|SIYE Time:16:46 on 17th August 2018|
The Best Kind of Best Friends
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Characters:Draco Malfoy, Harry/Ginny
Story is Complete
Summary: They met on the Hogwarts Express, perhaps destined to become friends in a way their fathers never would be. And Albus would see Scorpius through the hardest time in his life - his mother's funeral. Canon compliant
Hitcount: Story Total: 672
Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.
Harry and Ginny don't know what to make of it when Albus finally writes home, telling them he's settling in at Hogwarts, and has made a friend...Scorpius Malfoy. It had been Ron who had fire-called the Potter parents that first night, to see their reaction at Al being Sorted into Slytherin, having received Rose's excited letter stating she was in Gryffindor.
Harry and Ginny weren't concerned about Al's Sorting in the slightest, but they wondered why he hadn't written them. Harry particularly was perplexed. Hadn't he just assured his second son that he had no issues with Al being Sorted into Slytherin?
They had sent off a letter that night, wishing him well and encouraging him to do his best.
As they had promised him at the station, Harry and Ginny sent a letter every week, full of family news and general information about what was going on at home. Al devoured the letters, almost wishing he was home again. He never knew what to say in a letter so he barely bothered to reply. What could he say? Would his mother understand how much he hated his flying lessons, where they called him the Slytherin Squib? Would his dad feel as mad as he did when their peers taunted Scorpius with the ridiculous name ' Son of Voldemort'? No, they absolutely wouldn't. Besides, he'd be home for Christmas soon.
But when he was home, he remained aloof. He felt like the anomaly in their perfect Potter family. Harry and Ginny Potter and their Slytherin son — what went wrong? What had he done wrong?
Christmas break didn't improve things, with Albus separating himself from his family, especially James and Rose. They were the perfect Potter and Weasley children, following in their parent's footsteps. Even Teddy couldn't break through Al's sullen attitude and so, one by one, his cousins left him alone. He tolerated Lily but all she wanted to do was ask him questions about Hogwarts, not exactly his favourite subject.
Both Harry and Ginny sought him out in concern; together and individually, but Al seemed determined to set himself apart from his family, particularly his father. He'd heard the comparisons — it wasn't like the other students tried to be discreet — and he was always the failure to the high expectations of being Harry Potter's son. Could barely fly, was no good at Potions, much to Slughorn's disappointment, and his only friend was a Malfoy.
“Perhaps if you made more friends, Al, joined a club — you like Gobstones, don't you?” asked Harry, as he saw his son's off at Platform 9 ¾ for his third year. James had already boarded.
“I have a friend, a best friend...and my name is Albus,” said a defiant Albus. He just hoped Scorpius was having a better holiday than him.
“ Albus,” sighed Harry, wondering how to get through to his son. “We-”
“It's okay, Dad, I know I'm a disappointment. You didn't even need to bring me to the station. Scorpius is probably waiting for me on the train,” said Albus, hefting his bag on his shoulder. He quickly left his dad standing alone.
“But I wanted to,” murmured Harry, sadly.
*“Is there anything...?” asked Albus, awkwardly.
Scorpius looked up at his best friend. “Come to the funeral.”
Albus swallowed at his friend's defeated tone. “ Of course.”
“And be my good friend,” finished Scorpius. *
“Always,” said Albus solemnly.
*Words taken from 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' Parts 1 & 2 Pg 28-29 Aust edition
Albus waited nervously in the headmistress' office while she conferred with another professor. Upon her return they would Floo to Malfoy Manor for Astoria Malfoy's funeral.
It had only been their second week back for their third year when a pale, weary Draco had come to collect Scorpius and take him home. Two days later, his owl came. His mother suffered no more.
Albus had gone straight to the headmistress, requesting permission to attend the funeral, just as he had promised Scorpius. He'd had a whole speech worked out on his way from the Slytherin dungeons, but the headmistress immediately said he could go, that his parents had already contacted her giving their permission.
At dinner the family owl flew in, landing in front of him. It was a letter from his parents, written by his mother. She confirmed they had given consent for him to Floo with headmistress Macgonagall to Malfoy Manor to attend the funeral, set for two days from then. Albus felt relieved, he knew his mum would understand he would want to be there to support his best friend at this sad time. His mind all on Scorpius, he didn't bother reading the rest of the letter, asking how he was, in light of what had happened.
And now here he was, fingers clenching and unclenching. He had never been to a funeral before, so had no idea what to expect. He just knew he needed to see Scorpius, to let him know that, in this terrible time, he could count on his best friend.
Minerva returned, and with a simple nod of her head, Albus followed her to the fireplace and they both stepped inside. “Malfoy Manor,” said Minerva, and the flames flared up, whisking them both away.
Albus stumbled out of the Floo, muttering. He moved aside for the headmistress to step out. Familiar arms steadied him, and he looked up. “Mum?”
Ginny smiled sadly. “Hello, Albus...all right?” She didn't even wait for him to reply before pulling him into a hug.
He held her tight, unconsciously fearing she would leave just as Astoria had done. “Mum...” was all he could say, as he struggled to stay in control of his emotions. “What are you doing here?” he ended up asking, immensely glad to see her. She was home, she was comfort, she was here.
Ginny pulled back slightly, cupping his cheek. “We're here for you, darling, and your friend. I'd spoken to Astoria a few times before she became too sick to leave the manor, and found her to be a lovely woman. So sad, with all she's had to endure,” she sighed.
“Have you seen Scorpius?” asked Albus, only now just looking around the room. His eyes landed on his father talking with Minerva, Ron and Hermione. “Why are they here?” he asked frostily.
“Your dad, Draco and Hermione have had business dealings in the past, Albus, so they have come out of respect. Your dad, particularly was worried about you and wanted to see you,” insisted Ginny, steering him away to the left. She nodded in a particular direction. “Draco and Scorpius are over by the door, greeting guests as they enter the room where the service will be,” she confided quietly.
Albus swallowed. “Is...is she there too? Scorpius' mum?”
Ginny put her arm around his young shoulders. “Yes, darling, she is. She is in her coffin and it is beautifully decorated with her favourite flowers. They did have a viewing but they've now closed the casket because the ceremony will be starting soon.”
Albus gulped and paled, making Ginny look at him in concern. “Albus, if you don't want to do this, you don't have to. I can take you home if you want or” — she remembered how unhappy Albus seemed at home over the holidays — “ back to school?”
Albus shook his head, determinedly. “I need to be here, for Scorpius. This is probably the hardest thing he's ever had to do. What sort of friend would I be, to let him go through that alone?” he asked.
Ginny smiled proudly. “You're a good friend, Albus, and I'm very proud of you. Shall we go find him, let him know you're here?”
Albus nodded, shuffling past his dad, aunt and uncle with barely a look. His eyes were only focused on his best friend, shaking hands with some old wizard. Albus stood in line, his mother by his side, and waited for his turn to speak with Scorpius.
The young man turned robotically to greet the next guest but his eyes showed relief when he realised Albus had arrived. “Albus,” he breathed, “you came.”
“Course I did,” said Albus, gruffly, stepping forward to hug his best friend. “Promised, didn't I?”
His arms held his friend steady, for he could feel Scorpius shaking. “I'm so sorry, Scorp,” he whispered. His breath was hot against Scorpius' neck as his face burrowed in the niche of his friend's slender shoulder.
He felt his friend shudder, and realised how much effort he was putting in to remain in control. His grasp on Scorpius tightened. “I'm here for you, Scorp, whatever you need.”
A discreet cough made Scorpius freeze, and he slowly untangled himself from Albus, risking a glance at his father. Albus looked up to see his mother glaring at Draco, but he seemed to be having a silent conversation with his son.
“Thank you for coming, Ginny, Albus...and you too, Harry,” he said, as Harry had joined his family. He gestured to the room inside. “The service will be starting soon.”
Albus didn't want to leave Scorpius to face this alone, but Scorpius seemed resigned. He hugged Albus quickly again. “Find me after,” he pleaded quietly. He stepped back to his father's side, his face a mask of neutrality again.
Albus nodded and followed his mother into the room. He gulped to see the magnificent coffin set on the bier at the front; his mother had been correct, the flowers were beautiful and filled the room with a scent Albus would forever remember and dislike.
Albus sat between Harry and Ginny. “All right, son?” asked Harry, sympathetically. Albus thought it was a pretty silly question, but he simply nodded and discreetly looked around. Apart from him and Scorpius, there were only a handful of people his parent's age. He knew Draco and Scorpius' aunt Daphne were the same ages too, but most everyone else was from the elder generation.
The ceremony itself didn't last very long. Albus found it easy to distract himself when he felt his emotions threaten to overwhelm him. He would look around the beautiful room, trying to imagine Scorpius playing in there, or reading to his mother, until those thoughts made him feel even worse. Scorpius would never do that again.
Daphne Greengrass spoke of the childhood she had shared with her sister. Albus had never met her before and Scorpius hadn't mentioned her so he didn't know if they were close. She did promise to watch over Scorpius for her sister. As Scorpius' head was bowed, Albus didn't know how he felt about that.
Albus felt his own mother stiffen when one of Draco's friends was announced to do a reading. He felt his father reach across him to grasp her hand, and their clasped hands rested on Albus' knee as Pansy Parkinson strode to the front and read a poem that was meaningful to Astoria. Albus was pretty sure Scorpius had read it to him, too, late at night in their Slytherin dormitory.
Someone else had risen to speak; of the school girl Astoria had been, and her hopes and dreams. Of her marriage to Draco and becoming a mother. Of the close bond Astoria and Scorpius shared, especially when she realised the curse would take her life sooner rather than later.
Albus noted Draco seemed impassive to it all, sitting ramrod straight in his chair at the front, his son by his side. Scorpius tried to emulate his father, but often bowed his head. Albus longed to go sit next to him, to take his hand, just as his own father had done for his mother.
Finally, it was over, or so he thought. As the minister conducting the service requested everyone to stand, the doors behind the coffin opened out to a small grassy nook, where a Weeping Willow sagged beautifully and more flowers grew. This would be Astoria's final resting place.
The minister waved his wand and the coffin floated up and out the door. Draco and Scorpius began to walk behind it, slowly. Albus saw Scorpius brush a tear away, and without even thinking about it, pushed past his father who was about to step into the aisle, and hurried to catch up to Scorpius, threading his arm through his.
Scorpius looked up in surprise, red rimmed eyes meeting his best friend's. “Okay?” asked Albus quietly, walking solemnly along with the Malfoy men.
Scorpius swallowed and looked at his father. Draco's eyes, pain filled as they looked at his son, nodded stiffly. With eyes looking ahead, the three followed the coffin.
Albus thought he might throw up when he saw the large gaping hole. The thought of Scorpius' mother buried there made him feel hot and cold all over. He hoped he could stay strong, for Scorpius' sake.
Ginny had stepped up beside him, taking his other hand. His dad was behind him, his hand on his shoulder in support. As much as he was grateful they were there, all of Albus' attention was on helping Scorpius through this last part of the ceremony.
“Family and friends, before we lay Astoria to rest, she requested I read a poem for her loving husband and son,” said the minister. He opened a book.
Draco looked up, caught unawares. Scorpius nodded, thinking, 'this is so like you, Mum.' He gripped both his father and Albus' hand tighter.
The minister began to speak.
“A limb has fallen from the family tree, but I implore you both, do not grieve for me.
Remember the best times, the laughter, the song. The good life I lived while I was strong.
Continue my heritage, I'm counting on you. Keep smiling and surely the sun will shine through.
My mind is at ease, my soul is at rest. Remembering it all, I truly was blessed.
Continue traditions, no matter how small. Go on with your lives, don't worry about falls.
I'll miss you both dearly but keep up your chin, until the day comes we are together again.”
Tears were streaming down Albus' face as he clung to Scorpius. He barely heard the rest of the words and could not watch as the magnificent coffin was slowly lowered into the ground with string music playing in the background.
The minister spoke again when the music stopped, said some sort of blessing and after a minute of silence, invited guests to move back inside the manor for refreshments.
Draco muttered something to Scorpius, who nodded, then he left to see to his guests inside. Ron and Hermione looked at Albus in concern, but followed Draco inside, knowing their nephew and his friend would want privacy.
Scorpius turned to Albus and practically fell into his arms, yet refused to give in to his overwhelming emotions. Albus held him just as tightly. And then they both felt the touch of a mother's hug as Ginny enveloped them both in her arms.
“It's all right to cry, Scorpius,” she said gently. “You loved her very much.”
Albus stepped aside as Scorpius burrowed against Ginny. There were no sobs, he was too disciplined for that, but she could feel his tears soak her blouse.
Harry stepped up beside Albus, offering comfort of his own. Albus leant his head against his dad's chest, watching his best friend and his mum.
Scorpius pulled away from Ginny and turned to face his father standing several feet away, taking in his face blotchy and damp. Scorpius wiped his cheeks and eyes with the palm of his hand. “Father?”
“Come, son, our guests are waiting. Many would like to speak with you,” announced Draco, his hand outstretched. Pain was on his face at seeing his son suffering, but they were Malfoys, they had to see this through.
Scorpius nodded and began to walk to his father. He stopped and turned back to Ginny. “I'm so sorry, Mrs Potter, please forgive me.” His voice was formal and cool.
Ginny smiled sadly. “There's nothing to forgive, Scorpius,” she said softly.
“Thank you all for coming today,” he said formally, and walked towards his father.
Draco spoke quietly to him. Scorpius nodded and continued inside. Albus ran after him; he would not let Scorpius deal with all this alone.
Harry reached for Ginny's hand and they walked up to the house. “Thank you, Ginny,” said Draco quietly, as they came to him, “for being there for my son. Scorpius and Astoria were quite close. He will miss her terribly,” he said, almost to himself.
Ginny touched his arm. “I'm sure you both will. Her time with you may have been short, but it was meaningful.”
Draco nodded, unable to speak. He turned away, to see house elves already filling the grave. Harry could see the glisten of tears in his eyes and felt terrible for his one time foe. “Her spirit will live on in her son, he was her pride and j-joy,” said Draco, his voice breaking.
Ginny touched his arm. “I believe I heard something about refreshments?” she asked, in a light hearted tone, giving him time to regain his composure. The three walked up to the manor, side by side.
“If your brother hasn't already eaten them,” said Draco, relieved to be back to what was familiar. “You Weasleys always did have an overly hearty appetite.” Harry snorted then looked horrified at appearing disrespectful.
“Careful, Draco, you almost said that in a tone of affection,” chided Ginny.
“Not intentional, I assure you,” he joked, and stepped aside for Ginny and Harry to go through to the room ahead of him.
“Draco, there you are. Archibald Montgomery wishes to speak with you,” said Daphne, shooting the Potters a haughty look.
“Thank you, Daphne,” said Draco, suddenly looking tired. “Harry, Ginny, if you'll excuse me?”
“Of course,” said Harry.
“The buffet is over there, funnily enough, right next to your brother and his wife. Thank you again for coming today. It meant a lot to Scorpius,” bowed Draco, before leaving.
Harry and Ginny didn't move to the buffet. Ginny walked straight into Harry's arms and he held her close, kissing the top of her head. “Love you,” he whispered. The thought of losing Ginny as Draco had lost Astoria was unthinkable.
Ginny turned her head to find her son, unsurprised to see him right next to Scorpius as some old woman spoke to him. Scorpius nodded but she could see he wasn't really taking anything in. Ginny continued watching her son; he was interjecting every now and then to the conversation. She could tell he was trying to pull Scorpius away, but Scorpius did his father proud. He circulated and spoke with every guest, with Albus as his shadow. It was then Ginny knew that Albus didn't need more friends in his life; he had, and was, the best kind of best friend. She was proud of both of them that day.
Harry and Ginny went and spoke to Minerva, thanking her for her help in seeing Albus to the manor, and asking that she keep an eye on both boys when they returned to Hogwarts. Albus was going back that afternoon, but Minerva wasn't sure when Scorpius would return.
After joining Ron and Hermione, and finally partaking what was left of the buffet, Harry and Ginny caught up with Albus and Scorpius as the former was preparing to leave.
“Mum, can't I stay here with Scorpius? Just one night,” pleaded Albus.
Ginny shook her head. “No, sweetheart, this is a time for Scorpius and his dad to be together, to remember Astoria...alone,” she said gently.
“ Come, Mr Potter,” insisted Minerva. “You've already said your goodbyes to Mr Malfoy and his father.”
Albus shot a longing look at Scorpius. He really didn't want to leave him. He looked at his dad, but one glance showed he sided with his mother. Albus sighed. “Fine. Bye Mum,” he said, hugging her and inhaling her scent, “ thanks for what you did for Scorpius.” His mum always smelled good. “Bye, Dad,” he said, hugging him quickly before turning to follow the headmistress.
Scorpius returned to school a week later, immediately immersing himself in catching up on work and staying busy. Only Albus knew of the the nights he spent crying, or the times he caught Scorpius staring at his mother's picture in a frame by his bed. He became protective of his best friend, when his dorm-mates questioned why his bed curtains were always closed and why he rarely came down to the common room any more.
Time would help Scorpius.. Gradually the haunted looks in his eyes disappeared, and he found that, as his mother had told him, life would go on. He even found himself laughing with Albus, his true best friend.
It had been a topsy turvy term, and Albus was actually glad to be going home, although going home meant not seeing Scorpius for two weeks. They exchanged Christmas gifts on the train ride home before settling back to eat a ton of sweets before disembarking.
“We have to now, it's tradition,” teased Scorpius, remembering the way they had first met, three years earlier.
“That's right. 'Continue traditions, no matter how small',” quoted Albus.
Scorpius stared. “You really did listen, didn't you?” he asked, touched.
“It was important,” insisted Albus, flushing at the admiring look Scorpius was sending him.
“Here, for that, you can have the last Pepper Imp,” said Scorpius, throwing it over.
Albus caught it, ripped it open and grinned, biting into it.
The train pulled into the station, and students began hopping off, excited to be home for Christmas. They called out farewells and season greetings to each other as they separated to find their families.
Albus and Scorpius were one of the last off. “I'll write,” promised Albus. “Have a good Christmas.” The words felt wrong, as it was the first without his mother.
Scorpius tried to smile. “Dad said he's got lots planned, I really can't wait to see what he's come up with. Please wish your family a happy holiday.”
“Thank you, Scorpius,” said Ginny, walking up behind the boys and overhearing his comments. Further back, Harry was watching them, with James and Lily chattering in his ear.
“Scorpius, here you are...Albus, Ginny, how are you?” asked Draco, coming over to them.
Albus nodded politely but Ginny smiled. “Fine, thank you. I was about to invite you to our home over the holidays,” she mentioned, with a smile at Scorpius and Albus.
Scorpius shot a hopeful look at his father. It didn't look promising, as his father's polite mask came into effect. “Thank you for the kind offer but I have a lot planned for the holidays, I doubt he'll have time,” he said.
“Actually, the invitation was for both of you. We'd love you both to come over for dinner one night,” invited Ginny, her eyes flashing dangerously, almost daring him to turn her down.
Draco looked beyond Ginny to Harry, who nodded coolly at him. The two men had clashed repeatedly, with Draco constantly insisting the Ministry counter the rumours about his son being the 'Son of Voldemort'. It was disrespectful to his son, and to the memory of his wife.
Scorpius' hopeful tone cut through Draco's fog. He settled his gaze on his son. What wouldn't he do for his precious boy? He turned back to a waiting Ginny. “We'd be delighted, thank you for the offer.”
“You're welcome. I'll send an owl with details. Happy Christmas, Draco and Scorpius. Come on, Albus, your dad's waiting,” said Ginny.
“Guess I'll see you soon,” grinned Albus to Scorpius, who nodded happily. “Bye. Er, bye Mr Malfoy, happy, oh, um, seasons greetings” he ended up saying.
Draco smiled. “Thank you, Albus, and happy holidays to you too.” He nodded at Harry, and turned away.
Both families were heading in different directions but at the last minute, Albus and Scorpius turned back for one final wave.
Neither knew then that the events of their fourth year would be more tumultuous than their third.
But they would get through that as well; best friends till the end.
And maybe more...
A/N Don't know the author of the poem, I simply googled meaningful poems for a lost mother. I did alter a line, 'I implore you all', to 'I implore you both.'
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