lamerezouille: (Hogwarts)
[personal profile] lamerezouille
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Draco spent the rest of the day in the hospital wing, on the bed next to Jamie’s, being probed and tested the same as Jamie.

Nobody could keep Healer Fawcett from checking Draco’s magical signature to make sure he wasn’t responsible for the curse. The result was that Draco’s magical signature indeed had similarities to the one used on Jamie, but without more information on the curse itself, even Fawcett had to dismiss it as just another proof that Draco was related with Jamie.

The measurement spell was cast on Draco too, and it only revealed a very rich but very normal green colour, so Fawcett’s theory that maybe Jamie’s magical level was linked to Draco’s had to be dismissed as well.

Jamie received lunchtime visits from Marcus and Maia Mapleback and a little later from Daisy Dearborn, a first-year Ravenclaw whom he had only talked to once and who was unhealthily shy. Dad kept Jamie company all afternoon, and said afternoon trying not to glance at Draco, while Draco spent the same time trying to hide his own glances to Dad. This behaviour led Jamie to spend this whole time alternatively rolling his eyes and trying to silently communicate to Draco to get over himself and just say something to Dad.

All in all, the whole day ended up being a total waste, as neither his parents spared more than three words for each other and Healer Fawcett didn’t make any progress discovering the nature of the curse.

In the evening, Draco and Jamie were both assigned to stay in the hospital wing for the night, the two of them being the lucky recipients of a very new and innovative monitoring charm, which could maybe help them figure something out by morning. Jamie was dubious, but didn’t really have a say in any of this, so he stayed in bed and considered it lucky that nobody had forced homework on him in this dire situation.

Dad insisted he could stay if Jamie needed him to, but Jamie convinced him it really was unnecessary. Nothing bad would happen as long as Jamie didn’t try to use a wand after all, and Dad certainly needed some rest after spending the entire previous night worrying about Jamie.

Healer Fawcett left at the end of the day too, assuring them she would leave Jamie’s parentage out of his official medical file and inform Healer Jones she’d take on the whole case, so that nobody else had to know Draco was Jamie’s father. She didn’t seem too happy about it—mainly because her dislike towards Draco seemed very genuine and very, very profound—but she was a professional and couldn’t not respect the patient-healer confidentiality, even if she wanted to.

‘So, you can tell me, now,’ Jamie said, once there was only Draco and he left in the hospital wing.

‘Tell you what?’ Draco asked with an arched eyebrow.

‘Don’t act like you don’t know. Last night you talked with Dad, right? I know you did, what did you talk about?’

Draco sighed and settled more comfortably in his bed, looking intently at the ceiling. ‘Nothing, really. He asked me to repeat two or three times what had happened in the practice room exactly, and he asked some precisions about what I’d found on your problem. It was all very civil, really.’

‘Well, that’s good, right? That you can be civil and stuff, right?’

‘It is,’ Draco agreed solemnly. ‘And he thanked me about using Protego on you, too. Which is ridiculous, really. Of course I’d use Protego on you; you’re my son, after all.’ He ran a hand through his hair, a clear sign he was at least a little distressed. ‘Sometimes he’s just so…infuriating!’ He exclaimed, sounding more frustrated than angry.

‘But that’s way more than just good, he thanking you, isn’t it?’ Jamie pointed out. ‘And he protected you too, when Healer Fawcett attacked you. There’s totally something there. I only wish you’d talk to him this afternoon. I’m sure he’d say yes if you asked him out.’

Draco’s response to that was a weirdly loud chuckle. ‘You’re really unbelievable,’ he then said. ‘Only you would still think about romance and dating after what’s happened to you. My mind really isn’t on wooing Harry right now, and I rather think he’s in the same case. We’re both very worried about you, you know.’

‘Yeah, I know, I know,’ Jamie tried to dismiss it, wondering when they’d finally both think of themselves for once. ‘And you both feel really guilty about it, too. Dad because he thinks the curse was meant for him and you because it seems to be a “Malfoy thing”. But what you forget is that love always manifests itself in situations of danger or drama or intense pressure…’

‘Please, we’re not in one of your Muggle films. This is real life, Jamie. Things don’t normally happen like that.’

‘Really? That’s your argument?’ Jamie asked in disbelief. ‘It can’t happen because that’s not what normally happens? Tell me one thing about this whole situation that could be considered normal. And what’s normal anyway, really?’

‘All right, all right,’ Draco tried to calm Jamie’s outburst. ‘I guess you’ve got a point. But I still don’t think Harry would have been very receptive to my advances when you’re lying in a bed with an unknown curse on you,’ Jamie wanted to say something to that, but Draco quelled it with a simple look. Things might have been easier for Jamie if his new father hadn’t been Hogwarts’s most dreaded teacher. ‘I don’t know if things can happen right now,’ Draco went on, ‘but I do hope this…experience can somewhat bring us closer…as a family.’

‘Do you want to know what I honestly think, Draco?’ Jamie asked, being a little fed up with stalling and half-measures where something as important as love was at stake.

‘I don’t think I do,’ Draco said with a smile. ‘But I guess you’ll tell me anyway, so go on.’

‘I say: who cares about family? Go and snog each other and then we’ll see about family. This really shouldn’t be about me at all.’

~

The next morning, Jamie woke up with the remnants of a very pleasant dream he couldn’t really remember but he was sure had included his dad and Draco being together and very sweet and cute. He could feel a ray of winter sun on his face and before he decided to open his eyes, he heard someone talking.

‘Is he still asleep?’ the voice Jamie recognised as Dad’s asked.

‘Yes,’ Draco’s voice answered. ‘He’s been sleeping very soundly. I guess yesterday was very tiring for him.’

‘I guess so,’ Jamie heard his dad agree.

‘You know, he—’ Draco began, and Jamie could hear something in his voice, something that made him want to keep pretending to sleep very much. It was something brave and decisive and it sounded like the hardest task Draco had ever undertaken.

‘Yes?’ There was a little expectation in Dad’s voice, almost hope.

‘He…talks a lot about…you.’ Draco was hesitating, but Jamie still believed he would do it. He had to. ‘I mean—about you and me, that is. And about you and I…getting back together.’

‘Oh,’ was Dad’s only answer. Well, Jamie couldn’t really fault him for not being more eloquent. Draco hadn’t been the most suave in his approach.

‘Do you—’ Draco swallowed loudly and began again, ‘Do you ever think about it?’ He sounded fragile and vulnerable and Jamie didn’t dare open his eyes and risk interrupting them, but he so wished Dad was looking into Draco’s eyes and seeing this thing Jamie sometimes could see in Draco’s eyes and which was a clear proof it would never be over for them.

‘I—’ Dad stopped, and Jamie felt for a bit like he wouldn’t go on, but he did. ‘Do you?’ he asked.

Draco swallowed again and Jamie could hear the faint sounds of him fidgeting with his bed sheets. ‘I do,’ he finally said, very quietly. ‘I mean—even before Jamie, even before I knew about him or anything, I sometimes wished…’

Draco didn’t sound like he was going to express aloud what exactly he’d wished and it seemed he couldn’t anyway, as that was when Madam Pomfrey’s voice resounded in the room, saying quite loudly that it was time to check on their monitoring charms.

~*~


Healer Fawcett arrived back in the hospital wing by mid-morning, and she went to look at the monitoring results before even saying hello. It didn’t really surprise or bother Jamie, but he thought that after sharing a day with them, even if she still loathed Draco, she’d have maybe warmed up to Jamie at least a little.

She read the data-filled parchments, inches after inches with a frown gradually marring her face from between her very neatly plucked eyebrows to the beginning of her hairline.

‘Poppy!’ she called, not lifting her eyes from the parchment. ‘Are you quite sure this is Professor Malfoy’s results? I do think there must have been some kind of mix up…’

Madam Pomfrey came to stand behind her and looked at the parchment over the healer’s shoulder. ‘No, there is absolutely no mistake whatsoever. I think after more than forty years in this position I would know how to properly fill a result form.’

Madam Pomfrey had accepted quite diligently Healer Fawcett invading her hospital wing and asking for her collaboration without much explanation about why Professor Malfoy had switched from being a terrible threat to just another patient, but she didn’t seem to take it well having her professionalism brought into question.

Healer Fawcett completely ignored her though. She was looking intently at Draco’s results, then at Jamie’s and back again. Madam Pomfrey huffed in annoyance and went back to her office with a look on her face expressing quite clearly how she was too old to have to deal with every other wannabe Dilys Derwent.

After scrutinising their results parchments for a few more minutes, still without acknowledging them even once, Healer Fawcett then alternated it all with looking up to them, then back to the parchments, then back to them. She finally, after what looked a lot like neck-muscles working-out, put both parchments down and strode towards them determinedly. She waved her wand above Draco in what looked like very complicated patterns twice, then did the same to Jamie, put her wand back in her pocket and joined her hands behind her back.

‘Very well, I’ve just understood why we weren’t doing any progress and certainly why you couldn’t find out anything yourself, Professor Malfoy.’ She said in a very uninterested voice, almost bored. ‘There has simply never been any curse cast on your son.’

‘It’s a simple charm, then?’ Dad asked. ‘A normal spell?’

‘Of course not, Mr Potter,’ she went on, as if it was the most ridiculous idea since singing earplugs. ‘There is indeed a curse. But the curse is not on Jamie, it’s on Professor Malfoy.’

Their collective gasp and ‘What?!’ and whitening of skin and widening of eyes didn’t faze her at all and she went on, her tone still very neutral, ‘From what I’ve understood in my readings of the test results so far, the curse had in fact been cast on Professor Malfoy with the goal of influencing his progeny’s magic. I don’t know anything more quite yet, but now that we actually know what to look for, I expect more precise and practical results soon enough.’

While Dad was busy expressing how outraged he was at someone targeting innocent children just because they had had at one point a different with someone, Jamie chose to focus on Draco’s reaction. The muscles in his face seemed all frozen and his skin had turned so white it looked almost translucent, but there was something in his eyes showing that if his body was immobile, his mind was on the contrary racing at breakneck speed.

There was suddenly a lull in the conversation—or rather in what summarized as Dad’s indignant exclamations—and Draco cleared his throat loud enough for Dad to relax his clenched fist and to turn to him.

Draco fixed his gaze to Dad’s for a little while and Jamie wondered if they weren’t maybe using Legilimency, because Dad’s face seemed to relax minutely before Draco opened his mouth to speak.

‘I think I know where the curse might come from, then,’ he said with a voice much more sober than the look in his eyes. ‘Or rather, who the curse comes from.’

~

When Draco had finished telling them his theory, Jamie couldn’t help but think he really had a messed-up family tree. But, well, from what he’d previously known of Lucius Malfoy, this wasn’t incredibly big news.

What was big news though was that, contrarily to what Draco had thought until now, during all the time Dad and Draco had been together, Lucius must have started suspecting something at one point. He hadn’t discovered what had been really going on, but he’d known Draco was involved with someone. And in the mind of someone who desperately wanted his son to marry Aste-or-Asto-something-or-other (Jamie couldn’t be bothered remembering her name), this information had turned out quite dangerous.

At the time Lucius had said it, Draco said he hadn’t thought much of it, but now he couldn’t get it out of his head. ‘A bastard in the Malfoy line might as well be a Squib, as far as I’m concerned.’ These were the words Draco had heard from his father one night at the dinner table and they seemed to take so much sense now. What had sounded like a casual remark at one time had resulted in a true wrecking of Jamie’s academic life, and incidentally in a threat on a bunch of kids’ security.

‘I would say it needs more thorough research and verification, but this theory at least explains why the magical signature we found on the young Mr Potter was so similar to Professor Malfoy’s,’ Healer Fawcett reluctantly agreed once Draco had got it all off his chest, not showing one bit of empathy.

Jamie wondered why she’d become a healer if she cared for her patients so little, but then again, maybe it was doing the healer job of watching a lot of people suffering on a daily basis that had thickened her heart so much.

‘If it is really Lucius Malfoy’s doing,’ she went on after a little scribbling pause on a tattered parchment, ‘the curse must have been linked with the Malfoy bloodline very intricately, or it would have risked fading away with the caster’s death, which serves the purpose of the spell doubly better in its locating of the hypothetical illegitimate children.’

Jamie didn’t really understand everything Healer Fawcett said but Draco was nodding slowly and Dad was looking on with a convinced expression, so Jamie reckoned that even if her answer wasn’t too definitive yet, she knew what she was talking about, so he asked the question that was the most important to him:

‘So why am I not a Squib, then?’

‘That’s what the next few rounds of tests will be trying to figure out, Mr Potter,’ Healer Fawcett answered with a stern voice, implying quite frankly that they’d better go back to business lest she had to stay there past her work-hours.

~

For the next hour of allegedly innovative magical medicine, not only Jamie was alone again, Draco having quit his guinea-pig status, but the tests didn’t consist in only wand-waving anymore. There seemed to be taken samples of everything that could be sampled, from Jamie’s hair, to his saliva, to some of his dead skin.

Jamie had no idea how the content of his sweat could explain why Lucius’s curse hadn’t worked on him as intended, but he didn’t complain much because Dad and Draco were still at his sides and Jamie could see them exchange looks at regular intervals, looks that Jamie was wont to qualify as meaningful.

It was like Dad was more aware of himself than usual and Draco was constantly forgetting to school his features into their usual blank mask, and Jamie would catch his dad trying to straighten his clothes or flatten his hair or adjust his glasses, and the corners of Draco’s mouth weren’t ever immobile anymore, always trying to trace a smile on Draco’s face.

Well, at least this could happen when they weren’t fussing over him, Dad with all his worried looks and petting of hair and Draco with his guilty expressions and demands for Healer Fawcett to justify one procedure or another.

At one point in the afternoon, Fawcett said she had to leave for an hour or so to begin brewing a revealing potion on Jamie’s cut fingernails and Jamie took it as the golden occasion to pretend to have a nap. It would leave Dad and Draco alone and maybe they’d finish their aborted conversation (which Jamie was sure would have been very deep and very romantic and maybe would have ended in a desperate declaration of love) from this morning, and Jamie could even hear everything they’d have to say to each other through his pretend-sleep.

‘Er…’ Dad began, not very promisingly. But Jamie had faith in him, and enough experience being comforted and scolded and taught about life to know that his dad had a very good experience with Saying The Right Thing. ‘I guess I’ll take advantage of this little time off to head home for a bit.’

Okay, not the right thing at all, then.

And Draco, who was supposed to be a good talker, whose job it was to talk to people and keep them interested, didn’t even say anything at all. Jamie guessed he must have nodded though, because the next sounds were of Dad leaving the hospital wing.

‘Why didn’t you tell him to stay?’ Jamie burst out of his covers, startling Draco enough for him to let out a very small and very dignified shriek. ‘Or at least follow him or something! I can leave you time alone to sort things out, but I can’t do more.’

Jamie knew he must be flailing like a loon, but he was too frustrated to care. He let himself fall down on his mattress with a loud sigh. When he turned back to look at Draco, he was treating Jamie with The Eyebrow, so Jamie just rolled his eyes and sighed again.

‘I thought you were supposed to be a Slytherin! Can’t you be sneaky or something? What does a boy have to do nowadays to get his parents to snog it out?’

Draco’s eyebrow went even higher at that, but it at least produced a spoken answer from him. ‘Snog it out, really? We’re hardly teenagers anymore. If you want us to have a real relationship, I don’t think snogging it out would be any solution at all.’ Jamie almost started to protest, but Draco went on with a sharp look, ‘And you couldn’t have seen it because you were, I quote, “having a nap”,’—Jamie guessed he was supposed to feel guilty but just wanted to roll his eyes again—‘but the look on Harry’s face when he departed was positively skittish. It took us more than a year to properly get together the first time around and I know this skittish look very well. Harry had it a lot back then. It’s very difficult to choose something as big, something that can change your life forever. Especially now that he’s been burnt once before.’

Jamie wasn’t too happy about it and knew it was obvious in his demeanour, but it was only fair that Dad would not to be pressured into anything, so Jamie thought he could agree to Draco’s unbearably slow wooing method, even if Jamie knew that deep down his dad wanted it perhaps as much as Jamie did.

‘But you think it’ll work out, right?’ Jamie couldn’t help but ask to reassure himself once more of the viability of The Plan.

Draco took a very faraway look for a few moments, and then he answered as if he was trying very hard not to get distracted. ‘I do,’ he said. ‘And this morning, I got to talk to him, and—’

‘But Dad didn’t even say anything!’ Jamie interrupted, without thinking it through very much.

Draco pursed his lips and yeah, the pretending to sleep thing wasn’t going to work anymore after that, but Draco didn’t comment on it. ‘Our almost-conversation from this morning did give me hope, in a way.’

Draco lay on the bed next to Jamie’s, with his hands crossed behind his head and his gaze fixed on the white ceiling. He was smiling. ‘Does Harry still like treacle tart as much as he did before?’ he asked with a dreamy quality in his voice.

In these exact time and place, where they took a break from mentioning his magic and everything that could go wrong with him, the happiness Jamie was feeling was so absolutely perfect that it burst out of Jamie’s chest in a hysterical laugh. Draco turned to him abruptly and with a worried look, but after watching Jamie’s face for a few seconds, and seeing the tremendous joy Jamie couldn’t keep inside, he laughed too.

~

When Healer Fawcett left that night, no progress had been made to discover why the Squib-curse (Draco absolutely abhorred the name used for it, so Jamie used it even more so he could see Draco wince each time he did) hadn’t worked properly on Jamie or how it could be lifted.

According to Healer Fawcett, there were very high probabilities that, as it was linked to the Malfoy line, if Draco were to die, the curse would disappear, as Lucius Malfoy wasn’t fool enough to deprive of magical powers the last of his bloodline and this, even more if the illegitimate child happened to be a pure-blood. They all agreed on not being too keen to test that theory, but Healer Fawcett a little less enthusiastically than the others.

The only thing they were sure of with undeniable scientific proof was that Lucius Malfoy had cast a curse on his son so that any and every child he would have out of wedlock wouldn’t be able to practice any magic. As far as Jamie was concerned, the test-spells Healer Fawcett had run to prove that had been quite useless, as they’d already known all this.

Draco had brought dinner for three from the kitchens and Jamie noticed with a beaming smile that there was a full plate of treacle tart for dessert. Dad smiled at Draco and said, ‘Thank you very much, Draco,’ and Draco smiled too because Dad has used his given name deliberately. And then there was this moment where Draco had a bit of whipped cream on the side of his mouth and Dad told him and Draco licked it off with a flick of his tongue and Dad stared at him way longer than he should have, and Jamie would have begun singing Kiss the Girl at the top of his lungs if only Dad or Draco had been a girl and Jamie had been certain it wouldn’t have made them worry it was a side-effect of the curse.

So yeah, the evening had gone very well, and Jamie was starting to purposefully yawn and let his eyes get closed and better settle in his bed in the last hope that maybe he could try the pretend-sleep technique after all, but Draco just looked at him with a sharp gaze and suggested to accompany Dad to the closest Floo because it was on the way to his private rooms, but didn’t say anything about Dad maybe sharing the aforementioned private rooms.

They said goodnight to Jamie and left the hospital wing in silence and without their cloaks touching each other, but Jamie could feel in his guts and in what he’d guessed from the look in Draco’s eyes that something was going to happen.

Draco had maybe thwarted Jamie’s pretend-sleep plan, but Jamie had more than one trick up his sleeve—or rather down his cloak pockets. He fetched his faithful Elongated Ears and dashed to the infirmary main doors the most quietly possible.

He could hear sounds from the other side before reaching them and slipped on his spying device immediately. They were making it way too easy for him, not even waiting to be a few corridors away.

‘—holding up very bravely. He’s quite a Gryffindor,’ Draco was saying, no doubt making small talk about Jamie.

‘Except he’s really not,’ Dad answered with a smile in his voice. ‘I really wonder how he ended up in Hufflepuff. When he was growing up, I was sure he’d be Sorted in Slytherin, actually.’

‘Tell me about it!’

‘Yes, he often made me think of you.’ Dad went on, with an unexpected serious tone and his voice becoming gradually quieter. ‘When I left you, I tried my best to stay away from the Wizarding World, from everything that’d remind me of you. I went to live with the Muggles and I took a stay-at-home job and I stopped following Quidditch, but…once he was born, from the first time he opened his eyes and looked at me…I wanted to escape you so badly, but you were here with me all the time—you were in him.’

Dad was only whispering now, but he sounded so forlorn, Jamie could feel it seep through the door and through his chest. He would never have suspected how hard it was for his dad to love him so much when Jamie was the human incarnation of heartache.

‘What I told you this morning,’ Draco said in the same hushed voice, as if they knew they were listened on, ‘I meant it. I really do. I—my father, back then, he was—he...’ Draco didn’t seem to be able to finish his sentence, but Dad answered anyway.

‘He was the one who made you leave me, wasn’t he?’

‘How did you know?’ Even through his whisper Draco’s voice was hoarse and Jamie wondered whether he’d planned to have this conversation, and how much what they were saying now was veering off what he’d intended.

‘I guess I’d always suspected in one way or another, but with everything we learnt about the curse, it seems quite obvious, now. I don’t know what he said to you, but if he was enough of a bastard to curse you with this curse, I have no doubt in his abilities to convince you to dump me.’

Jamie could hear in his voice—heck, even if the sounds of his breathing—how difficult this was for his dad and Jamie had his eyes closed now, and his fingers crossed in his fists. He was encouraging his dad mentally with all he had. Jamie hoped he could give him all the strength he needed, but above all, all the hope possible.

‘It wasn’t exactly—’ Draco tried to intervene but Dad didn’t let him. Draco’s voice was louder, but there seemed to be more amplitude in Dad’s murmur than in a trumpet’s cry. ‘I don’t need to know the reasons, now. After twelve years I think it wouldn’t make sense to me anyway. There’s one thing I need to know, though. The one thing I couldn’t get out of my head for all this time. Something I was able to think about even when there was a leak in the kitchen’s sink or Jamie’s knee was scratched or Hermione announced she was pregnant.’

A sharp breath was taken and Jamie couldn’t tell if it was Dad bracing himself for the question the most important of his life or Draco for the answer.

‘Did you mean it? Everything you said, when— Did you really—?’

Draco didn’t say anything and Jamie wondered what the thump thump he was hearing could be before he realised it was the sound of his own heart beating inside his head, and gosh, he hoped Draco’s answer would be good enough, if only he could answer. How much time had passed since Dad had finished talking? Why wasn’t Draco saying anything? Jamie had this irrational fear everything was about to crash down and he wished he hadn’t come up here to eavesdrop on this conversation. He didn’t know if he could handle it if things turned bad now.

But when Draco finally said something, Jamie realised that not five seconds had gone by. ‘No. I didn’t mean a thing—I promise you—what I said, what I said—the most awful things…I wanted so much to make you go away. I was so certain it was the only solution to protect you. I’m so sorry and none of it was true, none of it made any sense for me. Of course I didn’t—You were the best thing that had ever happened to me. You’re still—well, there’s Jamie now too, isn’t there? I promise you, I…’ Draco trailed off.

‘All right,’ Dad said—and Jamie wasn’t even entirely sure he said it and it wasn’t his imagination, because his voice was so close to silence.

There was real silence for a few beats and Jamie could hear only his own breath loud and clear and he thought that maybe Dad and Draco could hear it too, but then there was a shuffling of feet on the other side of the door, and a ruffle of clothes and—

All right, Jamie was less than a specialist when kissing was concerned. Movies put aside, he’d never seen a kiss for real except from a few pecks on the lips from all of Dad’s paired up friends and family, and he’d certainly never heard one before. But this—the sounds that came from the corridor right now—this was not wishful thinking. It was honest-to-god kissing and Jamie could have sworn it. Well, he couldn’t really hear it anymore now that his head was filled with swelling violins, but he knew it.

Jamie smiled to himself, happy from a job well done, and went back to bed.

~*~


The next morning, when Jamie woke up, Dad and Draco were already in the hospital wing. They were sitting around his bed, one on each of his sides, Draco keeping himself occupied with a pile of essays and Dad with what looked like a crossword puzzle.

It was all highly suspicious.

Jamie looked very, very attentively. None of them wore the same outfit as the day before, their hair was not more or less rumpled than usual and nothing unusual marked their skin.

There definitely was something there, though. Something Jamie couldn’t quite put his finger on, but something that was undeniably there, and that wasn’t going away.

Jamie didn’t have much more time to ponder it, as a loud click-click announced the arrival of Healer Fawcett at great speed. When he looked up to her, she seemed even more stern than ever, a deep frown wrinkling her forehead, and a few strands of hair escaping her bun the only thing spoiling her business-like appearance.

‘I have received the results of yesterday’s potion-tests. You’ll be happy to know they are very conclusive.’

Jamie sat up in his bed. Draco put aside his quill and essays and Dad dropped his crossword in his coat pocket. They all watched Healer Fawcett in silence and she seemed almost surprised to have so much of their attention when she looked up from the official-looking parchment she was reading.

She cleared her throat and went on, ‘The reason the curse didn’t rob James of all his magic has been precisely determined and all other hypothetical causes clearly ruled out. It is you, Mr Potter,’ she said, looking at Dad with a piercing gaze. ‘It is quite simple, really. When your very high level of magical capacity was transmitted to your son, it was strong enough to overrule the power of the curse. The fact that you actually gave birth to him only enhanced this transmission, officially marking James with your magic, in a certain way. Thanks to this great magical power, which is so not only in quantity but also in quality, the curse was very effectively incapacitated.’

Jamie felt his dad’s hand on his and turned to him. He was still listening to Healer Fawcett very attentively and smiling slightly. It was maybe ironic (Jamie wasn’t really sure because this Alanis Morissette song had confused him a lot on this word’s actual meaning) that after worrying so much and feeling so guilty about what happened to Jamie, his dad being his dad was what had saved him from being a Squib.

‘This is basically why no problem had ever manifested with Jamie’s magic before he went to Hogwarts. It is indeed my understanding that, prior to arriving here, James had had no contact with Professor Malfoy?’ They all nodded and Healer Fawcett ticked something on her parchment. ‘It seems then that, arriving in Professor Malfoy’s proximity, the curse, which was only dormant, rejuvenated. It then started to fight with Mr Potter’s magic, its closeness to the Malfoy bloodline not only making it stronger but also in some way “reminding” the curse of James’s illegitimate status. You did say in early interrogations that your magic acted out the most in the Charms classroom.’

Jamie nodded, but she was obviously not waiting for an answer from him, because she was ready to go on when she was interrupted by Draco’s question: ‘So why was I able to reduce the curse’s effects if being close to me made it stronger?’

‘I’m coming to it, if you’d let me finish?’ Healer Fawcett’s tone was severe and Jamie wouldn’t have liked being on the other end of the look she was giving Draco.

Jamie wondered briefly if her animosity maybe came from an unrequited love and if things would have been different for her had Dad and Draco never split up, but then she was going on with her explanation, so he needed to focus.

‘Things changed, as far as the curse was concerned, when you started to get emotionally closer to your son, Professor Malfoy.’ Jamie only realised now how she used Draco’s title more as an insult that as a form of respect. ‘When you started accepting James as your son, because you didn’t make any difference out of his illegitimacy, the curse got—how to put it?—confused, and this, in addition to the Potter magic that was still there to fight it, made it gradually less potent and permitted the young Mr Potter to learn new spells without inconveniences.’

Yes, Jamie might have seen more romance than any other genre, but he’d seen mystery movies too, and Healer Fawcett’s speech was totally reminding him of the detective or private investigator about to announce that the butler did it.

‘The reason why it all came to a head a few days ago was in James’s robe pocket. The Malfoy cufflinks you so generously offered him as a Christmas present caused the curse to absolutely go berserk, for lack of a better term. It was a clear and official sign of James’s belonging to the Malfoy line while he was still illegitimate and the Potter magic was stronger than ever after James’s renewed exposure to the original Potter magic during the break. James’s magic core couldn’t bear it anymore and it all exploded when he tried to cast his first spell.’

Healer Fawcett’s tone was signalling the end of her speech. Jamie had found her very convincing and clear and interesting and if he had to mark it as an oral presentation he’d certainly go for the top mark, but there was still a question she hadn’t answered, and which seemed quite crucial (at least from Jamie’s point of view).

‘How can we cure the curse, then?’

Healer Fawcett put her parchment down and sat on the nearest bed with a sigh. ‘Well, unfortunately, the curse itself cannot be medically removed; it is much too attached to the magical core for that. Otherwise, apart from ending the Malfoy line—which it seems you have regrettably ruled out,’ (Draco scowled, but Jamie found Healer Fawcett’s sincere hope they’d choose to kill off Draco quite funny) ‘there is little else that can be done. The only solution I can see would be to come back to the situation as it was before your coming to Hogwarts, that is to say, being as far as Professor Malfoy as can be and stop any sort of contact with him.’

~

Jamie was absolutely, completely, utterly crestfallen. How could the solution to his magic problem be not seeing Draco ever again? How could it, when Draco being around seemed to be the solution to everything else.

It was the solution to Dad’s loneliness and to Draco’s loneliness—and Jamie had seen the look they addressed each other when Healer Fawcett had announced the verdict and if there wasn’t love in it, then Jamie agreed to become Hara-Kiri (he didn’t know what it was exactly be he knew it was something very painful). He knew for sure they’d found each other again last night and there was no way they were going to get separated by something as stupid as their child’s health. This would never have worked in a Sandra Bullock movie, that was for sure.

It was also the solution to this aching need Jamie always had without realising it to have a second parent, a need that was unbearably painful now that he’d had Draco for a while and that he’d have to give him up.

And really, it could have been the solution to Jamie’s life, because everything could have been so much better with Dad and Draco and Jamie all together as a family. Nothing could have gone wrong and it would have been the happy ending to the movie, shortly followed by a happy montage on a happy music about everything they’d do together for the few years afterwards, showing their successes and their laughs and most of all, a great deal of love.

And so he was in his Hufflepuff dorm room packing his stuff all alone because the others were in class, and despite pleading and trying very, very hard not to cry so he could persuade his parents it was the worst idea ever, Dad and Draco had decided he was to leave Hogwarts. The decision was made because Jamie was the most important thing in his dad’s life and Draco found it was the best time to become a sacrificial hero. As far as Jamie was concerned, it was a lot of rubbish.

Jamie would have to go to Beauxbâtons, and wouldn’t he like it there? Victoire and Dominique were there already and everyone said French food was really good and certainly Jamie would like it. But Jamie hated it already, and if you asked him, he’d even say he had always hated France, with its moustaches and silly hats and bread and dogs and accordions, and really, people saying they liked France were either completely mental or the most lying liars ever.

And it was all very confusing because at the moment he wished he was a Squib, but if he’d been a Squib he’d never come to Hogwarts and he’d never met Draco and he’d had no reason to want to be a Squib. Life was very unfair, but it wasn’t life’s fault, really, it was mainly Lucius Malfoy’s and Jamie hated him with all his guts and maybe he hated him more than he hated France and that was a feat, but then again, he’d heard the Malfoys were part French so it was all linked, really.

He wished Lucius Malfoy had never been born, that was what he wished—except, except that without Lucius there was no Draco and the point of all of it was to have a Draco so no, he’d have to wish for something else. He wished Lucius had let Dad and Draco just be together, let them be in love, and have their happy ever after, where they’d get married and have a lot of children and—

When it struck his brain, Jamie’s idea was so monumentally great that it almost hurt.

He dropped his Herbology textbook where it was and ran the fastest his legs could humanly run. He went through corridors, climbed up stairs and crossed intersections at breakneck speed and when he reached the hospital wing, his parents and Healer Fawcett were blissfully still there.

Dad and Draco were holding hands and talking quietly with their foreheads almost touching and when they looked up upon his arrival, Jamie could see the red around his dads’ eyes. Even Healer Fawcett seemed a little disgruntled, but it was maybe more because Draco was staying than because Jamie was leaving.

‘I know how else to lift the curse!’ Jamie was too breathless to exclaim properly, but he hoped his Eurêka! feeling had been conveyed well enough. He went to sit next to his parents and said with the more Hercule Poirot-level of certainty he could muster: ‘You just have to get married!’

But Jamie didn’t get all the whoops and yays and elated hugs he’d hoped for. Dad just looked at him sadly and Draco put a comforting hand on his shoulder and said sombrely, ‘Even if we did, Jamie, we still weren’t married when you were born, you still would be illegitimate. Adoption doesn’t work for purebloods.’

Jamie felt something crush inside of him, it was something very faint and it made his breath ragged but for only a short moment, and when it was over, Jamie felt so completely empty that he realised what had just happened, and it was the worst thing that could happen, really. He’d just lost his last thread of hope.

And looking into his parents’ eyes, he could see how they’d lost theirs too. And at the same time, they’d never looked as close together as they did now. Dad was slightly leaning into Draco and his hand was closed around Draco’s wrists, stroking it with soothing fingers. There were a lot of feelings in this little gesture and Jamie had never been witness to so much intimacy and sense of belonging, and just the idea that it would be torn apart shortly—

How could they let it happen? Dad had slain the darkest of dark wizards, hadn’t he? Jamie had always believed there was nothing his dad couldn’t do, but realising he’d been wrong now, on top of everything, just made him want to slip in one of the hospital wing’s beds and never wake up.

‘Wait—’

It was Healer Fawcett who’d said that, breaking an intense silence that was smothering Jamie’s insides. Jamie turned towards her instinctively but without much expectation.

‘Of course a marriage wouldn’t make Jamie suddenly not being born out of wedlock anymore, but—’ She stopped abruptly and Jamie wanted to throttle her for not being more to the point, but at the same time there was this “but” and Jamie couldn’t help but feel it was meant to imply there was something that could be done.

Jamie tried to keep his emotions in check though. As Draco had told him, false hope was the worst kind of hope.

Healer Fawcett went to look at some results parchments again, everybody in the room hanging on her every word but not really, because if she’d produced this little spark in them just to crush it again Jamie didn’t know if they could stand it. When she gasped and her face contortioned itself in what seemed to be her version of a smile, Jamie’s heart stopped.

‘James’s main problem is the competition inside his body between the Potter magic and the Malfoy curse, isn’t it? It would need further justifications, but it seems that a very strong and deep magical bond between the Potter magic and Malfoy blood would keep them from trying to overcome the other. Some tests need to be run first of course, but it is my belief, that—’

Healer Fawcett couldn’t finish her sentence because Dad was now smothering her in a very fierce hug. Jamie knew this kind of hugs very well: it was the best ever.

~*~


There was a little emotional havoc when Dad felt he maybe shouldn’t be so glad to rush into a life-long and somewhat unbreakable bond when the relationship had only just rekindled, and then promptly felt guilty for thinking it. And then Draco tried to convince himself Dad was only accepting the bond for Jamie’s sake and that he’d trap Dad forever in a loveless marriage.

It was all resolved by Jamie taking them apart and knocking sense into them and things could take their rightful path.

Healer Fawcett was indeed true to her words and she first ran a few more magical tests on the three of them before concluding unequivocally that a bond between Dad and Draco would be enough to calm Jamie’s intern magical turmoil.

Jamie tried to convince them to do a huge wedding ceremony where they could invite all their friends and eat delicious food and receive a lot of gifts but Dad and Draco categorically refused. It seemed they thought such an event would make the front page of the Daily Prophet and they weren’t too comfortable with that.

Besides, Draco seemed a little too happy to remind him that he’d missed too many classes as it was and they needed the bonding to happen shortly so that his studies could take their regular pace back.

Jamie would have liked cakes and balloons better, but he didn’t complain too much because each times their eyes found each other, Dad and Draco had this undiluted besotted expression on their faces and what could be better than that, really?

A very official-looking wizard came to the hospital wing to perform the wedding in the evening, and it was all a bit anticlimactic, but Teddy was there, and Uncle Ron and Aunt Hermione and were there too, as well as Draco’s mother (and when Jamie realised it was her grandmother it frightened him a little but he guessed marriage needed concessions, even on Jamie’s part, so he made it okay), and they’d brought nicer wizard robes for Dad and Draco to wear and even if Uncle Ron’s face was abnormally red for the whole ceremony, there was so much love irradiating from Dad and Draco that Jamie didn’t mind it one bit.

Dad and Draco kissed at the end and Jamie thought maybe he should close his eyes and concentrate on the sounds so he could verify his theory on what they’d been doing the other night, but he couldn’t detach his gaze from them. They totally deserved the inspirational music and the spinning of the camera around them and some Princess Bride reference, because Jamie was still not a specialist on the subject, but on a scale from one to ten, this kiss totally deserved a three-hundred-and-nine mark.

~


After that, things weren’t sunshine and roses all the time.

Dad and Draco decided to wait a bit and do a bit more traditional dating before living together and even then it was logistically a little complicated with Draco living at Hogwarts and everything.

Jamie’s magic problems didn’t disappear all at once and he still had to go to practice sessions for a few months before being able to use it normally, but then there were the exams approaching so it was all a lot of stress.

At one point the papers found out about the whole story too and there was a whirlwind of owls and botched interview attempts from overzealous journalists and Draco actually almost maimed one and it was all very distressing for Dad, who seemed to really, really hate journalists.

But in the end none of the bad things really made any mark in Jamie’s memories, because the story might not close with “Jamie was a very normal twelve-year old boy”, and Jamie still wasn’t really the main character, but there totally was a happy ever after, and that was what really counted, first and foremost.


Epilogue

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July 2012

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