Questions and Answers


Story Summary:
What happens when the past collides with the present and threatens to cast the Potters' and Weasleys' lives into disarray...

Chapter 03 - Nightmares


Dear Mum and Dad,

Will it be all right if Scorpius comes to our house for Christmas? His parents will be in France, because his granddad's sick or something. That's where his dad's parents live, France.

Anyway, nobody in our year is staying at Hogwarts this holiday, so I thought he could come home with James and me.

Please, Dad?



Ginny looked at Harry, a highly amused expression on her face. 'You did tell him to be nice to Scorpius,' she commented.

'I know.' Harry squirmed under Ginny's laser-like gaze, slightly annoyed she threw his own words back at him. 'He's a Malfoy,' he said resolutely.

'He's not Draco.'


'Would anyone like Draco be in Gryffindor?'

'No,' Harry admitted with a gusty sigh. 'Have you ever thought about being an inquisitor for the Wizengamot?'

'Don't change the subject, Potter.' Harry's eyes narrowed at Ginny, but she blithely continued, 'He may be a Malfoy, but he can't stay at school by himself like that, and he has nowhere else to go.' Ginny gently stroked his hair. 'Think about where you would be if we hadn't taken you in,' she said beseechingly.

Harry leaned into Ginny's ministrations. 'Alone and getting tissues or old socks from the Dursleys,' he sighed. 'All right. He can stay with us,' he muttered reluctantly.

Ginny kissed him. 'You're a good man, Harry.'


Dear Al,

Yes, Scorpius can stay with us for the holiday. Make sure he writes to his mother so she knows he's with us. We'll pick you up at King's Cross on the sixteenth.



'You can stay with us!' Al crowed. 'It will be brilliant! My dad has this seriously large Muggle film collection. We'll watch them on Saturday nights, and take turns picking out the films.'

'You have a mad family, did you know that?'

'Yep,' Al said proudly. 'Wait until Christmas dinner at my grandparents'. It'll be even crazier.' At that moment a shout went up from the huddle that was Fred, Jacob, and James. A Weaselys' Wild-Fire Whiz-Bang firework shot from the middle of them. It exploded in the middle of the Great Hall and formed a giant Christmas tree with twinkling lights. Neville heaved a sigh of gigantic proportions and came to issue a weeks' worth of detentions for each of them. Al and Scorpius weren't sure, but they could have sworn they saw McGonagall's lips curve into a smile that was gone as quickly as it had appeared.


Dear Mother,

I have been invited to stay with Mr. and Mrs. Potter for the holidays while you and Father are visiting Grandfather and Grandmother Malfoy.

If you need to send an owl to me, I will be at the Potter house in Godric's Hollow.



The cousins piled off the train on Saturday and Scorpius followed the stream of redheads to a corresponding knot of redheads. He had never seen that many non-blondes in one place in his life. A tall man with a ponytail and a fang earring that still managed to look cool, even though he was older and had a badly scarred face, took Victoire and Madeline. A stocky man with lots of freckles and more than a few shiny burn scars took Isabella. Yet another stocky man with hair that was shaggy, and just a bit too long and oddly flattened on one side took the twins. Parker hailed a tall, slim man with glasses and a rather pompous air about him. Rose ran to a tall redheaded man who stood next to a man who looked just like Al. Scorpius remembered seeing both of them on the platform in September.

'Dad, this is Scorpius!' Al babbled excitedly. 'Scorpius, this is my dad.' Introductions complete, Al and Scorpius followed James and Rose to the line of fireplaces to wait for their turn to Floo home.

'See you at lunch tomorrow?' asked Ron in an undertone to Harry.


'It's weird, isn't it?' Ron said, gesturing toward the back of Scorpius' head.

'You have no idea,' Harry murmured with a grimace.


Harry unbuttoned the cuffs of his shirt and rolled up his sleeves in preparation for doing the washing up after dinner. As he rolled up the left sleeve, he heard a gasp from Scorpius. Quick as lightening, Scorpius clamped his small hand around Harry's wrist and forcibly turned his left arm over. Scorpius ran shaking fingertips repeatedly over the skin of the inside of Harry's forearm. Finding nothing there, he released a shuddering breath, and let go of Harry's wrist. Harry looked at Ginny, shrugged, and knelt next to Scorpius' chair at the table, parental instincts overcoming any qualms he might have about having the scion of the Malfoy family in his house. 'Have you seen something on someone's arm before?' he asked the shaking child quietly. Scorpius nodded, biting his lip. 'Who?'

'My father,' the boy whispered, eyes filling with tears.

Harry met Ginny's eyes, and with a slight jerk of his head, asked her to take James, Al, and Lily to another room. 'When did you see it?'

'When I was seven,' Scorpius answered, his eyes fixed on his plate. 'I had a nightmare, and I ran into my father's room. The sleeve of his shirt was pushed back.' He took a deep breath, and continued. 'I-I-I t-t-touched it,' he stammered.

'It was horrible,' Scorpius said with a shudder. 'Snake coming out of a skull.'

'What happened?' Harry asked, almost afraid to hear the answer.

'Nothing.' Scorpius blinked rapidly, but the scalding tears slipped down his face in spite of his best efforts to not cry. Harry reared back a little in surprise. That was not what he had expected to hear. 'He woke up and screamed at me to get out,' Scorpius mumbled to the table top. 'He didn't talk to me for a long time,' he finished, swiping the sleeve of his jumper across his face. Harry silently Summoned a tea towel from a drawer, and handed it to Scorpius. Scorpius sniffled for a few minutes into the tea towel. 'What was it? That... thing?'

Harry shifted uneasily. This was not the kind of conversation he wanted to have with Draco Malfoy's son. 'Something from the last war,' he temporized. 'It was a symbol of the side your father and grandfather fought on.'

'Did I do something wrong?'

Harry reached up to smooth the hair from Scorpius' face, like he would have done with his own children, but checked the motion, frowning slightly. For as much as Scorpius resembled his father, the look of fear and apprehension was not an expression Draco Malfoy normally wore. It gave Harry pause to see the lack of guile or hauteur on Scorpius' face. 'No. You didn't do anything wrong at all.' Harry took the tea towel from Scorpius and patted him on the back, then sent him to the sitting room to join James, Al, and Lily, who had already started the usual argument about which film to watch.

Ginny returned to the kitchen when she saw Scorpius shuffle into the sitting room, looking more than a little shaken. 'Saw the Dark Mark on Malfoy, did he?' she asked softly, as she cleared the table, carrying the dishes to the drain board.

'Yeah. It was something of an accident. I don't think Malfoy meant for him to see it.' Harry plunged his hands into the soapy water. 'Explain to me how on earth a father does not take time to enlighten his son, however simply you have to, what it was.' Ginny began to dry the plates, the two of them working in silence, with the ease of long practice.

'What did he say, exactly?' Ginny asked, with a glance over her shoulder toward the sitting room.

'Said Malfoy wouldn't talk to him for a while.'

'Oh.' Ginny sent another thoughtful glance toward the sitting room door. 'Do you think he's been...?' she trailed off.

'What? Abused?' Ginny nodded her head. 'No, I don't think so. Doesn't really act like it. Just more or less ignored by the one person he craves attention from the most. Which is just as bad.' Harry closed his eyes, and handed Ginny the last plate to dry. 'Gin?' he asked suddenly.


'Would I have done the same thing to Al or James? If they had been Sorted into Slytherin, would I have done as I said to Al and been able to look past it?'

'Yes,' Ginny said immediately. A chorus of giggles came from the sitting room, followed by the sounds of a house of Exploding Snap cards reaching its demise.

Harry pulled his glasses off and pinched the bridge of his nose. 'Merlin, this parenting thing doesn't get easier, does it?' he asked ruefully.

'It's only going to get worse,' replied Ginny.


'Well... when Lily starts dating...'

'Which she won't until she's thirty,' interjected Harry.

'When Lily starts dating boys, they will be boys thinking the exact same thing you did when you were their age,' Ginny continued smoothly, as if Harry hadn't said a word.

'Not if he wants to keep his anatomy intact,' Harry growled following Ginny to the sitting room. He watched the children race each other to build Exploding Snap card towers - Lily and Scorpius against James and Al. When the boys' tower burst into a shower of sparks, Lily and Scorpius cheered, but only for a second, because theirs went up in a cloud of sparks, too. Shocked, they looked at each other, open-mouthed, before dissolving into giggles once more.

With a wave of his wand, Harry cleared the coffee table of the remains of the cards, and conjured cocoa and cookies for everyone. 'All right, Lils, your pick tonight,' he announced, settling the spirited discussion about whose turn it was to choose the film that had arisen once more.

'Hmmmm.' Lily tapped her chin with a forefinger, considering her choices, which were many and varied, given Harry's collection of Muggle films. She all but ran to a shelf and pulled off a slender, brightly-colored box. 'Here, Dad,' she said, handing it to him. James coughed something that sounded like 'chick flick', and earned himself a reproving look from Ginny.

'Beauty and the Beast?' Harry asked. 'Again?'

'Lily, you've watched that thing a million times!' groaned Al.

'But Scorpius hasn't seen it!' she declared, settling on a sofa. James and Al muttered good-naturedly about their baby sister's film-viewing habits, but they secretly enjoyed the film.

When the television screen lit up, and the opening of the film began to play, Scorpius' mouth dropped open. 'It's magic!' he breathed. He knew his father would have a fit if he knew that Scorpius was doing something so... Muggle-ish. But at this moment, Scorpius was beyond caring what his father would approve or disapprove of.


Harry shut the television off. The four children were sprawled on the sofa and floor, sound asleep. 'Should we wake them and send them up to their rooms?' Ginny shook her head, and conjured fluffy blankets for each of them. She tucked the blankets around the children. Harry left a small light burning on a side table and pulled Ginny toward him. He kissed her, murmuring, 'Come on, let's go upstairs,' against her lips.

'Race you,' she whispered, and took off. Dazed, Harry watched her for a few seconds. She stopped at the foot of the staircase. 'Coming?' she asked, tossing her hair over her shoulder and lightly going up the stairs.

Harry ran up the stairs quickly and before Ginny realized he was behind her, he swung her up over his shoulder and carried her into their bedroom. He dropped Ginny in the middle of their bed, using his wand to close and lock the door. 'Now,' he grinned,' where were we?' Harry climbed on the bed, next to Ginny, and traced her lips with a fingertip. 'Here, was it?' He kissed her.


'Or here?' Harry started to nibble the skin below her ear.

'Could be,' Ginny gasped. She tugged on the buttons of his shirt, trying not to rip them off.

'Don't need this, do we?' Harry chuckled, pulling Ginny's jumper over her head.

'And people think you're so innocent,' she said scoffed.

'That's because they've never seen you naked. You could make a saint throw a vow of chastity out the window,' he breathed.

'Now you're just exaggerating.'

'Nope. Just as beautiful as the day I married you.'

'Flatterer. But I knew I kept you around for something.'

Harry leaned down to kiss Ginny. 'Gin?'


'Stop talking.' Ginny laughed. It was the deep smoky laugh she used only with him. Harry thought he was lucky they were already in bed. His knees would have given out otherwise.

They didn't talk anymore after that.


Scorpius could see the hallway outside his bedroom. It was dark. He ran down the hall to his father's room, his bare feet padding nearly silently on the thick carpet and eased the door open. Mother was away, visiting his aunt Astoria, who was ill, or he would have gone to her. Father lay sleeping, his left arm flung across the bed, the sleeve of his pajama shirt pushed up.

Scorpius cautiously climbed up onto the ornate bed. Curiously, he looked down at his father's arm. He never saw his father's bare arms before. Father never even rolled his sleeves up and always wore long sleeves, no matter how hot the weather. There, on the inside of Father's left arm... What was it? Scorpius leaned down for a closer look. It looked like a Muggle tattoo. Scorpius was confused. Father would never have something like a Muggle tattoo. He didn't like anything to do with Muggles.

Outside, a cloud shifted, and moonlight flooded the room, illuminating Father's arm. Scorpius recoiled in horror. It was faint, but still clearly showed a skull, with a snake coming from its mouth. Tentatively, not daring to breathe, Scorpius began to trace the outline of the tattoo with a trembling forefinger. He had only just begun when he heard Father's sharp intake of breath. 'What do you think you're doing?' Father hissed, jerking his arm away, and yanking the sleeve down to cover the mark.

'Father, what is that?' asked Scorpius.

'Nothing.' Father wouldn't meet his eyes. 'Get out.'

'But, Father...'

'I said get out!' Father yelled.

Scorpius scrambled off the bed, and ran for his life. He huddled in a corner of his bedroom, unable to sleep.

For when he closed his eyes, all he saw was the skull and its snake.


A high-pitched wail broke through Ginny's slumber. She vaulted out of bed, and dived for her dressing gown. Hurriedly, she shoved her arms into the sleeves and knotted the sash tightly as she darted from the room. She heard Harry scramble for the jeans that lay on the floor and follow her down the stairs to the sitting room.

James, Al, and Lily were sitting up, blearily watching Scorpius thrash on the sofa in his sleep. James and Lily wore bewildered expressions, while Al began to untangle himself from the blanket and started to shake Scorpius awake. 'C'mon, wake up,' he said. Scorpius bolted upright, his wide eyes staring wildly around the room. 'It was only a nightmare,' stated Al. 'You're all right.' Al looked up to see Lily's anxious face. 'Go get a glass of water, Lils? Please?' She nodded and ran to the kitchen, returning with a nearly full glass, and handed it to Scorpius.

'I-I-I'm s-s-s-sorry,' Scorpius said, teeth chattering against the rim of the glass.

Lily shrugged. 'We all have nightmares.' She straightened the blanket and tucked it back around Scorpius. Crisis over, James rolled over and went back to sleep. Al went back to his place on the floor, and Lily to her end of the sofa. She didn't go back to sleep immediately, but propped herself up and watched Scorpius intently.

Harry urged Ginny back upstairs to their bedroom. Ginny closed the door. 'What was that?'

'The nightmare or Lily turning into a mother hen before our eyes?' Harry asked, dropping his jeans to the floor and climbing wearily back into bed.

'Both,' replied Ginny, sliding under the quilt and snuggling into Harry's body.

'No idea.'

'It can wait until morning?'

'Yeah. I think so.'


Harry crept down the stairs to start breakfast. James, Al, and Lily were still sprawled out in their various places from the night before, asleep. He went to shake them awake. 'Breakfast will be ready soon,' he said. James shot up the stairs to the bathroom, and slammed the door in Lily's face. Lily's frustrated wail floated down the stairs. 'Where's Scorpius?' Harry asked Al, who was sitting cross-legged on the rug, his blanked wrapped around his shoulders.

'Dunno. He's probably up already. Doesn't have a lie-in usually.'

Harry started to go into the kitchen, then turned. 'Does he usually have nightmares?'

Al stood up and stretched. 'Not normally. Every so often, I guess...'

Harry pulled his son into a tight hug. 'You did good last night. Just the way your uncle Ron would do with me when we were in school.'

'You had nightmares, Dad?' asked Al incredulously with a laugh. As far as he was concerned, Harry was unshakeable.

'Yeah. Some pretty bad ones, too.' Harry admitted. 'Now go brush your teeth,' he said firmly, changing the subject. 'Your breath could kill a Hungarian Horntail,' he said, sending Al to the stairs, with a light swat on the rear.

Harry went into the kitchen and found Scorpius sitting at the table, reading one of James' Muggle books. He looked up, a little timidly. 'Morning,' he said uncertainly.

Before Harry could answer, Lily's voice screeched, 'James! Hurry up! You have Dad's hair! It's never going to lie down! So stop trying to bother!'

'Lily, go use ours,' Ginny said, exasperated.

'Yours smells funny,' Lily replied.

'Yeah, that's 'cause it's clean and doesn't smell like James' dirty socks,' came Al's voice.

Harry glanced at the raised eyebrows on Scorpius' face. 'It's a bit barmy around here in the morning,' he said apologetically.

Scorpius snorted. 'You should see them at meals. Eight Weasleys or Potters arguing, discussing, trying to get homework answers. Occasionally Parker comes to the Gryffindor table and adds to the chaos.' He smiled. 'The Quidditch games are spot-on, though.'

Harry set a pot of porridge to cook, and started making toast. 'Do you have nightmares often?' he asked nonchalantly. Scorpius' head snapped up.

'Why do you care?'

Harry shrugged. 'I used to get them. A lot. Seemed like I was getting them all the time from the age of fourteen until I was nearly eighteen. Some of them weren't really nightmares, though, but that's a story for another time.' Harry examined the back of the bent blonde head. 'I still get them, you know.'

'You do?'

'Yeah. It's all right to be afraid of something. You know Rosie?' At Scorpius' nod, Harry continued, 'Her dad's terrified of spiders. Has been since he was three. Rosie's mum has to kill any spiders that come into their house.' Harry made a pot of tea and another of cocoa. 'One thing I learned, though, it does help to talk about it.' The porridge ready, Harry handed Scorpius a bowl and a cup of cocoa.

Scorpius stirred milk and sugar into his porridge. 'It was about finding that mark on my father's arm,' he admitted. He toyed with his spoon.

Harry sat at his place at the table, with his own bowl of porridge. He added milk and sugar to his bowl. 'Have that one a lot?'

'No. Usually it's me trying to catch up to him. I keep calling and calling, but he doesn't hear me. And no matter how much or how fast I run, I'll never catch up.' Scorpius traced the grain of the scrubbed wooden table with the handle of his spoon.

Harry sighed. He didn't know what he could say without maligning Draco. 'Eat your breakfast before it gets cold, okay?' Scorpius nodded and obediently began to spoon porridge into his mouth. 'If you need to,' added casually,' you can always talk to Ginny or me.' Scorpius froze, a spoonful of porridge halfway to his mouth.

'Thank you, sir.' Anything Harry had to say after that was quickly drowned out by the clatter of James, Al, and Lily coming into the kitchen for breakfast.

Harry sat back in his chair with the morning's chaos swirling around them. This is going to be the most interesting Christmas we've had in a long time...