Status: Work in Progress

Lost in the Echo

Chapter Seven

Draco heard the door open and a group of laughing and joking teenagers come through, and couldn't help but smile when the laughing all stopped. He looked up and Scorpius' face broke out into a grin. His son said something to his friends and then made his way over to the table at which Draco was seated, and Draco stood and hugged him.

"Father! I wasn't expecting you today." Scorpius said, excitedly. "I thought you were busy with something for the bank!"

Draco smiled. Typically, he - and Astoria, when she was alive - would come out around Scorpius' birthday, but never on.

"I was, but I managed to finish it earlier than I had anticipated, and so decided that I would surprise you." Draco said, as the two sat down and he flagged down Madame Rosmerta. She came over a moment later.
"What can I do for you two today?" she said kindly, though she was still uncomfortable around Draco. After all, he had cursed her when he was sixteen.

"I would like a Butterbeer, please, Ma'am." Scorpius said, and then looked at his father. Usually, when they were out, Draco wanted him to order something more refined. "Oh, on second thought - "
"Two Butterbeers, then, please." Draco said, then smiled and turned back to his son.
"You're going to have a Butterbeer, as well?"
"Why not? I can't remember the last time I had one of Madame Rosmerta's Butterbeers, and since it is your last year here, I think I should celebrate your birthday with you by indulging in something you like, for a change." Draco neglected to mention that it was also a reminder of a different time, when his dearest friend was firmly rooted to reality and remembered who he was.

Scorpius' grin widened.

"I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth." Scorpius said, and Draco gave him an odd look. "Sorry. Albus and his family went to visit America over the summer and they picked up some phrases that have stuck." Scorpius laughed.
"Ah, I see." Draco said, then couldn't help but smile at his son's antics. "I suppose I might have known that had I received more letters from you." he couldn't help but add. Scorpius looked sheepish.

It was hard to believe he was seventeen already. It felt as though he was a toddler just yesterday, and Draco briefly wondered if his father had ever felt that way as he had watched Draco age.

"Sorry, Father. Classes have been terribly busy and I could never seem to find the time."
"Hm. What courses did you take this year?"
"I took Ghoul Studies, Apparition, Alchemy, Study of Ancient Runes, Arithmancy, and then of course the regular core classes we have to take every year."
"Alchemy?" Draco asked, raising a brow.

Scorpius looked sheepish once more.

"It's a fascinating subject, really. It's different from Transfiguration and Potions. It's kind of like a combination of the two."
"It's a N.E.W.T. Level course, isn't it?"
"Yes..."
"Why are you taking it?"
"Well... Professor McGonagall and Professor Slughorn pulled me aside and asked if I would be interested, since I score so highly in Transfiguration and Potions."
"I figured that much, but I mean why are you taking it? What can you do with it? Come to think of it, I don't believe you've even told me what kind of job it is you are looking for once you are done here." Draco said, thoughtfully.

Scorpius looked away.

"I... Was thinking something in Magical Law Enforcement or of maybe being an Auror..." he said, quietly.

Draco blinked. He had not necessarily expected Scorpius to take over for him when he decided to retire, but it had always been the thought. Not that he wouldn't fully support Scorpius' career choice no matter what, but this certainly presented a new challenge that Draco had not really thought about before now.

"I...see." he said after a moment, then took a sip of his Butterbeer. "What made you decide that was the route you wanted to take?"
"I don't know. I want to help people, like Mr. Potter and Mr. Weasley by catching the Dark Wizards that are still around. I want to make my own way in the world."

Draco nodded, silently thinking this new information over. It honestly stung him a bit, that Scorpius idolized Albus' father and uncle more than his own. He couldn't blame him, though, really. After all, it was far more exciting to go out and chase people down than to sit in an office, bookkeeping. Even Draco, at one point in time, had thirsted for adventure like that, as any young boy would.

"Well, I suppose those are good areas to go into if you want to help people." Draco said, finally.

Scorpius could tell Draco's mood had soured, but he didn't fully understand why. But Draco was never forthcoming with his thoughts, so Scorpius didn't bother asking what he had done wrong.

"So, erm, what about you? What have you been up to, besides working?" Scorpius asked, changing the subject.

Draco blinked again, then shook his head.

"Nothing much. Reconnected with an old friend, though she doesn't remember me at all, it would seem."
"She?" Scorpius asked, disbelieving. Was it possible his father was moving on from his mother so soon after her death?
"Yes. We grew up together, but lost touch when we entered Hogwarts. She was sorted into Gryffindor, and I into Slytherin, and, of course, at that time, there was still a feud between the two houses. I hadn't spoken to her in nearly thirty years." Draco said, sadly.

Scorpius' grip tightened on his mug. While it was true that it had been nearly four years since his mother's death, it still felt like a fresh wound whenever he thought about it.

"Did you ever talk to Albus about the Christmas holidays?" Draco said, changing the topic. He didn't really feel like discussing Syndil at the moment, let alone with his son.
"Yes. He actually asked me. I guess Mr. and Mrs. Potter had asked him to ask me the same thing: if Albus might want to spend the holidays with us."
"Oh, did they?" Draco asked, genuinely surprised. Harry and him had been civil to each other, but as far as Draco knew, that was the extent of it. "What would you rather do?" he asked.
"Well..." he began, seeming to debate what to say. Draco had a feeling, though, that he knew what was on his son's mind.
"Scorpius, I am well aware that our house - even when decorated for the holidays and with Christmas cheer - is not the same as it was when your mother was alive. If you would rather spend the holidays with him at his family's house than in Malfoy Manor, I won't hold it against you. You needn't worry about insulting me."
"Are you sure, Father?" Scorpius asked, worrying his lip - a habit he had picked up from his mother.
"Of course. You are not chained to Malfoy Manor." Draco said.

'You are not chained to me. I will not raise you the way I was raised.' Draco thought.

"Thank you, Father. I really think I would like to spend the holidays there, with them."

Draco smiled at his son, grateful that he had gotten more of his mother's personality than Draco's.

"Then as long as they are fine with it, I am fine with it. Just be sure to write me, please. I know you're busy, but don't deny an old man his pleasures." Draco joked. Astoria had rubbed off on him, too, apparently.

When the two finished their Butterbeer's after catching up on the goings-on at the castle, they parted ways. Scorpius had to be back to the school by nightfall and Draco had wanted to visit in Hogsmeade for a bit. He left the payment for the Butterbeers with Rosmerta, as well as a large tip to thank her for being her normal cheery self with Scorpius and not holding his father's sins against him, as well.

When the sun went down, Draco decided to book a room at the Hogshead Inn and spend the next day forming a plan of action regarding Syndil's very slowly re-emerging memories.