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 The owl arrived at seven forty-three in the morning, marked Urgent, and at seven forty-four Rose was shaking Scorpius awake.

“Letter,” she said unnecessarily, thrusting it into his hands.

He blinked several times, attempting to clear the fuzziness from his mind, and sat up. “Who from?”

“Your parents, I think.”

His stomach gave an unpleasant lurch – why would his parents be sending him an Urgent owl? “Has Albus already left for work?”

“Yeah, I woke up when I heard the door.”

Feeling glad that Rose was here in case of bad news, he ripped open the envelope and pulled out the parchment within.

Scorpius,

Grandad Lucius passed away early this morning. Please come home as soon as you can and bring Albus too. Your dad wants the family together.

Mum

Feeling slightly numb, he passed the letter to Rose.

“I’ll go get Albus,” she said. “Are you going to be all right for a bit?”

He nodded.

“I’m so sorry for your loss,” she added, squeezing his shoulder, and left him in ringing silence.

He didn’t know how to respond – surely not with this vague emptiness where there should have been grief. He had never been close to his grandfather – Lucius had always been a closed off man, his very aura that of privilege gone sour and a catalogue of sins that kept him awake at night. But Scorpius had grown up with the knowledge that after the war, when everything else within Lucius had withered and died, there were two names that kept him going – Narcissa and Draco, and when Scorpius was born his name was added to the list.

If anything, that knowledge made everything worse, because Scorpius had inherited all of Draco’s bitterness towards Lucius and none of the affection, and his relationship with his grandfather was one of strained politeness and tension. He couldn’t count how many times Draco had gone into battle with Lucius on his behalf, and the thought made him vaguely uneasy.

Aeneas padded into the room, sticking his head into Scorpius’s lap and thumping his tail against the carpet hopefully. Scorpius scratched him idly behind the ears, wondering if he could just take his dog and walk the streets of London until dark without having to face Malfoy Manor in mourning.

The door opened, and Albus strode into the flat with Rose close on his heels.

“Can you take Aeneas for his walk?” Scorpius asked eventually.

“Yeah, absolutely.” Summoning Aeneas’s leash, Rose clipped it to his collar and departed with impressive haste.

“Grab a key on your way out,” Albus called after her.

“Got it.” She was gone, and Albus found Scorpius’s hand and laced their fingers together.

“Come on,” he said gently. “Your dad needs you.”

“I know.” He still didn’t want to move, but Albus was getting to his feet and Scorpius had no choice but to follow.

“I told Mungo’s what happened,” Albus continued, just to break the silence. “You’ve got bereavement leave for the rest of the week and more if you need it.”

“It’s just Lucius,” Scorpius said before he could stop himself, and then decided that if he couldn’t say that to anyone else he ought to be able to say it to his husband.

Albus didn’t bat an eyelid. “Well, if you’re wanting time off work, anyway.”

“I don’t even know what to say.”

“It doesn’t matter.”

Yes, it does.

Albus Apparated them both in silence, and when Astoria opened the door she hugged both of them for slightly too long.

“Draco’s in the parlour,” she told Scorpius, and as he walked away he heard Albus ask if there was anything he could do.

His father was sitting silent in a leather armchair, elbows on his knees, staring with unseeing eyes at the grandfather clock on the far wall.

“Dad?”

“Close the door for a moment,” Draco said, after a pause.

Scorpius did.

“I don’t feel a damn thing,” Draco continued, no change of emotion on his face except for a slight tightening of his jaw. “Not a damn thing. What does that say about me?”

Scorpius was silent, unsure what he was supposed to say to this – whether he was supposed to say anything at all, but his father looked up expectantly.

“I don't know,” Scorpius said eventually. “But I don’t feel anything either.”

“I never forgave him.” Slowly, Draco rolled up his sleeve, revealing the faded scars of the Mark. “Never. I used to think I understood. Why he dragged me into the war, how the Dark Lord trapped him. But then you were born and I couldn’t understand it at all, because I would die a thousand times over before I’d let that happen to you.”

Scorpius stared at his shoes, trying to ignore the knot forming in his throat.

“He loved us,” Draco continued. “That makes it all the more galling, doesn’t it? You can’t hate a man who loved you till his dying day.”

“Watch me.”

Draco stared at him.

Scorpius took a deep breath, knowing that he should probably stop talking, leave the extent of his bitterness unspoken, but it was too late for that now. “He didn’t raise me, he didn’t support me, his love for me was purely theoretical. I don’t owe him shit. He chose to be a Death Eater, he agreed to every drop of blood on his hands, he was a bigot even when he stopped being outspoken about it. And he let you suffer for his mistakes and I know – I know – what the war did to you and what it did to us and to me because it took me eighteen years to accept my own last name and twenty to be proud of being your son, and that is all his fault. You don’t need to hate him, Dad, I can enough for the both of us."

“You’re proud to be my son?” Draco asked quietly.

Scorpius shifted uncomfortably. “Took me twenty years.”

“I didn’t think you ever would.”

The silence stretched out between them. “Well,” Scorpius said eventually, feeling his reputation as a linguist crashing down around him, “You’re my dad. So.”

“Yes.” Draco’s eyes seemed to be glistening. “Oh, good. Mother will think I’m grieving.”

“Yeah, where is she?”

“With Aunt Andromeda. She’s coming over for lunch.” Draco cleared his throat. “We should probably keep that conversation between ourselves.”

“Really? I thought my speech would be perfect for my recently widowed grandmother.”

“Smartarse.”

“You raised me.”

“I did.”

“We should go – ”

“Yes.”






The funeral was as Scorpius expected – sombre and ceremonial, the service one that had been standard for pureblood funerals for centuries; Ministry officials from a bygone era filled the seats and offered their condolences, speaking at length about Lucius’s contributions to the wizarding world and sidestepping neatly around the Dark Mark. His father made a speech, and only Scorpius and his mother seemed to realise how insincere his words were.

“Promise me you won’t bury me like this,” Draco murmured to Scorpius at the gravesite, and Scorpius shivered at the thought and promised.

They read the will two days later, something Scorpius had forgotten about until he got the owl from his father. While Lucius and Narcissa had moved out of Malfoy Manor when Scorpius was a baby, they still owned the property, which now passed officially into his father’s hands.

“To my grandson Scorpius Malfoy and his spouse...” the solicitor read slowly, peering over his glasses at Scorpius and Albus.

“Nice of old Lucius to name me,” Albus murmured.

“...I bequeath the sum of seventy-five thousand Galleons.”

What?” Scorpius whispered.

What?” Albus whispered back.

“That concludes the last will and testament of Lucius Abraxas Malfoy.”

As the solicitor left the room with Scorpius’s parents and grandmother, Albus leaned closer. “You heard what I heard, right?”

“Seventy-five large? Yeah.”

“I don’t even think I can comprehend that much money.”

“Neither.”

“What are we going to do with it?”

“That’s probably a conversation we should be having at home, in our normal voices.”

“Yeah, why are we whispering?”

“No idea.” Scorpius led the way out of the study, finding his parents in the entrance hall and the solicitor just leaving.

“I imagine you two will have a lot to talk about,” Astoria commented.

“Yeah,” Scorpius agreed. “Seventy-five thousand things.”

“I’ll give you the card for our investments goblin at Gringott’s,” Draco added. “His name is Habnook, and he’s very good. He’ll run you through your options and explain them all thoroughly.”

Investment goblins,” Albus whispered as Draco summoned the card with a quick wave of his wand.

“He’s quite approachable,” Draco continued. “I know you were never fond of goblins as a child.”

“Wait, you weren’t?” Albus asked.

“He was terrified of them,” Draco said matter-of-factly as Scorpius glared. “Very undiplomatic about it too. Daddy, what’s wrong with his fingers? Gravely offended half the staff.”

“We’re done here,” Scorpius announced, and half-dragged Albus out the door.

“Do you have any more embarrassing Scorpius stories?” Albus asked eagerly. “I’d love to come over sometime and hear them.”

“I would be happy to oblige.”

Goodbye, Dad.” Scorpius Apparated them both home, his haste partly to stop Albus and his father bonding over his childhood shame and partly because he felt he had been smacked in the face with possibility.

“So I’ve got an idea,” he said the moment they were inside. “Put the kettle on?”

“Are you going to leave me in suspense about the idea until we’re both sitting down with cups of tea and you’ll let yours go cold because you’re talking too much?”

“You should be a Seer.” He headed into their bedroom, pulling down a box from the top of the wardrobe where it had gotten shoved in their last big cleanout and shuffling through the papers, half-filled forms, scribbles and information packs.

Albus’s eyes widened when Scorpius brought out the box. “Oh.”

Scorpius tipped the contents of the box onto the coffee table, organising the forms and notes and pamphlets into tidy piles, before leaning back and raising one eyebrow at Albus.

“The Hopping Pot Foundation,” Albus murmured.

“I was thinking Syria,” Scorpius said eventually.

Albus nodded. “Right. Okay. Tell me about Syria.”

“Well, they’ve been embroiled in civil war for nearly two decades – ” Scorpius began, flicking through a few pages. “I’ve looked through their Ministry’s laws and unless we applied for citizenship we’re still governed by Britain’s, and therefore by the Patronus Act. There are ongoing airstrikes, but as long as we have strong enough wards on our house and the hospital we won’t be in any danger from them. I might ask for Rose’s help on those, actually, since she’s done post-Hogwarts study in Defence.”

“I keep forgetting that. What did Holly do for her second subject?"

Scorpius frowned. “No idea. She didn’t share classes with Rose, so it wasn’t Potions.”

“Transfiguration?”

“She’s shit at wandwork though.”

“True,” Albus conceded. “It wasn’t Care of Magical Creatures, was it?”

“Wait, I think it was.”

“Yeah, it was,” Albus decided. “So what are our costs like for the Foundation?”

“Well, we’ll need premises,” Scorpius began, and started scribbling. “And somewhere to live – ”

“We can attach that to the hospital. Buy a relatively cheap Muggle building and put Extension Charms everywhere.”

“And staff. Who’ll want to be paid.”

“And have accommodation that’s also warded.”

“We can talk to Mungo’s about funding,” Scorpius decided. “Set ourselves up as a non-profit as well so people can donate.”

“If we buy some property here and rent it out, that’ll give us a decent income to live off.”

“Hey, yeah, that’s a good idea. We can go talk to that goblin – I think we need at least twenty thousand to cover our startup costs and some wages...”

He became aware that Albus was staring at him. “Can I help you?”

“We’re actually doing this.”

“Yeah, we are.”

“We’re moving to Syria and opening a hospital.”

“Yeah.”

“What happens to Aeneas?”

At the sound of his name, Aeneas’s ears perked up. Scorpius watched as he stretched, yawned loudly and trotted across the room to gaze expectantly at them.

“We can...take him...to Syria?”

“You know we can’t.”

“I know.” Scorpius shuffled forward to hug the dog, burying his face in Aeneas’s fur. “I just – don’t want to leave him behind.”

“You know,” Albus began, “Lucy and Emily are moving to Hogsmeade. The place has a backyard, and Emily loves dogs.”

“Does Lucy?”

“She’s always been interested when I’ve talked about Aeneas.”

“She might have just been being polite.”

“It’s Lucy.”

“True,” Scorpius conceded. “I guess there’s no harm in asking them.”

“He’ll be happy in Hogsmeade,” Albus said earnestly. “Remember when we walked him up and down High Street after coffee with the girls? He was thrilled. He’s never been that happy in London.”

“I know,” Scorpius said again, and hugged Aeneas tighter.

“Come on, get up,” Albus said, prodding him with a woolly-socked foot. “We’ll take him for a walk and keep brainstorming Hopping Pot shit, yeah?”

“Yeah,” Scorpius agreed after a moment, taking the hand Albus offered him and letting himself be pulled to his feet. “So we’ll have to learn Arabic...”

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