Tags: Canon divergent, Friendship, Romance, Sexual Content, Fluff, Humor, Emotional Hurt/Comfort, Loss, Grief, Spoilers

Author’s Note: Hello, everyone! :)

This is my first time writing for the HP fandom, even though I’ve been writing for over two years.

This is a multi-chapter fic, and unlike many of my other fics it won’t have much angst. Instead I see it as Scorpius trying to find his place in the world after his mom dies. Trying to explore who he is without her and the security and support she always provided, by surrounding himself with the ones he holds most dear; his father who’ll break down when Astoria dies, his friends who he hasn’t seen in years and must reconnect with, and of course Rose, the love of his life who eventually moved on after Scorpius left.

It’s truly been a delight getting to know and write Scorpius, who’s so precious and is becoming one of my favorite characters ever with ease. I also wanted to explore a funnier side of Astoria and turn her into this playful, warm motherly figure whose death will truly leave an impact. Also a more introvert, cautious Rose because Scorpius leaving changed her, despite the way that Scorpius being back leads to them getting to know each other all over again. So regardless of all the drama and grief in the earlier chapter, the story will make way to fluff and humor and romance towards the end.

Because the story takes place about four and a half years after Scorpius leaves Hogwarts, expect flashbacks here and there about key moments (like when Scorpius and Rose first started dating, when they broke up, Astoria’s insistence that Scorpius should take the apprenticeship and even how Rose and Astoria became so close).

This is only slightly canon divergent, as I’m keeping everything that has happened in HP and the Cursed Child aside from Astoria still being alive and giving Neville a daughter. It’s rated Mature for sexual content in later chapters and mild swearing.

I hope you enjoy.

Scorpius steps through the window of Purge and Dowse, Ltd., raking a hand through his blond locks to shake the droplets of water that the mild rain outside settled on his effortlessly styled hair. Finding himself at the reception of the St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, he heads for the front desk where the Welcome Witch - a middle-aged woman with long, thick gray hair and dark eyes - greets him with a kind smile.

Before the young man can say anything, the witch indicates that the Fourth Floor is where he wants to go and points to her left, towards the elevators at the end of a long hallway. Scorpius is quick to thank her and evade the look of pity and recognition in the woman’s eyes; in hers and the rest of the small crowd that’s on the busy ground floor.

Everybody knows of him, of his family. And so, of course, everybody knows of his mother.

Astoria Malfoy, pure-blood. Born into the Greengrass family, one of the Sacred Twenty-Eight.

Astoria Malfoy, loving wife of Draco Malfoy despite the disappointment of both families about how Draco’s and Astoria’s points of view on pure-blood supremacy changed after the Battle.

Astoria Malfoy, caring mother of Scorpius Malfoy, only child, determined to change her son’s life the way she wishes hers and Draco’s had when they were younger.

Astoria Malfoy, fated to die from a curse that has afflicted her blood lineage for several generations.

Astoria Malfoy, incurable.

Scorpius is still waiting for the elevator when his hands start to feel tingly, his skin itching with energy. As he ascends to the upper level of the building, Scorpius finds himself jittery, trying his best to ignore the way that his pulse starts to race; to pretend that his breath doesn’t catch when he looks around the unfamiliar floor, the elevator doors opening to reveal a rather empty corridor.

That he can see, about a dozen doors on each side of the hallways line down the paths to both his left and his right. In front of him, three nurses busy themselves with parchments that Scorpius assumes are patient files, chatting between themselves in whispers.

Making his way over to the desk, Scorpius politely interrupts the women. “Excuse me,” he says, catching their attention. “I’m Scorpius Malfoy. I was wondering if you could tell me where I can find--”

One of the nurses speaks before the others can. She’s older than the Welcome Witch, about half of Scorpius’ height and has pronounced facial features that soften slightly when she recognizes him and realizes why the young man is there. “Of course, dear. She’s in Room 478,” she tells him, leaving her place behind the desk to place a comforting hand on his shoulder. “I’m Nurse Goode. Why don’t I take you to her?” She offers, leading the way down the hallway to his right.

As they walk through corridor after corridor of the Incurable Wing, a part of him feels sick at the thought that while he’s just starting to endure the pity looks and empathetic reactions from the people around him, his mother must have had enough of it to last her a lifetime. Diagnosed for over two years, Scorpius barely has a clue about how his mother is handling everything; finding out that what Astoria has doesn’t have a known treatment, that life expectancy after the first symptoms and proper diagnosis is on average of only a couple of years or so, that when her time comes barely any warnings can prepare her loved ones for her demise.

Scorpius doesn’t know for how long he and the nurse walk, let alone the path they’re taking. He doesn’t realize that his hands are shaking until the witch stops on her tracks about one minute later, making Scorpius come to a halt with her. “Here we are,” she announces quietly, gesturing to the room on their left. “Room 478. Visiting hours don’t start until an hour from now but I think, given the circumstances, that no one will mind to make the exception. A Healer should stop by shortly to do the rounds but in the meantime, should you find your mother in any discomfort, please call out and someone will come to your aid immediately,” she explains to him. “No giving her any food or beverages unless cleared by the medical staff, and should you have with you any gifts to present her with, they’ll need to be cleared as well. Do you understand, Mr. Malfoy?”

The way she recites the rules, so assertively, reminds Scorpius of old Professor McGonagall. He only wishes the nurse could instill in him the same sense of security that the Headmistress has always been known to carry around. He nods in response. “Yes, Ma’am. And I’ve got nothing on me,” he murmurs sadly, realizing that he should have thought of something ahead of time. “I just got back. Came right over to see her, you see?”

Nurse Goode gives a curt nod in acknowledgment. “Very well, Mr. Malfoy. Then I should leave you to it.” She makes to walk way but then she sees the young man fidgeting, anxiety showing in his grey eyes. “And dear,” she says in a softer tone, lightly squeezing his shoulder, “if you need a moment there’s a waiting area down the hallway.”

Scorpius thanks the witch for her kindness and watches as she leaves. Having no intent of going to the waiting room but showing apprehension at opening the door in front of him as well, Scorpius stands in place, unmoving for a good minute or two before resolve washes over him.

He’s been away for over four and a half years; he doesn’t want to waste any more precious time.

Gently knocking on the door, Scorpius patiently waits for a response until he hears her voice a moment later, and then he doesn’t hesitate in going in anymore.

His mother looks almost the same as he remembers. The lustrous dark hair she’s always kept so perfectly arranged, even now falling graciously down her shoulders. The slender, ever well-composed figure even despite being on an hospital bed, sitting back and reading a book with a poise worthy of someone whose name and blood status precedes her. The same old twinkle in her soft brown eyes as if Scorpius had just gotten home after being out and she’d missed him terribly, even if he’d been away for only a short period of time like when he was younger and had been out playing with his friends or visiting relatives.

But Scorpius hasn’t been away for only a couple of hours. He’s been away for far longer than that, and so he can also see how the curse has worn her out over time. How her hair isn’t as shiny. How - and granted, despite almost unnoticeable to a stranger’s eye - she lost some weight. How tired her eyes seem even when she realizes that he’s there.

“Scorpius?” There’s a pause when they just stare at each other, as if they’re savoring a moment they’ve been waiting for a long time. Astoria puts her book away and her voice quivers, unbelieving. “Merlin! Scorpius, is it you?”

Scorpius lets out a sigh of relief when he hears her voice up close, so warm and inviting; he’s missed home for too long. Shortening the distance between them with a couple of long, fast strides, Scorpius throws himself at her open arms for a hug that’s long, long overdue. “Mom!”

Astoria’s voices wavers again when she replies, incredulous at what’s happening. “Scorpius, it’s you!”

Scorpius chuckles and holds on tight, taking a moment to enjoy his mother’s embrace despite noticing how her grip isn’t as strong as he remembers it. When he pulls back, Astoria tears up at the memories that her son’s kind smile always brings. “I should think you would still recognize me. I haven’t changed that much,” Scorpius jokes, himself wiping a stray tear from the corner of his eye.

Astoria adjusts on the bed and leans back against her pillow while Scorpius quickly moves around, closing the bedroom door to give them some privacy. He drags an armchair closer to the bed, sitting and leaning forward to hold his mother’s left hand in both of his. “I thought you were only coming back by the end of next month,” she explains her astonishment.

Scorpius doesn’t tell her why he didn’t want to wait any longer. Instead, he reckons that he isn’t the only one who’s nervous; her hand is trembling too. “I wanted to surprise you,” he confesses, and really it isn’t a lie. It just isn’t the whole truth. “I’ve missed you. Both you and Dad, everyone else… I’ve been gone for too long.”

Astoria dismisses his unhappy tone, utterly glad that her boy is finally home. “Nonsense. You know this job was important, Scorpius,” she starts, and despite the pride that he can hear in her words, Scorpius can tell that, deep down, a part of her didn’t want him to leave at all to begin with.

Still, it had been Astoria’s idea. Or at least, it had been her encouragement that ultimately had Scorpius taking the opportunity to become an apprentice to one of the most important and selective careers in the Wizarding World.

Having been incredibly impressed with Scorpius’ marks on his O.W.L.s, and after a very complimenting letter of recommendation from Professor McGonagall herself, Scorpius had been personally invited to a private meeting with Mr. Ollivander over the Christmas break of his sixth year. Because the Headmistress had praised Scorpius’ innate curiosity and shown interest in wandlore (which McGonagall knew very well about; after all, Scorpius always had to ask for permission to consult books in the Restricted Section, and given the nature of his interests the authorization had to come from the Headmistress herself, much to Madam Pince’s dismay), Mr. Ollivander had taken upon himself to see if the Malfoy boy, just turned 17 the month before, showed any talent with a wand.

And Merlin, was Mr. Ollivander impressed.

The second that Scorpius entered the shop and followed the old wandmaker to the small room in the back, Mr. Ollivander knew. Not only several of the wands reacted to Scorpius’ presence as soon as he crossed the threshold, but the young wizard had shown an innate affinity to explore the shop by himself. Mr. Ollivander hadn’t needed to say much; Scorpius started wandering about on his own, collecting and inspecting the wands that seemed to be calling him.

After a few seconds of examining each wand, Scorpius guessed the components of all of them right.

After an afternoon full of fascinating discussions on wandlore, Mr. Ollivander promised that if he studied hard, Scorpius would have a wandcraft apprenticeship waiting for him when he finished his Seventh year.

Astoria can’t remember another time when Scorpius had gotten home so radiant, with a beam that almost blinded from how warm and bright it was.

Well, maybe just another time. One that concerned a certain red-haired girl. In fact, a red-haired girl that-

Her train of thought is suddenly interrupted. “You are important to me too,” Scorpius murmurs, and Astoria can tell that he’s anxious about her condition. Having been away for so long, with barely any permission for communication with the outside world while throwing himself at the most adventurous, sometimes dangerous situations had to have taken its toll on him. Merlin knows it did on her and Draco. “Mom, I--”

Astoria stretches her arm and ruffles his hair until it’s unruly, just the way she always did when he was a little kid. “I wanted you to go, Scorpius.” For a moment she thinks he’s going to argue but instead Scorpius settles, too relieved to finally be here to start another argument, like the ones they’d had before Astoria had to practically beg him to go. “It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and you know that.”

Scorpius worries his lower lip and looks down nervously, his free hand fidgeting on his lap. “I know,” he whispers, and he only meets his mother’s gaze when she tilts his chin up, noticing how concern is seeping into his features as the seconds go by. “But you shouldn’t have guilt-tripped me into it.” Which, in truth, she kind of had. “I was away for so long. What if you--”

Astoria doesn’t let him finish the sentence. She knows where he’s going with this. “I’m still here. Isn’t that what matters?” That still stings him, burns him inside but Scorpius decides to let it go for now, nodding mutely in response. “Now, tell me all about you,” she says softly, leaning on her side to give him her undivided attention. “I want to know why you’re back early and how the apprenticeship went. I want to hear all about your adventures.”

His mother has always been good at deflecting the subject, Scorpius thinks idly. She’s always been good at making things about everyone else but her.

Before he can decide whether to indulge his mother’s curiosity for her sake, or to deny it in favor of finding out more about her condition and how she’s feeling for his own, to ask about his father even, the sound of footsteps and voices and metallic clicking fill the room coming from the hallway.

At first, Scorpius thinks nothing much of it, assuming that rounds are starting, just like Nurse Goode had said. But then his entire body stills.

Even after so many years of knowing her, Scorpius still hasn’t figured out why he can often be aware of her presence before actually seeing her. At the same time that a sense of peace settles in him, his heart starts beating faster and his mind slows down as if to prepare him for her arrival, like it usually does. Even though Scorpius has never been able to find a reasonable, logical explanation for it, it’s never failed him. And so if it’s happening right now, she has to be around somewhere.

Rose Weasley, the girl he’s had a crush on since he was eleven years old and first laid his eyes on her.

Rose Weasley, the girl who matches her mother’s brains and her father’s temper, laced with a charm that is her own and that has always been irresistible to him.

Rose Weasley, his best friend’s cousin and his own too, after they put aside their divergences following the events of their Fourth Year.

Rose Weasley, his girlfriend since the Summer before their Seventh Year until its end, almost exactly a year later.

Rose Weasley, the only girl Scorpius has ever had eyes for.

The only one he’s ever loved.

He doesn’t know why he is surprised at the feeling. He hasn’t spoken to Rose ever since he left, sure, but he knew she wanted to become a Healer. So obviously, it would make sense for her to actually be at St. Mungo’s except that Scorpius had never really envisioned her there. He’s always had bigger dreams for her than that…

If Scorpius hadn’t been so self-centered in that moment thinking of her, he would have likely noticed the sly smirk that tugged at his mother’s lips suddenly, the devious glint in her eyes as she realized who was probably about to come in. Checking the old clock on the far wall, Astoria realizes that indeed it’s almost time for rounds so she figures that she’s probably right. Besides, Scorpius has always seemed slightly intuitive whenever Rose was about to walk into a room, as if he and Rose shared an unspoken connection.

Astoria’s smug features turn to more innocent ones when Scorpius swiftly glances at her as if wanting to share his suspicions. His mother shrugs noncommittally, as if she has no idea what he could possibly be thinking about.

The facade lasts for exactly three seconds after that, the time it takes for someone outside to knock on the door, not caring to wait too long to be invited in.

And in comes none other than Rose Weasley.

Author’s Note: Please leave a review and let me know what you think :)

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