identified in a dark mortuary in Cardiff that Astoria abandoned her workplace and had been suddenly plunged into an obsessive search, all prompted by the photograph in his wallet. A horrid search that at times nearly ended her life, occasionally being found collapsed in the streets or worse, passed out at a bar. She had been slowly deteriorating over the past few months, and all he could do was look on, helpless.
He once again embraced magic upon his son's departure while Astoria did whatever she could to be further from it. He even noticed one day that her wand had been retired to the mantelpiece, the same place her grandparent’s wands were on display. Draco even took to hiring a house elf for the upkeep of their family home with fair wages, trying to immerse himself in comfort again when he could find none with his wife.
Draco picked up a photograph he had secretly taken with magical lenses, of a young Astoria desperately trying to catch up with their young toddler. Scorpius, only two at the time had abandoned waiting for his mother to try and find a new diaper. The shock in her eyes as she scrambled after her child, catching him, laughing and giggling. Draco grinned at the memory of her desperately trying to show off that she could take care of their son on her own. Without the help of a doting father, and prove she was a good mother. Although Draco never believed she needed to prove a thing, especially once he was older, and started to take after his mother’s love of nursing. They had become one in the same mind, he sighed heavily with one thought on his mind, of what brought them to this. He thought for sure she would never abandon him to grieve alone.
His thoughts were soon interrupted as screams arose, Astoria cried out, thrashing around where she lay. Not a moment was lost as he hurried to her side, holding her down so she wouldn’t hurt herself. With a hushed voice he comforted her, “Astoria, you’re safe, my love, fear not, I am here.” Her eyes fluttered as she muttered his name raising her hand to his cheek. He had let go, allowing her to move now he felt she was safe. Tears trickling down her cheeks, she whispered, “I-I saw him again, he was alone in the cold. His hands were drenched in blood,” He sat on the edge of the bed and helped her sit up as she began to sob. He brought her close as her wails rang through the household. She was beside herself, and yet for once not struggling out of his embrace.
He could hardly hide his relief, tears escaping, he kissed her forehead cradling her gladly. With a hushed voice he had comforted her, and she buried her forehead into his chest. They both fell silent for the longest time by the warmth of the firelight. Silence was broken with a handful of words, “I am so sorry, I’m weak and a fool, oh Draco, I am such a-” Draco’s lips came crashing onto hers, loosing no time in her heartbroken words. Resting his forehead on hers, she intertwined her hands with his, and breathed heavily trying to catch her breath as a smile showed on her face.
“I forgot what support feels like,” she spoke with happy tears stinging her eyes.
“How easily we forget.” Draco had her securely in his arms. His touch for the first time in ages was welcome, although it broke her heart to look at him. The reason why he was pushed away remained that her son took after Draco so much it was uncanny. Sometimes when she looked into his eyes, she mistook him for Scorpius, having come home after a horrible mistake at the morticians. Even though she quietly reassured herself it wasn’t true it had become reason enough for her to scour the streets. Her room looked like that from a film of a man who had gone mad, scouring through newspapers for clues. Maybe she had gone mad.
Her family track record or his for that matter didn’t exactly comfort her any, she merely pouted and kissed her husband once more. It felt so natural. Soon he asked the dreaded question, “Why?” Which caused her to shrivel backwards in apprehension. How could she possibly describe to him what sort of pain she was feeling, as he looked to her for an answer. The same expression her dear child always had whenever a new problem faced him. She had been holding her breath, and then coughed.
“That one polaroid wasn’t all they found in his wallet, my love.” Standing up shakily she was soon supported by Draco. He left her for a moment and found a fleece blanket to wrap around her, knowing she was susceptible to the cold. And together the couple was brought out and down the hall, she paused only for a moment to open the door. The cold air suddenly released like a genie from a lamp. She shivered and he rubbed her shoulders in a gesture to keep warm. Of course, she hadn’t been there to stock the fire and so naturally, her room was colder compared to the charms her husband had on the fireplace in their shared abode.
She looked to him for a moment then when he took in the surroundings; the once majestic guest room was a disaster area of what looked to her as a researcher’s humble area. The wall covered with newspaper clippings, and anything else remotely related to the tragedy. Everything about her son’s death, which had been broadcasted the world over, had been found there. From the early days of the release he would not be attending Hogwarts to later in his life. All the achievements before he left for the life that lead to his demise.
One thing however caught Draco’s eye, when he magically set the fireplace alight and allowed his wife to be seated by the flames, he went over to it. And that was when Astoria said in a whisper, “They look so much like us, don’t they?” Referring to the black and white polaroids she had tapped to the whiteboard, each face detailed on the whiteboard as a certain person, but the photo that caught his interest was a kiss caught in time. What looked like them dressed in incredibly modest attire for a wedding, a Malfoy wedding anyway.
“They got married?” Draco asked breathlessly. Believing months ago that the girl in the wallet must have been a passing fancy, he hadn’t wanted to persist to find her after his son had died. Astoria however had never shown him this photograph much to his bewilderment. She thought for a moment he would be angry at her for not revealing this sooner, but he still only looked to her with loving eyes. She must have really done a number on Draco to have him not be furious at the lack of information. There was a proud smile on his face as he beamed, “She looks lovely!” As any proud father would knowing he had a new daughter. Astoria smiled softly at his reaction, it was exactly what she needed.
She continued, “I realised tonight I can’t do this alone, I miss you too much. That’s why I’m showing you this. Will you help me find her? Please? I want to know her. I’m sorry I didn’t show you before, but I just,” she trailed of for a moment, “I don’t know. This came so much later from the coroner, and you weren’t here, and then this happened.” She lifted her hands to gesture around the room in bewilderment, “I just couldn’t bare bringing you into this if I had failed yet again.” Astoria said in such despair. She had already been squirrelling away any news clippings but she was sure Draco hadn’t fathomed to what extent. That was when he went over to her and gently knelt down, taking his hands in hers.
So many emotions were going through his mind then, but the overall joy overcame him. He understood why she was so distant, after all his own grief had practically consumed him. Only having enough energy to chase after her, and barely enough for the situation of bringing them back together again. Draco had neglected his position of being the rock in the family, which he would forever be guilty off, however now that was all behind them.
Finally her loving embrace had been his again, and he resolved, “Together, we will search for her,” he saw this was said much to her delight. He reached his fingers to her lips however to silence her, “starting tomorrow, for now, let’s rest.” Astoria grinned at the prospect and tried to stand. He once again supported her and was led by her towards their room again. Attempting to leave her to take refuge on a nearby armchair, she shook her head.
“I don’t want to be alone tonight.” Astoria had leaned in and pulled him seductively close, whispering in her ear. Words that Draco had so craved to hear, not out of hunger but out of loneliness. He slid under the covers with her gladly, both of them like kids, still fully clothed. For once they wouldn’t be alone and he was quite all right with that. Hearing the familiar chime of their grandfather clock at twelve, he motioned with his wand to silence it, and then kissed his wife on her cheek.
“Merry Christmas my love.”
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