THE START OF UNITY
Scorpius sent a curious look towards the group of adults that his father had just nodded to, wondering who they were. There sure were a lot of them, and a lot of red-headed children. Scorpius sidled closer to his parents while they stood in the steam of the Hogwarts Express on Platform 9¾, waiting for the signal to board.
"Do I have to go?" Scorpius asked nervously.
Draco looked down at his son and withheld a sigh. "We've talked about this, Scorpius. You'll do fine at Hogwarts."
Scorpius chewed on his bottom lip and responded quietly. "It's just
what if I get put in the wrong house? What if the other kids don't like me? What if
"Darling," Astoria soothed, kneeling in front of her smaller than average son, placing her hands on his shoulders. "We don't care what house you're sorted into. We'll be proud no matter where you go, and the others should be so lucky to have you as their friend. Isn't that right, Draco?"
"Of course," Draco answered, smiling indulgently at his son. "Don't worry about the 'what ifs'. You'll have a marvelous time at Hogwarts." 'Just don't get sorted to Hufflepuff,' Draco thought to himself dryly while his wife straightened Scorpius' black tie and robe collar before standing again. In reality, Draco really wouldn't mind which house his son got into, as long as he was able to get over this problem of his.
Draco supposed both he and Astoria were to blame. The Malfoy name had taken a beating before and after the war, and although it wasn't as bad as it was in the past, there were still times where they were snubbed or something nasty was said to them as they passed others on the street. Because of that, they had both tried to keep Scorpius protected from it as much as they could, so he had grown up secluded within the Malfoy Manor house and grounds. Unfortunately, there weren't many children of the same age as Scorpius in their social circle, at least not many whose parents would allow play dates with a Malfoy child.
Scorpius had grown up with just his grandparents, parents, and a few house-elves for companionship, and even though his parents had tried to shield him from the remarks and slurs of others, he had still heard enough that it made him very wary and nervous around people he didn't know, and extremely shy.
Draco looked down on his miserable looking son, and placed his hand on his shoulder comfortingly, wishing he could just take him back to the Manor and home school him. However, the councilor they had hired who specialized in childhood issues of socialization and insecurity, had stated that it would be best for Scorpius to expand his social circle and to make friends; that he needed to be able to learn to deal with a wider world of contacts in order to grow into a healthy, well balanced individual.
She had been working with him all over the summer, teaching him ways to overcome his reticence and trust issues. Draco just hoped it would all work out and that he wouldn't be teased. Scorpius was quite small for his age, much like Draco himself had been when he started Hogwarts. Unlike Draco, Scorpius didn't have two hulking, larger boys to protect him from bullies that would use his smaller size and bashfulness to their advantage.
"He'll be fine," Astoria said quietly to her husband, noticing his worry furrowed brow. "You know this is best for him."
Draco nodded, and gave his son's shoulder a last gentle squeeze, surprised at how hard it was to let him go, knowing that his child would be leaving them for such a long time. He and Scorpius had always been close, and he was going to miss him terribly until Scorpius would be able to come back home for the holidays.
"Where is that elf?" Draco complained to distract himself from showing his son how hard this was on him. He wanted Scorpius to gain confidence and enjoy himself, and his father weeping on the platform would only make him feel worse than he already did.
"Here she comes," Scorpius said, smiling for the first time since arriving at the station. Nanny had been his personal elf since he had been a baby, a gift from his grandparents on his mother's side when he had been born. Scorpius thought a great deal of the small creature, and considered her his best friend. "Nanny!" he yelled, waving. "Over here!"
Nanny's ears perked up, and she trotted over towards her small master, balancing his school truck and other items that were stacked higher than she was. As soon as she got near, large tears welled up in her bulbous eyes and she wailed loudly before breaking down into heavy sobbing, making the other adults and children that were waiting for the train to turn to stare. "Nanny will miss her master!" the elf cried.
Draco steadied the items that the elf was holding before they tumbled out of her arms, while Scorpius, who barely had to kneel to get to her level, wrapped his arms around her middle in a comforting hug.
"It'll be okay, Nanny," Scorpius tried to say, but his voice was also hitching.
"Oh for Merlin's sake," Draco grumbled. "Nanny, stop this at once, you're upsetting Scorpius," he ordered. Draco scowled even more when he noticed Astoria hiding her mouth behind her hand so he couldn't see her laughing.
"Yes, Master Malfoy," Nanny replied with a loud sniff. However, she did turn off the waterworks.
"Good. Now, take Scorpius' belongings to the train."
The little elf bobbed her head and reluctantly stepped away from her young master.
"Can't she come with me, Father?" Scorpius asked longingly, watching Nanny weave her way through the crowd to the luggage car.
"I'm sorry, Scorpius, but Nanny isn't a Hogwarts elf, she wouldn't be allowed to be there, but I'm sure she would enjoy it if you wrote to her," Draco added seeing the upset expression on his son's face.
"Really?" Scorpius questioned, brightening. "I didn't know Nanny could read. Do you think she would write back to me?"
"I'm sure she will," Draco answered reassuringly. 'Great,' he thought ruefully, 'now I have to teach a house-elf how to read and write.' However, if it meant his son would be happy, Draco knew he would do it.
The whistle blew, and Astoria and Draco shared a last hug with their son. And if Draco held on a little longer than was necessary, he didn't think anyone would blame him.
"I'll write everyday!" Scorpius promised, waving as he made his way to the train with the other children. He was soon swallowed up in the crowd.
Scorpius settled himself into an empty compartment, and pushed the window down so he could lean out to wave to his parents. A few other kids poked their heads into his compartment, but after a tow haired boy whispered to his companion before he could step though the door, the group turned and left, leaving Scorpius alone.
Scorpius' brow furrowed in confusion, and he wondered why they hadn't come in. Although he was nervous to be leaving home, he couldn't deny that he was a little bit excited as well. His father had told him about Hogwarts and all the wonderful things in it. His mother also told him about her time in the school as well, saying it was the best years of her life and that he would make lots of friends. As eager as Scorpius was to meet kids his age and make friends, he also found himself dreading it. He had worked hard with his councilor over the summer to improve his reluctance to talk to other people, but he still felt unsure of himself, and hoped that maybe someone would come speak to him first.
A crowd of children of various ages, with red hair in various shades, wandered by the open door of his compartment talking and laughing loudly, causing Scorpius to turn his head expectantly. They went on by with barely a look in, except for one dark haired boy with the most amazing green eyes Scorpius had ever seen. The boy slowed as if he would stop, but someone called to him. He smiled a greeting in Scorpius' direction before he continued on after his friends, leaving Scorpius feeling somewhat disappointed that the group hadn't come in. Now that he thought of it, none of the other kids had come in either, even though the train must be quite full.
He looked out the window and saw that only the parents were left on the platform. He gave a last wave to his own parents, and to Nanny who was standing beside his father waving enthusiastically back at him, while the train finally started to get under way. He was feeling a bit homesick already.
Scorpius sat alone in his car reading a book he had brought with him for quite some time until he realized he was hungry. He stood and made his way out into the corridor, looking one way then the other for the Tea Trolley lady. His father had given him a few coins so he could grab something on the long journey to the school. He noticed a large jumble of people towards the left of his compartment and made his way towards them, thinking that he could maybe ask someone.
He had just approached the group, that was waiting for the Trolley witch to make her way up towards them, when he a tall redheaded boy wearing a Gryffindor robe stepped back and bumped into him.
"Sorry," Scorpius mumbled, stepping out of the way.
"Didn't see you down there, squirt," the thirteen year old Gryffindor student said with a smile.
"Who are you talking to, Fred?" a dark auburn haired boy asked, slinging an arm around his friend and peering down at Scorpius, making him drop his head and blush.
"Dunno, didn't say his name," Fred answered his friend and cousin, James.
"Hey! You're that Malfoy kid," James said loudly, recognizing the boy from when his Uncle Ron had pointed him out with his parents. Everyone turned and stared at Scorpius making him wish he had never left the peace and safety of his lonely compartment. Some were outright glaring at him now, including the boy named Fred, whose friendly smile had quickly disappeared to be replaced by an intimidating scowl.
Scorpius took a few steps backwards, away from the group of kids that were looking at him, but new kids were showing up behind him, hemming him in.
"His father's a Death Eater," one older boy whispered loud enough for Scorpius to hear, as well as a few others, when he answered a young girl who had curiously asked why everyone was staring at the young blond. She stared at him with wide eyes, partially curious, partially fearful. She had heard about the Death Eaters from her parents.
"Shouldn't be allowed here, then," a sixth year girl sniffed to Scorpius' right. "His father probably taught him all sorts of wicked things."
A few of the others nodded in agreement, and one second year boy gave him a shove. "Get off with you. No one wants your kind here," he sneered.
Scorpius' heart was beating hard and fast, giving him an adrenaline rush which actually left him trembling. He turned away from the hard eyes and muttered jeers, and ran, pushing kids out of his way, until he made it back to his compartment where he closed the door behind him.
He leaned his back on the door, panting as if he had run for miles, hot tears stinging at the back of his eyes. He closed his eyes and took a few shaky deep breaths to try and calm himself. His grandfather had said that he might have to deal with some kids who would judge him because of his family's involvement in the war, but he had also told him to be strong and to remain proud of who he was, and where he had come from.
Lucius had been sitting in front of the fire in his study when he had talked to his grandson the night before he left for school. "Remember, Scorpius, just because I and your father made mistakes in the past, doesn't mean that everything we are, the important things we believe in, are shameful. Be a Malfoy, a better one than even we are. Show them what we know, that you're just as worthy as any of them."
Lifting his head, and wiping the wetness from his eyes with the back of his hand, Scorpius stood as tall as his four foot five inch frame would allow, and sat down in the corner seat by the window. His stomach rumbled loudly, but he figured it wouldn't make him less strong if he just stayed put and waited for the Trolley Witch to come to him.
"What'd you do that for, James?" Albus asked sourly, pulling his brother aside after Scorpius had fled. Albus was still upset with his brother for teasing him about going into Slytherin. It was bad enough that his older brother bullied him, but it didn't seem fair at all that he did it to other kids too, especially ones that were quite a bit smaller than his brother's five foot two inch frame.
"What? I didn't do a thing," James replied hotly.
"Like you didn't know that yelling out his last name would get some people riled up," Albus answered. "Especially Freddy. You know him and his Da have a sore spot about Death Eaters because of the death of his uncle in the war."
"Well, maybe they shouldn't let the kids of Death Eaters go to Hogwarts then," James stated, crossing his arms in front of his chest defensively.
Albus sighed, watching his brother turn and leave with his friends. He kind of felt sorry for Malfoy. He knew first hand what it was like to be compared to his father all the time. He loved his dad dearly, but it wasn't always great to be the son of the hero of the wizarding world. He could only imagine how it must be to the son of a father who had been on the other side.
An hour or so later, Scorpius turned when he heard the door of his compartment slide open. The dark-haired boy with the green eyes he had seen earlier on the train poked his head in and smiled.
"Hey," Albus greeted, coming in and closing the door behind him. He sat down in the seat across from Scorpius and reached into his pockets, pulling out a load of candy. "Want some?"
Scorpius stared and then blinked, nodding his head.
"I'm Al. Sorry about my brother earlier. He's an ass," Albus said, passing over a handful of Liquorice wands and Jelly Slugs.
Scorpius found himself sitting there awkwardly with a handful of candy and not knowing what to say. He hated this. He always felt like he was going to say something really stupid which would probably make Al not like him, or worse, make the other boy make fun of him. He took a bite out of a Liquorice wand so he wouldn't have to speak.
"So what's your name?" Albus asked curiously after a brief silence.
"Scorpius," the blond mumbled, looking down at his shoes so the other boy wouldn't see him blush.
Albus leaned forward so he could hear the other boy's quiet voice better. "Sorry, I didn't hear you. What did you say it was?"
Scorpius gritted his teeth, feeling extremely uncomfortable. Here was someone that had come to talk to him, just like he had been wishing for, and he couldn't even talk back properly to him. He took a couple of deep breaths, just like his councilor had suggested, and glanced up. His heart felt like it was going to pound out of his chest, but he made an effort to speak louder and clearer. "Scorpius. Scorpius Malfoy."
Albus rewarded him with a gleaming smile. "Neat name. I hate mine. It's really Albus, Albus Severus Potter. Who names their kids that, huh?" he questioned with a lopsided grin.
Scorpius' heart slowed down and he smiled tentatively back. "My middle name is Hyperion. Worse than yours," he replied, before munching on some of the slugs.
"No way," Al stated. "Your name is cool. At least you're named after a constellation and a god. Mine is just stupid. I'm named after two old professors." Albus stuck his tongue out, making Scorpius smile a little wider.
The two boys talked of this and that while the train rattled along on the tracks. Although Albus did most of the talking, he didn't really mind. This was the first time he had someone that was really interested in listening to everything he had to say.
Growing up at home with an older brother who was often in trouble, and therefore getting a lot of attention, and a younger sister that needed a lot of looking after, left Albus, as the middle child, to his own devices much of the time. Add to that all the cousins that would often show up, left Al feeling quite ignored at times. He found Scorpius' attention quite refreshing. The blond laughed at all his jokes, nodded and agreed with him as he complained about being the son of a famous father, and seemed genuinely interested in him.
For his part, Scorpius enjoyed listening to Al tell his stories of his family life. Some of them had been quite funny, and Scorpius wished he had a brother, sister, or cousins. His life seemed quite dull and boring compared to Al's. "So I suppose you'll be sorted to Gryffindor," he said sadly, when the conversation turned to school. He figured there was no way that outgoing and friendly Al would be sorted to Slytherin, where he would probably be going. It didn't seem fair that he had just made his first friend and wouldn't be able to share a dorm with him. Al would probably find new friends that were a lot cooler than he was, and he'd be alone again.
Al scratched the back of his head. "Well, my brother and a bunch of my cousins are in Gryffindor. I suppose that's where everyone would want me to be." Although Al figured his family would be happy if he was sorted to Gryffindor, he really didn't know how he felt about it. He wasn't keen on being around his brother and his friends much, since they usually liked to pull pranks on him and generally annoy and embarrass him.
"I'll probably be in Slytherin. All my family has been for ages," Scorpius replied with a sigh.
Al chewed his bottom lip. Scorpius was small, like his sister, and seemed pretty shy, so he didn't know how the blond would make out in that house, given that the second year that had pushed him earlier had been from Slytherin. "Maybe you'll be sorted to another house," Al offered.
"I hope not," Scorpius stated seriously. "I want to be there. It would make my father and grandfather happy." He lowered his head and tugged at the sleeve of his jumper. "Guess we won't be seeing each other much."
"Who says?" Al questioned indignantly. "We're friends, right? I'll still be your friend even if we're in different houses."
Scorpius looked up in surprise at the other boy's declaration, and then smiled a true and happy smile. "Yeah, we're friends."
The train pulled into Hogsmeade Station in the early evening and Scorpius and Albus made their way down the corridor together. Albus saw his cousins, Rose, Roxanne, and Lucy just ahead of him and called out to them. The girl's turned and waved, waiting for the two boys to catch up to them.
"Do you know where we're supposed to be going?" Al asked Rose as the group stepped off the train. Rose always seemed to know everything. According to her father, and Al's uncle, she took after her mother in that respect.
"There's supposed to be boats," she stated looking around.
Scorpius hung back. He had felt much more relaxed when it was just him and Al, but he was starting to feel a little nervous around the girls. Thankfully, they were chatting with each other and didn't seem to want to bother him.
"This way," Rose said, noticing the very large man waving towards them and calling out to the first years. Her two cousins and friends trotted after her, chatting and giggling with excitement.
"Come on, Scorpius," Al said, grabbing the blond's hand and dragging him after the girls, making Scorpius feel self-conscious and happy at the same time.
The five first years shared a boat to cross the lake. Scorpius was in awe of the school, and he stared unabashedly at the grand castle while the windows glowed with welcoming light that reflecting off the waters.
Albus introduced him to his three cousins, and his nervousness lessened when the girls didn't seem upset to hear who he was. He even talked to them a little bit with a minimum of blushing, feeling more confident with his new friend at his side.
They soon docked at the landing and Deputy Headmaster Hagrid took them all into a small room to wait to be sorted.
"Nervous?" Albus whispered to his friend.
Scorpius nodded his head, looking around at the crowd of children with wide eyes. There were about forty other kids crammed into the small room, more than he had ever been that close to before, and his heartbeat ratcheted up with anxiety.
Albus noticed his friend's distress, and pulled him away from the biggest part of the crowd. "You don't like being around people much, do you?"
"Not really used to it," Scorpius answered quietly.
"Hey, aren't you Albus Potter?" a boy with mousy brown hair asked, coming over to the corner where Al and Scorpius were.
"Yeah, who are you?" Al asked curiously.
"I'm Preston, Preston Creevey. I read everything about your father. He's a great wizard!" he exclaimed excitedly. "We'll probably be sorted to Gryffindor, so we can be friends," he said, nodding confidently. He then glanced over towards Scorpius.
"Uh, this is Scorpius," Albus introduced, not sure what to make of Preston. He seemed nice enough, but he wasn't sure if Preston wanted to be his friend because of who his dad was.
"I know who he is," Preston sniffed with a scowl, looking down his nose at the blond. "You shouldn't hang around with him. He's certainly not Gryffindor material."
Scorpius lowered his head miserably, at that moment wishing he could be anyone other than a Malfoy.
Albus frowned angrily. "Maybe I'm not Gryffindor material either," he shot back, folding his arms in front of his chest.
"Don't be ridiculous. Of course you are," Preston returned in surprise. "Your dad is Harry Potter, the Harry Potter. Where else would you be sorted?"
Albus' reply was cut short when Hagrid ordered the children to get in line in alphabetical order, so he could explain the sorting ceremony and they could enter the Great Hall. Scorpius was thankful that Al wasn't far behind him.
The walk into the Great Hall amongst all those stares was nerve wracking for Scorpius. He made sure to keep his head and eyes down, concentrating on the person's feet in front of him, not even looking up when several children screamed at the appearance of the ghosts.
The hat sat at the front of the room on a wooden stool. Scorpius couldn't help but look up when the hat began to sing.
A very long time ago
When I was young and new,
Four wizards decided to create a school,
To teach youngsters so they wouldn't become fools.
Bold Gryffindor took the brave of heart;
Fair Ravenclaw took the quick-witted to start.
Sweet Hufflepuff took the hard workers for admission,
While shrewd Slytherin wanted those of clever ambition.
The Houses, like pillars, support our school,
But still, as long ago, they are divided in their rule.
Be better than your predecessors in the end,
And renounce the clash of friend on friend.
With a new generation the Houses can unite you see,
And become as they were always meant to be.
Now's the time to put me on your head,
I'll steer you right, I've never been wrong,
I'll be sure to leave you well read,
And tell where you belong!
Finally, it was Scorpius' turn and he made his way up to the stool. To the giggling of the other students, and his embarrassment, Professor Hagrid had to help him onto the stool, since he was so short. Thankfully, the hat plopped onto his head and hid his burning cheeks from more scrutiny.
"Hello there," a small voice spoke into Scorpius' ear, making him jump a bit in surprise. "A Malfoy. I've sorted many of your kin."
Scorpius sat very still and held his breath, gripping the edge of the stool so hard that his knuckles turned white.
"You're a quiet one, though, with a very thoughtful mind. You could do well in Ravenclaw. Hummm, but I think
Slytherin!" the hat finally called out, relieving Scorpius of his greatest fear. The hat was tugged off and he made his way to his House table to a smattering of applause.
He sat and watched anxiously for Al's turn. He knew he didn't have a hope of having him as his friend in Slytherin, but he hoped none the less.
After a few more students were sorted, Albus took his turn on the stool. His brother and friends were already cheering, and he could see the Creevey boy giving him the thumbs up.
"Well, well, well. Another Potter," the hat intoned quietly in his head.
"Slytherin," Albus stated quite firmly before the hat could speak any further.
"I don't get many people requesting Slytherin," the hat answered with good humor.
"My dad said you'd listen to what I said, and I want to go to Slytherin."
"Well, you do have a strong desire to prove yourself, and a very cunning mind. You also have a lot of courage and loyalty. Tell me, why do you wish Slytherin?"
"My friend was sorted there," Albus admitted. "I think he sort of needs someone to look after him."
The hat chuckled. "You're more like your father than your brother, and as I told him many years ago, I will now tell you. You will be great in
There was shocked silence from the Gryffindor table, but uproarious applause from the Slytherin table, Scorpios clapping the hardest with the biggest smile on his face that Al had ever seen anyone have. It made his cheeks warm and he grined widely in return while he trotted over to sit beside his blond friend.
"You never know what that old hat will do," Al said.
"Won't your family be upset though?" Scorpius questioned nervously.
"Naw, my dad said that one of the old guys I'm named after was in Slytherin, and he was the bravest man he knew."
Scorpius was overjoyed. Maybe Hogwarts wouldn't be such a bad place to be after all.