Disclaimer: Painting with borrowed crayons in J.K. Rowling coloring book. Still not owning anything, but thinking that Al deserved a better name, just saying.
Kings Cross, London
Harry Potter crossed the barrier onto Platform 9 and 3/4 with the feeling that he was coming home. It was nineteen years, nineteen very long years filled with so much drama and many adventures of very different kind than the ones he had at Hogwarts, but no less of a rollercoaster ride. He looked around, stepping slightly to the side, letting others pass him by. The colorful crowd was moving like a big shapeless rainbow. Robes and jeans and sweaters and he spotted more then one young teenager with blocky shoes that pulsated with neon, LED powered lights. How the times change.
He took a deep breath.
It was wonderful.
He felt his eyes drawn to the red engine, screaming children already hung out of most opened windows, crowding and waving at their parents and siblings, more often then not rolling their eyes at their overprotective guardians. He knew that attitude.
Harry walked slowly, a few paces behind his family, not even trying to control the smile stretching over his face with every step. The platform was full of familiar faces peaking up from every nook and cranny. Before they arrived near the train car, his head felt like those little spring mascots, from all the greetings, but nobody tried to come over to chat.
Two decades didn't really change the hero worshiping that the Wizarding world was still heaping on him, but over the years Harry made it clear that his children are not common wealth, their private lives are not to be shared with public and there would be hell to pay for all who would bother them without explicit consent from their parents. Many tried, as the world is never short of idiots, but, unfortunately for them, Aurors have a very neatly built web of legal advisers and lawyers and it was child's play to utilize their talents. Few legal suits, three arrests that ended in low security prison and wizards proved that even a slowly changing crowd as them can learn new tricks.
"But what if I'm in Slytherin?"
Harry blinked and focused on his son looking both scared and forlorn, small hands twisting the hem of his knitted sweater.
"I guess that would made you look very good in green."
"Ugh, Dad, tell him." Two pairs of blue-grey eyes looked up at him. Draco tucked his longish hair behind his ear, his eyes worried even when the small smirk made it to the corner of his mouth. He was nearly as nervous about Scorpius' Sorting as the boy himself was, Harry knew. His husband spend nearly all previous night going through list after list of all the things their son would need and working himself into small frenzy ending with him sitting in the bathroom with a cup of over-steeped tea made by half conscious Harry at nearly three in the morning. And promptly falling asleep nearly immediately after taking few sips, sleeping potion working its magic before Draco even realized it was there. He should have known, Harry made the best tea, especially for a person who still doesn't know the difference between Assam and Ceylon.
"I'm telling you." Harry's hand landed gently at Draco's nape, massaging the pale column of his neck, feeling all the tension there suddenly seep away at his touch. He could think of a few ways that would help even better, but now was not the time for focusing on those thoughts.
Scorpius huffed, looking at both of his dads like he was trying to ask 'how is this my life?'
"I've been told." Snarked Draco, climbing to his feet and stretching from his half crouch. Harry took it as his cue, and knelt before the child he thought as is own for close to decade and put his hands on those thin shoulders.
"Listen, Scorp," the child's mouth twitched involuntary, trying hard to hold onto his frustrated pout and failing, when Harry smiled at him and then put their foreheads together, "It does not matter where you will end - no, listen. It doesn't matter. You are a wonderful, smart, courageous, loyal and ambitious person and whatever you will be, whoever will be your friend will be lucky to have you. And me and your Da will be always proud of you and support you and be with you all the way down the rabbit hole. If someone has a problem with that...just remember who your dads are and that you have a score of aunts and uncles and cousins and siblings and I'm sure that it would be a mistake committed only once.
"Dad, I don't think that scaring the crap out of everyone is the way to go." Harry counted it as plus, that his child lost his twitchiness, looking more amused with every word. Somehow two of his children ended up so much like him, even when one was not related to him by blood. It was no surprise that they went together like a house on fire.
"Sounds good too me. " Quipped Draco, winding his arms loosely around Harry's neck.
"It would." Said familiar voice from behind them, causing Harry to nearly overbalance from how quick Draco disappeared from behind his back. "Hi, Pipsquick. Ferret."
"Hi, Uncle Ron." Smiled Scorpius brightly, balancing on his toes, trying to look over his father's shoulder for his friends, valiantly ignoring his other dad murmuring 'Weasel' with an exasperated fondness.
"There." Ron pointed somewhere to his left and sure enough, jumping around and being absolute menaces; Hugo, James and Remus made such a ruckus that standing near, Hermione, Ginny and Luna didn't even look at them. Pretending that those little monsters weren't theirs seems to work well enough, considering how relaxed they were in this absolute bedlam. Rose on the other hand was showing something to Lily, hiding behind her mother's back. Harry would bet his monthly salary that it was probably a piece of contraband, which might be a reason why his darling nice was already in school robes. As much as Rose was her mother's daughter there was a streak of mischief in that young lady that was mile wide and he knew for sure that at least half the trouble that the boys ever got in was because of those two young girls. Sadly only Luna ever believed when he shared that little insight. But hey, he is only Head Auror, what does he know of subterfuge?
Scorpius shifted in his place, filled with restless energy and Harry let him go without complaints, pushing him playfully toward the commotion.
"Go, say goodbyes to your aunties."
The child was gone before Harry even stopped talking, all worries swept away in the face of possibility of causing chaos. It was good to know he was still capable of acting his age. No matter how much trouble Harry's brood got into, it was freeing to know that they would not have to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. He was sure that if any dark lord wanabee would try to even show up, there would be few scores of people, wands ablaze, before that nugget would as much as mumble a curse. Too many people still remembered Battle of Hogwarts and how many children it took.
"Need a hand?" Instead of answering, the black haired man just took the offered help, letting himself be heaved up by his husband and promptly winding his arms around the slim silhouette. Draco let himself be tucked under stubby chin, ignoring Ron's undignified snort.
"Will he be alright?" Blue eyes trailed the mop of sandy blond hair bowed towards Remus Hagrid's head. Harry tugged the shorter man slightly, making his way toward the rest of their unconventional family.
"I have a feeling that he will be better then alright."
"Oh, a feeling! Now, quick make a note Weasel, my husband is about to impair some otherworldly knowledge upon us lowly mortals." Harry jabbed his mate in ribs, causing the man to squeal loudly and made his chosen partner hear some pretty inventive swearwords addressed to yours truly.
Ron wasn't even pretending that he wasn't laughing. The Potter-Malfoy-Lovegood-Weasley family medley was a source of his never ending entertainment for the last decade. It wasn't daisies and rainbows at the very beginning when both Harry and Ginny, with the frank and blatant way that was so characteristic to both of them, told everybody that they are divorcing each other. There were tears and accusations and guilt tripping - none of those coming from the interested parties themselves. It took some time and long explanations. In the end it came clear for all of them that while they loved each other to bits and could stay with each other alright, they didn't want to forego happiness for the sake of convenience. Personally, Ron thought that it was one of the bravest things he ever seen, that leap of faith. No, not then, not right away, but he remembers far too well for how long Neville and Hannah tried to play married when the spark wasn't there anymore and how it ended with broken hearts and awkward conversations, since they shared most of their friends.
His sister and best friend stayed thick as thieves, creating a safety net that encompassed all of their extended family and offered support to each other as any couple would. The only difference was that Harry one day dragged home a bedraggled, sniffing Malfoy with a tiny squeaky bundle wrapped up in his shaking hands and Ginny came back from small trip to Spain barreling into Burrow's backyard piggybacking Luna Lovegood who was peppering her face with tiny kisses. (That also explains why they both ended in the pond, no matter how much Ginny tried to claim that she tripped over a garden gnome).
"I heard that thestrals ate Jeremy Nott last year. Very hush hush, but they found only bloodied shoe and an ear." Whispered James, looking at his rapidly paling brother out of the corner of his eye. "Watch out for thestrals Remi, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup. Bye! Ugh...Dad!"
"Going somewhere?" Harry smiled down at his sons and nephew, but pinning down his eldest with a Look. He watched for a moment, the boy squirming as he asked mildly. "Maybe you will tell me all about your inside information? Do you want me to check for a missing person, might be important?"
"Ah...no, I'm sure that he will turn out, eventually, hehe. Oh, I think I see my friends, just there, gotta go." James tried to slip around Harry's arms, quick like a snitch, but instead jumped right into his father's arms and was promptly pulled into hug, with feet dangling a foot over the ground. "Dad..."
The red faced boy was put back on his feet, looking contrite. Remus and Scorpius were leaning on each other to keep themselves upright, laughing so hard they both looked out of breath. They were not the only ones.
"My reputation is in shambles." There was no mistaking the whiny tone, but before it turned into a soft-core tantrum, an arm pulled him into quite different hug.
"Good, my job is done, then". Harry bend down and kissed the top of his child head, quietly enough that only James heard, he added, "Now apologise to your brothers, they are scared enough today. Take care of each other, promise?" He listened to the quite embarrassed 'sorry' mumbled into his chest and. then gently pushed the third year towards his husband, where they floundered a bit and then settled for sort of handshake.
Remus tentatively reached toward his dad and found himself pulled close./p
"Don't worry about thestrals. They are invisible and once you see them they might look scary, but they are very gentle and love ear scratches. And you'll meet them next year, no sooner if you don't go looking. Alright?" Remus nodded, but didn't look very certain. "Remus Hagrid. You wear names of two of the kindest and bravest people I know, but you know a thing about courage? You can't be brave if you aren't scared first. It's okay to be scared."
"But you are never scared..."
"Sweetheart, I am afraid of a lot of things, like the time when you fell into one of the charmed baskets in the backyard and I couldn't find you, remember? You had a great laugh over me and James screaming your name for nearly twenty minutes and I swear, I needed three cups of tea before I could get up without falling over. But that's the thing with fear, you have to look at it, learn why it is there and then try to see if you can live with it."
"Not get over it? That's what Teddy said."
"If you can? Yeah. But if you can't you just have to accept that it is there. You can't resign from doing something just because you can't do everything, love. Or because it's a bit scary. You will be okay, kiddo. And if anything happens we are here and so is Hagrid and Uncle Neville. Borrow ThenPerish if you want to send letter, yes?"
Harry, not for the first time, wondered why he let James name their owl after the internet phenomenon, instead of something more along the lines of Blagermort or Flutterwaffle. He was still pouting after Draco took his naming rights. His husband was probably still sore over the Head Auror's enthusiastic consent to call Remus' ferret One Inch Fury.
After that It took few minutes to untangle from all the nephews and nieces and then pack them all into the train, leaving all the adults and smaller children standing on a platform torn between relived 'finely' and' I already miss those little monsters'. Their little group guaranteed maybe a bit more attention then anyone else, now that the crowd lessened somewhat and more people would take a closer look or snap a photo more or less discreetly. Hugo sat on Ron's shoulders, high above the crowd, waving madly to anyone who would so much as look at him. Lily on the other hand opted for climbing her father like a tree and nestling on his hip after commenting that she has enough of smelling tall people farts. Draco busied himself with re-plaiting her hair, leaning close, his elbow butting Harry's shoulder every now and then.
"How are you staying so calm?" Long blond hair brushed against his cheek when he heard the hissed question.
"Teddy and James."
"Merlin, I forgot about Teddy."
"Teddy was naughty." Expressed a suddenly very interested Lily, not caring much about voice volume. "He was lips pressing Victoire. Like a lot! Like when mummy licked Lumam all over after they drank that smelly water from Uncle Nev."
Ginny looked at her wife and then at the rest of her family to finely settle on her daughter.
"Remind me to Obliviate myself."
"Oh, you can't, my Flumberwinkle. I'm sorry to say I remember not one thing and I wasn't to confirm that deja-vu is just a conspiracy to fill our heads only with copywrited government approved One Version of the original backstory."
"I've meant this moment, my Lolylu. I'll be more then happy to help you with your memory problems." Ginny leaned forward and kissed her wife in the way that was not exactly safe for public. "Wrackspurts, must be."
There was high probability that pretty explicit photo would made rounds around the same time tomorrow morning adorned with a title full of innuendos and a crass article about whoever does what and who puts it where. It always guaranteed great fun, later in a day, when the more juicy quotes were acted on or turned into bedplay. Life with Luna Lovegood made even great tragedies more bearable in Ginny's honest, if slightly biased, opinion.
Hermione just shook her head at her friends antics. You'd think that two grown women that would touch their forties sooner, rather then later would behave more like grown ups then a pair of teenagers, with hands all over each other and licking their tonsils in public.
"Eew. " Apparently her son shared her opinion.
"Oh, find a room!" Ron put his slightly protesting son in his arms, like he was trying to preserve his innocence.
"Shut up, you limp testicle, I'm pregnant and horny." Snarked Ginny testily, her voice slightly muffled against the cleavage of Luna's pink summer dress.
"Fuck" Added Lily cheerfully. Nobody reacted. The only person still convinced that Lily meant 'duck', when she said 'fuck' was Molly. Nobody tried to tell her that her grandchild was five and not prone to misspelling. Sometimes you need to live in denial.
pon's proposed solution to their children swearing and committing minor crimes was to "look the other way, run and come back later to do the damage control". It worked well enough. Mostly. Harry tried to protest that it might not be a proper way to rise children, but he changed his mind after James put all of his uneaten jelly-o under his little brother's mattress, where it spread and started live its own life, merely few steps from inventing wheel and electricity.
He survived the longest, having an actual parenting experience before the rest of his friends, but ultimately, keeping an eye on five children was above even Harry Potter's capabilities. Quite frankly, he and Molly were the unofficial 'go to' when confronted with parenting problems, Harry still didn't quite know how it happened.
"Mum, I wanna to go home." Hugo huffed into his father's chest, clingy and already tired. Ron knew, that if they won't go soon, he will have few good pounds of sleeping child in his already tired arms and slobber all over his shoulder.
"Are we still on for tonight?" Asked Hermione, nudging her whining son and dropping him on his feet.
"What is tonight?" Lily perked up, as she always did when she sniffed a plot she was not included in. Great thing in Aurors but not in five year olds who never missed a chance to go on adventure.
"We are going to clean up the basement of mine and daddy's home." Whispered Draco, like he was sharing a big secret. It was, technically, true. There were crates upon crates of wine that were older then Ministry of Magic. All very dusty. It won't do to leave them this way for eternity. "All very boring adult stuff."/p
"Mum always says that when she and Lumam are out and having fun."
"Well, I'm not your mama." Lily nodded after a while, accepting this kind of logic. For a moment, Draco felt like he dodged a spell. Harry's children were less then exited about books but they all had the sort of smarts that made them quite terrifying. Lying to them was nearly impossible as they had unique ability to detect bullshit straight away, so it was always an exercise to wiggle out of truth. He managed, for a full two years, trick his own son into thinking that Easter bunnies lay eggs. There is close to hundred photographs of little Scorpius picking up charmed bunnies to find chocolate eggs and quite cherished memory of the time he nearly munched on the poo, just before excitedly showing it to the horrified cashier at pet store. But when he tried to do the same with Remus, he got the flat unimpressed face of disappointed child and "not tru! Floggies give coclate, Unkie Dlaco. Silly Unkie". Draco couldn't argue his logic, as frogs indeed were made out of chocolate.
The car door on the last compartment on Hogwarts train closed just a minute after the loud whistle pierced the air. A petite blond woman suddenly sprinted along the slowly moving engine and then handled a cage that looked stuffed full with disgruntled fluffy grey cat. Few younger children took off, too, waving and screaming goodbyes to older siblings and friends. A few minutes later and the only thing they could see was small red dot disappearing over the corner and then it was over.
"Guys, I think I need to tell you something." All faces turned to Harry, tipped off by the tone of his voice. "As you know, the curse on the DADA position was taken off few years ago. Professor Danfold decided to retire, and McGonagall..."
"You are the new DADA professor!" Exclaimed Hermione, her eye wide with surprise. "Why didn't you tell us? And what about Aurors? Did you quit? I didn't get any notices from your department, you are still handling one of my cases?"
Harry sighed with fond exasperation. The more things change the more they stay the same. Ginny was already jabbing him in the side torn between elation and worry while Ron's only reaction was 'better you then me, mate'.
"You son of the slinky mugworm. " Draco looked at his husband like he wanted to eradicate his very existence. And then he smiled brightly. "You knew."
"Yep!" Draco leaned in, carefully wrapping his arms around Harry and trying to hug him as hard as he could, mindful of baffled Lily still clinging to her papa. Harry could have sworn he heard quiet 'thank Merlin' mumbled against his collarbone.
"You should be used to it by now." Teased the blonde, rising his head up, his face stretched in a smug smile. "I got a proposition from the Headmistress, about half a year ago, it was quite the decision to make, too. And it looks like I wasn't the only one...It was supposed to be surprise."
"Merlin, can you finally say it?" Ginny was never one for tension and atmosphere building.
"I decided to take few cases, rescheduled few things and...You're looking at the new Potions Professor. "
"Ok, and you?"
"The job itself is boring, the charter doesn't actually say anything about having a second job or even that I have to be in the Ministry whole the time, so while I'm still fully available as Head Auror, I'm taking over DADA position, yes. "
"Wait. Do the boys know?" The two identical sharp smiles said enough. "That will set the kneazle among the puffskeins! Oh god, you are going to teach my child...You are going to teach my child! You better tell me anything, understood, I want to know if Rose as much as sneezes and doesn't use handkerchief."
"Hermione, love, isn't that a bit over the top?"
"Maybe, but that's an opportunity that needs to be sized. If she knows that I know she won't be getting into trouble."
"Mione, did you meet our daughter? And speaking of children, I have one here that needs a nap." They looked at little Hugo hanging limply in his father's arms, dead to the world and leaving dark wet spot on Ron's jacket.
By mutual decision they started heading toward the barrier and then went right through. Harry with the bit of nostalgia turned to take the last look. Wizards and witches apparated from the designated points, air on the furthest side was greenish - blue from the Floo powder usage, few people were still milling around, some standing next to monument raised around one the pillars, that depicted the names of all the children lost in the last two wars with a 'thank you' from the wizarding world for all the sacrifices made. It was bittersweet memory. He felt a hand resting on his shoulder and turned to look in his husband's bluish eyes. He smiled and laced their fingers together, swinging their hands lightly as they walked through. Platform 9 and 3/4 was replaced by the horde of colorfully dressed muggles, all rushing in, without as much as second glance at the world around them. At the few sideways eyes thrown their way, they did what they learned to do over the years every time people thought they had a right to judge. They smiled, a little more sharply, walked, with a little more bounce and looked for all the world like people who are living for the smell of offended assholes.
Wizarding society wasn't better really, but for all different reasons. They, of course, tried to rain shit and fire at them, but Draco was still a Malfoy and Harry was no longer fifteen year old boy who had nobody willing to fight for his reputation. But they survived the war, and not many could say that they lived with Voldemort, whether it was in a physical or mental way, for years. Not many could say that they faced him. Defied him. Fought him and all that he stood up for. They were tempered by fire, polished by all the hard work needed to fix a world that looked broken into pieces, sharpened by the constant scrutiny and neither was ready to bow down for the sake of convenience. For both family was a sacred thing, so they protected it like a dragons protected their eggs. Teeth and fire and all the ruthlessness they were capable off.
"Are you coming, old men? I parked close to station, so can drop you off home."
"No, I'm taking my husband for a dinner."
Draco turned sharply, smile creeping on his face. "You are?"
"I have a reservation for two at Claude Bosi and our suits in the trunk." Draco pulled at Harry's hand, dragging him in for a kiss. Harry, with his lips still locked firmly on sinuous mouth, waved his hand vaguely in the direction of their departing family, Ginny's voice easily carrying through the crowd with 'see you at nine'.
Six minutes later
Hiding in the corner with a swift notice-me-not charm, Harry pulled out his motorbike, lovingly dabbed "Death Trap" from his coat pocket. Switching spell and few refreshing charms was all they needed to look less like they escaped from sticky fingered babes and large crowds and more like refined gentleman in their prime.
Of course the effect was ruined by riding the actual bike moments later.
"I'm starting to question the wisdom of drinking before taking a job in school full of impressionable children." Murmured Draco into his helmet bare moments later, his hands wound around other man's torso.
"Look at it this way, for next god know how many years we will go around rising few thousand children that will make our world a living hell. If not now then when?"
"What have we done?"
Malfoy Manor, Wiltshire
"Lucius, I know you are there. Stop hiding like a Demiguise." The eerie silence was broken by the sharp knocking on the dark oak door. After few seconds and no reply, the doorknob turned and the corridor's light caught on silvery hair. "Oh for Merlin's sake."
Narcissa Malfoy entered her husband study, finding her husband of many years sitting with his head hidden in his hands. Carafe of whiskey was already half empty, the glass standing at the man's elbow contained far more then two fingers. The room was dark and stuffy. Long heavy curtains made it look more like middle of the night then middle of a sunny afternoon.
Narcissa shook her head balefully and with a sharp movement pared the curtains and let the light stream into the study making the thinning blond mane whip backwards and greyish-blue eye squint painfully.
"Great Merlin, woman, have you lost your mind!"
"I should ask you the same, dear husband. What has you in so atrocious a mood?"
Instead of an answer, a periwinkle blue envelope found a way to her hand. The silver lettering proudly stated Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy, paper heavy and expensive, cursive more then little familiar. She let the letter slip out and with every line her eyes widened.
Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy and Remus Hagrid Potter
have the great pleasure to invite you to share in our joy of the beginning of our life.
We humbly request your presence at
St Olave Old Jewry in London on Saturday, on the first of September at eleven o'clock.
We await your RSVP by the 30 of July.
"A wedding!' - Exclaimed Narcissa breathlessly. "Oh, I knew they were close, but I didn't expect it so soon!"
"Potter," growled the man, his hand sneaking along the edge of the desk and then catching a book, he hurled it through the room, till it stuck the bookcase. Few landed with a thud on the floor, one with the pages facing down. "They could go for anyone! Anyone, I tell you! And then, they go for Potters! First Draco, now Scorpius, isn't it incest?!" He ranted, working himself into not -so-quiet rage. His wife's eyes narrowed, her tone cooler then arctic winds.
"You are grasping, Lucius. And considering who was your mother, you have no ground to stand on." Lucius opened his mouth to protest, but deflated like a balloon, sagging in his chair with a sigh of utter despair. He looked at his wife, who even in her seventies carried herself like age was something optional, and massaged his temple. "Besides, it was long time coming."
He frowned at her, not quite understanding that strange smile that crept on the corner of her mouth, and watched as she crossed the room to pick the fallen books. Nodding to herself she took a piece of paper that was stuck between the pages and slowly put it, face down, before her husband.
"The more things change, the more they stay the same, dear. Pick yourself up, we are going to Paris tomorrow, I need new robes and you need to write to your grandson and his fiance." And with that, she vanished all his alcohol and left the room.
He grumbled to himself about respect and how he received none, interfering wives and disobedient children who choose wild haired menaces instead of staying widowers and grandchildren who should know better then committing the same mistake.
He flipped the photograph.
Blond hair was unmistakable, but far longer then he or Draco ever kept. A Ravenclaw scarf. He was looking at Abraxus Malfoy, his father. Or rather his father's back, since he was leaning forward, hands up, like he was cradling something...someone. They were kissing. And then, they moved enough that he could see the other person's face.
Somewhere in London
Remus raised his from head his fiance lap, feeling the cold shiver creeping up his spine. He shrugged and smiled up when Scorpius hand moved through his untamed hair.
All was well.