harry potter, aged 23, visiting teddy and andromeda for his normal weekly cup of tea and w/e, and andromeda is in the kitchen and teddy’s run upstairs to fetch harry the latest game he’s obsessed with, and harry notices a leatherbound photo album half-sticking out of the bookshelf in the living room that he’s never seen before, and sort of idly takes it down, and it’s full of photos of the malfoys
photos of narcissa: standing stiffly next to andromeda, the two of them not touching, looking very dubious, and teddy’s ruffled head in the bottom left corner of the picture as he tries uselessly to leap up and wave; sitting very still in a high-backed armchair looking quietly pleased and possessive with teddy six months old and asleep in the crook of her arm; frowning intensely as she pushes rune cards towards a blithely chattering 3 year old teddy.
but most of the photos are of draco. draco asleep on the sofa with teddy curled up and asleep on his chest – there are deep grey circles under draco’s eyes and he’s waxy pale with exhaustion even in sleep, and teddy can’t be more than a couple of months old. draco looking horrified and holding a squirming pudgy teddy at arms length as teddy gleefully spits up what looks like some of his first solids on draco’s crisp white shirt. draco reading a copy of the daily prophet with a 2001 date while teddy crawls up over his back and hangs off around draco’s neck and blows spitballs in his ear. draco and teddy posed solemnly in andromeda’s back garden, draco straddling a broom, teddy next to him and almost beside himself with excitement on the toy broom harry got him for his fourth birthday. draco and teddy playing exploding snap. draco walking in a park next to andromeda with a fast asleep four year old teddy scooped up easily in his arms, snoring on his shoulder. draco in dark jeans and a soft, worn thin looking t-shirt laughing up at the camera while teddy advances on him with hands covered in brightly coloured paint.
harry had no idea narcissa and andromeda were in touch, let alone draco. when he hears teddy thundering back downstairs, he quietly closes the book and replaces it in the cupboard. it doesn’t have to mean anything. he testified at both of the malfoys’ trials. he doesn’t care about them anymore. he’s not even angry.
only that monday at the ministry, when he’s heading for auror hq, draco malfoy wanders past in his buttoned up formal robes clasped tight around his neck, frowning and haughty as ever over a file, shooting harry a swift venomous look as is his habit, and harry’s heart suddenly kicks into high gear.
What if besides Snape, Dumbledore and Harry, the Marauders correspond to the Three Brothers too? Peter, the first brother. Corrupted by a false idea of power and protection, given by a source immeasurably more powerful than him, constantly hurting people around him to maintain said power and, in the end, dead for it. Sirius, the second brother. The one whose loved ones are dead, the one arrogant and passionate enough to try overcome death, if given the chance, to bring his loved ones back. Remus, the third brother. The last one to die, who lived under invisibility after their brothers were gone, but who took it off once he knew his time to face death has come, in this case, in the battle of Hogwarts. James, the death itself. Where everything began and where everything will end. The legitimation for the first brother’s power, for the second brother’s desolation, for the third brother’s comfort to finally leave. The one waiting to greet the brothers after their deaths.
I know what you’re going to say, that Regulus changed his mind… but he doesn’t seem to have explained that to Kreacher, does he? And I think I know why. Kreacher and Regulus’s family were all safest if they kept to the old pure-blood line. Regulus was trying to protect them all.
S I R I U S + R E G U L U S The brightest stars in the sky
You are loved more than you know.
I hereby pledge all of my days to prove it so.
Though your heart is far too young to realize
the unimaginable light you hold inside,
I’ll give you everything I have.
I’ll teach you everything I know.
I promise I’ll do better.
I will always hold you close.