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We’ll Be Okay

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Draco took his time as he ventured down the deep corridor of Malfoy Manor on his way to the library. He had been procrastinating this conversation long enough but even so, he was reluctant to have it. It had only been a week and whilst he was working his way into the acceptance stage of grief, this conversation felt as though it would force him to accept the situation before he wanted to.

When he pushed the ajar door to the library fully open and made his way in, Draco found his son in the same position he had been in for the past four days; curled up on the armchair by the fireplace, Astoria’s favourite shawl wrapped around him and a book in his hand. After confiding in Draco for the first three days, Scorpius had taken to isolating himself and coping with the loss of his mum in the same way he coped with everything else; escapism. Draco had wanted to continue being there for him, because they needed each other to get through this inevitable time, but Scorpius had made it very clear that he wanted to be left alone and so despite his doubts that this was not the best way to handle their emotions, Draco let Scorpius have his privacy.

But now it was August 31st and Scorpius would be heading to school the following day, so despite this conversation not actually being completely necessary, Draco knew he would sleep better at night if he at least tried to have it.

“Scorpius?” Draco said softly in fear of making Scorpius jump; luckily he didn’t and instead hesitantly looked up from his book, “can we talk for a moment?”

Scorpius gave a small nod and placed a bookmark in the book he was reading- one Astoria had gifted him just two weeks ago, that Draco was sure he had already read at least ten times.

“If you’re going to ask me about going to Hogwarts, I promise I am ready to go back tomorrow.” Scorpius reassured, clearly expecting Draco to ask the same question he had been asking everyday since Scorpius first told him he didn’t want to take time off school despite his current situation. Draco smiled at his son's confidence and perched himself on the arm of the armchair.

“Are you sure? McGonagall has already said that you can take all the time you need off, you don’t have to rush back.” Draco wasn’t actually here to ask this, but it still didn’t hurt to double check.

“I’m sure, Dad. My books can only do so much. I need to see Albus,” Scorpius took a pause before realising what he had said and panicking, “and classes, yes. I mostly just miss classes and they will help me stay distracted.”

“Distraction isn’t necessarily a good thing, you can’t hide from your emotions Scorpius.”

“I’m not hiding, Dad. I’ll be fine. I’ll be back soon for the funeral anyway.” The lack of eye contact and shakiness of his voice suggested that Scorpius was in fact, not fine, but Draco didn’t want to make him feel worse.

“I trust you. That’s not what I wanted to talk about anyway, well, it does link with your return to Hogwarts,” Draco closed his eyes for a brief moment before continuing, “what do you know about thestrals?”

“Well Newt Scamander says they’re winged horses that possess the power of invisibility and many consider them unlucky. Albus is scared of them but only because of the things James has said even though James can’t see them. You can only see thestrals if-,” Scorpius cut himself off in a moment of realisation and turned to make eye contact with his father for the first time since he had entered the room, “I’ll be able to see them, won’t I?”

“I’m afraid so. I wanted to warn you before you go back to Hogwarts. Well, warn isn’t the right word exactly, you don’t have to worry about them, they’re not dangerous or anything. Actually they’re quite beautiful creatures, and very gentle.” Draco gave what he hoped would be a comforting smile.

“Dad,” Scorpius hesitated for a moment, “Dad, how long have you been able to see them?”

Draco let out a sigh. This was part of the conversation he was hoping to avoid, but he knew Scorpius’ curiosity would lead them to it eventually.

“Since my sixth year at Hogwarts.”

“Who?”

“Albus Dumbledore.”

“Oh. I’m sorry.” Draco broke eye contact at his son’s words.

“Don’t be. I don’t deserve an apology for it. Or sympathy, or pity, or anything.” Draco looked down at his hands and fiddled with his wedding ring. He had always vowed he would be honest with his son about his past, and he had been; he knew Scorpius knew the situation surrounding Dumbledore’s death. But having his own son aware of his past just added to the guilt he constantly felt over it, even more so in the past week.

There was a long pause as Scorpius clearly didn’t know how to respond and so they sat in silence; Draco continuing to fiddle with his wedding ring until a small, slender hand placed itself over his. He looked up to meet his son's eyes.

“Will you be okay?” Scorpius asked in a hush voice.

“What?”

“When I go back to Hogwarts, will you be okay?”

“I’ll be fine Scorpius.”

“But you’ll be all alone.” Draco found himself giving a sad smile and he moved his hands so that he was holding onto the one Scorpius had placed on his.

“If we’re being honest with each other I don’t think either of us will be fine, will we?” Scorpius gave a sheepish shake of his head in response, “But remember what your mother said? That we mustn't dwell and should move on and live our lives. So that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”

“Easier said than done.” Scorpius spoke as tears started to make their way down his face.

“I know Scorpius. But you’re so strong. Stronger than I ever was at your age and I believe that you’ll find peace. Even if it takes a bit more time of heartache until you get there. And I will be the same, so please don’t worry about me. You should go to Hogwarts where you have friends to help you get through it.”

“One friend.”

“A very good friend though.”

“The best friend.”

“Exactly,” Draco cupped Scorpius’ face and wiped the tears from it, “if school gets too much at any point just tell McGonagall and we can floo you home. But I’m sure you’ll be fine once you get going and you’ll be coming home for the funeral anyway.”

“Dad?”

“Yes Scorpius?”

“Can I invite Albus to the funeral?” Scorpius asked and Draco gave another sigh but then smiled; he was surprised it had taken Scorpius this long to ask.

“Of course you can,” Draco brushed a hair away from Scorpius’ face as his son voiced a thank you, “now, have you packed for tomorrow yet?”

“I have not.” The panicked look on Scorpius proved Draco right in thinking that he had clearly forgotten about packing needing to be finished by the end of the day.

“You might want to go and do that now.” Draco said, and Scorpius nodded.

"I think I'll like the thestrals." Scorpius stood up as he spoke.

"I'm sure you will."

"And Dad- I think we'll be okay... eventually." Scorpius shuffled over to the door, pausing just long enough to hear Draco's response before leaving.

"I'm sure we will." Draco watched his son leave and found himself smiling a genuine smile, one that didn’t fade as soon as he was alone, for the first time in a week.