Arms Wide Open: Hogwarts - Sita_Z - Harry Potter (2024)

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  • Mature
Archive Warning:
  • Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
  • M/M
  • Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling
  • Draco Malfoy/Harry Potter
  • Draco Malfoy
  • Harry Potter
  • Hermione Granger
  • Ron Weasley
  • Luna Lovegood
  • Minerva McGonagall
  • Narcissa Black Malfoy
  • Scorpius Malfoy
Additional Tags:
  • Hogwarts Eighth Year
  • Mpreg
  • Pregnant Draco Malfoy
  • Slow Burn
  • POV Harry
  • Other Additional Tags to Be Added
Part 1 of Arms Wide Open Next Work →

Arms Wide Open: Hogwarts



Harry did not expect his Eighth Year to involve any more investigations of abandoned bathrooms. Nor did he expect to come across Draco Malfoy there, alone, bleeding and in late-stage labor.


My first mpreg fic! I'm excited. This story will be posted as parts of an on-going series, with updates every Saturday. Part I has nine chapters and deals with Scorpius's birth and the immediate aftermath for Harry and Draco.

Content Warning for Chapter 1: Graphic description of a magical birth and related injuries.

Chapter 1

Chapter Text

It was a bathroom. Again.

Quite an ordinary bathroom, if such a thing existed in Hogwarts. Not a highly frequented one, as it was located on the seventh floor, at the end of a long hall of empty classrooms. Not a very large one, either; he’d find no passageways to secret chambers in that one.

But a bathroom again, Harry noted with a certain resignation. Why did so many of his quests lead him to a place where people went to take care of private bodily functions?

He looked down at the Marauder’s Map in his hand. On second thought, maybe ‘quest’ wasn’t exactly the right word. Maybe obsessing over a particular dot’s location (“again, Harry, honestly”) wasn’t exactly what he should be doing, either. Maybe following someone around and poking his nose into their private business was not a healthy way of expressing… whatever. Maybe Hermione was right and he should give it a rest.

But. He’d checked the map five times in the last hour alone, and the dot hadn’t moved from its position in the stall closest to the window. Before that, it had hovered by the sinks for at least thirty minutes, circled the room once in a while, pausing by the wall only to return to the sinks. That wasn’t… normal. Even if the rest of the school hadn’t been in the Great Hall celebrating the first Christmas after the war, spending that long pacing a remote bathroom wasn’t a good sign.

Hermione’s face, concerned and oh-so-familiar, appeared before his mind’s eye.

Leave it, Harry. Really. Of course he’s keeping to himself. So would I, after… after everything. Do you really believe he’d dare put a toe out of line, with an official tracking charm on him? It’s ridiculous.

Ron’s face, angular in a way it hadn’t been before the war, joined hers.

Listen, mate. The ferret’s hiding because he’s terrified to show his pointy face in public, as well he should be. So what if he misses classes. It’s not your concern, is it?

It wasn’t. But. Why would anyone come back to Hogwarts – slink back, for lack of a better term, their head hung, never looking anyone in the eyes as they hurried down the corridors – only to be absent from classes? Why bother? And why spend so much time hiding in a bathroom? Hogwarts had better bolt holes to offer if one did not wish to be seen.

His own dot on the map was the only other presence in the vicinity. There was the mass of dots in the Great Hall, so many that it was nearly impossible to make out the overlapping names. There was Trelawney in her tower, doing Merlin-knew-what, and Mrs. Norris, stalking something on the third floor.

Other than that, it was only himself and Draco Malfoy. About to meet in a bathroom… again.

Thinking of their last encounter in such a place, Harry took a deep breath as he opened the door. No matter what, he wasn’t going to let himself be provoked into a fight. If Malfoy was up to no good, they’d deal with it somehow. And if he wasn’t, if he was hiding himself away, maybe they could… talk. Or something. Harry hadn’t exactly thought this through. All he knew was that Malfoy spent too much time in empty bathrooms these days, and he was going to find out why.

The place was dimly lit, with only a few lanterns flickering on the wall. Harry eyed the row of stalls until his gaze caught on a pair of feet on the tiled floor.

He was still processing what he was seeing when he heard a low, pain-filled groan. The feet moved a little, twitching spasmodically. Harry took two long strides into the room, then two more until he saw the pair of legs attached to the feet, the robes and the white-blond hair.

“What the hell!”

Malfoy was indeed on the floor next to the toilet, curled up with his arms wrapped around his midsection, his eyes clenched shut. A film of sweat gleamed on his forehead, making his hair stick to his face in clumps. And on the tiles next to him…

“f*ck, Malfoy, you’re bleeding!”

This was all too familiar, too much of a déjà vu. Only there had been no curses this time, and there would be no silently furious Snape to rectify the situation. There was only Harry, kneeling helplessly on the cold floor, and Malfoy, who had opened his eyes a sliver to glare at him.

“An… astute observation, P-potter. Ten points to Gryffindor. Now kindly piss off, w-would you?”

He groaned again, his eyes closing with another onslaught of pain. Harry stared at him, his hands hovering stupidly over Malfoy’s crumpled robes. Over the blood.

“Did you do something to yourself?”

Malfoy snorted – or sobbed; Harry couldn’t be quite sure. “P-piss off, Potter. I mean it. Go away.”

And Harry saw the trousers around Malfoy’s ankles, the bloodied pants. “f*ck, Malfoy, did someone… hurt you? You’ve got to get to the hospital wing. I’m going to get help.”

Malfoy’s hand shot forward and clamped around Harry’s wrist. His fingers dug in hard enough to hurt. “No! No help. It’s not… aaagh!”

Something made Malfoy curl in on himself and literally howl. His fingernails cut painfully into Harry’s skin.

“What is it?” Harry moved closer, desperate to do something. “Where does it hurt?”

Malfoy lifted his head at that, wet with sweat and tears and still as furious as Harry had ever seen him. “It h-hurts where the f*cking baby is c-coming out, you f*cking tosser!”

Harry stared at him. Malfoy was making no sense, was probably hallucinating, and yet…

Carefully, Harry reached for the robes that covered Malfoy’s legs and found them wet with… something, blood or another fluid that didn’t show on the dark fabric. He pulled them up, aware that he was doing an outrageous thing and Malfoy had every right to hex him into pieces for this.

“Oi!” Malfoy shrieked, and still, Harry moved the robes out of the way until he saw. Saw everything.

He would have been less shocked to find a girls’ bits down there. He knew about Hermione’s cousin, who’d started some sort of Muggle hormone therapy when they turned eighteen. He’d heard Uncle Vernon rant about ‘unnatural freaks’ after that documentary on TV, an insult he usually reserved for ‘Harry’s lot’.

But Malfoy had a bloke’s equipment, alright. All present and accounted for. And directly behind his balls, in a place where it certainly didn’t belong, there was a great bloody gaping hole.

Harry got only a glimpse before Malfoy clamped his legs shut and lashed out. If he’d been in possession of his full strength, he’d probably have given Harry a shiner. As it was, his fist glanced weakly off Harry’s cheekbone, knocking his glasses askew.

“Get your f*cking hands off me, Potter, what the f*ck!”

“Is that,” Harry said, feeling shaky and ill in a way that had nothing to do with Malfoy’s attempted punch. “Is that – are you – why are you – “

Before he could put his thoughts into some semblance of order, Malfoy screamed again and clutched at Harry’s arm. He curled in on himself and suddenly drew closer, his entire body trembling. “It hurts!”

He let go and began sobbing into his arm. “Oh Merlin, make it stop…”

Harry began to get to his feet. “I’m getting someone. Madam Pomfrey. You should be in the hospital wing. Why aren’t you in the hospital wing, are you mad?”

“NO!” Malfoy shrieked. “No, Potter, please, it’s – I’m – they don’t know, alright?”

“Who doesn’t know?”

“No one, okay? No one knows. I – I’m dealing with it.”

“Like f*ck you are,” Harry said, unable to believe what he was hearing. What he was seeing. For some unfathomable, unholy reason, Draco Malfoy was… what? Giving birth on a bathroom floor? Harry still wouldn’t have believed it, if not for the small bump he’d seen between Malfoy’s hip bones when he’d pushed up the sopping wet robes. That, and what he’d seen in that… injury Malfoy had down there. His mind refused to categorize it as anything else. That glimpse of wet hair on a tiny head.

A great spasm went through Malfoy’s body and he grabbed onto Harry with both hands. “I’m DYING, Potter! Help me!”

Prompted by instinct and pure panic, Harry put his arms around the shaking body. “Y-you’re not though, right? You – you’ve got to – I don’t know – push?”

“I CAN’T!” Malfoy screamed, and a second later, Harry was screaming, too, for Malfoy had sunk his teeth deep into his forearm.

“AAH, Malfoy, f*ck, let go!”

Malfoy did, only to sob and scream some more. Harry held on to him, ignoring the searing pain in his bleeding arm and the thrumming in his head. This was completely mad. This was-

Sobbing wildly, Malfoy hitched up his robes and pulled one leg towards his chest. There was so much blood, and for a moment, Harry’s vision began to swim as the room around them swayed dangerously.

“Don’t you f*cking pass out on me, Potter!” Malfoy screeched, and just like that, the world slid back where it belonged.

There was a head coming out between Malfoy’s legs, and it was the scariest thing Harry had ever seen, Dementors and Dark Lords included. Malfoy’s fingers were digging into the place where he’d bitten Harry’s arm.

Another spasm shook his body. Malfoy groaned pitifully, arching his back, and with a wet noise Harry knew he was going to hear in his nightmares something slithered out and onto the tiled floor.

Something. A baby. It was incredibly tiny. It moved feebly, and Harry saw a blueish thing attached to it, an awful thing which hung out between Malfoy’s legs. Cord, he thought numbly. That’s the cord.

Malfoy was sobbing in great, heaving gasps. The… opening between his legs was bleeding, there was blood on the floor and on the baby and on Harry’s hands as he reached for it.

Because someone had to, right? They couldn’t just leave it on the floor. With trembling hands, Harry picked up the tiny body, which felt warm and solid and somewhat slimy from all the goo. He gathered it to his chest. It moved again as if in protest, and then Malfoy’s son opened his mouth and let out a thin, piercing wail.

Malfoy turned his head. His face was splotched, swollen and terrified. “Is… is it alive?”

Harry nodded carefully. “Yeah. Looks healthy enough.”

Tears ran down Malfoy’s cheeks. “P-potter, I…”

“Listen,” Harry said, eyeing the horrible cord thing and the blood on the floor, and panicking as quietly as he could manage under the circ*mstances. “Listen. Someone – someone has to cut that. And – you’re bleeding. I’m sending a Patronus to Madam Pomfrey. Now.”

He expected Malfoy to argue, but no protest was forthcoming. As the tiny boy in Harry’s arms began to wail louder, Malfoy had quietly passed out.


“Keep that poultice on your arm, Potter,” Madam Pomfrey said. “Best to let it soak for a while. Human bites can get nasty. You’ll want some more Wiggenweld on that before I apply the Dittany.”

Harry barely looked at the folded-up towel she handed him. The teeth marks on his forearm seemed so insignificant that he was almost annoyed with her for fussing over them. He wasn’t the one who’d been rushed into a private room, closely followed by the Healer and mediwizard who had flooed in from St. Mungo’s. He wasn’t the one bleeding everywhere as he was levitated through the corridors to the hospital wing.

So much blood. Could a person bleed to death in a matter of minutes? Had he, Harry, made it all worse by not sending a Patronus the second he found Malfoy on the bathroom floor? He should have, he knew. He’d been blindsided by what he’d seen, but that was no excuse. He might have killed Malfoy.


He looked up to find Madam Pomfrey frowning at him. Her hand settled on his shoulder, a rare gesture coming from her.

“You did the right thing. Mr. Malfoy and the child are getting the help they need. It must have been rather a shock.”

Harry swallowed. “I don’t understand. How can he… you know. Have a baby?”

Her lips pressed into a thin line. “I’m afraid it’s not the first time a student hid a pregnancy. I’ve been telling the school board for years that we need mandatory physicals at the beginning of term.”

“No, I mean…” Harry shook his head. Obviously, Madam Pomfrey was not treating Malfoy as a medical miracle, so… but it couldn’t be. He would have heard about something like this. Hermione would have told him… wouldn’t she? “How can he be pregnant? That’s not normal for wizards, is it?”

“For pureblood wizards, it can be,” Madam Pomfrey said. At least she didn’t seem to think he was an idiot for not knowing. “It’s partly why some of them are so set on marrying other purebloods. The ability for men to conceive by magic is linked to a certain set of magical chromosomes. They’re recessive, which means that Muggle or Muggleborn genes will often prevent their expression. An exceptionally powerful halfblood could impregnate a wizard regardless, but in most cases, non-pureblood genes prevent the pureblood wizard from conceiving. Which is as it should be,” she added rather harshly. “Wizard pregnancies tend to be unstable and drain the father of his magical energy. If they do happen, they should be monitored closely by a professional, especially if the wizard in question is a chronically anemic eighteen-year-old with as much common sense as a drunk mooncalf!”

She cleared her throat. “Sorry, Potter. I suppose Mr. Malfoy’s irresponsibility is hardly your fault.”

“Is he going to be alright?” Harry asked softly. “When the - the baby came… there was…”

He couldn’t quite explain just what he’d seen between Malfoy’s legs. It had looked like an open wound, jagged and bleeding and certainly not like anything that should be part of a natural – or magical – process.

Madam Pomfrey sighed. “That was the birth channel. Or what should have been one, had a Healer assisted Mr. Malfoy and directed his magic during labor. As it was, Mr. Malfoy’s magic acted on its own and… more or less forced its way through. He could easily have died in the process. He would have, if you hadn’t been there. You likely saved his life by walking into that bathroom when you did.” Her eyes lingered on his face. “You really didn’t know, did you?”

“No, I…” Harry trailed off at her expression; a careful, examining look. “Oh no. No, it – it’s not like that.”

“Of course it isn’t,” she said, frowning.

Harry was spared from answering when the door to the hospital wing opened and McGonagall came in, still in her official dress robes from the Christmas feast. She looked flustered, something Harry couldn’t remember seeing before on the usually austere woman.

“I got your Patronus, Poppy – what’s going on? Where is Malfoy?”

“Still with the Healer,” Pomfrey replied, back to her professional briskness. “He was critical when he was brought in, but they’d stabilized him when I checked ten minutes ago.”

“And the child?”

“Doing well,” Pomfrey said. “Mr. Malfoy and his son are lucky Mr. Potter happened to come by when he did.”

Harry, who had hoped to stay unnoticed, shrank back a little under McGonagall’s fierce gaze.

Happened to come by, Potter?”

He winced. “I… may have seen Malfoy on my map…”

“The infamous map, yes,” McGonagall said, and he wasn’t at all surprised that she knew about it. “Go on.”

“I went to see what he was up to, hiding in the bathroom. I swear I had no idea he was… er. You know. I didn’t even know that was possible.”

“Well,” she said, “no matter your motives, Potter, it’s fortunate that you went after Malfoy. I suppose…” She hesitated for a mere second, then cleared her throat. “I suppose you were there when it happened?”

Harry nodded, trying very hard to ignore the images forming in his head. If anybody had offered to Obliviate him and erase those horrible endless minutes from his mind, he might have agreed. “I – yes. I was there.”

McGonagall sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. “Poppy, I – ”

She broke off when the door to the private room opened. Healer Oakbridge stepped out, followed by the mediwizard who was carrying a bundle of blankets in his arms.

“He’ll survive,” she said curtly. “I managed to repair the damage. He’ll need blood-replenishing potions and strict bed rest, of course. The wrist bracelet is a tracking charm, I suppose?”

McGonagall nodded. “Mr. Malfoy’s on probation after his trial.”

Oakbridge raised an eyebrow. “That’s what I assumed when I saw the Mark. You’ll have to notify the Ministry that his magic was nearly drained. It might interfere with the charm.”

“He’ll get it back though?” Harry asked, ignoring the openly curious look the mediwizard gave him, as well as the carefully assessing one from the Healer. “His magic?”

Oakbridge nodded. “In time, yes. A birth is no small feat to accomplish for anyone. And wizards do not have the stamina or the physiology that witches have. Mr. Malfoy took a great risk, trying to do this on his own.”

Which was strange, Harry thought. Malfoy had never been one to take risks, not willingly, anyway. He’d accepted a suicidal mission because he had to; because it was that or his own life, his entire family on the line. And still he’d failed, in that crucial moment when it was time to put aside his terror and act.

He wouldn’t have planned this, Harry realized. Malfoy hadn’t intended to hide in a bathroom and secretly give birth to a baby no one knew about. More likely than not, it had just… happened. Happened because Malfoy hadn’t known what else to do.

Harry wondered how desperate a person had to be to let it come to this. How lonely. Malfoy hadn’t spoken to anyone on his return to school; had kept his head down, sat at the back of the class and ate his meals alone at a corner of the Slytherin table. And no one made much of an effort to change that. The younger Slytherins gave him a wide berth, as did Nott and Zabini; only Goyle had sat with him once in a while, but Malfoy hadn’t spoken much to him, either. And the other Houses… well, there had been incidents. Hexes, tripping jinxes, the like. Harry had told a few Hufflepuff Sixth Years to give it a rest (Hufflepuffs! Hexing Malfoy! It was almost too absurd to consider if he hadn’t seen the evidence in front of him). Malfoy had gathered up his scattered school things and hurried off without a look back. The incident had occurred a month or so ago. Malfoy must have been… well, close to term. How did he hide it? How did no one – not a single person – notice something like this?

Of course, someone must know outside the school. Malfoy’s mum, surely. And the… the other parent. The other father, Harry supposed. But if Narcissa Malfoy knew, she wouldn’t have allowed Malfoy to come back, would she? She wouldn’t have let him hide his condition from everyone, to the point where he endangered his own life.

So, Narcissa might not have known, after all. And if Malfoy’s boyfriend had left him to do this on his own, he deserved to be hexed to pieces. Harry wasn’t quite sure why the thought enraged him so much. Of course, Malfoy would date exactly the kind of tosser who abandoned their partner at the first sign of trouble. Probably some smarmy pureblood git who’d buggered off to France or wherever the moment Malfoy told him.

If, in fact, that was what had happened.

Harry tossed the Wiggenweld poultice onto the bedside table, watching as Oakbridge handed Madam Pomfrey a number of potion flasks and told her to firecall St. Mungo’s immediately if Malfoy’s condition worsened. The mediwizard let Pomfrey take the bundle of blankets from his arms and followed the Healer outside, not without sneaking a final glance back at Harry.

McGonagall crossed her arms in front of her chest, emanating impatience. “A word, Poppy, please? In private.”

Pomfrey nodded. “Of course, Minerva. Let me just… ah, Potter won’t mind.”

Before Harry could utter a word of protest, she settled the bundle in his arms, briskly adjusting his hold so he was supporting the head.

“I’ll be in my office with the Headmistress, Potter. Look after him for a minute, would you?”


“That’s a good lad, thank you.”

And they were gone, the door to Pomfrey’s office clicking shut behind them. Harry looked down at the child in his arms, the baby he was holding for the second time today. Before, it had been wet and slippery and rather like a strange little merbeing fished out of the Great Lake, including the unholy shrieks. Now, Harry could see that it was a real and actual human Malfoy had somehow brought into this world. He even spotted a certain resemblance to Malfoy in the baby’s squishy features. It figured, he supposed, that Malfoy’s son would be another pointy little ferret.

As if he had sensed Harry’s thoughts, the tiny boy opened his eyes and gave him the kind of soul-penetrating stare exclusive to cats and very young children. His eyes were light grey, their color darkening into a hazel-green ring around the iris.

This was Malfoy’s child, Harry thought. Obvious as it was, it was hard to wrap his mind around the idea. He’d literally witnessed this baby coming out of Malfoy (an experience he never ever wanted to repeat), but still, the idea of Malfoy as a father, someone’s dad, like Mr. Weasley… It kind of broke his brain to think about it.

“I’m sorry,” he told the baby, not sure if he was apologizing for thinking of pointy ferrets, for being utter rubbish as a midwizard or for the fact that he wasn’t Malfoy, the only person who really had a right to hold this tiny little human. Perhaps all of it.

Malfoy’s son hadn’t inherited his father’s irritable disposition, it seemed. Instead of screeching at Harry like Malfoy undoubtedly would have, the baby yawned and closed his eyes. A moment or two later, he was fast asleep again.

Harry held him until Madam Pomfrey returned, shrugging off her thanks. Minding Malfoy’s newborn son for a few minutes was certainly not the strangest thing he had ever done.

Chapter 2: Chapter 2


Wow, I was blown away by the positive response to this fic! You guys rock!

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

McGonagall asked Harry to keep the night’s events to himself, which he promised to do without hesitation. If it had been him in the hospital wing, he’d want nothing more than to be left in peace. Malfoy had to be feeling terrible enough as it was.

It turned out that their attempt at discretion came too late. Several students had seen Madam Pomfrey levitating a bleeding, unconscious Malfoy towards the hospital wing, a wailing bundle in her arm as she hurried down the corridors. Peeves, unfortunately, had spotted her too, and delighted in sharing lurid details with anyone who would listen. The Bloody Baron shut him down eventually, banishing him into the Great Lake for the time being, but by then the damage was done.

Rumors raced through the halls and dormitories like Fiendfyre. By the time Harry arrived at breakfast, he’d heard several versions of last night’s events, from Malfoy being found in the courtyard, having left his baby at the top of the Astronomy Tower from where he’d jumped, to an Auror squad carting him and the child off to Azkaban in the middle of the night.

“Are you listening to yourself at all?” Hermione snapped at Ernie Macmillan, finally losing her patience (Harry had seen her face darkening more with every ridiculous piece of gossip she overheard). “Why would anyone take a newborn baby to Azkaban?”

Macmillan shrugged, reaching for the toast rack. “A precaution, I s’pose.”

Hermione stared at him in a way Harry knew only too well. She’d perfected the look sometime around Third Year; an intimidating blend of Snape’s death stare and McGonagall’s thin-lipped Face of Disapproval.

Macmillan was no match for it. “Everyone’s saying it,” he defended himself, a blush creeping up his neck. “What if You-Know-Who really is the father? He was holed up at the Malfoys’ place all this time, wasn’t he? The Ministry wouldn’t let his spawn loose on a school full of students.”

“What utter rubbish.” Hermione turned away from Macmillan, who looked rather offended at her response. “I wish people would mind their own business instead of feeding the rumor mill. Honestly.”

“I don’t know, Hermione,” Ron said, in a tone Harry recognized, as well. Aware that Hermione would not like what he had to say, Ron was steeling himself for battle. “For all we know, it could be true. He was there. V-voldemort, I mean. And…” He broke off, looking faintly ill. “I mean, it’s not impossible.”

Harry supposed that Hermione answered him, but he didn’t quite catch her words. He felt empty, wishing he’d listened to his inner voice and stayed in the dorms. It wasn’t that the thought hadn’t occurred to him. It had, like a nasty, slimy thing on the floor he’d stepped into with his bare foot. He’d quickly pushed it away, which had worked surprisingly well in the privacy of his own mind. Now that he heard it voiced out loud, along with the disgust on Ron’s face, he could no longer pretend that it wasn’t a possibility.

For all his snakelike mannerisms, Voldemort had been a man. Had died like a man, in the end, his body ceasing to work, his heart no longer pumping blood through his veins. He’d been just that, an evil, sad*stic excuse for a human being, capable of all the things such a person might do to others.

Poor sodding Malfoy might have suffered through unspeakable horrors, back at the Manor. And of course he wouldn’t tell anyone. Of course he’d keep that to himself.

Harry pushed back his plate and got up. People were talking, laughing, cutlery was clinking against tableware, and he couldn’t bear it a second longer. He needed to get out.

“Harry,” Hermione said, sounding concerned, which was another thing Harry couldn’t face. She and Ron wouldn’t share what they knew with anyone else, but right now, he wished he hadn’t told them.

He had to go and see Malfoy.


“Absolutely not.”

Harry had been taller than Madam Pomfrey for a couple of years now, but she might as well have been an immovable obstacle in his path, frowning at him with her arms crossed in front of her chest.

“Absolutely not, Potter. Mr. Malfoy woke up only an hour ago, and he’s still extremely weak. I know what the two of you are like. I had the pleasure of patching you up after many of your little scraps, after all. I will not have you upsetting a patient who nearly bled to death a mere twelve hours ago.”

Harry winced. “I promise I won’t. Upset him, that is. Really. I just thought…”

He trailed off. The thing was, he wasn’t sure what he’d thought. He’d left the Great Hall without a look back, convinced that seeing Malfoy was the only important thing just now. He hadn’t really progressed past that point.

Pomfrey lowered her voice a little. “Potter, I realize that this was a shock to you, but now is not the time to ask Mr. Malfoy the sort of questions you might want to ask. It’s not your concern, and Mr. Malfoy is to be left in peace. It’s bad enough this entire school is buzzing like a bag full of billywigs with ridiculous rumors about last night.”

“Fantastic,” a hoarse voice drawled, making them both turn. “Well done, Potter.”

Malfoy was leaning in the door at the back of the ward, dressed in blue-gray hospital robes that made his pale skin appear almost translucent. He’d recovered his trademark scowl, however, directing it at Harry.

“Couldn’t keep your big mouth shut, could you?”

“Mr. Malfoy!” Madam Pomfrey snapped, all but sprinting towards him. “Back to bed, right now! I told you only five minutes ago that you’re not to get up under any circ*mstances!”

Malfoy allowed her to support him as she firmly steered him back into the private room. Which was probably a good thing, given that he was taking very small, shaky steps on legs that seemed to tremble with the effort.

“I have to use the loo,” Harry heard him whine, and Madam Pomfrey’s testy retort, “That’s what urinals are for, boy!”

Despite Malfoy’s venomous tone and expression, Harry felt strangely relieved after the exchange. Malfoy was being – Malfoy; contrary, snappish and generally obnoxious. Which used to drive Harry to the point of wanting to strangle him on sight, only… somehow, things had changed, and this – Malfoy being petty and sulky – made Harry feel a lot better.

A few minutes later, Madam Pomfrey returned from the private room, looking annoyed. “Fifteen minutes, Potter. I will throw you out after that, no matter what either of you say.” She sighed. “It appears Mr. Malfoy thinks he might benefit from your company, and is determined to exert himself arguing the case. So you may as well go in.”

Harry was sure Malfoy wanted to see him only to rant at him some more, but he didn’t care. A Malfoy who ranted and raved was reassuringly normal. “Thanks, Madam Pomfrey.”

“Fifteen minutes,” she repeated, then continued in a softer tone, “If you feel comfortable doing so, perhaps ask Mr. Malfoy if he’d like to hold the child. He hasn’t…” She broke off, then simply said, “He might respond differently if it’s you.”

Harry didn’t ask her what she meant by this, merely nodded and went into the little room set aside for patients in need of more privacy than the open ward provided.

The room was bright, more so with the snow glittering on the windowsill and the turrets outside. A single hospital bed sat against the far wall. Pushed against the wall beside it, Harry spotted a cot enveloped by the pale red glow of a warming charm. He couldn’t see the baby, only a swaddle of blankets and what might have been the tip of a knitted cap.

Malfoy was sitting up in bed, arms crossed in front of his chest. On seeing Harry, he took a deep breath and opened his mouth.

“Hello, Malfoy,” Harry said, cutting off what he was sure would have been the start of an epic diatribe. “How are you?”

Malfoy blinked. Harry could see that he was floundering for words, trying to work out a way to launch into his tirade as he’d intended. Then, he deflated, slumping back against his pillow. He looked unwell, Harry thought. Pale and kind of bruised around the eyes.

Of course he did.

“I’m sore,” Malfoy said. “I ache in places I didn’t even know about, my abdominal muscles feel like I’ve been stomped on by a giant, I can’t keep anything down but am supposed to drink the vilest nutrient potions in existence, and Madam Pomfrey just told me my scrotum tore and will have to be subjected to daily healing charms for the next two weeks. Apparently, I’m to count myself lucky that the same didn’t happen to my arsehole. Only some rather heavy bruising in that area. Other than that, I’m fine, Potter, thanks for asking.”

Harry sat down on the chair next to Malfoy’s bed. “Don’t hold back any details on my account, Malfoy.”

“I wouldn’t. You were there, front row, weren’t you?” Malfoy’s eyes flickered down, his lips thinning. “I assume everyone enjoyed your blow-by-blow account in the Gryffindor common room. Or the Great Hall perhaps? Wouldn’t want the other Houses to miss out on the fun, I’m sure they –”

“Malfoy.” Harry sighed. “I didn’t say a word to anyone, okay? I wouldn’t.”

Ron and Hermione didn’t count, but he wasn’t going to say so to Malfoy, who was certain to take a different view.

“Some people saw Madam Pomfrey when she – when she took you to the hospital wing. And Peeves was lurking in one of corridors.”

“Wonderful.” Malfoy tried for his usual sneer, but it was impossible to miss the slight trembling of his lips, the hitch in his voice and the overly bright sheen in his eyes. He’d only just woken up, Harry remembered. Woken up to find his body sore and damaged, himself confined to bed and the entire school gossiping about his private business. And of course, there was the baby Harry was supposed to get him to hold.

All things considered, Malfoy was holding up surprisingly well.

“Look,” Harry said. “Most people are leaving today. Christmas, remember?” he added when Malfoy looked confused. “Today’s the twenty-fourth.”

“I know what d-date it is,” Malfoy snapped, more for form’s sake than anything else.

Harry pretended he hadn’t seen him wipe a hand across his cheek. “Anyway. They’ll be gone for the holidays. Things will have blown over when they get back.”

“You think?” Malfoy gave a watery but rather sarcastic huff. “The junior Death Eater pushing a pram down the hallways of Hogwarts, oh, it’s all old news.”

Harry sighed. Malfoy was right, of course.

“People are tossers, okay?” He paused, considering Malfoy’s hunched shoulders and the hands that were clenching the sheets. Somehow, Malfoy looked very young like this, very small in his baggy hospital gown. He was holding it together, barely, and Harry sensed that a single misplaced word might push him over the edge.

“Does – does your mum know?”

Malfoy shook his head. His teeth were digging into his lower lip.

“Does anyone know?” A sudden thought occurred to Harry, making his stomach clench. “God, Malfoy – did you know?”

He’d heard about women not realizing that they were pregnant; a lurid tale told by Aunt Petunia to Uncle Vernon over the breakfast table, about Mrs. Next-door’s niece’s friend, who was “a right slag” and hadn’t suspected a thing until she went to hospital with horrible stomach cramps.

Malfoy was staring at his hands. “I… I suppose. I don’t know. At first I thought it was some kind of – of curse. Then with the trials and everything, I…” He shrugged. “I was feeling horrible all the time, and I thought I was putting on weight. When I came back to school, I realized it wasn’t that, but I… I didn’t know what to do.”

Harry remembered the small bump he’d seen when he had lifted Malfoy’s robes, nothing at all like the proud bulge Fleur had carried around before Victoire was born in September. Mrs. Weasley, who had warmed to Fleur considerably after she and Bill had announced the impending arrival of a Weasley grandchild, had told her more than once that she ‘glowed’. And she had, in a way, looking happy and healthy as she sat in a sunchair in the Burrow’s garden, sending Bill inside for another helping of homemade strawberry ice-cream.

Malfoy hadn’t glowed. He’d been quiet and pale, slinking into classrooms like a stray dog expecting a kick. And Hogwarts school robes, Harry realized, hid unwelcome changes to the body rather effectively. It wasn’t so strange that no one had noticed.

“I’m sorry,” he said before he could stop himself. He thought of the conversation he’d overheard only this morning, on his way down to the Great Hall; some Ravenclaws who hadn’t bothered keeping their voices down.

“I’d say the wrong thing happened to the right person.”

“Yeah…. he should be in Azkaban, anyway. If Potter hadn’t spoken at his trial…”

One of them, a tall boy he vaguely remembered seeing at the battle, had met Harry’s eyes defiantly and shrugged.

It bothered him. Even more so because he couldn’t really blame them. People were still hurting in so many ways. Maybe Hermione was right, and the school should have just closed its doors for a year.

“I don’t need you to feel sorry for me, Potter,” Malfoy snapped. “I’m sure you’ll be lauded as a hero, as always. Saint Potter, saving his enemy from bleeding to death. I suppose you’ll be expecting me to thank you.”

“I wouldn’t hold my breath,” Harry said dryly. “And you’re not my enemy, Malfoy.”

For some reason, Malfoy looked even angrier at this, but at least he no longer seemed on the verge of tears. “Of course not. I suppose I’m too pathetic for that.”

“You’re not pathetic,” Harry said. “God, Malfoy. What does it matter what I think, or anyone in this bloody school for that matter? You just had a baby. You have a son.”

He hadn’t meant to raise his voice. This was Malfoy, however, the one person who always managed to get under Harry’s skin, and he was succeeding at it again, just by sitting there and being so damn fragile and insufferable at the same time.

“Shouldn’t you, I don’t know? Take care of him? Acknowledge that he exists, maybe?”

“f*ck you!” Malfoy yelled, and Harry saw that he’d been wrong, after all. Malfoy had been on the verge of tears, tears which were freely running down his cheeks now. “f*ck you, Potter, you don’t know a-anything!”

“I don’t know that this could be Voldemort’s kid?”

Harry wanted to take the words back as soon as they were out. He wasn’t sure what had made him say it, only that his head felt hot and full, his chest tight as if it was about to burst.

All remaining color leached from Malfoy’s face. His next words came out as a whisper. “So that’s what you think.”

“I don’t–”

“Get out, Potter. Now.”

Harry wanted to do – something. Yell at Malfoy some more, apologize, anything to make that stricken look disappear from his face.

Before he could act, however, the door opened and a furious Madam Pomfrey appeared, striding towards them. “I knew this was a mistake, Potter. What did I say about not upsetting Mr. Malfoy?”

“I didn’t mean–”

“Out, out, out!” She actually took his arm and steered him towards the door. “I don’t know why I thought the two of you could behave like adults for once. I – oh dear.”

A wail came from the cot in the corner. Malfoy winced, and Pomfrey looked as if she might want to slap Harry.

“Off with you, Potter. Out of my hospital wing.”

She all but pushed him out of the room and closed the door in his face. Harry heard the muffled sound of her voice over the baby’s crying. Malfoy didn’t say anything in reply.

Slowly, feeling rather miserable, Harry turned around and began to walk towards the door.

The portrait of a portly medieval healer frowned at him. “Never a wise move, young warlock, to be quarreling and shouting when the babe sleepeth.”

Ignoring her, Harry left, quietly closing the door behind him.


I'd love to know what you think!

Chapter 3


This chapter is rather Harry-centric, with some Luna thrown into the mix. Enjoy!

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

“Mum won’t be happy, you know.”

Ron looked rather unhappy himself, scowling down at the two trunks at his feet. He’d insisted on lifting Hermione’s from the carriage, ignoring her protests that she could easily levitate it herself.

“I know,” Harry said. “I’m sorry. It’s just…”

He shrugged. When he’d told them of his decision not to accompany them to the Burrow, he’d been aware that they’d want an explanation. Only, he wasn’t quite sure himself why he needed to stay. Still, the thought of boarding the Hogwarts Express and leaving for a holiday filled with family dinners, presents and Christmas cheer… he couldn’t picture himself in that setting. Not now.

“Harry,” Hermione said, putting a hand on his arm. “He’s not your responsibility. You know that, right?”

Harry didn’t pretend not to understand. “Yeah, ‘course I know. It’s just… I need some time to think. Some time by myself. You two are…” He waved a vague hand, because he didn’t have the right words to express exactly how the relationship between Ron and Hermione had changed, how sometimes a distance no one wanted was needed, all the same. “And that’s great, really. It’s just, it’s different, you know?”

Hermione nodded. “It’s okay, Harry. I just don’t want you to get hurt.”

Ron looked supremely uncomfortable. “Look, mate. I know you have this thing about the ferret –”

“I don’t –” Harry began, but Ron put up a hand.

“Hear me out, alright? I get it. People change, and getting back together with Ginny isn’t what you want. Or what she wants. Hermione tells me it’s none of my business, and I suppose she’s right, as always.” His mouth quirked up a little. “It’s Malfoy, though, and he’s in a world of trouble right now. You can’t fix that. He brought it on himself, and it’s not your job to pick up the pieces. You already did more than enough.”

Ron had grown over the summer. He was almost a head taller than Harry now, his chin stubbly with a beard that made him look a lot more like Charlie. He dwarfed Hermione when he walked next to her, his big arm slung around her shoulders. Harry looked at them both, and knew that he loved them fiercely. He also needed them to leave. To go to the Burrow and be Ron-and-Hermione, not Ron-and-Hermione-looking-after-Harry.

“I’m fine,” he said. “I’ll be fine. You two have fun, and tell me all about it when you get back, alright?”

He was drawing a line, and Hermione, at least, seemed to recognize it. She nodded. “We will. Have a lovely Christmas, Harry.”

She hugged him, kissing him on the cheek. She hadn’t stopped being physical with him after Ron and she had got together. They even sat together in front of the common room fire sometimes, Hermione carding her hands through Harry’s hair like she’d done back in the tent, on those nights far removed from any other form of human contact. Ron never objected to any of it. This, too, had changed.

“Merry Christmas, mate,” Ron said, clapping him on the shoulder. “We’ll owl you.”

“You mean, I will,” Hermione added dryly, and Ron grinned.

“Yeah, I guess.”

Harry watched them board the train with the other students, raising his hand when they waved at him from the window of their compartment. The train gained speed, pulling out of the station, and Harry watched it until it had disappeared between the trees.

A couple of carriages were still waiting, the Thestrals harnessed to them turning their heads to look at him. Unlike horses, they did not stomp their hooves or search the ground for food. They were quiet animals, rather like great skeletal birds of prey. He held out his hand to the one closest to him. It sniffed his fingers, then opened its beaklike snout and tasted his skin with its rough black tongue. They did not have the sense of sight, Harry remembered; not like most creatures did. Hagrid had told him once. They ‘saw’ people, could perceive the existence of things that had been touched by death in some way. Everything else was not part of their reality.

He patted the creature’s leathery neck. Translucent membranes slid over white eyes, a sign that the Thestral was enjoying the attention.

“Go ahead,” Harry told it. “All of you. I’ll walk to the castle.”

The Thestrals began to move as quietly as they did everything else. Their hooves left no imprints on the muddy road.

Harry walked with his hands deep in the pockets of his coat. Fresh snow had fallen overnight, weighing down the trees and heaping up at the sides of the road. Every sound seemed dampened by it, softened somehow. His breath formed a cloud in front of his mouth. A year ago, he’d been sick and tired of the snow and the cold, seeing nothing but danger and death when he looked around the wintery forest. Its beauty was there, but it was easily forgot over an empty stomach and a troubled mind. It ceased to matter, and at some point, he’d no longer seen it, much like a Thestral that was blind to anything untouched by death.

Malfoy Manor had been a beautiful place, objectively speaking. Even the albino peaco*cks, strange creatures that they were, had added to the graceful aesthetic of the estate. Harry supposed that before Voldemort, elegant garden parties had been held in its park, perhaps with a small, white-blond boy running around between the guests in their stylish dress robes.

What Harry had seen of it had been sinister and forbidding, a place of torture and death. A prison where people were held in a dungeon for months. In a way, it was still a prison, he supposed. Narcissa Malfoy had been sentenced to two years of house arrest for her complicity in providing Voldemort with a headquarters. She was not allowed to leave the premises unless her life was in immediate danger; not to visit her husband in Azkaban, and not to see her son, not even now.

Her son, who’d been tried and acquitted as a minor. Who would be subject to tracking charms and Ministry supervision for the foreseeable future, and who was spending Christmas in the hospital wing. Imprisoned, in a way, like the rest of his family.


He turned around. Luna was there, bundled in a huge blue coat and a silver scarf long enough to be wrapped several times around her neck and still dangle down to her feet. White clouds drifted across her coat, moving gently as she walked.

“Hey Luna. I didn’t know you were staying at Hogwarts for Christmas.”

“Yes,” she said, stretching out a hand to catch a snowflake. “Dad’s at St. Mungo’s, you know. He has been quite unwell, ever since he was released from Azkaban. He doesn’t really talk to anyone.”

“I’m sorry,” Harry said, thinking of the white-haired wizard who had been so desperate to save his daughter.

Luna smiled at him. “He’ll get better, of course. Sometimes people need to stop speaking for a while to listen to the voices inside. It takes time. Although I do wish I could have gone and seen him for Christmas. Hogwarts is rather a lonely place sometimes, don’t you think?”

Harry had never thought of Hogwarts as lonely, but he could see why Luna might. “I’m glad you’re staying, Luna. Less lonely if it’s the two of us, right?”

She nodded, reaching for another snowflake. “I suppose it will be nice. You’re staying to keep Draco and his baby company, right?”

With anyone else, Harry would have been disconcerted at straightforward statement. But it was Luna, who simply looked at him, maybe watching the Wrackspurts buzzing in and out of his ears. He still had them, she said, but they weren’t as volatile as those he’d been infested with in Sixth Year. A harmless variety, apparently.

He shrugged. With Luna, there was no need to pretend. “Maybe. I guess I just wanted some time to myself. And I’m not sure Malfoy will want to see me.”

“Why not?” Luna caught a snowflake on the tip of her gloved finger, watching it dissolve. “He likes you, doesn’t he?”

“Erm, I’m not sure he does, actually. And… we had a fight when I went to see him this morning. I said some stuff I shouldn’t have said.”

“Yes,” she nodded. “You do that. You used to call me Loony sometimes, but I know you didn’t mean it.”

Harry felt himself blush. “Yeah, I guess. I’m sorry about that.”

She smiled. “It’s okay. I wore one of the ‘Potter stinks’ badges in Fourth Year, but I never thought you smelled bad.”

“You did?” Harry asked, honestly surprised. He couldn’t remember seeing her with one of the badges, but then, for all her oddity, Luna had always been able to melt into the background.

“Oh yes. I had two of them, one for my robes and one for my bag. Draco was so excited about them. He told me all about the animation charms he’d used, and how it took him hours to make them work.”

“Really,” Harry said, torn between amusem*nt and… well, really only amusem*nt. He’d been annoyed in Fourth Year, of course, but enough time had passed for him to appreciate the hilarity of Malfoy sitting in the Slytherin common room, tirelessly slaving away over those badges.

Luna nodded. “I thought Draco was very pretty, back in Fourth Year, so I wanted to make him happy. He’s still pretty, of course, but I like Pansy now. She said I could visit her for New Year’s Eve, isn’t that nice?”

“Very,” Harry said, trying to process the idea of Luna and Pansy Parkinson, of all people. Then again, people had changed a lot in the last year. Blaise and Ginny had snogged at the Hallowe’en feast; Parvati and Hermione had set up a book club for younger students. Neville spent most of his time with Goyle in the greenhouses, having struck up a friendship with the large Slytherin that seemed to revolve mostly around growing exotic magical plants.

Perhaps there were stranger things than Luna fancying two of the meanest Slytherins in their year.

“Yes,” Luna nodded dreamily. “They’re having a big party at her house, and I’ll get to wear one of her dresses. I don’t think she wants me to wear my own. I might not look right, you know? Looking pretty is really important to Pansy. You think Draco is pretty, don’t you, Harry?”

Thrown by the sudden change in the conversation (and admittedly by the question itself), Harry coughed. “Er… I guess?”

“You stare at him a lot,” Luna said, blithely ignoring Harry’s fierce blush. “You always did. And he stares at you, too. Some people think it’s funny, but I think it’s nice.”

Harry wasn’t sure how much more of Luna’s observations he could take. Diving into one of the large snowdrifts and staying there for a good long while seemed more and more appealing. Some people thought it was funny. Apparently, there was a large enough group aware of the staring for there to be divided opinions on the matter. Luna Lovegood, who often seemed to exist in a plain of reality all to herself, talked about him and Draco exchanging looks as if it was a thing everyone knew. And if that was the case, why hadn’t Ron and Hermione told him?

Then again, they had. More than once, each in their own way.

You always had a thing for the ferret.

He’s not your responsibility.

Walking at a leisurely pace, they’d left the forest behind, passing the Quidditch pitch. Its hoops were dark silhouettes against the pale pink sky. After seven years of observing the temperamental weather changes of the Highlands, Harry knew that the coming night would bring another deluge of snow. He tilted his head back and stared up into the swirl of snowflakes floating down towards them. They seemed to be coming out of nowhere, tiny flecks of white that would cover the entirety of the grounds.

He turned his head at a soft tinkling sound. Luna had her wand out and was conjuring little golden bells which she sent floating off into the distance towards the Great Lake. “For the moonfrogs,” she said, tapping another string of bells with her wand to send it on its way. “They mate on Christmas Day, but they tend to get lost on their way to the shore.”

Harry knew better than to ask any of the questions that presented themselves. “Do you have an owl, Luna?”

She didn’t seem to mind the sudden change of topic. “Yes, I do. A barn owl. His name’s Dumbledore.”

Harry blinked. “Dumbledore?”

“Oh yes. I liked Dumbledore, so I thought it would be nice to name my owl after him. Would you like to borrow him to send a letter?”

“If that’s alright,” Harry said, firmly swallowing the lump in his throat.

“Sure,” Luna said. “Just make sure to bring him a few owl treats. Or he might not come when you call him.”

Harry nodded. “Will do. Thanks, Luna.”


Dumbledore, it turned out, did not take his job as a post owl all that seriously. After Harry had tied the letter to his leg, the young bird did not fly off but began to climb up and down Harry’s arm, nipping at his coat as he searched for more treats. It was only after some stern screeching from the older owls that Dumbledore hopped up into the hatch and took off into the darkening sky.

Harry left the owlery rather quickly. He didn’t want to spot a glimpse of white feathers on one of the perches, or find himself fixed by a pair of glowing amber eyes. Missing Hedwig was his very private pain, one he couldn’t share because it wasn’t right. An owl was not a brother, nor a mother and father who still forgot their daughter’s middle name. Ron and Hermione would never see it that way, of course, and this was precisely why Harry didn’t mention Hedwig to them.

He briefly thought about going to the Great Hall. There would only be a few people there, likely sharing one of the House Tables as they ate Christmas dinner. Even some of the teachers left for the holidays, a fact which had escaped Harry in previous years. Of course they would; obviously, some of them had friends and families they wanted to see. Snape, Harry recalled, had never left. Nor had Dumbledore. Hogwarts had been their only home, and in the end, the place where they had died.

He walked past the staircase that led to the Great Hall, heading for Gryffindor Tower instead. The Fat Lady wasn’t there, likely off to celebrate Christmas Eve with her circle of portrait friends and acquaintances. She’d left Sir Cadogan to stand guard, who brandished his halberd at Harry. A jug of mead at his feet indicated that he’d been having a little Christmas party of his own.

“Password, or a fight to the death! Choose wisely, scoundrel!”

“Wenceslas,” Harry told him.

“All hail the good king!” Cadogan cried, and the portrait swung open to allow Harry through.

The common room was empty, lit only by the snow outside and the candles on the Christmas tree. It was a Gryffindor tradition to decorate it together, and they’d all pitched in, perhaps making up for the previous year when no one had spared any thoughts on decorations. Using some kind of mysterious fertilizer, Neville had made the lower branches grow chocolate cookies, much to the delight of the first and second years. Ron had dug out Dobby’s ‘Have a very Harry Christmas’ baubles, and Hermione had charmed the candles to change their color every hour. Behind McGonagall’s back, Seamus had conjured a tiny leprechaun in a Father Christmas outfit, which would poke its head out between the branches and sing raunchy Christmas songs.

Harry spared the tree only a brief look before climbing the stairs to the room he shared with Neville. The three rooms had been there at the beginning of the year, two doubles and a single waiting to be claimed by the returning eighth-year Gryffindors. There was a tacit understanding that Ron would take the single, being the only one of them currently in a relationship.

“Sad bunch of losers we are,” Seamus had sighed. “I bet even the third years see more action than we do.”

Harry didn’t mind sharing with Neville, who was quiet and didn’t steal Harry’s socks (Ron always poked holes in his and had no compunctions about raiding his dorm mates’ trunks in search for replacements). For the next two weeks, he would have the room to himself. Neville had gone home to see his gran and wasn’t going to return until the new term started.

Someone had left a small heap of assorted sweets on Harry’s bed: chocolate frogs, sugar mice, a box of Bertie Botts’ Every Flavor Beans. One of the frogs sat on a note scrawled on a bit of parchment:

Hermione says not to forget to eat. You know you can come home any time if you change your mind. Happy Christmas, mate!


Ron had underlined the words any time twice, but Harry’s eyes lingered on ‘home’. The lump in his throat felt hot and heavy. He’d never been like this before; tears lurking close to the surface, provoked by the smallest things. He didn’t like it. Others had far more reason to cry; had lost far more than he had.

He popped one of the sugar mice into his mouth, mostly to swallow it down and with it any stupid urge to give in to the tears. He put Ron’s gifts on his bedside table along with the note and flopped down on his bed. The sugar mouse left a sweet, cloying taste on his tongue, making him feel faintly ill. Hermione knew him too well. He hadn’t eaten a thing since breakfast this morning.

Reaching up, Harry tugged the map out from under his pillow. “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good,” he whispered, watching as color bled into the parchment, forming walls, corners, rooms and stairways. Hogwarts emerged in front of him, his own dot tiny and unmoving in the small circle that was Gryffindor Tower. Harry tapped the map with his wand to change floors. There in the east annex was the hospital wing, and in a room separated from the main ward, the dot labelled with the familiar words ‘Draco Malfoy’. It wasn’t moving, likely lying in bed just like Harry was.

In a corner of the room, a very small dot hovered, one that Harry hadn’t seen before. Next to it, the map had placed the words ‘Baby Malfoy’.

Harry stared at it for a very long time. Eventually the letters began to blur in front of his eyes and he closed the map, turning onto his side.

Outside the window, snow was beginning to fall, blanketing the world in whiteness and silence.


As always, I love to hear what you think!

Chapter 4


Thank you so much for your feedback!

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Harry woke up on Christmas morning to find that the house elves, in long-standing tradition, had left his presents at the foot of his bed. In first year, he remembered the sight had floored him. Presents hadn’t exactly been part of his life with the Dursleys. He never understood why they had bothered sending him toothpicks and tissues to Hogwarts – or rather, why Aunt Petunia bothered, as Vernon or Dudley certainly wouldn’t. Maybe she had been making a bitter joke, though at whose expense, Harry wasn’t sure.

There was no parcel from the Dursleys this year. Ron and Hermione had left their presents for him behind, and somehow, Mrs. Weasley had managed to send hers despite the short notice. There was a lumpy one (a Christmas jumper, Harry supposed), and a huge box wrapped securely with twine, a bit of red tinsel tied to the top. Harry didn’t have to open it to know that it was filled to the brim with mince pies, jam tarts, ginger snaps and all the other staples of Christmas at the Burrow.

He showered, shaved and got dressed, dragging a brush through his hair before gathering it to tie it into a bun at the back of his head. He’d started doing this over the summer. The barber at Hogsmeade, magical though they were, had never been able to do much about his hair, and this kept it out of the way if nothing else.

He lingered for a moment, wondering if he should open his presents before leaving, and then decided against it. He’d woken with a single intent in his mind, his stomach churning nervously at the prospect. If he started procrastinating now, he might lose his nerve.

On an impulse, he grabbed Mrs. Weasley’s box of Christmas sweets. Years of observation in the Great Hall had taught him that gifts, particularly gifts that involved chocolate, might find favor in a certain someone’s eyes. Possibly.


The Fat Lady was back, her feet propped up on a couch and a wet cloth draped over her eyes. She lifted it briefly to give him a feeble nod.

“Oh, it’s you. Merry Christmas, I suppose.”

The corridors were quiet and empty, as if they hadn’t echoed with hundreds of voices only a day previously. Snow piled up on the windowsills, so high that some of the windows were blocked almost entirely. The house elves would cast warming charms on them, but for now, a white blank greeted anyone trying catch a glimpse of the wintery grounds outside.

Harry met no one on his way to the hospital wing, and was glad he didn’t. They might have asked him to go to the Great Hall and join the Christmas breakfast, which was precisely where he did not want to be. Not before he’d spoken to Malfoy, anyway.

He had hoped that Madam Pomfrey might have gone to have breakfast with the teachers, but of course she hadn’t. Christmas or not; if she had a patient to care for (or two patients, in this case), the mediwitch hardly ever left her ward unattended.

Harry steeled himself for an argument at the sight of her, stirring a cauldron at the little brewing station in the corner. She merely sighed when she spotted him, turning down the fire with a flick of her wand.

“There you are, Potter. Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas, Madam Pomfrey.” He cleared his throat. “I, er, I wanted to apologize for yesterday. I didn’t mean to cause any trouble, and I’m sorry.”

She pursed her lips. “Yes, well. I suppose it was partly my fault for letting you in there.”

Harry took a deep breath. “Madam, I swear I won’t do anything to upset Malfoy or… or disturb the baby. Really. I just want to talk to him.”

She sighed again. “I know, Potter. I expected you to come by. You may go in, but I want your word that you won’t start anything, even if Mr. Malfoy decides to be particularly unpleasant.” She paused, then continued in a softer tone, “I believe it may do him some good. He’s been rather quiet. For him, that is.”

Harry nodded, relieved. He’d half expected to be kicked out again. “I won’t. Thank you.”

“Yes, yes.” She waved a dismissive hand at him and turned back to her cauldron. “One hour, Potter. Mr. Malfoy still needs his rest.”

Harry found Malfoy sitting up in bed. He had wrapped himself in a red knitted blanket, one pale hand holding it together in front of his chest. On the table beside him stood several empty potion bottles and a vase in which someone (a house elf, Harry guessed) had placed a fir branch with a single silver-and-green bauble. The swaddle of blankets in the corner didn’t stir, so Harry supposed the baby was sleeping.

“Hey,” he said softly, not sure what he was expecting. Malfoy didn’t look angry, exactly. Mostly, he looked tired, his face drawn with the kind of bone-deep exhaustion that had been Harry’s constant companion in the days after the battle.

Malfoy said nothing in reply, just tugged the blanket a little tighter around his shoulders. His eyes trailed over the box under Harry’s arm.

Deciding that it was probably best to just do it, Harry sat on the chair next to Malfoy’s bed, the box on his lap.

“Look,” he said. “I said some – some stupid things yesterday, and I had no right. I’m sorry.”

Malfoy’s eyes flickered up to his, then back down.

“What’s in the box?” he asked softly, just when Harry thought he wasn’t going to say anything at all.

“Oh.” Harry began to tug at the twine, feeling awkward and glad to have something to do with his hands. “Mrs. Weasley sent it this morning. It’s –” He tugged off the brown wrapping paper and lifted the lid, freeing a cloud of delicious scents. “– Christmas sweets. Oh, and homemade chocolate fudge. Want some?”

Malfoy seemed to be torn in an inner battle. His lips thinned, his eyes narrowing. Harry took the fudge out of the box and broke off a piece, popping it into his mouth. “This is almond and white chocolate, but there’s a butterscotch flavored one if you – “

“Oh, give it here, Potter!”

Careful to keep any trace of a smile off his face, Harry began to set the boxes of fudge on Malfoy’s bed. Malfoy’s hand darted out from under the blanket to snatch a piece of salted caramel fudge. Harry watched his face as he put it in his mouth. Malfoy clearly intended to keep a blank expression, but didn’t quite manage, not that Harry was surprised. Molly’s fudge was that good. And Malfoy liked his sweets. Always had.

“You’re still an arse,” Malfoy muttered. His hand hovered over the boxes, trying to decide which flavor to pick next.

“Fair enough.” Harry leaned back in his chair, watching as Malfoy broke off a small piece of raspberry fudge. “How are you feeling today?”

Malfoy’s eyes closed briefly as he savored the tangy flavor. “Like sh*te. Merlin, that’s good.”

Harry smiled. “I’ll let Molly know you enjoyed it.”

Malfoy opened his eyes. “I don’t think she’d appreciate you sharing this with me, of all people.”

“Maybe not,” Harry admitted. “Then again, maybe she wouldn’t mind. She’d – she’d want you to take care of yourself.”

He couldn’t help glancing at the cot in the corner. Malfoy noticed, of course. His pale cheeks pinked a little, but he said nothing, and simply ate another piece of fudge.

The awkward silence that followed was broken by Malfoy’s sigh. “Madam Pomfrey tells me you did save my life. And – and his.” His eyes flicked towards the cot. “I would have bled out, and he would have d-died of exposure, eventually. I didn’t… I never meant –” He looked genuinely anguished. “I never wanted him to die, you know?”

Harry eyed him carefully. “And yourself?”

Malfoy shrugged. “I don’t know. I’d been in such pain for two days, and I – I guess I had kind of accepted that I wasn’t going to make it.”

Harry didn’t ask why Malfoy hadn’t gone to the hospital wing; hadn’t at least let a friend know what he was going through before it was too late. Carrying awful secrets around with you for any length of time did things to your mind; it put you in a strange, skewed headspace where no one could be trusted. Harry knew this. It wasn’t too far a stretch to see himself doing the same.

“For what it’s worth, I’m glad you made it. Both of you.”

Malfoy smiled thinly. “Third time’s the charm, isn’t it?”

Harry was confused at first, then understood: He’d saved Malfoy’s life in the Room of Requirement, and quite possibly a second time when he’d stunned the Death Eater who had cornered Malfoy during the battle. Two-faced bastard, Ron had called him and at the time, Harry had wholeheartedly agreed. Now, he knew that he’d saved not one but two lives, and it felt… strange, to say the least. It created a bond between them, a connection over something truly innocent, which was not a term Harry associated with Draco Malfoy.

What he said next was not at all planned. “Can… can I look at him?”

Malfoy eyed him for a moment, then nodded tensely. “I suppose.”

Harry got up and went over to the cot in the corner. The baby slept under the pale red warming charm, swaddled in blankets that surrounded him like a soft white cocoon. Only the tiny face was visible, as well as a few strands of blond fuzz peeking out under the knitted cap.

Not sure why he was doing it, Harry reached out and touched the baby’s cheek with a finger. It felt warm and incredibly soft.

“You can pick him up,” Malfoy said quietly. “He won’t wake if you do it carefully.”

There was something strange in his tone. Harry turned around and met a pair of eyes watching him almost apprehensively. As if, for some reason, it truly mattered what Harry did next.

Acting on a gut feeling, Harry carefully scooped the little head up with one hand, making sure he had a firm hold of the blanket bundle before he gathered it to his chest. The baby slept on, a warm and surprisingly solid weight in Harry’s arms. It was insane, that only 48 hours ago this living human being had been inside Malfoy’s belly. That the child had been with him for… well, Harry assumed it was nine months, because that’s what it took for witches. As far as he knew.

He carried the bundle over to Malfoy’s bed and sat back down on his chair.

“Have you held him?” he asked.

“Once,” Malfoy said softly. “Madam Pomfrey showed me how to feed him. She did it first, but then she insisted that I should learn.”

“Oh.” Of course, the baby had to be fed. Stupid, really, that it hadn’t occurred to him before. Harry glanced down at the sleeping child and back at Malfoy, at the blanket he’d wrapped so tightly around himself. “You, er, how do you… I mean…”

Smirking faintly, Malfoy picked up a small bottle from the bedside table. “Formula.”

Harry blushed. Of course.

“Madam Pomfrey did say that some wizards do a partial transfiguration to nurse the natural way. It’s very advanced magic, and I would`ve needed to practice beforehand. It seems that I’m rather… ill-prepared. For any of this.”

Harry had never heard Malfoy admit to any kind of weakness before. Now, there was visible fear in his eyes. It wasn’t the kind of panicky desperation Harry had witnessed on the Astronomy Tower. It was a numb dread, the kind that made you second-guess every decision, every move you made. That told you, over and over, that whoever had trusted you with this task had put their faith in the wrong person.

Harry knew it only too well.

“You – you won’t have to do it on your own, though, right?” This simple fact had been his anchor; the saving grace that had allowed him to keep going even in his darkest moments. Maybe it could be Malfoy’s, too. “You’ve got your mum…”

Malfoy huffed, trying to look nonchalant. It didn’t really work. “Mother’s not allowed to leave the Manor grounds, as you might remember. And the conditions of my parole state that I’m to remain at Hogwarts until I finish my NEWTs. No exceptions. After that, I’m to start my community service in Wizarding London without delay. So no, Potter, my mother won’t meet her – her grandson for quite a while yet.”

Harry hadn’t planned on saying anything before he received an answer to his letter, but the ill-concealed misery in Malfoy’s tone made him change his mind. He could always write more letters if they said no.

“Maybe she will.”

Malfoy sighed. “You don’t get it, do you? It’s part of my punishment that I’m not allowed any family visits. The Wizengamot won’t change their minds just because I happened to pop out another evil Death Eater spawn.”

Harry involuntarily drew the warm bundle closer to his chest. “Don’t call him that.”

“It wasn’t my first choice as a name, no,” Malfoy said, in such a dry tone that Harry couldn’t help but huff a laugh.

“Prat. You know what I meant. And you’re not a Death Eater anymore.”

Any trace of humor disappeared from Malfoy’s eyes. His face hardened. “You’re very sure of this, aren’t you?”

“Yeah, I am, actually,” Harry said, refusing to react to the sneering tone. “You were rather sh*t at it, anyway.”

“You don’t know half of it,” Malfoy muttered. “I did what I did, Potter. And now he –” He looked at the baby in Harry’s arms, his mouth set in a bitter twist. “ – he’s suffering the consequences along with me. That’s the reality of it. I was a sh*t Death Eater, and now I’m a sh*t father who c – can’t even hold his child without panicking. How am I going to feed him if I can’t hold him, Potter? M-madam Pomfrey says I’ve got to, that he depends on me, but what if I drop him because my hands get so b-bloody shaky? What if –”

“Then I’ll hold him,” Harry said. He wasn’t sure where the words had come from, but the moment he said them, he knew that they were true. He would hold the baby for Malfoy, as often and as long as it took. “I’ll hold him and you can feed him, and it’ll be okay.”

Malfoy stared at him, his eyes wide and overly bright. “What?”

“I told you, you won’t have to do this on your own. I’m not saying I’ll be much use, but I can hold him for you while you feed him. And…” He took a deep breath. “I wrote to Kingsley about your mum. Kingsley Shacklebolt. I asked him to make an exception and let her visit. He hasn’t replied yet, but I think… I think he’ll make it happen.”

Malfoy was still staring at him. “You wrote to the Minister of Magic, who you happen to be on first-name terms with, just so my mother can visit me?”


“And you’ll hold a newborn, who Madam Pomfrey tells me needs feeding every three hours for some ungodly reason, just because I can’t?”

“Yes,” Harry said stoutly. “I will.”


It was a very good question. A legitimate question. The only problem was that Harry didn’t really have an answer; not one he was prepared to give, anyway.

Instead, he shrugged. “No one should have to do this on their own. And I – I like babies.”

He did not. Or rather, he had no experience to base a liking (or dislike) on. This pointy-nosed baby with the blond fuzzy hair was the only tiny human Harry had ever interacted with.

“You like babies,” Malfoy repeated faintly. “You’re mad, Potter. Completely barking.”

Harry sighed.

You don’t know half of it.


I'd love to know what you think!

Chapter 5


Oh my god, you guys, I'm so excited! The lovely Ladderofyears drew some AMAZING art for this fic, I can't believe how talented she is. I'll embed it after the first part of the chapter.

Thank you so much, I still can't believe you created this for my fic ❤️ 🧡 💛 💚 💙 💜!

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Chapter Text

Kingsley Shacklebolt’s reply to Harry’s letter arrived during dinner in the Great Hall. The house elves, likely following McGonagall’s orders, kept sending the food to the Hufflepuff table, leaving the other three as well as the teachers’ table empty. Which made sense, Harry supposed; there were only ten people staying at Hogwarts for Christmas, himself, the Headmistress and Luna included. Well, twelve, he supposed. Malfoy and his son were there, even if they didn’t leave in the hospital wing.

Luna’s barn owl looked very pleased with himself as he fluttered down next to Harry’s plate, carrying a dead mouse in his beak. He swallowed it with a loud gulp, then stretched out his leg to let Harry untie the letter.

Luna scratched his head. “Well done, Dumbledore. You caught a mouse and you didn’t lose the letter. He does that, sometimes,” she added to Harry. “Then he finds something else to bring to me. Once he brought me a letter that was for a wizard in Cornwall from his mother-in-law. And once some Muggle car keys.”

Dumbledore did not look at all ashamed of his less-than-reliable delivery methods. He stole a sausage from Harry’s plate and began to hop down the table in search of more food.

Harry unfolded Kingsley’s reply and scanned the lines. When he’d reached the bold initials signed at the end, he smiled and tucked the letter into his bag, rummaging for a spare bit of parchment and a quill. Best to send a note to Malfoy Manor right away.

Not that he was going to tell Narcissa why he wanted her to visit. That was a conversation between mother and son, and certainly not his tale to tell. But she would come even so; he was sure of it. Whatever else Narcissa Malfoy had done, she’d always put her son first.

Harry folded up the letter and eyed Dumbledore, who was nicking chips from Trelawney’s plate. “Luna, do you think he might deliver another letter for me tonight? Without losing it?”

“I’ll ask him.” Luna whistled, and Dumbledore came flapping over, landing on her shoulder. He nuzzled her cheek and she whispered to him, pointed to Harry and whispered some more. Dumbledore co*cked his head and nipped her ear.

“It’s okay,” Luna said. “He’ll do his best. Just make sure to tie a double knot. He can’t work those open.”

Harry did, feeding the owl another sausage for good measure. “This is for Narcissa Malfoy at Malfoy Manor in Wiltshire. She’ll feed you the poshest owl treats there are if you get the letter to her in one piece. Can you do that?”

Dumbledore nipped his finger and took off, circling the Great Hall once before he disappeared through the owl hatch above.

Luna smiled as she watched him go. “They said he was completely useless, at Eeylops. And now look at him, delivering letters like a real post owl.”

Privately, Harry crossed his fingers that Dumbledore’s newfound sense of duty would hold for another day or two.

He gathered up his bag. “Thanks, Luna. See you later.”

“Are you going to see Draco?” Luna asked serenely.

Harry blinked. “How do you – er, yeah. I promised him I’d come by after dinner.”

To help feed the baby, he didn’t say. Luna had an uncanny ability of seeing through him, so she might know already, and if not, he wasn’t going to risk starting new rumors.

Luna nodded. “Tell him I said hello, and to watch out for the Gorgles. They like to infest baby cribs and steal binkies.”

“Will do,” Harry said steadfastly. “Have a good evening, Luna.”

He’d been by the hospital wing twice today, keeping his promise to Malfoy, who seemed genuinely relieved to see him each time. The feeding itself worked out better than Harry had expected. All he had to do was hold the baby, really. Malfoy had picked up on the other stuff quickly enough – how to mix the formula in the bottle and warm it, how to test the temperature on the inside of his wrist, how to gently nudge the baby’s cheek with the teat to help him find it. His movements were swift and sure, just as they were when he was brewing potions. It was only when Madam Pomfrey urged him to take the baby from Harry that his nerves abandoned him. His hands began to tremble and his face lost what little color it had. In the end, Harry told Madam Pomfrey that they’d try it again later, and she’d conceded, not without a long frown in Malfoy’s direction. Maybe she thought that he was faking it; Malfoy had certainly played up injuries in the past, for attention or to get out of school work. But that wasn’t it, Harry knew. Malfoy was genuinely petrified of holding his son.

Entering the private room, Harry was greeted by the unhappy sounds of a fussy newborn. Malfoy stood over the crib, looking pale and stressed. Madam Pomfrey was nowhere in sight, which Harry suspected was no coincidence.

“He won’t settle,” Malfoy said, in lieu of a greeting. “There’s something wrong, Potter. His feeding time isn’t f-for another forty-five minutes. He’s n-not supposed to be hungry yet. Something’s wrong.”

Seeing the distress on Malfoy’s face, Harry wished Madam Pomfrey wasn’t such a firm believer in sink-or-swim therapy. She’d as much as told him that Malfoy simply had to get over himself; that no one was going to do the job for him. Which was true, Harry supposed. It didn’t mean that he had to do it all on his own.

He reached into the crib and picked up the baby. Now that he had done it a few times, it wasn’t such a strange feeling anymore to hold this small person. He rocked the little boy gently, humming a tuneless melody. He’d noticed earlier that the baby seemed to like his singing (not so much, he supposed, because Harry had any particular talent – he didn’t – but because of the soothing vibrations it created).

After a few moments, the baby quieted down. Harry sat down in one of the chairs by the window, watching Malfoy as he began preparing the formula. His shoulders had relaxed somewhat, but there was an unhappy set to his mouth, a tense expression that seemed to contain a number of emotions.

“Did you get some sleep?” Harry asked, taking in the dark circles under Malfoy’s eyes.

Malfoy snorted. “Oh yes. Because all of this is so relaxing. I do nothing but nap the day away, Potter.”

He cast a Warming Charm at the bottle. Nothing happened. Malfoy gripped his wand harder and cast again, to no avail.

“Wait,” Harry said. “Let me.”

He waved a hand, enveloping the bottle in a faint red glow. Malfoy turned to stare at him. For a moment, Harry thought he was going to fling a hex in his direction, or try to, anyway.

“Sorry,” Harry said, not sure what he was apologizing for. “Just trying to help.”

“Yes,” Malfoy said faintly. “Of course you are.”

He tested the formula on his wrist and, deeming it the right temperature, came over to sit in the chair next to Harry’s. Harry turned a little, shifting the baby so that Malfoy could comfortably reach his head. It was a strangely intimate setting, a thing which Harry hadn’t really noticed previously, focused as he’d been on the unfamiliar task of feeding a baby. Malfoy’s face was very close, blond hair falling into his forehead as he bent over his son. He bit down on his lower lip, a thing he tended to do when he concentrated on something. He touched the bottle to the baby’s cheek, letting out the breath he’d been holding when the little head turned and the baby’s mouth latched onto the teat. The baby began drinking, and Malfoy visibly relaxed.

“Thank Merlin. He was just hungry.”

Harry caught himself staring at the soft blond strand on Malfoy’s forehead, idly wondering how it would feel to tuck it back behind his ear. He asked his next question just to give his brain something else to do.

“Have you thought of a name for him yet?”

Malfoy’s eyes flickered up to meet his. “What?”

“A name,” Harry said. “He should have one, don’t you think?”

“If that’s what you think,” Malfoy said, looking away.

“It’s not about what I think,” Harry said, wondering why Malfoy was being so weird about this. “You’re his father. What do you want to call him?”

Malfoy said nothing for a long while. Harry was beginning to wonder if he’d decided to ignore the question of naming the child – maybe, like holding him, it was something Malfoy couldn’t quite bring himself to do – when he spoke again.

“Scorpius, I think. Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy.”


Malfoy’s lips twitched. “You hate it.”

“No, I…” Harry looked down at the small boy who’d been given such a grand name. Draco had been like that once, he thought. A tiny child with a big name. “It’s a mouthful,” he admitted. “But fitting, I guess.”

“It’s a family name,” Malfoy said. “My mother’s family, I mean. The Blacks always choose star constellations for their firstborns.”

“Like your mum did.”

Malfoy nodded. “She named me after her favorite uncle. Father wasn’t best pleased. He wanted a Roman name in the Malfoy tradition.”

A Black family name. Maybe ‘Scorpius’ wasn’t too bad, Harry thought. With a name like Scorpius Hyperion, the boy would seem right at home in his ancestral manor or the Black estate, tied irreversibly into the ancient traditions by blood and by name.

“Scorpius,” he said. “Have you finished your dinner, Pi my man?”

The look on Malfoy’s face was priceless. Harry laughed, and didn’t even mind when he burped the baby and Scorpius proceeded to spit up all over his back.

Arms Wide Open: Hogwarts - Sita_Z - Harry Potter (1)


In the end, after some back-and-forth with Madam Pomfrey who wasn’t quite happy with the idea, Harry ended up staying the night in the hospital wing.

“I was going to come back anyway to help with the feeding,” he said, ignoring the disapproval in her expression. “I might as well camp out in here.”

Eventually, she relented and even levitated a cot into the private room, along with a pillow and some blankets. Malfoy watched it all happen with a blank face, pretending indifference. Harry noticed, however, the subtle changes in his body language – the way he settled back into his pillow instead of hunching in on himself, the hands that rested in his lap instead of clutching the blankets with a white-knuckled fist.

When Madam Pomfrey announced that it was time for his daily healing charms, he merely sighed. “It’s not as if I have any choice, is it?”

“If you want to regain full function at some point, Mr. Malfoy, then no, you don’t.” Ignoring his scarlet face, she turned to Harry. “In the meantime, why don’t you take little Scorpius here for a walk to settle him down for the night.”


She raised her eyebrows at him. “Yes?”

Harry wasn’t quite sure why the idea of taking the baby for a walk seemed so daunting. “I didn’t know that was allowed. Taking him out of here,” he added, cringing inwardly at how stupid he sounded.

Her face softened somewhat. “You’ll find, I think, that there’s no fixed manual for babies, much as many young parents would wish for one.” She flicked her wand, muttering a spell, and Harry found himself with a stretch of soft blue cloth wrapped around his chest. Madam Pomfrey helped him settle Scorpius into the sling, fiddling with it until the baby rested comfortably. It was like a tiny, custom-made hammock hanging off Harry’s shoulder, and Scorpius seemed to feel right at home inside it.

“Off you go,” she said, all but pushing him towards the door, and Harry knew better than to protest.

Walking with a bundled-up newborn strapped to his chest was a strange feeling. At first, Harry didn’t dare remove his hands from the little body, never mind that Madam Pomfrey had made sure the baby was quite secure. It was only after he’d turned the third corner that he finally relaxed and lowered his hands. Of course, the sling held just fine.

Scorpius, for his part, seemed to appreciate his new position. He curled his hands into tiny fists next to his face and promptly fell asleep, a small warm weight against Harry’s chest.

Harry walked the deserted corridors until he’d reached the Fat Lady’s portrait. She narrowed her eyes at the sight of him, alert and upright once more after her Yuletide merry-making. “Is that the Malfoy child? Sir Cadogan told me all about it.”

“Wenceslas,” Harry told her.

“Why are you carrying the baby around, anyway? Aren’t you always at odds with the Malfoy boy? Slytherin, isn’t he? Of course he is.”

Wenceslas,” Harry repeated, and she rolled her eyes.

“Alright, don’t tell me anything then.”

“I won’t,” Harry replied, ignoring her outraged huff as he climbed through the portrait hole.

The common room was as empty as it had been since everyone had left for Christmas break. Only one other Gryffindor student was staying, a second-year girl who spent most of her days holed up in Ravenclaw Tower with her best friend. She slept there, too, leaving Harry the sole inhabitant of the lions’ den. It might have been lonely, but it wasn’t. He’d spent his teenage years living in dorms or camping out in a three-person tent (summers at the Dursleys didn’t count; those were wasted, in-between weeks, in Harry’s eyes), and he’d never realized that time on his own, listening to his own thoughts and conquering the day at his own pace, could be something he appreciated.

Well, not entirely on his own.

“This is Gryffindor Tower,” he told Scorpius, who slept the sleep of the just – or at least, the sleep of someone who had no idea that all of his Malfoy ancestors had been Sorted Slytherin the second the Sorting Hat touched their blond heads. “We’ve the best common room and the best Quidditch team, but don’t tell your dad I said so. And I bet they don’t have a Christmas tree down in the dungeons.”

Scorpius made no comment to this, and Harry proceeded to climb the stairs to his room. He threw a few things into a bag – pyjamas, his new Weasley sweater, a random assortment of clothes and schoolwork (Hermione would have rolled her eyes at his haphazard packing). Might as well get ready for a longer stay in the hospital wing, as he was going to help out with Scorpius, anyway.

On his way back, he came across Peeves hovering in one of the side corridors next to a suit of armor. The poltergeist looked rather worse for wear, dripping with ghostly water, his bell-covered hat adorned with seaweed. Harry remembered that the Bloody Baron had banished him into the lake.

“It’s potty Potter,” he cried, his orange eyes gleaming. “Potty Potter babysitting the Death Eater brat. I thought they’d taken the Malfoy boy and his bastard away to Azkaban?”

Harry drew his wand. “Get out of here.”

Peeves clutched his chest, rolling his eyes in mock-fear. “Ooohh, Peevesy’s so scared! Where’s Potty taking the brat, I’d like to know? Going to toss it off the Astronomy Tower? Peevesy might come along and watch! What fun!”

Harry raised his arm to throw a Blasting Jinx, but before he could utter the curse, a blue Bombarda whizzed past him, hitting Peeves in the middle of the chest. The poltergeist swore angrily and exploded into hundreds of tiny grimacing faces, all of which stuck out their tongues and hissed before winking out of existence.

Harry turned around. McGonagall came striding down the corridor, wand in hand.

“Good one, Professor,” Harry said grinning.

She smiled tightly. “Yes, well, after almost half a century one knows how to deal with the castle pests. He’s been rather a menace this school term. Professor Flitwick believes he’s still feeding off the violence of the final battle.”

Harry winced at the idea. “He couldn’t really hurt anyone, could he?”

Hurt Scorpius. The idea made him almost physically sick.

“Not as such,” McGonagall said. “He can move objects, however, or throw things. It is wise to be careful around his usual haunts. I was surprised that you’d stayed here for Christmas, Potter,” she said, changing the subject rather abruptly. “I thought you were going to the Burrow with Mr. Weasley and Miss Granger.”

Harry felt uncomfortable under her sharp gaze. “Yeah, I needed some time to myself. And… and I’m helping Malfoy with the baby. It’s got to be hard, and he’s got no one else,” he added, not sure why he felt the need to defend himself.

“Poppy mentioned it,” McGonagall said. Harry gained the impression that a lot more had been said between the headmistress and the matron, things she wasn’t sharing with him. “Potter… I’m going to give you a piece of advice, and I don’t want you to take it the wrong way. I had hoped Miss Granger would point this out to you, but perhaps not.” She cleared her throat. “Much as it pains me to say this, Potter, but you should know that the traditional wizarding world does not… look kindly upon young men and women in Mr. Malfoy’s situation. There’s a stigma attached to children born out of wedlock, children whose parentage is unknown or unacknowledged. And given Mr. Malfoy’s past, you should know that he’s going to face even harsher judgment. He won’t have an easy time of it, nor will his child,” she added, in a gentle tone quite unlike her. “I’m not saying you should stay away from him, but you should be aware that your… involvement will cause quite a stir.”

“His name’s Scorpius,” Harry said, placing one hand on the sleeping child.

McGonagall sighed. “Potter…”

“Professor. I don’t mean any disrespect, but I really don’t care about any of that. Malfoy’s on probation, and he’s going to do community service, like he should. Other than that, I don’t see why anyone would think they’ve a right to judge him or his kid.”

“Unfortunately, our world is rather Puritan in that aspect,” McGonagall said, in a surprisingly bitter tone. Harry wondered if there was a story there she wasn’t telling – not that he’d ever ask. “People will judge him, and they will wonder why you, of all people, came forward to support him.”

She gave him a long look. Harry knew that she, too, was wondering about the things he wasn’t saying, things she wasn’t going to ask him out loud.

“I appreciate your concern, Professor, but I really don’t care what people say. I don’t owe them anything.”

She sighed. “I knew you would say that. Still, I urge you to be careful. And Potter…” Her gaze lingered on the sleeping bundle on Harry’s chest. “You’re doing a good thing. Mr. Malfoy does need someone in his corner.”

He watched her walk down the corridor, straight-backed and resolute in her tartan robes. He’d never really thought about it before, but he knew very little about Minerva McGonagall, about the person she was outside of class or the headmistress’ office. He wondered if anyone did; anyone alive, that was. Albus Dumbledore had certainly been her friend, and so, perhaps, had Snape.

Lost in thought, Harry headed back to the hospital wing, the sleeping baby a warm and somehow reassuring weight against his chest. Madam Pomfrey barely acknowledged him as he entered, poring over several large tomes she’d spread out on her corner desk.

Malfoy was fast asleep. He’d curled up with the red blanket wrapped around him like a cocoon, his blond hair a tousled mess on the pillow. Malfoy had grown in the last couple of years, his shoulders filling out. His face, though still angular, wasn’t quite as pointy as it had been, and it helped that he no longer slicked his hair back with far too much Sleekeazy’s. Harry wasn’t sure if Malfoy was handsome, in the way Cedric Diggory had been. Thinking about other blokes like this was a new thing to him (or perhaps, a thing he hadn’t acknowledged until recently).

Malfoy’s lips looked very soft like this, relaxed in sleep. Harry looked at the blond lashes resting on too-pale cheeks, at the faint dusting of freckles on the still-rather-pointy nose, and felt something clench in his chest.

He’d never felt like this about Cho, or even Ginny. It was a complicated, almost painful feeling, a thing that was jumbled and tangled in his chest and tugged him into several directions at once, making him restless and nervous until he talked to Malfoy, or looked at him, and suddenly everything became very simple.

Harry sat down in one of the window chairs. He dropped the bag he’d brought on the floor, and after a moment, reached down to dig for the Quidditch magazine he knew was in there somewhere.

It was as good as anything to pass the time while his Malfoys slept. Who, of course, weren’t his at all, and the older of the two would have some choice things to say if he knew what Harry was thinking.

That, unfortunately, didn’t make it any less true.


Isn't the art just lovely? And little Scorpius finally has a name.

I would love to know what you think!

Chapter 6


Your support and comments mean so much to me! Honestly, they make me incredibly happy.

I hope you like Narcissa in this!

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Chapter Text

Narcissa Malfoy arrived early the next morning, and (as Harry found out later) completely ignored Professor McGonagall’s and Madam Pomfrey’s attempts to stop her for a word in private as she made her way to the hospital wing.

“… going to see my son whether you like it or not,” she was saying as she opened the door to the private room, a harassed Madam Pomfrey in tow.

Harry had to give it to her; she didn’t lose her countenance, not when she spotted him on his cot, barefooted and in his Chudley Cannons pyjamas, nor when her eyes fell on the crib in the corner. She froze, as did Malfoy, who’d only just woken up and had been mid-whinge about Harry’s alleged snoring. Then, she strode across the room until she’d reached Malfoy’s bedside and pulled her son into a fierce hug.

“Draco. Dragon. Are you alright?”

Malfoy looked rather alarmed, but allowed his mother to hold him close, his own arms coming up tentatively to wrap around her.

“I… I’m fine, Mother. I didn’t think they’d let you come.”

Narcissa leaned back and took his face in her hands, brushing his hair out of his forehead. “What were you thinking? Why didn’t you tell me? Did anyone know?”

Malfoy’s eyes flickered down. “Not really.”

Narcissa paled. “Don’t tell me you were alone when it happened.”

Malfoy swallowed. “I was alone, until Potter found me. He was there when – when Scorpius was born.”

“Scorpius,” Narcissa whispered. “A Black family name.”

Malfoy nodded carefully. “Father wouldn’t approve, I suppose.”

“Your father wouldn’t approve of a number of things, Draco. We’re going to deal with it.” She pulled him close once more. “All that matters now is that you’re alive, stupid boy.”

“My magic’s messed up, though. I can’t even cast a Warming Charm,” Malfoy said, his frustration evident in his tone. “I might as well be a Squib.”

“Of course it is,” Narcissa said. “What did you expect? Your body wasn’t made to deliver a child, and your magic has to compensate for that. It took your Great Uncle Cygnus almost six months to recover from the birth of his first son. That’s what Grandmère used to tell us, anyway. There are potions these days to speed up the process,” she added at the sight of Malfoy’s horrified look. “It’s not the end of the world.”

Harry was surprised at her reaction to Malfoy’s complaining. He’d always imagined Narcissa as a doting, simpering mother, ready to take her son’s dramatics at face value. He hadn’t expected her to gently scold Malfoy for being unreasonable, in a way that almost reminded him of Mrs. Weasley.

She surprised him again when she left her son’s bedside, walked over to the crib and picked up Scorpius as if she hadn’t learned of his existence only today.

“He’s darling, Draco. He looks just like you. Don’t you think so, Mr. Potter?” she added, smoothly including Harry in the conversation. If she was wondering what the hell he was doing camping out in her son’s hospital room, she never let it color her voice or expression.

“Er,” Harry said. “Yeah. He does.”

“Except for the hair,” Narcissa said, running a gentle hand over the soft fuzz that covered Scorpius’ head. “Draco had no hair to speak of until his first birthday. Oh, and really bad cradle cap. I remember sending Lucius to Apparate to Belgium for a special potion.”

“Mother,” Malfoy said, his face rather red. He very determinedly did not look at Harry.

Narcissa sat down on the edge of Malfoy’s bed, Scorpius cradled in her arms. She looked composed and serious, every bit the elegant lady, and yet there was a certain vulnerability in her face as she turned to her son.

“Draco,” she said. “My darling boy. You know I would never do anything to hurt you, don’t you?”

Malfoy nodded silently.

“Then you must know that there are questions I cannot leave unaddressed.”

Harry cleared his throat. “I’ll, er, go and see if I can rustle up a cup of tea…”

“You can stay, Potter,” Malfoy said softly, not meeting Harry’s eyes. “You might as well.”

Harry had never been good at reading between the lines; not like Hermione, anyway. He understood, however, that Malfoy wasn’t merely giving his permission for him to be present for the conversation that was going to follow. He was asking Harry to stay, for reasons best known to himself.

He nodded slowly, waiting to see if Narcissa would object. She did not.

“Okay,” he said. “If you’re sure.”

Malfoy nodded, looking at his mother. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you.”

“What’s done is done,” she said, reaching out to put her hand over his. “Just tell me this, and don’t ‘protect’ me by withholding the truth. Was it Greyback?”

Harry had not expected this name to be brought up, nor the way it made him feel cold all over. The implications were sinister, reminding him of the way Malfoy had kept a wary distance to the werewolf on the Astronomy Tower; how Greyback and his lot had strolled into Malfoy Manor, clearly familiar with the place and confident of their right to come and go as they pleased. Greyback had targeted the young, the unprotected, and without a wand, Malfoy had certainly been that.

Malfoy’s face was pale. “I… no. I don’t think so.”

“You don’t think so?” Narcissa repeated, in a tight voice that, in a less self-possessed person, might have been a shout. “What do you mean?”

“I – ” Malfoy broke off, clearly fighting for control. “I just don’t know, Mother! As – as far as I know, there hasn’t been anyone.”

“That’s not possible,” Narcissa said softly.

“I know that,” Malfoy snapped. “I am aware of the facts of life. I’m saying that I do not remember. But if it had been Greyback, there would have been… more damage. I don’t believe he let any of his victims live without disfiguring or turning them, or both.”

More damage?” Narcissa’s voice slipped, becoming brittle. “Draco…”

“It wasn’t bad,” Malfoy said, bright red and speaking quickly, as if to get it over with. “Hardly any pain, or – or bleeding. I thought it was the aftereffects of a curse at the time. I don’t remember anything else.”

“It’s alright,” Narcissa said, stroking the back of his hand. “It’s alright, Dragon. I believe you.”

“He could be, you know,” Malfoy said in a voice that was barely audible, turning to Harry. “You were right. It’s possible. I just don’t remember.”

Harry understood immediately, wishing that he didn’t. Ron had said it, half the school had said it, and so had he, throwing the words into Malfoy’s face: Scorpius could be Voldemort’s son. It made sense that Malfoy wouldn’t remember. Anyone wishing to cling to the tatters of their sanity would make themselves forget a thing like that.

“He’s not,” Harry said stupidly.

“You don’t know that,” Malfoy said, suddenly angry. “You don’t, Potter, so don’t f*cking pretend it might not be the Dark Lord’s heir you’ve been feeding and carrying around the castle!”

“Draco,” Narcissa said sharply. “That’s not true.”

“You don’t know that, Mother! He could be! He – ”

“– is not the Dark Lord’s child,” Narcissa cut across him. “You don’t know this, Draco, because my sister never spoke about it to anyone but me. We would both have been killed if anyone had found out that she’d confided in me. The – the man we called the Dark Lord – Tom Riddle – was trying for an heir. He was trying to impregnate her. They used every Dark magic imaginable, and still none of the children lived. They died in the womb, every one of them, and –“ She looked away. “I saw one after it was born, and I wish I hadn’t. He punished her for failing him, but it was so clear that he wasn’t – he didn’t have enough human left in him to sire a child that could live. Much less conceive a child with another wizard.”

Harry felt faintly ill. Voldemort and Bellatrix made sense, in a sick sort of way. She, half-mad and devoted to sacrificing all that she was for a man she saw as a god; he, convinced that he was said god and deserved all that she could give. And of course he’d wanted an heir. One he could, in time, turn into another horcrux and thus ensure that Tom Riddle rose again in the flesh.

“Do you see, Dragon?” Narcissa asked quietly, never letting go of his hand. “He can’t be Riddle’s son.”

“He might not be pureblood,” Malfoy said. Harry watched Narcissa closely, searching for traces of disgust in her expression. There were none. If anything, she looked sad.

“He might not, no.”

“Father would never accept him.”

“Your father…” Narcissa sighed. “Draco, your father no longer makes these decisions. He hasn’t for a while. When the Dark Lord – when Riddle lived in our home, after your father had invited him there, it was I who decided what was best for our family. I went to Severus and asked him to protect you. Your father wouldn’t, fearing that Bellatrix would report him to Riddle and he would lose the last remains of favor he still had with that man. I sent our house elves away after Lola was killed, and when Riddle was gone, they came back out of loyalty to me, not Lucius. Your father is in prison, and we are not, thanks to Mr. Potter…”

“Hermione helped me write that speech,” Harry said. It seemed important that they knew this, that they acknowledged the fact that a Muggleborn had played an important part in keeping them out of Azkaban. “She looked up the wizarding laws on juvenile delinquency and why they applied in your case.”

“Of course she did,” Malfoy said, rolling his eyes. “I never assumed you to be able to quote magical law and explain its implications to the Wizengamot lawyers, Potter.”


“That’s alright, Mrs. Malfoy,” Harry said. “He’s not wrong. Just as long as you realize that she did this after what happened at the Manor. After all the times you called her a Mudblood and implied that she had no place in a magical school.”

A blush crept up Malfoy’s neck, mottling his pale cheeks. “I suppose I owe her an apology.”

“You owe her several,” Harry said. “Not that she’s obligated to accept them, mind you.”

Malfoy nodded, and for a moment, Harry almost wished things could be simple again, like they’d been in Third Year. Loathing Malfoy had been a given, then. He’d admired Cho safely from afar, without any of the strange, tangled feelings that weighed on his chest whenever he looked at Malfoy these days. Cho or Ginny had never uttered the word Mudblood. They wouldn’t. They’d also never needed him, Harry, to save them or help them or do anything for them, really. Well, Cho had needed him to talk about Cedric, and he’d resented her for it.

Malfoy was different because he did need the things Harry could give him. He might not be particularly gracious about it, but here he was, relying on Harry to hold Scorpius, to help care for the baby and be there to whinge at when Malfoy needed to whinge. Or just to be there. All of this, Harry found he could do. Easily, in fact, and without feeling like the most useless person in the world.

Scorpius chose this moment to make himself heard, squalling unhappily and curling his tiny hands into fists. Narcissa glanced down at the baby in her arms, her face softening.

“What is it, little one?”

“He’s hungry,” Malfoy said, more confident than Harry had ever heard him in matters related to his son. “Give him to Potter, Mother, he knows what to do. I’ll get the bottle ready.”

For some reason, it hadn’t occurred to Malfoy that Narcissa might want to hold her grandson, or feed him. He fell back into their familiar routine even with his mother present, and somehow, this made Harry strangely happy. He looked at Narcissa to see if she was disappointed or hurt. She didn’t seem to be, smiling a little as she met Harry’s eyes.

“You two seem to have things figured out,” she said, handing Scorpius to Harry.

Her eyes lingered on him. Narcissa Malfoy was all poise and social grace, and wouldn’t say anything else, he knew. She didn’t have to.

“Er,” he said. “I guess?”

“Potter!” Malfoy called. “Aren’t you the great Master of Wandless Warming Charms? This formula isn’t going to heat itself!”

Sighing, Harry waved a hand. From the corner of his eyes, he saw Narcissa turn away to hide a smile.


After Scorpius was fed and changed (which Narcissa had done, using a handy little spell that cleaned and powdered the baby’s bottom), he fell asleep, soon followed by his father, who insisted he wasn’t tired at all until his eyes literally drifted shut.

“He needs it,” Madam Pomfrey informed Narcissa in a low voice. “The more he sleeps, the sooner his magic will recover. I wasn’t too sure about Mr. Potter staying here at first, with the history these two have, but it’s been a blessing in disguise. Potter’s been up with the baby to feed him, letting Mr. Malfoy catch up on some sleep.”

This was true, but Harry still felt embarrassed at the way the two women looked at him. It wasn’t a big deal. Most nights, he lay awake anyway.

“That’s very good of you,” Narcissa said softly. “I can never hope to repay you for what you did for my family.”

“It’s fine,” Harry said. “Truly. I know you risked your life when you lied to Voldemort. It’s Hermione you should be thanking. Mal – Draco might have gone to Azkaban if not for her help with the Wizengamot, and…”

He didn’t finish, not wanting to imagine how Malfoy would have fared in his condition, alone in a cell in the middle of the North Sea.

“You’re a loyal friend,” Narcissa said, eyeing him in that way she had, as if she knew exactly what he was thinking. It was another thing she had in common with Mrs. Weasley. “I shall be contacting Miss Granger to extend my thanks and my apologies, if she will accept them. She is a truly exceptional witch.”

“Because she’s Muggleborn and smarter than any pureblood wizard?” Harry asked before he could stop himself.

“Witches tend to be smarter than wizards, no matter their respective blood status,” Narcissa replied without missing a beat. “No, Mr. Potter. Miss Granger is first and foremost a logical being, something our world is sadly lacking. I’d rather put my faith in logic these days than the whims of the vain and powerful.”

She went to speak to Madam Pomfrey after that, and Harry stretched out on his cot, intending to close his eyes for a few minutes before he went to look for a cup of tea. Budding insomniac or not, getting up with a newborn three times a night was draining.

He never noticed when, half an hour later, Madam Pomfrey came in and covered him with a blanket, spelling the windows to block the sunlight.

Harry slept until noon. His dreams were filled with sunlit snow and a white stag that wouldn’t let him come closer, shying away from his touch and hiding between the trees and bushes surrounding Malfoy Manor.

Arms Wide Open: Hogwarts - Sita_Z - Harry Potter (2)


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Chapter 7


The amazing ladderofyears created another wonderful art for this story - thank you so much 💚💚💚! I embedded it after the last chapter, so please go and take a look, it's incredible!!

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Chapter Text

After Narcissa’s visit, things remained a quiet routine for a day and a half, until Malfoy decided that it was time to take a stroll outside the hospital wing and fell spectacularly down the stairs. Later, he admitted that he’d been overcome by a dizzy spell, to which a furious Madam Pomfrey replied that this was exactly why he wasn’t supposed to go for walks around the castle on his own.

“And if you’d had Scorpius with you? You can’t afford to be that irresponsible any longer, Mr. Malfoy. I thought you understood that.”

Malfoy, for a moment, looked as if he wanted to say something truly vile in response. Then, his face crumpled. “I – I didn’t think of that.”

“Well, it’s a good thing you didn’t do more damage to yourself. Your ankle’s easily healed, thank Merlin. As for your birth injuries, you’ll notice that falling down stairs is exactly the kind of thing you should not be doing…”

“You don’t say,” Malfoy snarked, only to snap his mouth shut at her glare.

“Do not take that tone with me, young man! Do you think I have nothing better to do than to spend my Christmas holidays playing nursemaid to bratty teenagers! Like I said to Minerva, children shouldn’t have children, and that’s that.”

Malfoy disappeared into the adjoining bathroom and slammed the door shut, hard enough to make a potion bottle fall over on a nearby shelf. Madam Pomfrey ran a hand over her face. She looked tired, Harry thought. Her hair had been black two years ago, a gleaming braid piled on top of her head. Now there were distinct streaks of gray, and her face was lined in a way it hadn’t been before.

“I shouldn’t have said that,” she muttered.

Harry silently agreed. That was Malfoy, however – trying the patience of the gentlest of people, making Neville brawl on the Quidditch pitch and Hermione resort to physical violence. He could be a horrible little git and postpartum hormones hadn’t exactly made him any more agreeable.

At least he hadn’t woken Scorpius. The baby slept comfortably, snug in the sling Harry had taken to wearing most of his waking time.

Madam Pomfrey sighed, knocking on the closed bathroom door. “Mr. Malfoy! Please be reasonable. I haven’t finished treating you.”

There was no reply from inside.

“Mr. Malfoy, you’ll aggravate your injuries if you don’t allow me to help you.”

“I can try,” Harry offered quietly. He wasn’t sure he wanted to get involved, but Malfoy couldn’t stay in there, which was exactly what he was going to do if the matron kept trying to coax him out.

Madam Pomfrey sighed again. “Go ahead. He might listen to you. I’ll be in my office. Let me know when Mr. Malfoy’s ready.”

Harry nodded and, one hand splayed on Scorpius’ back, tried the bathroom door with the other. It was locked.


No reply, but then, he hadn’t expected one.

“Malfoy, open the door.”


“I can get my wand and cast Alohom*ora, but it’d be easier if you just –”

The lock clicked as it was disengaged, catching Harry by surprise. He hadn’t really expected Malfoy to listen to him.

He opened the door carefully. Malfoy was leaning against the sink, hunched over with his arms crossed and his back to the mirror. The bathroom was small, only a shower stall and a toilet, squeezed into a tiny chamber that must have been a storage closet at some point. Malfoy had been able to unlock the door without even moving away from the sink.

Harry leaned in the doorframe. Scorpius slept on, warm and comfortable against his chest. Malfoy’s eyes flicked to meet his, then away again.

“I just wanted a few minutes to myself,” he said sullenly. “Stretch my legs a little.”

“Yeah,” Harry said.

“I can’t stand being cooped up in there all day. It’s like being back at the Ministry.”

Harry remembered that Malfoy and his parents had spent two months in holding cells at the Ministry, waiting for their trials to come up. Afterwards, Lucius had been transferred to Azkaban, Narcissa had been sent to the Manor, and Draco… Harry frowned. He realized only now that Draco hadn’t gone home. He’d been in a cell at the Ministry until he was released to attend Hogwarts, as per his parole conditions.

“She didn’t have to yell like that,” Malfoy said, suddenly sounding like a much younger version of himself. “I’m n-not an idiot. It was an accident, alright?”

He wiped a hand over his cheek. Malfoy cried easily these days, which had to do with hormones, or so Madam Pomfrey said. Harry wasn’t so sure it was only that. His own tears were far closer to the surface than he liked, than they had any right to be in this post-war world of peace and healing. Sometimes they suddenly crowded in his throat, forcing him to make the kind of quick exit Malfoy had just made. It was a stupid, irritating thing, and he couldn’t even blame it on birth-related mood swings.

He'd noticed that the urge was less strong when he was carrying Scorpius around.

Harry stroked the sleeping baby’s back. “She shouldn’t have yelled.”

“What?” Malfoy grabbed a handful of toilet paper and wiped his face. His eyes and nose were red.

“She shouldn’t have yelled,” Harry repeated. “You didn’t do it on purpose.”

“Of course I didn’t. Why would I go and throw myself down a flight of stairs?”

Harry said nothing. The thought had occurred to him, but he knew better than to voice it. He didn’t want a repeat performance of their yelling match the day after Scorpius was born.

“I didn’t, Potter.” Malfoy sounded upset now. “I know what you’re thinking, but I haven’t gone completely round the twist. I’m not trying to off myself.”

“I’m not thinking anything,” Harry said.

Malfoy ignored the bait. “You do, though. You think I’m a coward.”

“I don’t. I used to, but… I guess you acted like a coward sometimes,” Harry said, with a shrug to show that he wasn’t aiming for a fight.

Malfoy narrowed his eyes. “Which, of course, you’re entitled to say, being a hero and all.”

“The world isn’t split into heroes and cowards,” Harry said, thinking of Sirius. He wasn’t sure his godfather would have agreed; after all, he’d expected Peter to die rather than betray Harry’s parents.

“Oh, isn’t it. When have you ever acted cowardly in your life?” Malfoy’s words sounded accusing.

Harry thought of Cho, who’d wanted to talk about painful things and his avoiding her; of Luna, who had been the target of many jokes, jokes he hadn’t made, but he’d laughed with the crowd all the same. Because it was easier. He thought of Malfoy in Sixth Year, bleeding on another bathroom floor, and himself frozen into inaction.

He shrugged. “Of course I have.”

Malfoy snorted. “Yeah, right.”

“Merlin, Malfoy, it doesn’t matter, okay? We’re here, we’re alive. It’s over. You have Scorpius to think about, and your mum. They need you to be there.”

“I wish they wouldn’t!” Malfoy snapped, voice brittle. “Mother has enough on her plate without me adding all of this to it. And Merlin knows I can’t be any sort of – of parent to a child. I’ll mess him up. I can’t even hold him properly, how’s that not going to f*ck him up? I should give him up for adoption, but they’re going to know he’s mine and who’s going to want a Death Eater kid? And even if they did, I couldn’t be sure he was treated right, because they’d never let me see him, would they? And what if – ”

Harry acted on a gut feeling, a strange and sudden impulse as he took Scorpius out of his sling and placed him in Malfoy’s arms. The baby snuffled and squirmed a little, then settled back to sleep, as peacefully as he had nestled against Harry’s chest.

Malfoy stood there stiffly, looking petrified. “Potter,” he said. “Potter, take him back. I – I can’t.”

“You’re doing it. See?”

“I’ll d-drop him. Potter, please. It isn’t safe.”

Harry could see that Malfoy was close to panicking, trembling and white-faced as he stood there holding his son for the second time ever, and still he didn’t take the baby back.

“He’s perfectly safe.”

“I’ll drop him, Harry, please – ”

Acting on another impulse, prompted, perhaps, by Malfoy’s use of his first name, Harry stepped closer and wrapped his arms around them both, carefully so as not to squish the sleeping child. Malfoy was slightly taller, bony and warm under Harry’s hands. He smelled like hospital and some posh herbal soap and like something else that did things to Harry’s stomach.

“You won’t drop him. It’s okay.”

They stood there for a long time, Scorpius sandwiched between them. Malfoy didn’t try to give the baby back or move away or do anything, really, but stand there and hold his son and allow his shaking to ebb away. The tension was still there in his arms and his back, making his tendons stand out under Harry’s hands. But he wasn’t trembling anymore, and he was holding Scorpius.

“Take him,” he whispered finally, and this time, Harry did, gently easing the baby back into the sling.

“See? He’s fine.”

“He’s not,” Malfoy muttered. “Pomfrey’s right. I’m not cut out for this.”

“She didn’t mean it,” Harry said. “And you’ve got your mum. And me,” he added, holding Malfoy’s eyes and pushing back the anxiety that bloomed in his chest. “If that’s what you want?”

“I want –” Malfoy looked away. “You don’t have to do this.”

“I know,” Harry said. “I want to, though.”

“Because you like babies?” Malfoy asked, a hint of teasing in his voice.

“I like Scorpius. And his dad’s well fit.”

“Yeah, right,” Malfoy snorted, his cheeks pink. “I’m a f*cking mess, Potter. I look like I’ve been mauled by a Hippogriff. You’ve seen it all, up close and personal. Madam Pomfrey said it’ll never go back to the way it was before. I’ll always be… disfigured.”

Harry was sure Madam Pomfrey had never used this term in relation to Malfoy’s injuries, but obviously, that was the quintessence of it to Draco. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I really am. I can’t imagine what that’s like. But it doesn’t make a difference to whether I’m here for this.”

For you. For us.

Malfoy still wouldn’t look at him. “And if your Weasley takes you back?”

Harry sighed. “Ginny’s not ‘my Weasley’. She’s not going to take me back, and even if she did, I wouldn’t want her to. People change.”

Malfoy finally met his eyes. There was a lightness in his voice that hadn’t been there before when he said, “Well then. I suppose you can stay around, if you must.”

Rolling his eyes, Harry took his hand, tugging him gently towards the door. “Come on. You’ve got to stop hanging out in bathrooms. Never ends well, does it?”

“Too soon, Potter,” Malfoy muttered, but he was smiling. Only a little, but Harry loved seeing it, anyway. Malfoy didn’t smile much these days.

Madam Pomfrey was waiting outside. Harry realized she’d been there for a while, and had decided to leave them to it rather than insisting that Malfoy let her treat him right away.

“Thank you,” he told her, and she nodded briskly.

“This way, Mr. Malfoy.”

Malfoy made no protest this time, squeezing Harry’s hand once before he let it go to follow the matron.

“Later, Potter.”

“Yeah,” Harry said, looking down at Scorpius to hide the smile that was spreading on his face. “Later.”


Luna joined Harry at dinner, dug through her bag and pulled out something which, at first glance, Harry thought to be a freshly hatched Blast-Ended Skrewt.

“Here,” she said, placing it on the table between them. “I thought Draco would like it for his baby. It took me quite a while to get the stinger right.”

Harry eyed the thing. It wasn’t a Blast-Ended Skrewt but a scorpion, black, eight-legged and fluffy, sporting a rather menacing set of pincers.

“You made this?”

Luna nodded. “Oh yes. I used an old teddy of mine to transfigure. Draco needn’t worry, I put a charm on it so it won’t suddenly turn back into a bear and scare poor Scorpius.”

“That would be scary,” Harry said, silently counting the eyes on the thing. There were six of them. “I’ll take it with me when I go back to the hospital ward. Or would you like to come and give it to Scorpius yourself?”

Luna shook her head. “I don’t think Draco would like that,” she said. “I don’t believe he wants to see anyone but you, Harry. And Madam Pomfrey of course, because she has to be there.”

Luna’s bluntness no longer fazed him like it used to, so he just nodded. “Yeah, I guess. Thanks, Luna.”

She nodded. “People have been saying really nasty things, and I know how upsetting that can be when you have no one to talk to. I thought Draco could use some friends.”

Harry thought of Luna in the cellar of Malfoy Manor, looking pale and thin, and felt something twist in his chest. “I suppose he could.”

“Tell him I liked the grapes and the lychees,” Luna said. At Harry’s look of confusion, she added, “Oh, you didn’t know? The Death Eaters used to send Draco down to with our food. He was supposed to give us bread and water, but he said that vitamins are essential nutrients and he didn’t want to deal with it if our teeth started to fall out. Did you know that could happen? Draco brought me a really interesting book about eighteenth-century sailors who died of scurvy. Mr. Ollivander said that wizards could always regrow teeth, but apparently scurvy weakens your magic along with your body. There are cases of medieval witches and wizards who were so starved in Muggle prison that they couldn’t cast a Flame Freezing Charm anymore and were actually burned at the stake, did you know? Draco has so many books on magical history, I wish I could have borrowed some when we left the Manor.”

Harry blinked, partly at Luna’s reference to her captivity as if it had been a visit to the library, and partly at the idea of Malfoy smuggling fruit to Luna and Ollivander, bringing them books into the dungeons. It wasn’t what he had imagined.

He picked up Luna’s scorpion plushie. For all its alarming appearance, it was soft and cuddly, with many legs for a baby to chew on.

“This is nice,” he said. “You know, I think Malfoy – Draco that is, would like to see you. I could ask him?”

Luna smiled. “Yes, maybe. I would love to visit some time. Oh, a tiny owl.”

Used to Luna’s non-sequiturs, Harry didn’t realize that she was talking about an actual owl until he felt feathers brush against his cheek and tiny claws dig into his shoulder.

“Pig, don’t! No pulling out my hair!”

The Scops owl stopped plucking at Harry’s hair and co*cked his head. Pig had developed this unfortunate habit after his first mating experience, when he’d started attacked everyone’s head for nest padding.

Harry held up a hand for the owl to climb on it. Tied to Pig’s leg was a small leather pouch, enchanted with as many Extension and Lightening Charms as a single object could sustain without imploding. This rather ingenious invention (Hermione’s, of course) allowed the minute owl to carry letters and even parcels that would usually be far too heavy for him.

Poking around in the pouch, Harry discovered a walnut-sized box, which he took out. Knowing what would happen, he quickly set down on the table where it trembled and exploded outwards, expanding rapidly until it had reached its original sizable proportions. Pig chirped excitedly and fluttered around his delivery, clearly showing off.

“Well done, mate. Carried that all by yourself, did you?” Harry fed the owl a piece of bacon and eyed the box. Molly didn’t seem to care that he was well-fed at Hogwarts. From the looks of this, she had sent him enough to last him until term started again, just as she used to do when he was cooped up at Privet Drive and subject to the Dursley’s food rationing.

Harry untied the string at the top and took off the lid. The first thing he saw was several boxes of chocolate fudge, carefully wrapped and labelled in Molly’s tidy handwriting. The second thing was Hermione’s letter.

She’d used Muggle stationary and a pen, as she tended to do when not at Hogwarts (she’d confided to Harry once that parchment and quills were ‘simply not that practical’).

Unfolding the pages, he began to read.

Dear Harry,

I hope you had a lovely Christmas! We missed you at the Burrow, of course. Mum and Dad would have loved to see you. I picked them up at Heathrow on the 26th and side-alonged them to the Burrow, where they’ll be staying until Ron and I leave for Hogwarts.

I’m so glad they decided to come after all, after I promised to tell them everything about the war and my own involvement. I’m not going to lie; it’s been hard. We’ve been going for long walks, just talking (and crying – I don’t think I cried as much in the past two years as I’ve done this week alone). Sometimes Ron comes along, but mostly it’s just the three of us. I’m not sure they’ve entirely forgiven me for Obliviating them and lying by omission for all these years, but I believe we’re beginning to trust each other again, which is just wonderful. I’m realizing only now how much I missed them, and how I hurt them by shutting them out of my life the way I did. Mum’s actually quite interested in the wizarding world and healing spells in particular (I think they’re still hoping I might take up dentistry one day, or establish a ‘proper’ dental care ward at St. Mungo’s, anyway!). Dad says he’s quite happy being a ‘boring old Muggle’ (his words, not mine), but they’re both getting along fine with Ron and his family, which is the most important thing to me.

Christmas has been loud and lively as always. Bill and Fleur brought Victoire, and Molly’s been over the moon ‘finally’ getting to be a grandmother. Christmas morning wasn’t easy for her (Arthur said she made a jumper for Fred because she couldn’t bring herself to leave him out), but being around a baby cheers her up even if nothing else does. She wasn’t too happy when Ginny mentioned trying out for that Quidditch team, the Holyhead Harpies. They had a bit of a row about it actually. Ginny told me she’s planning to move into George’s flat in Diagon Alley after her NEWTs, even if the Harpies don’t work out, and help out with the shop while she’s planning her Quidditch career. She hasn’t told Molly about it, which is probably for the better.

I’m sorry to say that Molly and I got into a bit of a row, as well. You can imagine that what happened with Draco has come up (and before you get angry, Harry, no, of course Ron and I didn’t say anything. Arthur heard about it from Macmillan’s dad; apparently, they know each other from work). Anyway, Molly had a lot to say on the subject, and honestly, I understand that there’s no love lost between her family and the Malfoys, I really do. It’s not that I’m particularly fond of Draco myself, but it’s the principle of the thing. Women have been judged and ostracized by a patriarchal society for centuries, and she’s doing the exact same thing! She doesn’t even see how archaic and damaging it is to tie a child’s social standing to their parents’ marriage status. It doesn’t matter whether the person in question is male or female, or a former Death Eater; no one should be made to wear a ‘scarlet letter’ at this day and age (if you’re interested, I believe I saw a copy of the novel in the library’s fiction collection). Anyway, as I said, we had a bit of an argument over dinner. Ron backed me up, I’m happy to say, and while Mum agrees with me, she also said I should try and be a little more diplomatic. She’s probably right, and I’m glad I listened when she told me to go and talk to Molly later that evening. We’re back on speaking terms, now, even if we still disagree.

Harry, I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and there’s something I wanted to let you know, even if it might complicate an already complicated situation. I remembered when we were at Grimmauld Place and you showed us that tapestry of the Black family tree. I looked up the types of spells purebloods put on those tapestries (some of the quite Dark, not that this will surprise you). Almost all of them are enchanted to ‘update’ whenever a new family member is born, and most of them carry the Revelate Puritatem charm. It shows the names of a child’s biological parents, and of course those old families used it to check if someone had been unfaithful – or worse, had relations with a halfblood or a Muggleborn. Anyway, you see what I’m getting at. Draco’s name is on there, and his son’s should be as well, as well as the other parent.

I’m not saying you should look it up, Harry. I suppose it’s Draco’s decision whether or not he wants to share the information, and perhaps he’s already done so. But I know you’ve been worried, Harry, and frankly, I care more about your wellbeing than Draco’s need for secrecy. I know that you wouldn’t tell anyone, no matter what that tapestry shows. So I guess what I’m saying is this: If you wanted to go to Grimmauld Place and have a look, I’d be willing to come along, if you want me to, as would Ron (he’s the only other person I’m going to tell about this).

Let us know what you decide.



P.S.: Can you believe Narcissa Malfoy wrote me a letter? You wouldn’t have anything to do with that, would you?


Would love to hear your thoughts!

Chapter 8


Thank you so much for your lovely feedback, you are amazing!

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Islington was saturated with the grey, persisting drizzle of late December. Harry walked along the Regent’s Canal, his hands deep in the pockets of his coat as he watched ducks drift on the dark water, unperturbed by the rain.

He always chose this Apparition spot: a dilapidated houseboat moored on the canal’s embankments and hidden behind a dozen layers of Notice-Me-Not Charms and Muggle-repelling spells. It wasn’t even the one closest to Grimmauld Place, or so Hermione had told him. He liked the walk along the waterside, however, the calming sight of little boats chugging along and people taking their dogs for walks.

Calming was good. Because No. 12, Grimmauld Place was many things, but calming wasn’t exactly how he would describe it. Sinister, perhaps; or depressing. Venerable, if one wanted to be kind and ignore the shrieking portraits of dead women and the mummified elf heads on the wall.

Harry liked to soak up as much fresh air and living, breathing scenery as he could before he approached the mausoleum left to him by his godfather.

Feeling a familiar vague dread in the pit of his stomach, he left the canal behind and turned into the narrow street that led to another narrow street that led to Grimmauld Place.

A group of tourists, decked out in rainwear and toting umbrellas, pushed past him, heading for a small café decorated with garlands of green and red lights. “New Year’s Eve Karaoke”, a handwritten sign proclaimed boldly on the door.

Harry walked past it, thinking of Malfoy this morning; how he’d changed Scorpius and handed him to Harry as easily as if he’d done it hundreds of times. How he’d absentmindedly fished the raisins out of his oatmeal and deposited them into Harry’s bowl (the house elves seemed to think that Malfoy needed the fiber). How he’d looked less than impressed when Harry said that he needed to go to London.

“Will you be back later today?” he’d asked, and even Harry had been able to see right through his air of nonchalance. Malfoy had been worried. He’d wanted him to stay.

This made Harry feel all kinds of things he probably shouldn’t feel; not when he hadn’t even told Malfoy the purpose of his visit to Grimmauld Place. “Just getting some stuff,” he’d said in response to the question. “There’s all kinds of old trash cluttering up the place.”

This was true, and it was also a ‘lie by omission’, as Hermione had called it in her letter. Only, Harry had no idea how to broach the subject; he wasn’t even sure if bringing it up was the right thing to do. There might be a truth hidden in Grimmauld Place that, for all intents and purposes, had better remain a secret. Narcissa had seemed so sure, but what if she was wrong? Or had pretended for her son’s sake? What if Voldemort had given up on Bellatrix and turned to even Darker magic to conceive his heir? Or perhaps… the thought made Harry feel ill. Perhaps Voldemort had discovered a way to destroy Lucius once and for all, to force him into an action so vile the man would never recover from it. Nor would his son, if he found out.

In either case, Harry knew he was going to keep his mouth shut, and perhaps burn a name off an ancient tapestry before it could be found by anyone else. And he would never, ever tell Draco.

Ron and Hermione were already there, huddled together under a huge black umbrella as they waited. Ron grinned and clapped his shoulder.

“Long time no see, mate! Good one, by the way.”

He opened his coat to show off the orange hoodie that said The Cannons be ready, Cap’n!, complete with a cartoon cannon shooting out a wizard on a broomstick. Ghastly, Hermione had called it when Harry had put in the owl order, but Harry knew Ron and his unquestioning devotion to his favorite Quidditch team. No matter how terrible their merchandise, Ron was going to love it.

Hermione’s smile was slightly strained (not, Harry knew, because of the hoodie). “It was his favorite Christmas present.”

“Not true, I loved the mobile phone, too,” Ron said. “She invented her own stabilizing charm so the technology doesn’t go wonky near magic, can you believe it?”

Ron beamed at Hermione and she flushed, clearly pleased by his praise. It was a tender moment between them, a mutual appreciation that left no room for anyone else. Harry quickly glanced away.

For once, Grimmauld Place allowed them to open the wards with minimal fuss. It hadn’t always been so easy; Harry still recalled vividly the time when he’d spend half an hour waving his wand and feeling the magic of the house push back against him like a recalcitrant old horse. Perhaps with time, the house had softened towards him, or it was glad to welcome anyone after being empty for several months.

Kreacher greeted them in the dusty entrance hall, bowing deeply to Harry and Ron, and, after an awkward pause, grabbing Hermione’s hand to kiss it.

“Welcome, Master Black, Master Weasley,” he croaked. “Welcome, Madame. Tis a pleasure to see you here. If Kreacher had known you were to come calling, he would have prepared scones and treacle tart.”

Harry raised his eyebrows at the address. Kreacher, for all his change of heart, had never been that cordial, nor had he ever called Harry ‘Master Black’.

“I thought you were at Hogwarts, Kreacher,” Hermione said, looking concerned. “Don’t you get lonely, here all by yourself?”

Kreacher’s mouth twitched, as if he resented the question. “Madame is too kind. Kreacher visits Hogwarts occasionally, but he is an old elf, used to the old ways and his ancestral home. The young elves at the school are a wild and froward set, with outlandish ideas of proper elven conduct. They had a Yule dance in the kitchen,” he whispered, as if disclosing a terrible secret. “Kreacher appreciates the peace and quiet of his old home. Be that as it may – any Black shall always be welcomed here with open arms, as shall their friends and protectors,” he added mysteriously, his sunken eyes fixed on Harry.

“Thank you, Kreacher,” Harry said, resolving not to ask. As far as he was concerned, the elf could spend his time wherever he wanted, as long as he kept the maggot parcels to a minimum. If he had suddenly decided to accept Harry as rightful heir of the Black home, that was probably a good thing.

“Will Master Black be taking tea?” Kreacher asked. “Kreacher would be so delighted to serve Master Black and his esteemed guests in the family drawing room.”

“Actually, we –” Harry began, only to wince when Hermione’s elbow caught him between the ribs. “Er, yeah, thanks, Kreacher. I guess a cup of tea would be nice, later.”

The old elf bowed again and shuffled off towards the kitchen. Ron frowned at his receding back.

“Laying it on kind of thick, isn’t he? What’s with the ‘Master Black’, all of a sudden?”

“He’s probably lonely,” Hermione said. Harry gained the impression that there was something else, something she wasn’t saying, but that weighed on her mind nevertheless.

“Yeah, I guess even Harry’s starting to look like good company when you’re desperate.” Ron chuckled, Harry threw a mild Stinging Hex in his direction and Hermione rolled her eyes at them, all of which felt familiar and reassuring.

“Prat,” Ron said, rubbing his shoulder. “Speaking of which, how’s the ferret doing? His mum wrote Hermione a letter, did you know?”

“She apologized for – for what happened at the Manor,” Hermione said quietly.

Ron put an arm around her, drawing her close. “You don’t have to accept it, you know. You don’t have to answer at all. I guess she’s trying to do the right thing, I’ll give her that, but you don’t owe her anything.”

It seemed to be what Hermione needed to hear. She nodded, leaning against him as she continued. “Yes, it’s just… she sounded sincere, as if she really regrets it, and not just because hers turned out to be the losing side. She offered to set up an anonymous trust fund for war orphans, and asked me to be her spokesperson to the press.”

“Are you going to do it?” Harry asked. He wasn’t exactly surprised, although he hadn’t expected Narcissa to keep her charity anonymous.

Hermione shrugged. “I don’t know. I’ll have to think about it. It is a good cause, and they do need the money. Refusing it on principle doesn’t really make sense, but I’m not sure I want to be the person to work with her on this.”

“And you don’t have to be,” Ron said staunchly, and Hermione smiled at him.

“I suppose not. Anyway, Harry, how is Draco? And… Scorpius? That’s his name, right?”

Harry nodded, remembering that he’d told Hermione in his answering letter. “Fine. Scorpius is fine, anyway. Malfoy… he’s getting better, but his magic’s still wonky. And he’s, you know, kind of hormonal. Still healing.”

Ron affected a shudder. “I know it’s the ferret, but I wouldn’t wish that kind of thing on any bloke. Must be horrible.”

“It’s not all fun and games for women, either,” Hermione added, raising an eyebrow. “Harry, have you talked to Draco about coming here?”

Harry resisted the urge to just nod and pretend he wasn’t doing this without Draco’s express permission. “Er, not really. I… I thought I’d wait and see if the tapestry shows anything at all. It might not have the right spells, and I didn’t want to say anything if nothing might come of it.”

He could tell that Hermione saw through the lie right away. She didn’t say anything, however, and he was grateful. No doubt Hermione had come to the same conclusions he had, realizing that it might be better for everyone involved if the tapestry and its secrets remained just that.

The family drawing room hadn’t changed since the last time Harry had been there, hiding away after the Death Eaters had attacked the Burrow. There was the chintz sofa and the two armchairs, all of them looking supremely uncomfortable, concealing the fact that they were actually cushioned and softened by various charms. There was the spider-webby chandelier, the glass cabinet with its collection of silver goblets, the taxidermied Diricawl that would flicker out of existence for a second or two if someone used language not fit for polite society. And, of course, the family tree on the back wall, looming over it all like a dark banner.

Harry felt Hermione’s hand close around his, squeezing gently. “Do you want me to have a look first?”

Harry shook his head. He was going to do this, and it wasn’t going to change how he viewed Scorpius. Or Draco.

“Okay then.”

Together, they approached the tapestry, which was impressive despite the holes left by doxy teeth and the faded colors. The names at the very top almost blended into the fabric, the gold of the thread having lost most of its glint. The font changed as the centuries progressed and more Blacks entered the scene; from the crowded, ornamental script of medieval times to an elegant cursive similar to the writing Harry had seen Dumbledore use. The name Sirius caught his eye several times, even though the spot next to Regulus, where it should have made its latest appearance, was nothing but a scorched pockmark, of which the tapestry sported quite a few.

One of them was next to Narcissa’s name, hiding her sister Andromeda. Harry followed the thread of gold that linked Narcissa to Lucius, then down the line that led to their son, Draco Lucius Malfoy. Two recent additions had been made, the thread still shiny and new so that the names could be read at a single glance.

Two names. Scorpius Hyperion and another one, linked to Draco just as Narcissa was linked to Draco’s father.

“Bloody hell,” Ron said softly.

On its wall mount, the Diricawl flickered and winked out of existence.


Ron ended up raiding the liquor cabinet and digging up a very old bottle of Ogden’s, of which he poured a finger or two into Harry’s tea. Hermione didn’t object for once, just sighed and grabbed one of the scones Kreacher had set out. Rather than eating it, she began to pluck it apart, spreading the crumbs on her plate. Harry had seen her do this occasionally, most often after Ron had left during the Horcrux hunt.

“I don’t understand,” Ron said eventually, after Hermione had shredded her scone into a heap of crumbs and Harry had resumed staring into his tea, as if it could offer him answers. “I’m sorry, but I really don’t. I know these things – ” he pointed at the tapestry “ – these things are spelled to show the truth, but… it’s impossible, isn’t it?”

“The dates match up,” Hermione said, pushing her plate away with an air of finality. “We were at Malfoy Manor around Easter, and Scorpius was born in December. I looked up wizard pregnancies, they last nine months, too. So…”

She glanced at Harry, who shook his head. His throat felt hot and heavy. “I don’t remember,” he said, recalling how Draco had told his mother the same thing. “I remember being in the drawing room, and the cellar. Ron and the others were there the whole time.”

“No, mate,” Ron said. His face looked ashen in the chandelier’s dim glow. “Bellatrix came to get you, remember? To interrogate you about the sword.”

“Draco came, you mean,” Harry said, with an irrational flash of anger that Ron would just forget what had happened that day, when they’d almost met their deaths at Voldemort’s hands. “Draco came down to the cellar and got Griphook.”

This time, it was Hermione who shook her head. “Draco couldn’t have gone anywhere at that point, Harry. He – he was Stunned.”

Harry stared at her. She was speaking slowly, as if he was the one being unreasonable, who didn’t recall what had really happened. “Draco wasn’t Stunned.”

“He was,” Ron said. “Bellatrix did her nut when he said that he couldn’t identify you. Screamed something about him being a worthless coward and hit him with a Stunner. Narcissa almost belted her one, but Lucius grabbed her and said that the Dark Lord would kill all three of them if she hurt Bellatrix. But yeah, Malfoy was out of it when they got you up there.”

“Why would they interrogate me about the sword?” Harry asked, latching on to the only detail he could without losing his mind.

Ron shrugged. “No idea.”

“If you were Harry Potter, you’d be the instigator of any plans we might have had,” Hermione said softly. “They knew that, Harry. They knew you would be perfectly aware of it if the sword had been taken from Bellatrix’ vault.”

“You’re saying Bellatrix dragged me out of the cellar to question me about the sword. And Draco was lying unconscious in a corner somewhere. In that situation, exactly how do you suggest we managed to conceive a child together?”

He hadn’t meant to shout, and felt guilty the moment he saw Hermione’s face. She was pale, her eyes overly bright.

“I don’t know, Harry. I only remember bits and pieces after Bellatrix cast the first two or three Crucios. It’s… I read up on the subject, and it’s supposed to be an after-effect of the Cruciatus, dissociation and loss of memory…”

Ron drew her close and she put her forehead against him. Harry could see her lips move and her chest heave as she counted silently. He knew the exercise, which was meant to stave off panic attacks; she had taught it to him, and he had used it himself often enough. Ron stroked her back, not looking at Harry as he murmured words of reassurance.

“I’m sorry,” Harry said, forcing back the tears crowding in his throat. He had no right to cry. “I’m sorry, Hermione. I’m sorry.”

Ron reached out, and for a second, Harry thought he was going to catch a well-deserved punch, instinctively ducking aside. But Ron only closed his large hand around Harry’s arm and drew him in as well, right alongside Hermione.

“Mate,” he said. “Mate. Calm down. It’s okay.”

Harry put his face against Hermione’s shoulder and let the tears come.


So... I'd love to know what you think?

Chapter 9


You guys have been amazing! Your comments and support mean so much to me 💚💚!

Part II to this story is coming; more in the notes at the end.

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Ron and Hermione suggested spending the night at Grimmauld Place, but Harry decided against it. He’d said he’d come back, and Draco was depending on him. Scorpius was depending on him. It didn’t matter that part of him wanted to crawl into bed with Ron and Hermione, like they’d done sometimes during their time in hiding, and just feel their warmth as he let himself drift into sleep.

He couldn’t, though. Madam Pomfrey had spelled it out in so many words: You can’t be that irresponsible any longer. She’d meant Draco, who’d only wanted to get some air, stretch his legs a little. But if it was true for the person who had borne the brunt of it – had spent months terrified and alone, had nearly bled to death in that godforsaken bathroom – it was definitely true for Harry. What he wanted wasn’t important anymore. He’d done something at Malfoy Manor, something he couldn’t remember or even imagine. That was the bottom line of it. He’d done something, and he was going to take whatever consequences life threw at him in retaliation. If Draco decided to hex him and hate him, he was going to take that, too.

McGonagall had given him permission to use the Floo in her office for the journey back to Hogwarts. She was sitting at her desk when he stumbled out of the fireplace, raising her eyebrows when she caught sight of him. He could imagine what he looked like, face blotchy, hair disheveled, smelling faintly of Firewhiskey. To her credit, she merely nodded in greeting. On the desk in front of her, two quills were scribbling simultaneously, pausing occasionally to dip themselves in the inkwell.


“Professor,” he said, clearing his throat. “Good evening.”

She sighed. “From the looks of it, we’ve all had better. Take a seat, Potter, if you would.”

He did, hoping she was going to be brief, whatever it was. He knew Draco was waiting for him, no matter how much he’d scoff at the suggestion.

“I take it your trip to London was successful?” McGonagall asked, eyeing him through her square glasses. She hadn’t pressed him on why he needed to go to Grimmauld Place, but Harry knew her mind was as sharp as Hermione’s and as capable of piecing together bits of information, scarce as they might be.

“In a way,” he said.

She nodded. “Yes, well, I can see that you’re in need of rest, and I won’t keep you long. However, there has been a… development I feel you should be made aware of, and as Headmistress –”

“Are they – Draco and Scorpius, are they okay?”

She didn’t seem offended at the interruption. “They’re fine,” she said. “Please, Potter – Harry. I feel I should discuss this with you, even if it isn’t strictly your concern. However, seeing as you and Mr. Malfoy have been on friendly terms these days, it’s probably better if you’re made aware of the situation.”

“What situation?”

She sighed again. “Have a biscuit, Potter.”

He took one, knowing that there was no use declining. “Professor…”

“I’m afraid there’s no easy way of putting this. It seems very likely at this point that Mr. Malfoy is going to have to leave Hogwarts soon.”

Harry stared at her. “What?”

“You’ll remember what I said about public opinion on young and unwed parents –”

“Yes, and I said I don’t give a –”

“You may not,” she cut across him, still quite calm in spite of being interrupted a second time. “But the school governors do. They’ve been receiving letter after letter complaining about Mr. Malfoy’s continued presence at Hogwarts – as have I, by the way.” She gestured at the two quills rapidly scribbling away. “I’m appeasing angry parents as we speak. And I would gladly continue to do so, however…” She pressed her lips into a thin line. “I’m afraid this is out of my hands now. The governors contacted the Wizengamot, who proceeded to interview Professor Slughorn on Malfoy’s conduct at school.”

“Professor Slughorn? What’s he got to do with it?”

“He’s Mr. Malfoy’s Head of House, Harry. It’s official procedure to approach him as a spokesperson for the student in question.”

“Slughorn! If Malfoy was on fire, Slughorn wouldn’t –”

“I’m perfectly aware,” she said tartly. “It doesn’t change the school law. Professor Slughorn testified that Mr. Malfoy has always been a troublemaker of loose morals…”

“That’s a lie!” Harry paused at her look. “Well, the loose morals thing is, anyway. What’s that supposed to mean, anyway?”

“It means whatever old men born during Queen Victoria’s reign want it to mean,” McGonagall said, in a cold voice quite unlike her. “The point is, Harry, that the Wizengamot decided to change Mr. Malfoy’s parole conditions on grounds of indecency and obscenity. He’s to leave the school before the new term starts and begin his community service in London without delay.”

“He’s just had a baby, he can’t start a full-time job! And what about his NEWTs?”

“The governors said, and I quote, that they find it unlikely that Mr. Malfoy will have any use for NEWTs, as no one will hire a Death Eater anyway, much less one with an illegitimate child. They feel it is their duty to protect the school’s reputation rather than shelter a fallen boy with Voldemort’s Mark on his arm.”

“A fallen boy,” Harry repeated.

“Indeed, they still call it that, just like they did in my day,” McGonagall said. One of the quills shuddered and fell onto the desk, twitching and bleeding green ink onto the parchment. McGonagall waved a hand and the stain disappeared. “Merlin forbid we ever join a modern and enlightened age.”

“Then do something about it,” he bit out. “Make Slughorn revoke his statement. Tell the governors to go to hell.”

McGonagall righted the quill, touching it gently with her wand. It resumed its dance, spilling words onto the parchment that was, once again, perfectly flawless.

“I wish I could,” she said quietly. “It’s not how these things work, I’m afraid.”

“Dumbledore would’ve done something,” Harry said, regretting the words as soon as they were out. He was being unfair, lashing out, and he knew it.

“Yes,” McGonagall said, still rather softly. “Maybe. But I’m not Albus, Harry. I don’t hold the same sway with the Wizengamot, or the advantage, some might say blackmail material, when dealing with the governors. I can only work within the framework of the law. And in this case, the law is quite clear.”

Harry nodded, getting up. “I understand, Professor. I really do. I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful.”

“Harry, please. Sit down.”

He looked at her, behind her large desk and her two quills which she directed seemingly without any effort at all. “I’m sorry, Professor. You see, I went to Grimmauld Place to find out who Scorpius’ other father is, and it turns out that it’s me. I don’t understand it myself, but that doesn’t change things in the long run, does it? It looks the governors have two fallen boys on their hands. I suppose I’d better get packing.”

“Harry. Harry, wait.”

He didn’t. He walked past the portraits of Dumbledore and Snape, neither of whom seemed to have anything to say to him, not that he would have listened.

He needed to talk to Draco.


“Back after all, I see.”

Harry closed the door to the private room gently, mindful of the sleeping baby. Draco was sitting in an armchair next to the cot, bundled up in his red blanket with a cup of tea in his lap. He didn’t look up when Harry entered.

“Why wouldn’t I come back?” Harry asked, settling down in the chair across from Draco. Inside the cot, Scorpius slept on his back, his hands curled into loose fists beside his head. Luna’s scorpion plushie was nestled against his side, he wore a yellow babygrow with dancing Hippogriffs, and Harry had never in his life seen anything as awe-inspiring as this tiny, living breathing human between them. Their son.

Draco still didn’t look at him. “I suppose McGonagall gave you the news.”

Harry nodded. “Yeah, just now.”

“That’s that, then, I suppose.” Draco’s lips twisted into something probably intended to be a smile. “Did you know they’re letting me stay until the first day of term? Want to do it properly, I reckon. It wouldn’t be a true walk of shame if the entire school wasn’t there to witness it.”

“It’s not right,” Harry said quietly.

Draco snorted. “Please, Potter. I knew they were going to kick me out. If a student had turned up with a bastard while Father was still on the school board, he would’ve been the first in line clamoring to get them expelled.”

“Don’t call him that,” Harry said, his voice sharper than he had intended.

“He’s still my father, Potter. No matter what he’s done.”

“Scorpius,” Harry said. “Don’t call him a bastard.”

Draco shrugged. “It’s what he is.”

Harry took a deep breath, then another, reminding himself that this was what Draco did, that he didn’t mean it. “Listen… we need to talk.”

Draco seemed to hunch even further into his blanket. “It’s okay, Potter,” he said without meeting Harry’s eyes.

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t expect you to… to keep coming here.”


“It’s probably better if you don’t,” Draco continued in a bored tone. “It’ll start all sorts of rumors if you keep spending the night. People are vicious, Potter. They’ll drag you down right along with me.”

“People can f*ck off,” Harry said. “That’s not what I wanted to talk about, anyway. Listen, about your community service… do you have any idea where you’re going to go?”

Draco shrugged. “McGonagall said that they’re going to put me up in some sort of halfway house in Whitechapel. You know I’m banned from entering wizarding London.”

He could have been talking about his family’s summer chalet, if not for his hands clutching the cup like a lifeline, knuckles white and bony. Harry thought of Draco and Scorpius in some seedy boarding house in Muggle London, and wished he could hex the entire Wizengamot into a smoking pile of ash.

“Listen,” he said. “Listen.”

“I’m listening, Potter. You keep telling me. Just say what you came to say, alright?”

“Yeah,” Harry said. He wasn’t doing this right. “The thing is. You know that Sirius – your cousin, I guess – left me the Black family home. The one in Islington? There’s one of those pureblood family tapestries there, and I went to check it today, and it shows that Scorpius is mine. And yours, of course. Yours and mine. So yeah.”

Draco stared at him, then slowly and carefully set his tea on the floor, as if he might spill it if he kept it in his hands. “He’s not.”

“The dates match up,” Harry said, remembering Hermione’s certainty as she pointed it out. It occurred to him that she must have had her suspicions even before the tapestry revealed the truth. Of course she had. “We were at Malfoy Manor in March, and Scorpius was born in December. It’s possible. And those tapestries don’t lie.”

Draco narrowed his eyes. “You’re saying that you f*cked me.”

Harry flinched, but managed not to look away. “I don’t remember. I don’t know what happened. I only remember being in the cellar with Ron and the others.”

“If that tapestry shows your name, then it’s pretty clear what happened, Potter.”

Harry waited, but Draco didn’t seem inclined to hex him (or try to, anyway).

“I’m sorry,” he offered carefully.

Draco nodded. “I’m sure you are. You realize that this changes things, don’t you?”

“Of course I do, and I – ”

“No,” Draco said, a sharp edge to his voice. “No, Potter. It’s your turn to listen. I’m going to make this perfectly clear to get it into your thick skull. If this is true – if it isn’t some strange Gryffindor plot to, to test me or something – then I’m willing to keep my mouth shut about it. At a price.”

“Draco – ”

“My son won’t spend the first years of his life in some Muggle hovel. You’re going to rent a flat, and it’s going to be in a good neighborhood. You’re going to hire someone to watch Scorpius while I’m at work, full-time. I’ll want to see their credentials first, of course.”

“Draco – ”

“I want a balcony. And a building with a lift if the flat’s above ground floor. I can hardly levitate a pram upstairs in a Muggle building. Get me a fireplace and one of those Muggle picture screen things. And a tellyphone.”

“Right,” Harry said. “Anything else?”

“I hardly think it’s too much to ask in exchange for my silence. I’m perfectly willing to swear an Unbreakable Vow if you – ”

“Malfoy,” Harry sighed. “Shut up for a moment, would you?”

Draco leaned back in his chair, arms crossed. “Let’s hear it then, Potter.”

“I’m not going to pay you off to keep you quiet,” Harry said. “Merlin, Draco. What kind of wanker do you take me for?”

“A rich wanker,” Draco said, eyes narrowing. “You know the Ministry’s blocked my access to the Malfoy vaults, or what’s left of them. If you think you can give one of your hero speeches and then drop us off in the worst part of Muggle London – ”

“I’m NOT – ” Harry took a deep breath. He was not going to shout and botch this up even worse than he already had. “Draco. Scorpius is my kid, okay? He’s my family, and that means you’re my family, too. I’m not dropping you off anywhere. If the governors want you out of Hogwarts, then I’m going, too. I already told McGonagall that I’m leaving with you.”

“Potter – ”

“No,” Harry said. “No. Listen, Draco, I’ll get you a flat, if that’s what you want, okay? I’m not trying to tell you what to do. But I’m not going to keep Scorpius a secret, and I’m not just going to, to take my NEWTs and join the bloody Aurors and act like he doesn’t even exist. Parents shouldn’t ever leave their kids unless – unless they’ve got to.”

Sudden and unbidden tears rose in his throat, the kind that wouldn’t be pushed back. Harry pinched the bridge of his nose, pushing his glasses askew and feeling warmth trickle down his hand. This wasn’t how he’d meant for this conversation to go. He’d meant to be calm and supportive, to prove to Draco that he could be the kind of person Scorpius needed in his life.

He'd certainly not intended to start bawling again.

Something nudged his arm. Looking up, Harry saw Draco’s outstretched hand and a very posh handkerchief embroidered with a cursive DM. Incongruously, the sight of it brought a smile to his face. He grabbed it, proceeding to wipe his face and blow his nose.


“Do keep it.” Draco quickly snatched his hand away when Harry made to give it back. “I’d rather not have my fingers covered in your snot if it’s all the same to you.”

Harry laughed and sniffed. “S-sorry.”

“Don’t mention it. I own about a dozen of these.” Draco leaned back in his chair again, the red blanket gathered loosely around his waist. He’d recovered his tea from the floor and took a sip, eyeing Harry over the rim of the cup. “So, Potter. The Black family home in Islington?”

Harry nodded. “Grimmauld Place, yeah. You’ve been there?”

“Dozens of times, when I was younger. Aunt Walburga’s notorious summer luncheons.”

“They sound dreadful.”

“They were, rather.” Draco sipped his tea. “I do remember the place having quite a few balconies.”

“Uh, yeah. Those weird French ones out front and a big one in the back. A garden, too, but it needs a bit of a tidy up at this point.”

Draco briefly closed his eyes and sighed. “Balconies, Potter. And a fireplace. Perhaps – “ He raised an eyebrow, which someone made him look pointier than ever. “ – even a tellyphone?”

Harry sat quite still for a moment, his hand clenched around Draco’s posh handkerchief, crumpling it beyond every hope of respectability.

“I did have a telephone installed,” he said casually, as if his heart wasn’t pounding inside his chest. “And there are at least four empty bedrooms. Two of them with balconies. We – we’d have to do some renovations, though. The place is not exactly baby-proof.”

Draco smiled at this. “I’d like that,” he said simply.

Harry smiled back, feeling light.

“Yeah,” he said. “Me too.”


The End... or not!

I realize this ending leaves many questions unanswered, and I'm planning to address those in the second part to this fic. I hope to begin posting it in a week or two. For everyone who subscribed to this story and is interested in the sequel, please don't unsubscribe yet - I'm going to post a link to the sequel in an additional chapter, plus a little teaser, as soon as Part II goes up. Thank you so much for your support!

As always, I'd love to know what you think!

Chapter 10


I'm so sorry for making everyone wait so long!! Real life has been very busy, and prevented me from posting the sequel any earlier. I hope you'll enjoy it anyway.

This is a glimpse at the first chapter - below you'll find a link to the sequel! Thank you so much for reading!

Chapter Text

Preview of "Arms Wide Open - Grimmauld Place":

Harry was tired. Exhausted.

More to the point: He was drained.

He’d thought he knew the feeling, from endless nights sitting watch in a wintery forest during the Horcrux hunt. He used to pinch himself, relying on the pain to revive his brain enough for another hour, another thirty minutes, whatever time was left until Ron or Hermione would take over and he could sleep.

Harry of the past, Horcrux-destroying Harry hadn’t realized what a luxury that had been. To look towards a fixed point in time when rest would come; to know that he’d be allowed to pass out on his bed and sleep undisturbed until morning. He’d taken it for granted, more fool he.

Present-day Harry, much wiser and sadder, almost wished for a peaceful night in their wartime tent. For five, perhaps even six hours of uninterrupted sleep. What a life of leisure he’d lived without even realizing it.

Nestled against his chest, the baby stirred in the sling. He’d slept fitfully during Harry’s endless wanderings of Grimmauld Place – from the den to the kitchen, to the entrance hall, up the stairs to the drawing room, to the bedroom and back again downstairs, like a nervous lion pacing the confines of his cage. Now that Harry had paused, just for a moment to lean against the wall next to the ugly umbrella stand, Scorpius began to make his displeasure known. His squalls began to fill the corridor, unrelenting demands for the soothing rocking movements of Harry’s pacing to continue.

“Pi,” Harry groaned. “Just sleep, mate. Close your eyes and sleep. I know you’re tired.”

He couldn’t be hungry. He’d had his midnight bottle, and wouldn’t want another until 3 or 4 am.

He didn’t need changing. Harry had checked only ten minutes ago.

Could be his stomach again, Harry thought, wishing for a way to know for sure. Scorpius had a sensitive tummy and was prone to gassiness. They burped him religiously, made sure he swallowed as little air as possible during feeding, but sometimes he’d be near inconsolable, crying and crying until he more or less passed out with exhaustion.

Quite often, his fathers followed shortly after.



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