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In the Stars

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Draco sighed at the hand gripping his thigh. He’d earned the "warning squeeze." Danger: tone, volume, and/or number of drinks neared the upper range of acceptable.

Refreshments offered at the play were noticeably lacking in alcohol, and he was perfectly pleasant. His commentary must not have been hushed enough for the auditorium.

"Okay, okay." He eased Hermione's hand, brushing his thumb across her knuckles. "It's just that you said he was the hero. It's fine if he's not; Scorpius would make a dashing villain. You just set a certain expectation."

"Just watch, Draco."

So he did. He shuddered as the McLaggen sprog puffed his chest, threatening to hunt and kill every animal. He cheered indulgently when Scorpius, aptly cast, vanquished Orion with his sting.

But when Hermione searched for his reaction, he just lifted a shoulder, face impassive.

Her brow furrowed. "Scorpius wanted to make you proud."

"I am! Really, darling. He was brilliant. He was the...stinging-est scorpion there ever was. It's just…" He pulled a grudging thumb toward his left. "Their kid gave him orders."

Hermione leaned around Draco, smiling apologetically at Harry and Theo. "Lily made a lovely Gaia," she whispered. "I can tell she practiced. And her costume!"

"Yes, well." Theo gave a smug wink. "She needed to be fit to direct her subordinates."

"Scorpius won’t be doing anyone’s bidding!” Draco hissed, gripping the arms of his seat.

Theo gaped at him for a moment before patting his arm in contrite recognition. Hermione stroked Draco’s thigh reassuringly. "Shhh. Of course not. It's just a play."

Heads had turned at Draco's hoarse outburst, and Theo glared, twirling a finger. "Show's up front."

Harry gave Theo his own warning squeeze, and Hermione bit her lip to stifle a laugh.

"Sorry," Draco cleared his throat. "Just—sorry. Lily was breathtaking."

Theo shook his head magnanimously. "The scorpion saved the animal kingdom, though. If that was so easy, Gaia could've just fucked Orion up herself."

Harry snorted, but Draco was mollified. "True. He could've told her to sod off, but he did the right thing. Because he wanted to."

Theo nodded gravely. "You're raising a hero, mate." He whispered to Harry, who blushed furiously. “It’s your turn, but we’ll take Scorpius tonight if you take Mother Earth for the weekend.”

Hermione’s hand slid higher up Draco’s thigh—no longer a warning, now just a thrilling promise. “Deal.”