Practice was that night and exactly as she imagined it. Ophelia didn’t saw a word to her in the dressing room, but her mouth shut as she got dressed into the training clothes. Lily knew that she was thinking about that stupid tabloid, none of the Slytherin’s were. It was distasteful to show such blatant displays of affection, let alone have it advertised. Still, she put her practice robes over her clothes before tying the laces of her trainer tightly. Once on the field she didn’t give Scorpius a second look, mostly because Damon barked orders that training would be fragmented between positions. Scorpius was forced to work with the back-up keeper while Lily went with the rest of the Chasers.
“Potter, why does Damon look like he wants to kill you?”
“Didn’t you see the damn paper?” she hissed. “Everyone else did.”
“Everyone’s upset about that rubbish? Was it even you?”
“No.” Lily rolled her eyes as she picked up a Quaffle. “Score’s angry because I don’t think it’s a big deal.” She looked Jordi over. “Why aren’t you offended by it?”
“My parents may be purebloods, but I don’t have a Greengrass for a mum.” He shoved her shoulder lightly. “Come on, let’s get our drills done before Flint has a reason to yell at us.”
He found a reason anyway. By the time the sun sunk beneath the horizon, the Quidditch team walked off the field, covered in sweat and dirt, and in a few cases blood. Lily jumped into one of the shower stalls and quickly washed off the layer of grime. It took a good amount of scrubbing before she was done and her skin was bright pink. She threw her hair in a bun and slipped back into her uniform, the clock chimed and she knew was going to be late for dinner.
“Lily.” It was Scorpius waiting for her ahead on the path.
“You didn’t need to wait, I know you don’t like being late.”
“People might as well have something true to talk about.” He offered her up a smile before going to walk along beside her. “I am only angry at that so called journalist." He paused, shaking his hand, a look of frustration crossing his face. "My mum always said you were trouble, said that we were going to end up splashed across the front page of those gossip rags.”
“Well, she’ll be happy she’s right.”
Scorpius face fell and he fixed her with one of his famous glances.
“When it was James first year, mum and dad thought that the press block applied to all of us, but there were reporters outside of Kings Cross wanting a glimpse of Harry Potter’s son. I didn’t know why they were there at the time, I thought it was because of mum.” Lily shrugged then. “You get used to things like this and that’s why I liked being your friend. My name didn’t matter for you, it was even a reason for you not to like me. I thought you could understand this.”
“I do, but it doesn’t mean I like it,” he grumbled. “Let’s get to dinner before James tries to murder me. Contrary to popular belief, he’s quite fond of you.”
Lily doesn’t say anything more, just swerves a bit to purposefully bump into Scorpius before continuing to walk towards the castle.
The following Monday, Lily found herself in Professor Wolfe’s office. It was a meeting that was mandatory for all students fourth year and up. Still, she found herself nervous and fidgeted with her uniform before she knocked on the door. She made sure her skirt was laying right, her tie tied correctly, shoes shined, and shirt starched with a clean over robe. Counting to five to calm herself, she knocked on the door.
“Good afternoon, Professor,” she greeted, standing in front of his desk.
“You can sit down, this should be a short meeting.” His eyes didn't come up from a file folder he produced. “Do you have any idea what you want to do after school?”
“Not an auror,” she answered quickly, maybe a little bit too fast. Professor Wolfe dropped the folder onto the desk and stared at her. “I couldn’t handle that every day, I don’t even know how my mum can handle watching my dad leave for work everyday.”
“Perhaps there is hope for you yet, Lily Potter. I always saw you as brash Gryffindor.” He laughed, glancing back down at the file. “I know you have an...affinity...for Divinations, but I ask you to consider another path. You are first in your class for Charms, excellent at Defense Against the Dark Arts, well skilled in Herbology, and have become quite adept at Potions. Not only that, but I see something in you Miss Potter. Have you ever considered becoming a Healer?”
“Yes, St. Mungo’s has one of the best training programs in the Wizarding World. It is extremely competitive, if it interests you I would start thinking now about the OWLs you need.” He pushed his glasses up his nose and clasped his hands before placing them on the desk. “I may seem harsh, but that it only because I expect what I know you are capable of. You may not like me or may see my classes as a chore to attend, but every week I get only the highest quality work.” He sighed and then closed the folder. “You are dismissed. If there is another student waiting, they can come in.”
“Oh, Miss Potter?”
“Before you go anywhere, please take care of your tie. There’s a stain on it.”
I hope that you are managing well at Hogwarts, what with your schoolwork, Quidditch, and newfound relationship. All is well here at home, business at the antique shop has been increasing and your father’s workload is becoming manageable once more. While I would love to spend an entire letter detailing the trivial events, other things must be attended to.
First and foremost I must discuss is your relationship with Lily Potter. While her name marks her as being from a prestigious family, and her father’s past mark her as a good choice I urge you to rethink it. The Malfoy’s and Greengrass may be known for their blood purity, but they are known for more. The Malfoy’s are known as being a high caliber individual, one that respects tradition and maintains proper decorum in the face of adversity. As you know, the Second Wizarding War drug some skeletons out of the closet and caused this family to be shown in a bad light, your father has worked hard to maintain a reputable reputation. A reputation that I hoped you would be able to uphold as you moved forward. I so hoped that you would find a nice girl, one from a good family and one who knows proper etiquette. I wished you would find a demure girl, one who is intelligent, and opinionated, who also recognizes the virtues of humility, patience, and modesty.
In closing, my dearest son, I do wish you to be happy. If that entails a girl like Lily Potter, I only hope you know what you are getting yourself into. Additionally, I hope you realize that it is not only your reputation and good name that is put on the line with the brash actions of a pretty face that does not think before she does something.
Sincerely, Astoria A. Greengrass-Malfoy.
Scorpius screwed his eyes shut as he folded the parchment and placed it back in the envelope. Just when the incident with the tabloid settled down and Lily and he talked it over, he got a letter like this from his mother. It was enough to put a sour taste in his mouth. He looked around the dining hall and saw Lily coming in late, a tie loosely hanging around her neck, it being the only messed up article of clothing on her. She had a meeting with the Head of House, he knew that much.
“I honestly didn’t mean to be late,” she said as she sat down beside him, resting a hand on his shoulder before pulling away. “What’s that?” she questioned. “It’s a little early for your mum to be sending you money again.”
“It’s a letter.”
“A letter?” she asked. “What did she need to tell you.”
“I’ll give you one guess,” he muttered picking up a fork before hovering it over his plate.
“I have no idea. Your dad writes you to find out about classes and what’s going on here and to tell you if something exciting happened at the Ministry. Your mother writes you to…” She dropped the serving spoon of the roasted potatoes she had just grabbed. “Merlin, Score, I’m sorry. It’s about the newspaper, isn’t it?”
“Yes, if a Howler wouldn’t attract so much attention she’d probably send me one.” He set his fork down and pushed his plate away. “I need some air.”
“Let me go with you.”
“No, eat. As a prefect, it wouldn’t be in good faith to let you get away with taking plates out of the dining hall.” He got to his feet and paused just behind Lily, a cool hand settling on her shoulder. “It’s not you I’m upset with. One article and a condescending letter from my mother isn’t going to change my mind.”
With those comforting words, he was gone, but Lily didn’t feel any less uneasy. She, though, was not left alone long. Jordi and Nott, along with Simone and Daphne came over with some juicy gossip, it was just enough for a temporary distraction.
Lily had not seen James cry in years. The last instance had been the first time she had been allowed to the annual Battle of Hogwarts memorial service. However, when she looked over at breakfast the final day of school she swore she saw tears in his eyes. The final months of school flew by for her, she couldn’t imagine how it had been for him.
“Good morning.” Scorpius laid a hand on her shoulder and sat down the bench beside her. He gave her a smile and she kissed him the cheek quickly. “What are you thinking about?”
“Nothing.” She shook her head and scooped out oatmeal into her dish before pouring a glass of pumpkin juice.
“What’s James doing next year?”
“Quidditch, remember those scouts that showed up for the final games and practices?” she questioned. “He’s going to go into the minor leagues, been guaranteed at least a second string spot.”
“That’s good,” he said. “At least his summer will be exciting.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Father managed to get me an internship at the Ministry, otherwise I’d be working with mother with her antique business.”
“Why so glum? That sounds delightful.”
Scorpius fixed her with a look, but then rolled his eyes. As a result Lily broke into a fit of laughter as he seemed to have picked up on her own habit. They certainly spent enough time together, to the dislike of Scorpius’ mother. Lily remembered the night when he got the letter from his mother telling her how displeased she was. He penned a quick reply to her, then ripped the letter she sent into tiny pieces, throwing it into the fire. From then on, Scorpius was more careful about public displays of affection, as if it was actually them in the photo, but in private it was clear where he stood on the matter. His mother was not going to tell him who to be with, especially if it meant giving up Lily.
“So, what are you going to do? With that cheek, I’ll be surprised if they’d let you work anywhere.”
“For your information I’m working for my Aunt Hannah.”
“You have an Aunt Hannah?” Scorpius’ eyebrows knitted together as he tried to remember which member Lily’s large, extended family that could be.
“Grace Longbottom’s mom, Professor Longbottom’s wife,” she clarified. “She runs the Leaky Cauldron.”
“Merlin help that woman,” Scorpius muttered, shaking his head a bit. Lily slapped his arm and dug into her breakfast. It wasn’t long before the final dishes were cleared away and they were ushered towards the courtyard to board the carriages. Lily had grabbed on to Scorpius’ sleeve to avoid losing him in the hubbub. “Al is up there, we’ll jump in with him,” he said, wrapping an arm around her shoulders to guide her towards the carriage.
“I take it you survived the morning with James,” Scorpius said. “Were he and Fred as insufferable as you imagined?”
“Tolerable,” he said. “But we’ll still have to deal with him this summer, he’ll be living at home until he starts playing regularly.”
“Don’t you mean if?” Lily asked.Two of the three ignored her, but Julian cracked a smile at that. “It’s a fair question.”
Scorpius just shook his head and Al cracked a smile. When they came to the train station, they transferred onto the train, quickly locating an empty compartment. Lily curled against Scorpius’ side as she sat there. About halfway to their destination, the door slid open to reveal most of the family. Fred and James came in, sitting beside Al, forcing Julian to be pushed against the side.
“Do you mind if we’re here?” Fred questioned.
“Rosie is about ready to hex us into next year,” James explained.
“I can understand why,” Lily answered, lifting her head. “Did you call her that to her face?”
“Lils, come on…” James said with a smirk and running his hand through his hair.
She scoffed and rolled her eyes, pulling away from Scorpius in order to sit back up. “What did you do?”
“Why is always our fault?” Fred rolled his eyes and flopped back against the seat. “You should be nice us, we won’t be with you every day.”
“How will we ever live?” Scorpius responded dryly.
James looked up at him, narrowing his eyes. “Lils, how do you even put up him?”
“I put up with you, don’t I?” She pulled her legs up to hold against her chest, then leaned her shoulder against Scorpius.
“I take offense to you comparing me with your brother,” Scorpius remarked. “We are not similar in any way.”
Before there was a chance to retaliate, the door flung open to reveal Dom coming in followed Roxie. The latter rolled her eyes at her brother, but sat on the bench besides Scorpius. It wasn’t long until most of the family was squeezed into that tiny compartment. Eventually, Rose even came and glared at the two boys before they mumbled a forced apology to their cousin, not wanting to deal with her any longer.
When they went to the train station, Lily and Scorpius left Albus and Julian alone. In the hall outside he kissed her on the cheek. “Last time you left me to greet your father, I wanted a proper goodbye.”
Lily wrapped her arms around him tightly. “Come on,” she said, pulling away and grabbing for his hand. The descended the steps and scanned the crowd. Scorpius’ father was standing with Lily’s parents. Harry and Ginny stood close, Draco had his arms across his chest with a neutral face.
“Mum, dad,” she said and launched herself at her father before greeting her mother. “Mr. Malfoy, how are you?”
“Just fine.” He glanced from his son to her. “I presume I will be seeing quite a bit of you this summer.”
“You’re welcome at the house anytime, I hope you know that.”
“So is Score, but I ask you to please try to come over when James is gone. He can legally use magic outside of Hogwarts now.”
“Where is he?” Ginny questioned, looking around as Albus came forward. “I don’t see George and Angelina…” With nothing else said, she went off in search of her missing son.
"See you at the office," Draco said to Harry, forcing a smile at Lily.
Scorpius said nothing to her, but he did press his lips against hers for a fraction of a moment before setting off with his father.
Lily sighed as she flipped through a magazine at the counter. It was a slow day at the Leaky Cauldron, at least at the desk where the desks checked in. Grace was helping her mother in the kitchen and her Uncle Neville was off with Skamanders on a rare plant hunt. Once she got to the last page she put it back in the pile for the guests to look at and reached down for her satchel to grab a book. Divinitions, as usual. Professor Patil had given her an interesting reading list to complete over the summer. This particular book was done on research called lucid predictions. Basically, it was how to be completely aware of any visions you had and to be able to remember them. Her father said that he witnessed Professor Trelawney having one when he was a student, her eyes nearly rolled back in her head and she had this odd, detached voice. Other seers described fainting, losing touch with a reality for a few moments...Some muggles mistakenly diagnosed wizards with narcolepsy because of their visions.
“Lily, are you busy?”
She looked up and saw Francie standing in the doorway. She was Hannah and Neville’s younger daughter and looked so much like her mum with her blonde pigtails.
“Someone’s here to see you.” She then opened the door and pulled someone in. It was Scorpius looking a bit sheepish at being led in by an eleven year old girl. “Gracie will be here to cover for you soon enough.”
“Thanks!” she tried to call out before the girl darted out.
“Francine seems like a nice girl.”
“Call her Frankie or Frank, she might look cute but she has a mean left hook.”
“Surely you are jesting.”
“Merlin, Score, how long have you spent with your parents?” Lily climbed over the counter, not bothering with coming around, before she made her way to him and greeted him with a tight embrace, then kissed him straight on the mouth. “I missed you.”
“Likewise,” he murmured, hand brushing against her cheek before resting it on her shoulder. “I doubt this is appropriate, though, you are at work.”
“Half the people that come here are drunks.”
“Lily!” a voice exclaimed. Grace stood in the doorway, eyeing her. “Can you not snog your boyfriend in the lobby?”
“It’s my fault, I surprised her.”
“Is this the emergency Frankie sent me here for?” she asked. “I swear, Lily you have my own sister wrapped around your little finger.”
Lily pulled away from Scorpius and just nodded. She was about to comment when she heard Hannah shouting her daughter’s name, “Alice Grace!”
“Your name is Alice?” Scorpius questioned.
“The name of Neville’s mum,” Lily whispered. “She’s always gone by Grace, partly because it fits her better, partly because it’s easier for Neville.”
“The kitchen is bustling and the hotel is dead,” she said. “Why on earth would Lily need your help?”
“Mum…” Hannah walked in and saw Scorpius standing with Lily. She looked from her daughter to her honorary niece and sighed. “The kitchen isn’t that busy and I have Frankie to help me, she’s handier than you anyway,” she told her daughter. “I expect you here at eight o’clock tomorrow morning. The Knight Bus is supposed to be dropping off a bunch of foreign wizards visiting here.”
“Deal,” Lily said. “I’ll get here at seven forty five if you have a cup of tea waiting for me.”
“You know I will and Neville will be back tomorrow.”
Lily gave the woman a hug before reaching for Scorpius’ hand pulling him out the door and into the street. He gave her a funny look and stopped, tugging her to a halt. “Where are you going? The easiest way to Diagon Alley is through the pub.”
“Everyone goes to Diagon Alley, there’s a good ice cream place just down the street.”
“In muggle London?” Scorpius questioned. “Perhaps, it would be better to stay--”
Lily narrowed her eyes and latched on to his hand. “Score, being unfamiliar with something only leads to fear. My dad takes us to muggle London all the time, even James likes it.” Lily softened her face.
“Fine,” he grumbled and let himself be led down the street. Lily stopped in front of old brick building with a wide window that appeared to have been painted by hand. Pixie's Place, the sign read. “I’d rather have gone to Florean Fortescue's, pixies are nasty creatures.”
“It’s just a name, now come on.” She pulled him along, pushing the door open causing a bell ring.
“Lily!” the girl behind the counter exclaimed.
“Jillian, I brought my boyfriend, Scorpius,” she explained, letting go of his hand. “Can I have my usual?”
“Of course, I’ll let him have time to decide.”
Scorpius watched as the girl took a large cone and put yellow ice cream in the bottom with white ice cream on top. “What did you get?”
“Lemon meringue and coconut,” Lily answered. “What do you want?”
“Probably just a dish of vanilla,” he replied. “I’ll get both of ours.” He reached into his back pocket for his wallet, but Lily stopped him.
“All you have is wizard’s money,” she whispered. "Mum always makes sure I have a few pounds with me.” Lily gave him a smile and stepped up to the counter. “Thank you so much, can you ring up a dish of vanilla for Scorpius as well?” She pulled her wallet out and Scorpius watched as the girl took the strange looking money.
They didn’t eat there, Lily insisted on taking them walking through the streets. Scorpius was not sheltered, not like many of the tabloids claimed. He knew what a car was, cellphones didn’t frighten him, and he could use a ballpoint pen just fine. Still, it was a bit unnerving to be walking with so many muggles surrounding him and a bit discomforting not to be able to use his wand that rested in his pocket. He was seventeen, completely legal now, but if he used magic in the presence of muggles it would have dire consequences.
Lily, on the other hand, seemed perfectly content sitting on a bench eating her ice cream in the midst of all of them. Granted, her cone did make a bit of a mess and Scorpius only wished he could help her with a charm. Instead, she fumbled clumsily with paper napkins. Once their ice cream was finished Lily leapt to her feet. “I almost forgot, can you stay with me for dinner? Teddy and Vicky are coming over so dad’s cooking…”
“Yes, of course.”
Lily got to her feet. “Do you want to take the Knight Bus to my house or go back to the pub and ask if we can use the fireplace?”
“I came to see you because I got my apparition license, I’m 17 now.”
“Oh, Scorpius!” She launched herself at him and hugged him tightly. “I can’t believe I forgot your birthday, I’m so sorry. I guess it’s a good think I got your ice cream.”
“I don’t need anything, my dad just gave me the day off and I thought seeing you would be better than being alone or heading to Regina’s.”
“Thanks.” She grabbed his hand. “Are you confident enough to side-along? We can go somewhere secluded.”
“Yes.” He led her down the street, in the direction of what appeared to be a phone booth tucked in a corner. Currently there were what he presumed American wearing matching t-shirts, clammering about a doctor. “While we’re waiting, I was wondering if you would come over to my house this weekend. My mother is having family over for a get together.”
Lily made a small sound. “Please tell me I don’t have to wear an evening gown.”
“Don’t be silly, she’s organizing a garden party.”
“That’s so much worse,” she groaned, letting Scorpius lead her towards the now empty phone booth. “Do I have to wear a hat? The only hat I own is a beanie.”
“Wear that and your Quidditch robes, make mother’s week.”
“That won’t result in another passive aggressive letter.”
“You’re right, it will result in a lovely discussion over a cup of tea that night.” Scorpius released her hand and his arm with hers after they entered the phone booth. He shut his eyes and murmured the words, “Lily Potter’s house,” no doubt picturing her home.
If Harry was surprised Scorpius had shown up with her, he didn’t say a word. Instead he told Lily to keep her door open and that dinner would be at six o’clock. At five they wandered downstairs to see him starting dinner. “Do you need help?”
“Start cutting vegetables for the salad,” he said, preparing what appeared to be tomato sauce. “Do you like lasagna?” he asked Scorpius.
“Yeah,” he answered. “Are you making it from scratch?” He watched with great interest as Harry stood in front of the stove stirring a large metal pot with a wooden spoon. No magic was used, not even to summon the containers of spices.
“It’s not that difficult,” he said. “Lily can you cut up some garlic for me? It needs extra.”
Lily nodded and reached for a small white bulb. “Do you want to help or are you going to stand there?” she asked Scorpius. “Roll up your sleeves and get the lettuce from the fridge.” She began to peel the bulb before smashing it with her broad side of the knife. “Why are you staring?” she whispered. “Cooking is like potions, but you get to eat the results.”
Scorpius had so much he wanted to tell Lily. That what she was doing was not an ordinary everyday thing like she acted like it was. If his parents cooked it was with liberal amounts of magic.
The lasagna was in the oven and the salad prepared when the door opened. Lily rushed out of the kitchen, Harry and Scorpius following. In the door came Victoire with Teddy behind, cradling a small bundle that had to be a child.
“Oh, Teddy,” Lily said, rushing forward to look at the baby in his arms. “What’s her name? You did say it was a girl, right?”
“Yes,” Victoire answered walking forward with her husband following. “Her name is Stella.”
“Do you want to hold her?” he asked once they were in the living room. Lily took a step back and Harry laughed holding out his arm.
“Your father would be so proud,” Harry said, looking down at the baby in his arms. “So would your mother.”
“Thanks.” The word sounded hard for him to get out, like it was caught in his throat. “The Ministry is giving me a few weeks off with Vicky.”
“He’s going to stay with her longer,” Victoire said. “As much as I want to stay with her, my research is time sensitive.”
Scorpius watched Harry’s face as he held the child, the small smile with the eyes that were nearly sad. He touched her cheek with his thumb before handing her over to Victoire. “I don’t know where my boys are, but Ginny should be home soon. I’ll check on dinner, Lily do you want to set the table?”
“I’ll do it,” Teddy volunteered. From the way he moved it was clear he wanted no one else in the kitchen.
Lily walked over to the couch and gestured to the remaining people. Soon she was seated in between Victoire and Scorpius, baby Stella resting quietly.
“Any news?” Victoire asked.
“Scorpius is forcing me to come to his birthday dinner,” Lily said.
“It’s a luncheon.”
Lily rolled her eyes and Victoire laughed. “I have a dress you could borrow. You can keep it, in fact, it hasn’t fit me in at least a year.” She adjusted her daughter and turned her body so she was talking directly to Scorpius. “Your birthday? When is it? I wish I would have known, I could have brought a cake.”
“No, no, I don’t need a cake. Besides, Lily gave me my watch two years ago.” He flashed his wrist to Victoire revealing the cheaply made muggle watch that hardly left his watch since Lily had gifted it him. “She said I needed something proper.”
Victoire let out a laugh and before she could respond, Ginny walked in with Albus following her. “Aunt Ginny, Al,” she said. “Come here, meet Stella.”
“Oh, Vicky,” Ginny said as she came in, setting down her work things in a pile next to a coat rack. “She’s precious, I wish I could have visited the hospital.”
“We got your flowers and I understand, do you want to hold her?” She held her daughter out to her aunt who cradled her and looked down. “How’s Teddy doing?”
“He’s a lifesaver, honestly without him I don’t know how I could handle it.”
“Harry was that way when I had James, but it gets easier.” She swayed to the beat. “Do you want to put her down while we eat?”
“I think she should be fine, we’re trying to get her on a schedule.” Victoire took the baby back and settled back into the couch. “When is James getting here?”
“I was just at the pitch and he’s going through another tryout. The coach think he’s better suited for a Chaser position instead of a Keeper. He’ll have a better chance of being on first string and personally I think he would be better suited.” Ginny looked to the couch and focused on Scorpius sitting next to Lily. “I didn’t know we had another guest.”
“He surprised me at work and Hannah let me off early since it was slow. I hope you don’t mind he’s staying for dinner.”
“Scorpius you are welcome whenever you want to, within reason of course. I grew up six older brothers and as far as I’m concerned, the more the merrier. Now, where is my son and husband?”
“Kitchen, they’re talking…” Victoire replied slowly. Ginny took the hint and sat in one of the arm chairs, waiting for them to reappear. After all this time she knew that Teddy was much closer with Harry and she knew events like the birth of his first child would be hard without his parents. Remus and Tonks weren’t like any people she had ever met. Tonks was wonderful and hard to believe that someone as animated and kindhearted could be an auror. Remus was the best teacher she’d had in a long time, save McGonagall.
“Dinner’s ready, are we starting without James?” Harry asked, poking his head into the living room.
“He’ll be awhile, they just started the last round of tryouts about half hour ago.”
Soon enough they took their seats, filling their plates with plenty of food and the room with comfortable chatter. As Scorpius watched, he silently hoped that his birthday dinner with Lily would go this smoothly.
Scorpius was pacing in the parlor of his house, waiting for Lily to arrive. He should have known better and picked her up, it would have been so much easier. His mother decided not to let him out in the garden, she wanted to surprise him. Finally, he heard the fireplace rumble and Lily stumbled out. “Whoa, there,” he said, stepping forward.
“I’m not a horse,” she snapped, popping her head up allowing him to see her face. There was not a stitch of makeup and her dark red hair tumbled around her shoulders.
“Good afternoon to you to,” he said.
“You know I’m glad to see you.” She wrapped her arms and his neck, holding on tightly before giving him a kiss on the check. “Happy birthday.” It was then he noticed a bag around her arm. “Can I give you your present now? I know you said not to do it, but I made it myself...Okay, Al helped me, so do Dom, and Teddy gave me the idea…” She stepped away from him and pulled out a small leather bound book and opened it up. “The pictures were hard to get, but we took enough along the way and I owled a few people for other ones.”
Scorpius took from her and felt his throat catch as he looked at the pictures, each one captioned in Lily’s rounded handwriting and little doodles.
“Is it terrible? I already got you a watch…”
“It’s perfect, I love it, thank you so much.” He gave her another hug, kissing her on the temple before pulling away. “All of your presents are perfect.”
“Hardly,” she snorted and then looked him over. “I’m underdressed, aren’t I?” She gestured to short sleeve dress that was lavender in color, the only embellishment was a ribbon of dark purple around the waist. With it she wore sandals that had seen better days and the moon necklace Scorpius had gifted her.
“You look stunning.”
“You’re in a suit!” she exclaimed and held him at arm’s length away.
“Khaki’s and a blazer,” he corrected.
“And a bow tie and dress shoes! Merlin, even my father doesn’t dress like that for work.”
“I would certainly hope not, half the time he’s out in the field,” Scorpius said. “Isn’t rather hard to perform counter curses in a blazer.”
Lily was going to open her mouth to answer when she heard someone clearing their throat. It was Scorpius’ father standing in a dove grey suit. “Lily, how nice to see you. I’m sure you and Scorpius would love to spend time talking, but we require his presence in the garden.”
“Of course, sir,” Lily responded, but reached for his hand, holding it tightly, and waiting for him to go first. If it was at her house, she would feel relaxed and excited to see her relatives. As Scorpius guided her outside, she couldn't help but feel as if she was going to execution. It was terrible to feel like that and she should always look at the bright side, she had, after all, been to two Malfoy balls by now. Still, especially after his mother wrote that letter, she dreaded meeting even more of his family.
Several people called out to him in greetings and he waved as they shouted out happy birthday. “Merlin…” he whispered to Lily while keeping a polite smile on his face the whole. “It’s a good thing you’re here,” he said and then pulled them forward, shaking hands and passing words to his relatives. Finally, when he had spoken to most of them, they walked over to where a table was set up with food. “Eat slowly,” he warned, “the more time we spend time eating, the less spend time talking.”
Lily smiled and placed plenty of food on top of her plate, not timid at all when she scooped cold salads on top. Scorpius had a three small sandwiches piled on top of each other with a spoonful of pasta. “Aren’t you going to get more?”
“I’ll steal from your plate,” he said and then gestured to toward an empty table. In no time his parents appeared along with Regina and her mother. “Everything looks lovely, mother.”
“Yes, thank you for having me, Mrs. Malfoy.”
Astoria flashed her a tight lipped smile and picked a piece of imaginary dirt off of the table cloth. “Of course, it is only natural to want Scorpius’ friends to come.” Her smile grew wider and tighter.
Lily didn’t answer, instead took a bite of the pasta and made an exaggerated face before swallowing. “This is wonderful, did you make it?”
“No.” Astoria’s voice was flat as she stabbed a piece of fruit on her plate.
“Score, how is your job?” Regina asked.
“Good, I heard that you were going to University this fall.”
“I’m studying civic leadership with a minor in community development,” she explained.
“The university is in France, one of the best wizarding colleges in Europe,” her mother said, looking directly at Lily. “What do you intend on doing? I know Scorpius intends to go into the Auror training program.”
Lily looked at Scorpius, the food turning to dust in her mouth. Her heart started racing and it felt as if her ears were stuffed with cotton. Why hadn’t he told her? “I am...it’s complicated right now. I’ve spoken with my head of house and he thinks I should become a healer.”
“A noble profession,” Draco answered. “Scorpius, I wasn’t aware that you had made a decision yet. I thought you said that you would wait until you got your NEWTs back to decide.”
“Nothing is set in stone thus far. I was waiting to tell people of my aspirations until I had thought about it.” He turned to Lily and patted her knee underneath the table. She raised her eyebrow and crossed her legs to get away from his touch.
“Well, I knew that you can excel at whatever you try.” No matter how dangerous it is, Lily wanted to add. She swallowed harshly and stared at her plate, trying not to let memories invade her mind, trying not to think of Scorpius in those scenarios.
“Well said.” Astoria still had the tight smile on her face.
Dinner considered in the same awkward fashion, especially when Scorpius left to talk with other relatives seated at different tables. If it wasn’t for Regina, she probably would have left, right then and there. When dessert was brought out, Lily got to her feet and looked at the table. It wasn’t cake, but rather a collection of small desserts. She placed several of them on her plate before she walked over to where Regina stood, a bored look across her face. As she was walking, her vision began to become cloudy around the edges, and every time she stepped down it was like the world shifted. A vision was coming, that had to be it. Lily paused, and took a deep breath, that was when she found herself being bumped into, something with powdered sugar hitting her dress.
“Lily… Salazar, I’m sorry…” Scorpius caught her eyes that were currently fixed on her feet. “Let me help you clean up.” He wrapped an arm around her shoulder and flashed a smile to some of the people before he began to whisper. “Are you alright?”
“Fine. I don’t need--”
“My help, I’m aware, but you would if my relatives saw you. It would be worse than that stupid article after winter holiday.”
“I’ve learned to control it,” she said, and pulled away from him once they got inside. “Go back before they notice you’re gone.” In the parlor she set down the plate of desserts and wiped her palms on her dress, effectively smearing the powder even further.
“Lily, please…” He reached for her arm, but then narrowed his eyes when she saw her eyes widen as she backed away from him. “Lily?”
The features on her face appeared to crumple as she backed up until she hit the wall, then sank down. She covered her ears with her hands and squeezed her eyes shut. He took a deep breath and sat down beside her, knowing there was nothing that he could do to help her. Several minutes had passed when she looked at him. “Teddy.” Was the only word that left her mouth. “Protesters and crashing and wands and sparks flying everywhere.”
“Slow down,” he said. “Just try to picture the scene and take it piece by piece.”
“There was a large man with bright hair...I couldn’t make out his face, but it had to be him…” She shook her head.
“Don’t even start,” she hissed. “Do you want see the vision?” She smacked her hand against the ground. “Merlin, you don’t even understand? How an earth could you want to be an auror?”
“I don’t understand.”
“When I was younger, I used to watch my dad leave for work every single day. He would give each of us hug and then kiss my mum...Some days he didn’t come home when he was supposed to and to this day I always fear he’s going to walk out that door and never return. You don’t know what it was like! Draco started working in the office when you were born.”
“Teddy is like my brother and he decided to be an auror...Do you know what it’s like to watch someone going through that brutal training? Or to be woken up in the middle of the night to go to the hospital?”
“The only reason my aunt said that is because I am interning for my father, that’s all. I have a year to decide. After being there, I found out that I like working in law enforcement, but who knows where I will end up. I could even be a lawyer.”
Lily just looked up at him with a small, sad smile. “That’s not you. You may behind your books and manners and neat clothing, but I know how you are. You can only hide in the library for so long. When you study you like to stare out your window and your when get on the Quidditch pitch your entire face lights up. You won’t be happy stuck behind a desk. It’s something you could do and could do well, but that won’t last.”
Scorpius couldn’t find the words to tell her that she was wrong. Lily wasn’t wrong, in fact she was so very right. As much as he hated her being at angry at him, or rather at what seemed to be the world, it terrified him to see her so scared. “I promise…”
“Don’t make promises, my dad has made promises and so has Teddy...You can only fill your life with some many IOU’s before you go bankrupt,” she muttered and then swiped at her face and taking a breath to collect herself. With that she got to her feet and waited for him to follow suit. “We probably look like a mess, but you better get back out there.”
“We aren’t finished,” he said, going to touch her face. She didn’t flinch away from it, but her body did tense.
“I think you are.” Astoria Malfoy was standing in the door. “As much as I hate to break this up, you have other guests to visit with.”
Scorpius’ hand drifted down to Lily’s and squeezed it tightly. He was going to tell his mother to leave, that they needed a few more moments, but Lily mouthed the word, “go” at him. She watched him leave and then crossed her arms over her chest to look at his mother. Nothing about Astoria Malfoy was soft. Her dark hair was alway pulled back, not a single strand out of place. Her nails were short and polished, mouth arranged in a straight line with impossibly long legs on high heels. Still, there was not a thing about her that frightened Lily.
“I am aware of your relationship with my son, but what exactly are your intentions?”
“I think we’ve made it perfectly clear,” Lily retorted.
“His father has worked long and hard to build up the reputation behind the Malfoy name, as have I. Scorpius could do anything he wanted, if he set his mind to it. Do you know how easy it would to be to turn his back on everything this family stands for? Instead he was sorted into Slytherin, became a part of the Quidditch team. There are days it shocks me to see how much like his father he has become. Then you waltz into his life, a poor lost lion cub, determined to set herself apart from her family. Scorpius saw a lost cause, sometimes I think that they’re the only cause that he thinks is worth fighting for. I just don't want him getting lost along with you.”
Lily opens her mouth to argue, but Astoria holds up a hand.
“Believe me, I know that you will do fine, and the newspapers will praise you for it. You are just like your parents.” An odd smirk crosses Astoria’s face. “Head-strong, opinionated and a fiery temper like your mother, but I suppose you’re like your father. A penchant for trouble, with a bleeding heart. You think you need to save Scorpius, but all you do is get him stuck somewhere he doesn’t need to be.”
“Don’t you realize that he’s my best friend?” Her voice rose in pitch. “I love him, Mrs. Malfoy. Now, I don’t know if I’m in love with him or where will be in a few weeks or at the end of the year or ten years down the road, but I’m not go and ruin his life and leave him hanging out to dry. It was a mistake with the newspaper, alright? The detentions were my fault, but you only a fraction of the entire story. I know you’re trying to protect him, but it’s not working. Stop trying to interfere with us and start trusting your son.”
“Astoria, could you please come outside?” Draco has appeared, not even giving Lily a second glance, instead focusing on his wife. Astoria fixes Lily with a steely gaze before walking past her husband and out the door.
“Can you tell Scorpius I had to go?”
“Of course,” he replied, watching her walk toward the fireplace. “And Lily?”
She turned around to look at him.
“I truly did appreciate having you here. My wife’s sentiments are not my own and I enjoy having you around, a bit of chaos is always fun.” He laughs at that. “You also have a way with my son, after you leave he just seems…”“I know what you mean, sir, I feel the same.” Lily gives him a small smile before stepping into the fireplace. Once home confusion settles into her mind, but knowing Scorpius he’ll be over within the hour to clear things up.