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Peki [userpic]
Fic: Aftermath (1/?), Draco/Astoria, PG13
by Peki (peki)
at February 10th, 2017 (12:21 am)

Fic: Aftermath (1/?)
Pairing: Draco/Astoria, Lucius/Narcissa
Rating: PG13
Summary: Life goes on, though not quite how Draco had planned.
A/N: For my sisters - something nice and (hopefully) short-ish. <3 To be continued/completed soon.

“I don’t know why you’re so upset. This is good news, and Merlin knows we’ve been needing some of those!”

Sometimes Draco thought he didn’t know his mother at all. Narcissa kept buttering her toast, completely unconcerned while he spent a full minute spluttering and choking on his outrage. When neither that nor his attempts to melt her with the heat of his glare produced any reaction, he was forced to actually find words.

Draco didn’t have words for this, which was shocking in and of itself.

“Do you really think this is the right time?” he coughed. The right time was never, as far as he was concerned, but especially not after a ruinous war that had cost them their reputation, a good chunk of their fortune, and almost their lives. His parents were supposed to be licking their wounds, yes, but please not literally. Draco looked down at his plate of kippers, which stared back at him as dead and empty inside as he felt. He wanted to be sick.

“This wasn’t part of any plan I ever had, but here we are. Please, darling, I know it’s all been a lot to get used to, but do try to look on the bright side.” Narcissa looked up at him then, and Draco couldn’t find it in himself to be angry at her when she was actually sort of happy for the first time in months. “Strength in numbers and all that, hm?”

“Mum…” Draco sighed, trying and failing to resign himself to the thought of a little sister. “Aren’t you a little…” Old, was what he meant to say, but he saw his mother raise her eyebrows and didn’t dare go there. “Worried? People will talk--”

“People always talk.” The thought seemed to amuse her. “And this is better than anything else they could say about us. If anything, it’s a good distraction.”

Draco was deeply skeptical about this, but it seemed pointless to push the issue when the cat was already out of the bag. Or in the bag, as it were. He eyed Narcissa warily as if the baby might burst out of her any minute now and come for his face as well as his sanity and equilibrium. "How long have you known?"

"A few months. Honestly, Draco, I haven't exactly been able to hide it, disillusionment charms can only do so much!" she said when he exclaimed in shock. "I thought you'd already guessed."

Draco refused to think about his parents in a baby-making capacity. Yes, Narcissa had looked strangely round lately, but he'd thought that was the stress eating; after the year they'd had, indulging in therapeutic chocolates would've been a far more sensible thing to do than go and procreate. For the first time, the thought of returning to Hogwarts didn’t seem so terrible. At least he would be away from everything to do with the baby.

In this respect he was luckier than his father, who seemed far less enthusiastic about parenthood in middle age than Narcissa.

“Mum won’t stop talking about baby this and that,” Draco remarked as he wandered into Lucius’s study after breakfast, having left his mother to her own disturbing musings. He closed the door, hoping for a quiet moment of male commiseration, and threw himself into the nearest armchair.

Lucius was perusing the newspaper to keep abreast of the family’s ritual crucifixion by way of the print press. Now he looked at his son, who was trying his best to assume a pose of abject misery that would not be too uncomfortable on the antique furniture. “Yes; this is a circle of hell I wouldn’t have cared to revisit.”

Draco didn’t know if he should feel insulted. Everything about his birth had been miraculous and special after all; his mother had always told him so and he had no reason to believe otherwise.

“Alas, I am trapped,” Lucius continued dryly. “The Ministry couldn’t have devised a cleverer punishment if they’d tried.”

Draco didn’t particularly care for his mother’s little surprise either, but all things considered, they’d had worse times, even if Lucius was sitting out a lifetime sentence here. “Well. Mum seems happy.”

His father sighed. “I’m sure I don’t know what’s gotten into her.”

Draco barely resisted a truly disgusting joke. “Uh-huh.”

Lucius folded the newspaper with an air of resignation. “I’d like to take this opportunity to impress on you the importance of always using protection. Even when the situation looks dire and you’re fairly sure you won’t be alive to face the consequences of your actions.”

“Thanks, but I think that’ll be the least of my problems at Hogwarts.” If Draco hadn’t been so disturbed by the whole thing, he might have found it funny that his ever-so-strategic parents had managed to produce a baby by accident.

“What are the chances, really,” continued Lucius, who was clearly thinking along the same lines. “After all the difficulty we had conceiving years ago when we were actively trying to--”

Draco made a gagging noise. “Nothing I ever needed to know about.”

His discomfiture seemed to amuse his father. “Come now, Draco, you’re an adult. You’ll have to set an example in maturity when your sister arrives.”

Draco wasn’t going to be setting examples for anyone anytime soon. “And how is she having a girl? There haven’t been any girls born into the family in centuries.” As a matter of fact, there hadn’t been more than one child per generation in centuries, period; that way, there never had to be a division of assets and the family fortune kept growing. Draco felt quite sour about it all and about the world in general. Everything was changing around him and not to his advantage; he didn’t like it.

Lucius shrugged. “Chance, Narcissa tells me. I haven’t decided if I believe her, but it is what it is.”

Draco thought his father was being far too calm about this, which wasn’t usually something you would say about Lucius. Everyone was going bonkers already and the baby wasn’t even there. “You think she did this on purpose?”

His father raised his hands as if to admit defeat. “I’m saying nothing of the sort and if you tell her I did, you will find yourself without an allowance.”

“You can’t do that! I’m of age; the family gold is mine as much as yours--”

“Yes, but I’m still sitting firm on that pile of gold, so you’d better work with me here, son.”

Draco grumbled his assent.

“Narcissa always did want a daughter, is all I’ll say,” Lucius continued on in more reflective tones. “And, given all that she’s had to endure over the past few years, I am glad to see her happy.”

Draco moaned about it for a while, but at least whining provided him with some entertainment and his parents with just punishment, and ultimately, though he would never tell her so, he was inclined to agree that it was nice to see his mother smile. Her good cheer brightened up the whole house, which was a welcome relief from the doom and gloom of the previous months while the Death Eater trials had loomed over them. Now the dust was settling; hot summer days turned to bright, crisp autumn, the scorched earth brought forth tiny new seedlings, the mangled rose bushes grew in around the house again, and life was almost beginning to feel normal.

It might have been all right to keep hiding out there, just the three of them – soon to be four, ugh – but finishing his education at Hogwarts had been one of the Wizengamot’s stipulations of Draco’s release, and so he would go whether he liked it or not. And he didn’t like it, not one bit.

His mother saw him off at King’s Cross. It was a rainy, miserable day. Draco walked along platform 9 ¾ with his eyes firmly on floor, but still he felt people around him turn to stare, and the whispering swelled in their wake like the tide coming to land. Narcissa walked steadily beside him, hugging her robes around her ill-concealed girth.

“Shameless,” a man muttered. “Look at her, the wh--”

“Shh, not in front of the children!”

Draco bit his lip, his every instinct crying out against the sullen silence he kept. He almost wished his mother hadn’t accompanied him, for her sake and his, but he didn’t know how he would’ve made it through the crowds alone without doing anything stupid. He didn’t know how to make it through the train ride, or the school year for that matter.

“Well, here we are,” his mother said as they reached the end of the train. The platform was less crowded here; Draco hoped for a compartment to himself. He’d seen some of his housemates, but Blaise, Daphne and Theo had determinedly looked the other way. Pansy had been sent off by her parents to finish her education at Beauxbatons, and Goyle had finally found a reason to quit school in the public scorn against his family. He’d been well pleased with his lot last time Draco talked to him, as ever too dumb to understand what was really happening around him. Draco kind of envied him that right then, and he missed the big stupid ape too, just a little. He didn’t even want to think about Crabbe.

He took a deep breath. “I’ll be all right, Mum. Go home.”

“I’ll go after the train departs,” she smiled, and he knew she saw right through him, as she always had, and for a moment wanted to throw himself at her and have her hold him. As a child, he’d thought nothing could touch him when he was in her arms, but that was then. Here and now, she was just as lost as he was, standing alone among her peers with her cloak flapping around her skinny ankles and her back bent just slightly against the weight of the child she carried. “It’s strange without your father here to see you off.”

“Well, we’re used to it by now, aren’t we,” Draco said gracelessly, though it was the truth. The last time Lucius had seen him off had been at the start of Draco’s fifth year; a lifetime ago. He wasn't in Azkaban now, which was a comfort, but the Ministry had made their home into a prison, and that's where his mother would have to return. Draco shivered in the damp air.

"Don't talk like that. Better times will come. Be glad he's with us and not...there. I am." Narcissa glanced around at the other parents standing a ways off, whispering among themselves. "Better times will come."

Draco didn't know whether she really believed that, or if he should. His father certainly didn't; for all his luxury accommodations, Lucius was ill at ease, confined to the Manor and unable to do magic. Perhaps the baby would distract him when she arrived, Draco thought, frowning. It was a heavy burden for one small child. Suddenly, he felt some sympathy for his unborn sister. "Take care, Mum," he said, squeezing her cold, thin hand in his. "I'll see you at Christmas."

"Yes; imagine, your sister will be here by then," she smiled. "Write to me, darling, please. And if you need anything, let me know and I'll send it to you."

There were many things he needed, but none she could provide for him.

“Have you heard?” they whispered on the train. “Malfoy’s mum is up the duff.”

Giggling. “That baby could be who knows whose.”

“What? The baby’s You Know Who’s?”

“Well, it’s possible, innit?”

Draco kept to himself as much as he could for the first few days at school, which was surprisingly easy. He’d expected hostility, but as it turned out, that had been too optimistic: people really didn’t want anything to do with him. His dorm mates ignored him, which he had to concede was the smart thing to do even though the silence began to grate after the third request for Knott to pass the salt at the supper table went overheard. Draco had always liked to think he neither needed anyone’s help nor did they have anything to offer him anyway, but as the days went by and first-years scurrying off upon his arrival was the only acknowledgement of his presence, a heavy burden of self-consciousness bore down on him.

He’d always received attention in abundance, at home and elsewhere, but he’d believed he was ultimately self-sufficient. Not so; without Crabbe and Goyle to play off of, and Pansy’s adoring eyes on him, he was simply a nutter muttering to himself when he made jokes in class, and it was too soon to try and get a rise out of anybody, especially his favourite enemy.

For Harry Potter had returned to Hogwarts too, and wherever he went all eyes were on him as on a beacon of light in the darkness. It was a little ridiculous, Draco thought as he observed a gaggle of giggling girls – and some boys – make eyes at Potter across the Great Hall. Every person in the school from the headmistress to the house elves were enamoured of the stupid git, which was just silly, Draco thought, especially since Potter himself seemed eager to avoid the attention.

Draco had encountered him several times sitting alone at the top of the astronomy tower or slinking through the shadows on a detour to the dining hall, and there’d been some moments of terrible awkwardness as they tried and failed to glare at each other as they used to and then simply let each other pass without a word.

Potter, Draco thought, seemed just as tired as Draco felt of all the commotion, and just as ready to return to a semblance of their old lives. Unfortunately, neither one of them were going to get a respite from their newly assigned roles if anyone else had anything to do with it. It was unfair; Potter didn’t even properly appreciate what he had. Draco tried to get worked up about that but fell a little short. Potter had saved the world that one time, and much as Draco wanted to scoff, he couldn’t quite bring himself to wish that Potter hadn’t succeeded.

Everything would be much, much worse if he hadn’t.

Still, though, Draco wasn’t one to think positive thoughts if he could help it, and being obligated to feel grateful to Potter made him feel almost as sick inside as his mother’s biweekly updates on the goings-on at home. Draco now knew things he never would have cared to learn about pregnancy pains, but he indulged his mother, who seemed to have a less than enthusiastic audience in her husband. Mustering additional sympathy for Potter would be asking too much, and so Draco scowled determinedly whenever he ran into the bloke in some deserted corridor and noted with some satisfaction that Potter began to scowl back after a while.

Some things, at least, never changed. One of them was Minerva McGonagall, which might have been comforting if Draco’s appointments with her hadn’t been so unpleasant. He sat on a too-low chair in front of her desk in the headmaster’s study at least once a week, his long legs folded up almost to his chin, and was forced to listen with all due humility as she lectured him.

Humility didn’t come naturally to Draco.

“The Department of Magical Law Enforcement is monitoring you closely, Mr Malfoy. I’ve had to take time out of my days to write reports on your behaviour, time that I should be able to spend in a more useful fashion,” the headmistress informed him in stern tones.

“Like fawning over Potter?” Draco muttered sullenly; respectful silence didn’t come naturally to him either.

Unfortunately, McGonagall had excellent hearing for an old broad. She harrumphed, glaring at him over the rim of her glasses. “I’d appreciate it if you focused on your NEWTs and I didn’t have to do too much extra paperwork. Just this week, I had to write ten inches on that unfortunate incident with the giant Venus flytrap.”

“That wasn’t my fault.” Not that anyone ever listened to him when he said that.

“Professor Sprout wasn’t quite clear on that matter, but when the ringing in her ears has stopped, I will speak with her again. In the meantime, please conduct your studies of Herbology well out of the way of other students; it’ll spare us both a headache.” McGonagall spent half a minute staring Draco down. “How have you been getting on otherwise?”

“Fine,” Draco forced out through his teeth. He didn’t for one moment believe that she was asking for his sake.

“What do you do in your spare time?”

He scowled. She didn’t have to rub it in. “I study.”

“Really. Your work in class doesn’t show you applying yourself, I hear. Well. It’s never good for young men to be idle, they get up to stupid ideas. You need an occupation, I think.” He opened his mouth to protest , but then McGonagall surprised him. “I’m appointing you to the Slytherin Quidditch team.”

Draco started. “What?”

“The team is a player short, Professor Slughorn tells me, and they’re in need of someone with experience,” the headmistress told him in clipped tones. “I expect you to do your best in setting a good example for your fellow Slytherins and playing a fair and sporty season. If I find you are unable to do that, you will be suspended from the team and your behaviour will be subject to Ministry investigation. Do you understand me?”

“Yes,” Draco said, breathless. “But, Headmistress…” He trailed off. The other students wouldn’t want to play with him, never mind accept him as any sort of example. It’d be a mountain of opposition he’d be facing, impossible to overcome, and no doubt McGonagall knew this. And yet, Draco could almost feel the wind in his hair, could taste the damp highland air and hear the crowd’s screaming ringing in his ears, and he wanted it, wanted it more than he’d ever wanted anything. To fly again, to play just for the fun of it, just because he was here and he was alive and he could… He almost felt drunk with the sudden taste of freedom.

“Yes?” McGonagall asked, and he could hear the challenge in her voice, couldn’t help rising to it like the fool he was.

He would have to play her game, but at least he got to play. Draco slapped his hands down on his knees and stood, suddenly itching to get moving. “Well, I hope you’re ready for Slytherin to beat you,” he said with an attempt at bravado that he was sure was entirely transparent, but the headmistress did him the favour of not laughing in his face.

McGonagall shook her head ruefully and waved her hand at him to leave. “Don’t get ahead of yourself. Good day to you, Mr Malfoy.”

He felt unusually upbeat as he strode down the corridor outside the headmistress’s office, so when he turned a corner and ran straight into someone, he didn’t even manage more than a rather too cheery, “Hey, watch it!”

Too late, he saw that it was Potter whose glasses he’d knocked askew, and that he’d just missed a rare opportunity to berate the saviour of the wizarding world for his carelessness, which was a bit of a loss. Draco sighed mournfully and made to hurry on, but then Potter actually said, “You watch it, Malfoy,” and there was an opening Draco couldn’t resist.

Potter was wearing his Quidditch uniform, which reminded Draco of his own vastly improved circumstances. If they couldn’t have it out like they used to, at least they could play against each other on the pitch, and if words were had and noses were bloodied, well, that was all part of the sport. Cheerfully, Draco said, “Off to Quidditch practice? You’ll need it; the headmistress just put me back on the house team.”

Potter squinted irritably, which gave Draco the most pleasure he had felt in…years, probably. It was pathetic, really, but hey, he’d take it. “Seriously? You’re the best Slytherin has? Well, that’s good news then.”

“You think so? Wait until you get your arse kicked.”

“In your dreams, Malfoy,” Potter said, his mouth twisting oddly as if he was trying to scoff but couldn’t quite get his mouth to cooperate, and Draco enjoyed the warm glow of excitement and, for a moment, actually knew how Potter felt.

“We’ll see who has the rude awakening,” he retorted, and strode off before Potter could get a last word in.

Draco loved getting the last word in; not that he often did anymore.

His reception at the next training session of the Slytherin house team was lukewarm at best, but at least no one could say anything against his skills on a broom. Draco enjoyed the warm-up rounds of flying around the castle, edging ahead of the others with the ease of long practice and true enthusiasm; he flattened himself on his broomstick, the wind singing in his ears and drowning out the shouts of the new captain, a snot-nosed fourth-year who could barely stay upright on his broom, and who had only been appointed for maximum humiliation of the Slytherin team, Draco was sure.

“Well,” he said as the team had landed on the Quidditch pitch, “Looks like we’ve got some work to do.”

The others grumbled, but sometimes a fearful reputation was a good thing: no one dared object once Draco began to lay out his plans for Total Quidditch Domination, and when Draco started talking, he couldn’t soon stop. He paced back and forth in front of his puzzled housemates, painting flight patterns in the air with his hands and reminding the team of successful strategies by which they’d beaten the other teams in the past.

“All of that won’t matter, of course,” he said, breathless, “When I catch the Snitch--”

“You won’t,” Miller, the captain, put in blithely, thrilled to get a word in at last. He wiped his nose on his sleeve and gestured at a small girl, who must be a second year at most by the looks of her but who had actually shown some promise on a broom. “She plays Seeker, don’t you know.”

Startled from his fanciful musings, all Draco managed was, “Oh? So what will I be playing then?”

“Chaser, of course,” Miller told him as if he’d never heard a sillier question. “With those stupidly long arms you’ve got? Should’ve been playing Chaser all along, if you ask me.”

“Well, no one asked you!” Draco opened his mouth to expound on Miller’s stupidity as well as the unflattering assessment of his physique, but then Professors McGonagall and Slughorn appeared in the stands, no doubt to keep an eye on him. Momentarily, he debated if the argument was worth the inevitable talking-to, but then remembered that he was on thin ice already and sullenly shut his mouth. Seeker, Chaser, it didn’t matter; he wanted to play Quidditch, and he wouldn’t give everyone else the satisfaction of seeing him fail, and especially not before the first match.

Miller sniffed loudly. “Are you in or out then, Malfoy?”

Draco fervently hoped that a Bludger to the face would soon deliver them all from the misery of having to listen to Miller’s wet, nasal speech for the rest of the season, but for the moment, he could do nothing except inflict evil thoughts on anyone, and at least his imagination would keep him entertained. Grudgingly, he said, “I’m in. But it’s stupid!”

His new position took some getting used to, but he was fast and he had good reflexes, aided by a year of unfortunate practice in curse-throwing. Still, when Draco dragged himself back to the dorms in the evening after training, he was exhausted, and for the first time since he’d arrived at Hogwarts he fell asleep immediately without a care or worry what his dormmates were whispering among themselves or what the next day would bring.


Posted by: fallenwitch (fallenwitch)
Posted at: February 10th, 2017 04:52 pm (UTC)

Oh my gawd!

Posted by: fallenwitch (fallenwitch)
Posted at: February 10th, 2017 05:33 pm (UTC)
Draco | window

I hate/love your stories. I was just settling in, getting comfortable when it ended! I knew it was coming. I knew it was a multi-chapter fic, but I got so immersed that I was caught off guard. AGAIN. Gah.

I love your opening shot. Narcissa's pregnancy was shocking & original - esp at this point in their lives - and a brilliant plot twist. Draco should have had a sister in canon. Imagine all the fic possibilities? Narcissa's pregnancy was a clever way of bringing their lowered post-war status into focus without being the focus. But the real gem for me was the discussion between Lucius and Draco about the pregnancy. So subtle and funny and poking at all three of them at once. Such a joy to read.

Thank you for bringing us back to Hogwarts. I've missed it. But as I read, I wondered where Astoria was hiding. I kept looking for Astoria - looking and looking and looking. Sneaky of you to slip her in at the end but so brilliantly done. I'm looking forward to the next chapter!!!

Sorry for the inadvertent half post. I was trying to sign into LJ and - given my technical expertise - I accidentally posted before I started my review. Typical.

Edited at 2017-02-10 05:34 pm (UTC)

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: February 10th, 2017 05:47 pm (UTC)

I slipped her in? Where? Oh, the new Seeker? Naaaah. Ginny is the Quidditch playing love interest 😉 This is a different kind of story!

Astoria pops up in the next part. I hesitate to call them chapters because they're so short - sorry! But I can only get my ass in gear if I have some pressure to continue soonish.

Glad you liked the first bit, hope to have more up soon!

Posted by: fallenwitch (fallenwitch)
Posted at: February 10th, 2017 06:36 pm (UTC)
Boyd | dashing

What? Ginny's on the Slytherin Quidditch team? No, she's not. Astoria's not the Slytherin seeker? My head hurts. This is awesome. I love a good plot that I can't figure out! Full speed ahead, gf!

Posted by: Peki (peki)
Posted at: February 10th, 2017 06:42 pm (UTC)
lucius narcissa

Bwahaha. No, I meant that Quidditch type romances are usually D/G stories, as Ginny plays Quidditch in canon. That's why I don't want to write Astoria into the Slytherin team. She'll appear elsewhere :)

Can you believe I don't even have a Draco icon anymore? I don't think I have any icons except those that are uploaded! This thing is so 10 years ago...

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