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The Cabbage Capers by Rainpuddle
1. The Great Cabbage Brouhaha by Rainpuddle
2. The Trouble with Frogs by Rainpuddle
3. Valentine, Interrupted by Rainpuddle
4. Troubles in the Liamocracy by Rainpuddle
5. Buttercups and Prince Charmings by Rainpuddle
6. Fowl Play by Rainpuddle
7. A Lesson in Kissing by Rainpuddle
8. Be Careful What You Wish For by Rainpuddle
9. Grin and Bare It by Rainpuddle
The Great Cabbage Brouhaha by Rainpuddle
“You’re going to sit there until you eat every last bit of that cabbage, do you hear me?” Ginny said sternly to her four year old son who was steadfastly refusing to clean his plate.
“But I don’t like it!” Liam whined at the top of his lungs.
“Well, then I guess you’re going to have to just sit there.” She knew it’d be a test of wills, he was just as stubborn, if not more so, than his father. Unfortunately, she couldn’t use the same tactics to break Liam as she employed to break her husband. It always came down this – him whining while she made him sit there. “If you just eat it, you can leave the table.”
“No,” he stated resolutely, pushing his plate away before crossing his arms. “Why do I have to eat icky stuff when he don’t have to?”
She bounced the year old baby perched on her hip a little bit, Gareth gurgled happily. “Because he’s a baby and you’re a big boy.”
“I don’t wanna be a big boy!”
“Fine, then I’ll put you back in nappies and you can sleep in a baby cot again.”
“Nooooooo,” Liam wailed, tears streaming down his face. “I want to be a big boy like Da!”
“Well, then,” Ginny said with a grin, using the ultimate trump card in her arsenal. “Da likes to eat his cabbage.”
He shook his head slowly. “Uh uh, Da doesn’t eat it! He charms it away when you’re not looking!”
“He does what?” Ginny asked flabbergasted. Draco always told her how good her cabbage and potatoes were. Oh, he was most definitely going to hear about this when he got home.
“Charms it away, he told me not to tell.”
“Well, you still have to eat your cabbage, now get on with it,” she said firmly, shoving the plate back in front of him. “I don’t have all day.”
Liam eyed his plate dubiously, shoving the offending food with his fork. “It’s cold.”
Ginny groan in frustration before warming the plate of cabbage with a flick of her wand. “If you’d just eat it, then it wouldn’t get cold.”
“But I don’t like it!”
“Just eat it!”
“Fine,” Ginny seethed, her patience quickly running out. “You will sit there until you rot.”
The small, tow headed little boy stuck his tongue out at his Mum in defiance.
“William Draco Malfoy!”
He sobered immediately.
“I’m going to go put Gareth down. When I return, I expect to see a clean plate - do you hear me, young man?”
Liam nodded his head and sniffled. “Yes, Mum,” he whispered.
“And we’ll be having a talk with your father when he gets home.”
Ginny slowly made her way upstairs to put the baby down for the afternoon, the anger coursing through her was slow to fade. Liam could be so cheeky sometimes – it was enough to drive her nutters. And Draco only encouraged the behavior, thinking it was cute. It was a one woman battle in a household full of cheeky men, well; at least she still had Gareth. He hadn’t been corrupted, yet anyway.
She sat back in the rocker, her eyes closed, enjoying the peace that came with slowly rocking the baby to sleep. There was no annoying mini Draco in the nursery to defy her at every turn.
A small voice shattered her peace a little while later. “Mummy?”
“Did you eat your cabbage?” She never opened her eyes.
“Then I suggest you do that.”
“What did I just say?” Ginny could feel her blood pressure rising.
“I don’t like it.”
“And I don’t care! You will eat your cabbage.”
“No,” he said with all the gravity in the world. “I’m gonna runaway.”
“Fine,” she muttered as she put Gareth down in his cot. “Don’t wake him while you pack.”
Liam nodded. “Okay.”
She left the door partially open so she could hear her children from downstairs. The house-elves had beaten her to clearing the table, sparing Liam from seeing his unfinished lunch plate at dinnertime. She’d have to speak with them about that.
A soft pop ceased her frustrated attempts at picking up toys. The ringleader of the cheekiness was home.
His arms slipped around her waist, pulling her back against him. “Mmm, I’m home.”
“And?” she grumbled, stiffening slightly before pulling away from him.
“Okay, who did what?” Draco asked. “It wasn’t me I hope.”
Ginny just glared at him, her ears turning slightly red.
He blanched a little. “What did I do?”
“Got me pregnant, that’s what!”
“Again?” He fought hard to keep the smirk off his face.
“No, the first time!”
“What did Liam do then?” he asked, relief evident in his voice.
“He wouldn’t eat his cabbage,” Ginny stated as if he should have already known.
“Oh? You had cabbage for lunch? I’m sorry I missed that!”
“I bet you are, Mr. Charm-it-away-when-I’m-not-looking,” she seethed.
Draco swallowed hard. “You weren’t supposed to know about that.”
“I know more than you think.”
“I see that. So where is Liam now?”
She huffed. “Your son is upstairs packing - he’s running away because I wouldn’t let him leave the table until he ate his cabbage.”
The slamming of drawers could be heard during the ensuing silence following Ginny’s declaration.
“I’ll go talk to him,” Draco said softly, turning to head toward the stairs.
She stopped him. “No, he needs to learn the hard way.”
A closet door slammed followed quickly by the sounds of a crying baby.
“I told him not to wake to Gareth,” Ginny bristled as she sprinted for the stairs.
Draco caught up to her just as she lifting the baby from the cot. Ginny soothed her son, while taking in the devastation of the nursery. Clothes and toys where strewn about everywhere. The room was straight when’d she’d put Gareth down.
Liam came in dragging a couple of stuffed suitcases behind him, bits of colorful clothing peeking out of the half zipped bags.
“So,” Ginny asked smugly, “where are you going?”
Liam gave his mum an innocent look, his gray eyes twinkling mischievously. “I’m not going anywhere. I’m not old enough to Apparate yet. I packed your suitcases.”
The Trouble with Frogs by Rainpuddle
Draco had no idea that one person could be so tired.
He’d been traipsing all over Muggle London with Ginny. She was looking for something -- he still wasn’t sure what exactly -- but it necessitated his presence, mostly to carry the chequebook and mind the little monsters.
After a harrowing three hours in Harrod’s at Knightsbridge and a major dent in his vault, Ginny had announced it was time to head home, right after they’d had some dinner. Liam was near the point of collapse; Draco knew this well because he’d been carrying the boy around for the past two hours. He might look deceptively small, but he was quite heavy. Gareth had been conked out amongst the packages in his pram for hours, clutching Seymour the frog.
Ginny had stared longingly at the fancy restaurants in Harrod’s, but wisely chose a Chinese buffet that was on their way back to Diagon Alley. It was crowded, noisy and full of other families with children.
Draco watched as his oldest child laid waste to a second egg roll. “Liam, son, do you know what is in that egg roll?” He couldn’t wait to see the look on the boy’s face when he informed him that the main ingredient in egg rolls was cabbage.
“I wouldn’t say another word, Draco Malfoy,” Ginny said, not even attempting to veil the threat in her voice, “not if you want to sleep in my bed again.” She turned her attention back to Gareth, making sure he at least got some rice and noodles in his mouth instead of his hair.
When he was sure that his Mum was no longer paying attention, Liam leaned over to his Da, whispering, “What’s in an egg roll?”
Draco leaned in conspiratorially with his son, flaxen head to flaxen head. “I heard that egg rolls are full of chopped up flobberworm guts and that green stuff is grindylow skin.”
The little boy blinked, and then smiled. “Oh good, I thought you were going to tell me it was something gross like cabbage.”
Ginny put her two exhausted children in the bathtub while Draco fetched pyjamas. She had Gareth out and was in the process of drying him off when he returned with the requested items. The poor little boy could barely keep his eyes open as she quickly dressed him in his favorite blue footed pyjamas. Draco observed from the doorway the well rehearsed scene that played out before him.
“Can you stand right there, baby?” she asked Gareth. “Mummy will put you in bed in just a minute.”
He nodded slowly before sleepily rubbing his eyes.
She turned her attention to Liam, making sure that he was dried off and dressed for bed properly and then had brushed his teeth. While he waited, Gareth toddled over to his father, falling asleep leaning against his legs.
Liam giggled at the sight of his little brother. “He’s a silly baby.”
Ginny picked up the snoozing little boy. “Oh, Mummy’s baby is so knackered.” Gareth quickly adjusted to being held, nuzzling her neck in his sleep. “Liam, Da is going to put you to bed.”
Draco picked up his eldest child. “Give your Mum a kiss.”
Liam leaned toward his Mum from the safety of his Da’s arms to give her a sloppy kiss.
“I love you, sweetheart,” she said softly.
“I love you, Mummy.” He reached over, patting Gareth’s soft red curls lightly. Draco took a step closer so he could easily reach his little brother. “I love you, Gareth,” he whispered before giving the baby a kiss on the cheek.
Tears glistened in Ginny’s eyes. “He loves you, too.”
Liam gave her a huge smile. “I know!” he said as Draco followed suit, giving his youngest son a quick kiss atop his head.
“Good night, sweetheart, I’ll see you in morning,” she said softly.
“G’night, Mummy,” he gushed before giving her one more sloppy kiss.
Ginny took her sleeping baby to the nursery to put him down for the night. Gareth was completely knackered so maybe, just maybe, he’d sleep through the night. Unlike his big brother, Gareth was a light sleeper and rarely slept through the night. That really put a damper on the extracurricular activities she used to enjoy immensely. It would have been the perfect night to spend some quality time with Draco if she wasn’t so exhausted herself.
She pressed a gentle kiss to the baby’s forehead before laying him in the cot, pulling a soft yellow blanket up over him. “I love you, pumpkin,” she whispered.
Little blue eyes fluttered opened. “Sey, Sey?” he asked.
The frog! How in the world could she have forgotten Seymour the frog?
He couldn’t sleep without the stuffed animal his Aunt Pansy had given him the day he was born. He loved that little frog just as much as Liam loved his duck, Gustav. It would be the end of Gareth’s little world if something ever happened to Seymour.
“Oh baby, I’m sorry, he must still be in the pram! I’ll be right back,” she assured him before making a quick dash downstairs.
There was one major problem – no Seymour, at least not in the pram.
She checked their jackets in the foyer closet. No soft green stuffed animal there.
The frog wasn’t mixed up in all the packages because she’d put all of that way when they got home.
Liam! Maybe he would know. He had been known to hide Seymour from his little brother from time to time.
Ginny was out of breath by the time she made it up the stairs to her eldest child’s bedroom. Normally, the sight of Draco reading to their son who was curled in his lap would make her heart swell, but not so that night.
“Seymour is missing,” she stated without preamble.
Draco’s eyes immediately settled on the cat lounging on the foot of the bed. “He’s not in the pram?”
“No, I checked.”
“With the packages?”
“No, put all of that way.”
“No,” she shook her head, desperation creeping into her voice, “I looked.”
“No, she’s been outside all evening. I just let her in.”
Draco looked down at the last resort. “Liam, have you seen Seymour?”
“No,” he said, shaking his little blond head, “not since he fell out of the pram.”
“He fell out of the pram?” Ginny asked incredulously.
Liam nodded his head. “Uh huh.”
“Where?” Draco picked his son up, turning him so they would be eye to eye. “Do you remember where?”
He nodded his head again. “Muggle London.”
“Where in Muggle London,” the elder Malfoy asked slowly, trying not to let his anger get the best of him. “Do you remember where?”
Liam sniffled. “I don’t remember.”
“Why didn’t you tell me Seymour fell out of the pram?”
“You told me not to open my mouth.”
It was true - Draco had warned Liam not to open his mouth again after he had proudly informed a salesclerk that his Da was the world’s greatest wizard. The little boy was only doing what he was told to do (for once).
“From now on, you are to tell me when something like this happens, do you understand?” Draco asked a little sternly.
The little blond head bobbed up and down, tears glistening on his cheeks. “I’m sorry.”
He drew his son into his arms, rubbing his back soothingly. “It’s all right, you were only doing what you were told.”
“I’ll go see about Gareth,” Ginny sighed, “he’s not going to be very happy.”
“I’ll tuck the monster in and be right there,” Draco said.
Gareth was standing in his cot holding on to the railing, looking expectantly, when Ginny entered the nursery. “Sey Sey?” he asked hopefully.
She gathered him in her arms, pressing a kiss to the top of his head. “No baby, I’m sorry, I couldn’t find him.”
“Sey Sey,” he whimpered before letting loose a long wail.
“I’m so sorry, baby, so sorry.” She rocked him, trying to sooth his anguish.
Draco winced as he entered the nursery. “Are we going to have wait for him to cry himself out?” He pulled his wand from his pocket, ready to cast a silencing charm at Ginny’s command.
His wife shook her head, giving him a very dirty look in the process. “No, you’re going to go find Seymour.”
“Gin, it’s late, I have no idea where the thing is and I’m tired.”
Gareth wrapped his chubby arms around his Mum’s neck, burying his face against her shoulder as his howling turned into sobbing hiccups.
“Draco, please, I have no idea how long he’ll cry.”
“Mummy,” Liam said loudly as he wandered in the nursery toward his father, a little bit of yellow peeking out from under one arm. He attached himself to his Da’s legs. “I can’t sleep.”
“I know, sweetheart. Gareth is upset because Seymour is missing,” Ginny explained.
He looked at Gustav, kissed him, and then held him out toward his mum. “Gareth can sleep with him tonight.”
She sank to her knees so the boys were near the same level. Liam attempted to give his most prized possession to his little brother. Gareth hiccupped noisily as he eyed the proffered Gustav, before tentatively taking the stuffed animal.
“Wasn’t that nice of Liam to give you Gustav,” Ginny asked the baby in her arms.
Gareth turned the little duck over in his hands, glancing at his brother then back at the duck.
Draco squatted next to Liam. “That was a very nice thing to do, son, I’m very proud of you.”
The red haired baby threw the duck down with a resounding, “NO! Sey Sey!” He buried his face against his Mum’s chest as the wailing began again in earnest.
“Mummy, make him stop please,” her oldest one pleaded, plucking Gustav from the floor into the safety of his arms.
“Draco, please, you have to go find Seymour,” Ginny begged.
Draco stalked downstairs, his ears still ringing from Gareth’s piercing wails. He muttered and cursed under his breath about stupid stuffed animals as Addison handed him his black leather jacket. All he wanted was to stretch out on the sofa in front of the fireplace for a little while, maybe even invite Ginny to join him for a little alone time.
But, oh no! He was being sent to Muggle London on a wild frog chase.
He swore right then and there that if he ever found Seymour that stupid little stuffed animal was never leaving the house again. He didn’t care how much Gareth cried.
“I made a list of the shops where Mrs. Malfoy made purchases,” the butler said helpfully, handing him the list.
He took one look at the lengthy bit of parchment and groaned. “Did we go to that many shops today?”
“Afraid so, sir, and those are just the ones where the Missus made a purchase.”
Draco uttered a few things that made the seasoned butler blush before Apparating. He ended up in an alleyway not far from where his wife’s shopping expedition began that morning.
No one had found a little green stuffed frog in any of the shops on the list that he’d tried so far, but he did find a pale peach colored silk nightgown that he thought would look stunning on Ginny. The clerk who rang up his purchase informed him that she hadn’t found a stuffed animal, but she remembered his adorable children.
He was getting nowhere. That wasn’t entirely true; he could have gotten several dates if he had wanted them as many of the clerks flirted with him without the wife and two children in tow. All he wanted was to find the stupid frog and go home.
“Where in the bloody hell is that damn frog,” he cursed under his breath before entering yet another shop, this one selling children’s books. He didn’t even remember being there, but it was on the list. “Excuse me,” he said to the clerk’s back as she leant over the counter busy with paperwork, “I was wondering if you happened to have found a stuffed frog with large feet this afternoon?”
The older woman turned to face Draco, eyeing him carefully over the top of her tortoise shell half rimmed glasses. “No,” she said with a chuckle as she recognized him, “but if you’re such a great wizard as your little boy says, you could just conjure a new one couldn’t you? Quite the imagination that little one has got.”
Harrod’s! That had to be where Gareth and Seymour had parted company. Draco remembered now. He took Liam outside immediately, warning him not to open his mouth again, and then they went straight to Harrod’s. He pulled his pocket watch out to check the time … the store closed in twenty minutes. If he hurried, he’d just make it. “Yes, yes, quite the imagination. Thank you, but I think I know where the frog is.”
He took off on a dead run, weaving in and out of the teeming throng of pedestrians on the sidewalks, making it to the main entrance off Brompton Road with ten minutes to spare.
“Sir! Sir!” the impeccably dressed security guard yelled as he caught Draco’s arm, stopping him just inside the entrance. “I’m sorry, but we’re closing.”
“But, I’ve got to find --,” he started.
“Sir, I do not care, the store is closing in seven minutes,” the guard cut him off stiffly.
“No, you don’t understand,” Draco stated in his most commanding voice. “My little boy is at home crying because he lost his favourite stuffed animal in this store this afternoon. I will not leave here until I retrieve it.”
“Sir, I understand that, but we are closing.”
“Fine, I want to see your superior.”
“We are about to close for the evening, sir,” the guard said firmly, standing his ground.
“I spend more money in this store than you earn in a year,” Draco informed him haughtily, his voice never rising above conversational tone, but the implied threat was plainly obvious. “I do not think your superiors would be pleased to learn that you have barred one of their best customers from the store just because it’s about to close.”
The other man looked a little overwhelmed at the threat of complaint.
“I suggest you run along and get your superior, now.” Draco could feel the anger slowly seeping through his veins at the continued impertinence of the guard. Obvious, the little git didn’t know who he was dealing with.
As soon as the other man turned his back to radio for his superior, Draco had his wand out whispering a soft “accio Seymour.” He knew he was going to be fined by the Ministry for the infraction, in Muggle London no less, but at this point he didn’t care. He was so close to his goal.
Within a matter of seconds, the little stuffed frog zoomed into his awaiting hand and was quickly tucked safely away in his pocket.
The guard turned back around. “My superior will be here momentarily.”
Draco just sneered at him.
An imposing older woman wearing a black suit appeared from around the corner. “Is there something I can help you with?” She stopped short of Draco, taking in his appearance. A warm smile broke out on her face. “Mr. Malfoy! Alfred, you may make your other rounds, I will see to this personally.”
The guard nodded, eyeing Draco cautiously before leaving to finish closing procedures.
“Draco, my good man, how the hell have you been?” Frances Macomber, an old childhood chum of his mother’s, witch extraordinaire and head of customer relations for Harrod’s exclaimed as she slapped him on the back.
They spent a few minutes catching up. Draco told her about his family, breaking out his pictures of his sons to show off. She knew who Ginny was without having to be told, assuring him that he made the right decision and his Mum would have been proud of him. He explained what happened, much to her amusement. She promised to plead his case at the Ministry for a lesser fine, she knew someone that would help. They parted with hugs and promises to get together soon.
Draco was definitely in a much better mood than he was when he left the house.
The first thing he noticed when he appeared in the foyer was the utter silence of the house. No howling Gareth, no scurrying of house elves, no Liam yelling at the top of his lungs, no nothing. He didn’t think he’d ever find the house this quiet after having two children.
“Did you have some success, sir?” Addison asked from behind him, breaking the silence and causing Draco to flinch.
“Good Merlin, man, you nearly gave me a heart attack!” he panted.
The butler’s lips twitched as if he wanted to smile. “Sorry, sir. Did you have success?”
“Yes, that damn frog was the last place I looked.” He slipped off his jacket, pulling Seymour from the pocket before handing it over to be hung up. “Where are Ginny and the boys?”
Addison nodded. “Very good, sir. The Missus and the little masters are in your chambers.”
Draco bound up the stairs; he couldn’t wait to be the hero of the day, saving Seymour as he had. They could put their children in their own beds then Ginny could try on the present he purchased for her. Yes, it was all coming together better than he could have ever planned.
The sight that greeted him upon entering his chambers was not one he was prepared for. Although he really wasn’t sure what he was expected – total devastation, maybe? He didn’t know.
Ginny was asleep on her side of the huge bed with Gareth in her arms. His little hands were fisted in her flannel nightgown and his face was nestled against her chest. He had dark circles under his eyes from crying earlier, but seemed to be resting peacefully. Liam was sprawled on his side of the bed, taking up as much space as his little body possibly could while Gustav rested on his pillow. Hecate was curled up amongst the rumbled blankets next to him.
Draco gave up any idea he might have entertained of spending some quality time with his wife, seeing that his youngest child had a death grip on her. After Seymour was carefully tucked under Gareth’s arm, he kissed his wife’s temple and rubbed the little boy’s soft red curls. “I love you, Gin and baby monster.”
He quietly dressed for bed in just a pair of dark gray flannel pyjama bottoms before attempting to move Liam back to his own bed.
“No,” the little boy protested sleepily as he squirmed away from his father.
“C’mon, you want to sleep in your own bed, don’t you?” he whispered, picking his son up despite his protests.
Liam wrapped his arms around his father’s neck. “No, I want to sleep with you tonight.” He nuzzled his face against Draco’s cheek. “Please.”
“Oh, all right,” he sighed, giving up. There was no way he could resist such a sweet request from one half of his pride and joy. Merlin, he was getting soft in his old age.
They crawled in bed together, his son admonishing him to be quiet or else he’d wake Gareth or worse yet, Mum.
Liam gave him a big sloppy kiss. “I love you, Da!” he whispered earnestly.
“I love you, too, little monster.” Draco settled him down in his arms in front of him as he lay on his side, brushing a little kiss against his baby fine blond hair. The little boy was sound asleep before the last words fell from his lips.
He drifted off to sleep, wondering how he’d ever gotten so lucky to have such a wonderful family, even though the stuffed animals that came with them were a pain in his arse.
Valentine, Interrupted by Rainpuddle
“Are you going to be a good boy for Gran?” Ginny asked her oldest child as his father set him down on the floor. They’d just Apparated to the sitting room of the Burrow.
Liam frowned mightily. “I want to go home.”
Draco regarded his son with a quirked eyebrow. “We’ve already discussed this. Your Mum and I are going out for the evening and you’re staying the night with your grandparents.”
He looked up at his mother, giving her a pleading look, but she was too busy handing over Gareth to their Grandfather to notice.
“We’ll have a good time,” his Gran said as she picked him up, “we have strawberry cake for later.”
“I don’t like strawberry cake,” he stated firmly, wiggling to get down.
“Ooh, you like cake don’t you?” Ginny asked Gareth.
“Cake, cake, cake,” the youngest Malfoy squealed, clapping his hands.
“You do so like strawberry cake, Liam,” Draco admonished.
He crossed his arms. “Do not.”
“Son, you are to behave do you hear me?” His Da held his chin firmly, forcing his son to look at him while he gave him a meaningful look.
His bottom lip jutted out as the full-on snit began.
“He’ll be alright once you leave,” Molly informed everyone. “Now, go on have a good time.”
“All right, Mum,” Ginny said, leaning in for a quick kiss. “Liam, be a good boy and I’ll see you tomorrow. Give me a kiss.”
“No,” he stated crossly, his bottom lip poking out more. “I want to go with you.” All he knew was that his Mum and Da had had some troubles that they kept speaking about in hushed tones with Uncle Ron, Auntie Pansy, Uncle Greg and Harry. He wasn’t sure what exactly was going on, all he knew was he didn’t like it.
“Where are you going again,” Arthur asked, finally speaking up.
“I’m taking Gin to see Swan Lake, then to a late supper,” Draco said before leaning in to give Gareth a quick kiss on his forehead. “We’ve got to go, beautiful, before we’re late.”
“Okay,” she muttered, swiftly kissing both of her children before taking her husband’s hand. “I love you! See you tomorrow!”
“Well, do be careful,” Arthur stated in his fatherly way before kissing his daughter’s cheek. “You know the trouble that has been stirring.”
Liam looked first at his grandfather then at his parents upon hearing the word trouble. They weren’t look at him so he was in the clear, but he didn’t like the mention of trouble. That, he knew unequivocally, was a very bad thing.
“I’ll take good care of her, sir,” he heard his Da say.
He watched as his beautifully dressed parents Disapparated with a soft pop from the cluttered sitting room. He thought his Mum looked like a princess out of one of his storybooks in her deep purple dress and sparkly jewelry.
“Have you had dinner, dear,” his Gran asked, drawing the little boy’s attention.
He sighed and nodded, resigned to his fate for the evening. It really wasn’t fair. He pulled Gustav and a book from his bag before plopping down on the sofa near the fireplace.
“Oh, no you don’t,” she said, taking the book from him, “upstairs with you young man, your cousins are up there playing.”
Cousins! They were all older than him – Ian, Malcolm, Alan, and Grant – delighted in torturing him. He knew they belonged to his twin uncles, but he wasn’t sure who went where, only that they were always together. And he didn’t like them all that much. “I’d rather stay here and play with Gareth.”
“He’s playing with Noah, now upstairs with you,” she told him, setting him down on the bottom step with a pat on his bottom to spur him on. “We’ll have cake just before bedtime, go on.”
He glanced at his brother happily playing with the oldest Potter child on the rug before the fireplace. He didn’t mind playing with his brother, but other children that age were out of the question. Grandfather was no use to him as he was busy fussing over the newest addition to the Weasley brood, one Lissanne Potter. He sighed heavily, rolling his eyes dramatically before he made his way up the stairs.
All he wanted to do was go home. Liam hated being at his grandparents’ house because it meant he was just one of many. And there was the little fact that Gustav was in grave danger around his cousins. He could handle the teasing for the most part, but if something happened to his duck, well, he didn’t know what he’d do.
So he found himself a quiet corner in which to park himself, hopefully without notice, until they were called down for cake.
What he didn’t understand was why his parents needed to go out. His Mum told him that she liked going out with Da alone. He just didn’t get that. And Valentine’s Day, he just didn’t understand that at all. They’d been kissy all day, more so than usual – he scowled at the thought. Da should learn to share a bit more; it was his Mum after all.
“They know you’re here,” Timothy stated, holding his hand out to Liam. He was the oldest grandchild and belonged to Uncle Percy and Aunt Penny. “C’mon, I’ll read to you. And don’t eat any of the candy you might find lying about unless you fancy being a canary.”
He nodded his head, knowing that his cousins had more specialty candies from their fathers’ store than you could shake a stick at. He learned very early not to trust the whole lot of them - a visit to Gran’s house was always an adventure. Liam took Timothy’s hand, allowing himself to be led away to a safe place. Of all of the grandchildren, Tim was the most trustworthy with his dark red curly hair and glasses. He was the spitting image of his father. “Okay, can we read one about a dragon?”
Three books later, and it was time for cake, or at least that was what Gran was yelling from the foot of the stairs. Ian, Malcolm, Alan and Grant barreled down the narrow steps nearly trampling Liam in the process. He was rewarded with two slices of strawberry cake, which he promptly demolished while smiling cheekily at his cousins who only got a single slice each. After they were finished eating they were sent to play in the sitting room while Gran put the babies down for the night.
He was next, being in the middle like he was. Gran helped him dress in his blue plaid flannel pajama bottoms and gray t-shirt (just like Da) before tucking him into his mother’s childhood bed.
“Just like a bug in a rug,” she said softly before kissing his forehead, tucking the covers up tight around him.
“Gran, I want to go home.” He struggled to sit up.
“Your Mum and Da went out and won’t be back until late. You’re staying here tonight.”
“But Mummy might need me,” he pleaded.
She tucked him back in, making sure he was securely pinned down. “She’ll be just fine. Your Da is with her.”
“But –,” he started.
“No buts, go to sleep,” she admonished before dimming the lights and shutting the door.
The sound of Gareth tossing and turning restlessly in the trundle bed woke Liam, which was just as well because he was having a decidedly unpleasant dream about figures dressed in dark robes. He quickly slipped from his bed to comfort his little brother before he woke the entire house. By the time his brother was quiet again, he had a plan worked out.
“You be good. I’m going to check on Mum.”
The Burrow was dark and quiet as he made his way down to the sitting room where the large fireplace dominated the room. He’d never flooed before, his Da preferred to Apperate, not liking to get dirty, but he’d witnessed it many times. Mimicking his Uncle Ron’s actions, Liam found himself tumbling out of the fireplace in his father’s study in a cloud of soot, coming to a painful halt against the desk. He picked himself up, coughing to clear his lungs. Yes, Apparating was definitely the preferred method of traveling. Da obviously knew what he was doing.
Once he brushed off Gustav, he set out searching for his Mum.
Liam looked in the dimly lit sitting room only to find two half-empty champagne flutes standing by a plate of chocolate dipped strawberries on the marble topped table by the sofa. It was late, and he decided she was probably already in bed asleep. He took the opportunity to try the golden liquid in the pretty glasses his Mum never allowed him to have, promptly spitting it back into the glass. Now he knew why – the stuff was disgusting and he vowed never to touch it again.
Helping himself to a strawberry, Liam slowly made his way up the stairs, stopping to examine discarded pieces of clothing along the way. One of his Mum’s delicate shoes here, his father’s tie there, her dress laying in the middle of the upstairs hallway – it wasn’t like his parents to be so messy. Mum was always after him to pick up his toys and keep his room straight.
Something was not right and it did not settle well with him.
The first time he heard it, it stopped him in his tracks. It sounded as if someone was in great pain, at least to him anyway.
The second time he heard it, his hands were on the knob to his parents’ bedroom door, pushing it open. He stood transfixed not knowing what to do.
It was definitely his Mum that much he did know. She sounded in awful pain. He listened carefully for sounds that could be his Da. He’d help her, but all he could make out was hushed whispering.
Liam was desperately debating he should do next when he heard his mother cry out in a high pitched voice, “You’re killing me!”
Gustav fell to the floor forgotten as he ran back down the stairs to his Da’s study, tears streaming down his face. The box of floo powder fell to the floor with a crash, sending up an eerie greenish cloud. He grabbed a handful, throwing in the fireplace and yelling for Uncle Ron.
“Liam?” a very sleepy Uncle Ron asked before rubbing his face with his hands. “It’s the middle of the night.”
“Mummy,” he sniffled, “Mummy is hurt.”
“What,” his uncle asked, now fully awake. “Your Mum is hurt?”
He nodded his head as another sob escaped his lips. “Yes.”
“Okay, baby, listen to me – stay where you are. I’ll be there in a few minutes.”
Liam nodded again, this time messily wiping his nose on the sleeve of his thick dark green flannel robe. While he waited, he nibbled at another chocolate dipped strawberry.
Four soft pops sounded behind him as Uncle Ron showed up with Harry, Tonks and Remus in tow, wands drawn and looking a bit on the rough side.
He launched himself into his uncle’s arms, burying his face against his neck, crying once again.
“Shh, baby, I’m here and everything is going to be okay,” Ron said soothingly, rubbing his nephew’s back. “I’m going to give you to Tonks and go see about your Mum okay? Where is your brother?”
“He’s at Grans’.”
She took him immediately, pressing soft kiss to his temple. “Everything is going to be okay, we’ll take good care of your Mum.”
He settled in his cousin’s arms as he watched his uncle, Harry and Remus sprint from the room. “Can I have another strawberry?”
“Sure thing,” she said, handing him another piece of fruit just as a blood-curdling scream echoed through the house followed by several loud shouts that couldn’t quite be made out from the sitting room. She allowed him to slide down to the floor so she could stand in front of him with her wand drawn, just in case, as she watched the door carefully.
A loud clamoring could be heard from the stairway just before a very flushed Ginny burst into the room with a stormy looking Draco and three red faced Aurors trailing behind her.
“Liam, baby! Mummy’s right here!” She dropped to her knees on the thick Turkish rug as her son ran to her, stopping to look her over before he fell into her arms.
He rubbed his face against the soft silk of her peach colored robe, relishing being in his Mummy’s arms. “I thought you were hurt.”
“Why ever would you think that, sweetheart?” Ginny asked, confused.
“Grandpa said there was trouble and then I heard you,” he sniffled. “You said you were being killed.”
Draco chuckled causing Ginny to turn an even deeper shade of red. Ron nearly choked while Harry, Remus and Tonks looked any where, but at the mother and child on the floor.
“Y-y-you heard me?” she stammered.
Liam nodded his head against her shoulder.
Ron cleared his throat. “Yes, just what were you two doing?”
Draco gave his brother-in-law a smug smile. “Do you really want me to answer that?”
“That would be a big huge NO,” Harry answered a little too quickly. “I think it’s time for us to take our leave.” He nudged his partners into action, three pops sounding almost simultaneously as they Disapperated.
“Sorry, Gin, I hope this never happens again,” Ron said sheepishly. “Now, I think I’ll go home and try to burn this from my memory.” He Disapperated with a loud pop.
“Let’s put the little monster there to bed since it’s too late to take him back to the Burrow,” Draco announced, interrupting the mother and son moment. He offered a hand to his wife, helping her up from the floor before he pressed a tender kiss to her mouth. “Sorry that Valentine’s was ruined. We’ll deal with this mess tomorrow.”
“It wasn’t ruined, not completely anyway,” she smiled. “Why do you look so smug?”
“C’mon, I was so good it was almost criminal!” he smirked.
“You are impossible! Impossible!” she groaned, shifting Liam in her arms. “You don’t even care that I’ll never be able to look anyone in my family in the eyes again.”
His answer was an even smugger smile. "But you love me."
"Right-o, you just keep on deluding yourself!"
“Give me the monster - I’ll put him in his bed. Then we can pick up where we, uhm, left off."
“No! I want to sleep with Mummy,” Liam whined sleepily, tightening his hold on her, fisting his hands in her hair. “I’m never letting you go again!”
Ginny sighed, resigned to having to share her bed with two bed hogs. Draco followed her upstairs to their bedroom where she freshened up the bed with a couple of charms before putting her son down for the night.
Liam’s eyes popped open wide as soon as his head hit the pillow. He had to know. “Mummy? If you weren’t hurt then why were you making that noise?”
Troubles in the Liamocracy by Rainpuddle
Disclaimer: I don't own this, JKR and her various publishing companies do.
Troubles in the Liamocracy
Liam sighed as he watched his Mum wipe her eyes.
They were standing in front of his classroom at St. George’s Primary School for Little Witches and Wizards, a quite prestigious private school for the wealthiest of the wealthy in the wizarding world. His parents fought all summer over whether to school him at home or send him to the school his Da had attended as a child. Muggle school was not even a consideration.
Obviously, his father won that battle for here he was about to embark on his first day of schooling. If anyone had bothered to ask him, he would have informed them he’d much rather have stayed home with Mum. But neither of his parents was interested in his opinion.
“My baby is so grown up,” his Mum said to no one particular. “I can’t believe he’s starting school. It seems like only yesterday he was still a baby in nappies.”
“We’ve been through this,” his father said with a hint of frustration lacing his voice. “It’s for the best. Now come on before you make a scene.” He reached for her hand.
“In a second,” she insisted, dropping down to her knees before Liam. She fussed with his clothes, making sure everything was neatly in place. “You have a good day baby, I’m going to miss you so much.”
He politely kissed her cheek, but squirmed when she hugged him for too long, acutely aware of all the families surrounding them. “Mum.”
“Ginny, please before you embarrass the boy anymore,” his father coaxed, gently rubbing the back of her neck. “Maybe we’ll drop Gareth off at your Mum’s and I’ll take you home.”
“All right, all right,” she gave in, finally standing up, but not before she gave his hair one last finger brush. “I’m going to miss you so much, baby.”
“I want to go home, Mummy,” Liam stated simply.
“I know, baby.”
“I’ll take very good care of him, Mrs. Malfoy,” a tall, dark haired woman said soothingly as she walked up. It was his teacher, Ms. Thomas. They had met her the previous week during an open house. “It’s almost time for class to begin so I’ll take him from here.”
“It’s not too late too change our minds is it, Draco?” his Mum pleaded. “I can school him at home!”
Liam looked up expectantly at his parents. This was his chance to escape the indignity of having to attend school. Besides, he really wasn’t looking forward to the prospect of having to get up early every day.
“Mrs. Malfoy, Liam will be in the best possible care while he is here.” His teacher reached down and took his hand. “Are you ready to meet your classmates?”
“Da?” he asked softly.
“Have a good day, little monster,” his father said lovingly as he lightly patted his head. “We’ll see you this afternoon. Gareth say goodbye to your brother.”
His little brother finally raised his head up off their father’s shoulder so he could wave at him. “Bye,” he said with a soft sniffle.
“All right, Gin, it’s time,” Da stated, taking his Mum’s hand to lead her away.
Liam watched his Da, his Mum and his little brother disappear down the corridor toward the Apparation point. Gareth had squirmed to get down, taking up position between their parents, holding a hand of each so he could swing back and forth.
Mrs. Thomas smiled down at him kindly. “Oh, Liam, don’t frown. The first day is always the hardest, but I promise it will get better. Come on, let’s go inside and meet your classmates.”
The morning was spent getting to know the four boys and three girls that made up his class, learning the rules and being introduced to the classroom pets. The fish were pretty, but the snow white ferret named Yuki had to be his favorite. The day had gone smoothly, except for a minor problem during snack time when he was quite disturbed to learn he would be expected to eat whatever disgusting little crisps the school provided. He was accustomed to having strawberries and cream, and he decided that his Mum was just going to have to pack him a snack from now on if he was expected to suffer this torture everyday.
He spent much of his time observing his fellow classmates, debating on which ones he’d associate with while he was being forced against his will to spend all day in a strange place. Anything to make it slightly more bearable.
He quickly dismissed two of the three girls because they had already formed a tight, giggly little group. One of the boys was clumsy and kept making a mess of everything. Being the fastidious child that he was, Liam quickly rejected any notion of being friends with him. Definite Hufflepuffs, all of them. Another two of the boys were twins, and if his uncles were any indication, there was no need to butt in there. He had no desire to be a third wheel. Besides they stank of Gryffindor.
The choice came down between a red-headed girl in a plaid dress and a boy much larger than him.
Liam carefully weighed his options just like his Da taught him.
The giggly girls had made it a point to exclude the red-haired girl when she tried to play with them. He smiled as he watched her let loose the ferret, causing much commotion as the little animal ran frantically around the room with the twins chasing after it. She deftly shifted blame from herself to the other girls who happened to be playing near the cage. They were soundly scolded, causing an outburst of tears. The girl in the plaid dress smiled slyly at her handiwork. Definite Slytherin.
Liam suddenly found he had an immense liking for her. Besides, she had red hair like his Mum, she couldn’t be all that bad.
He wandered over in her direction after a while. “Hullo.”
“Hello.” She didn’t look up from the blocks she was playing with.
“Can I play?”
She looked up then, regarding him with furrowed brows a few moments before a smile brightened her face. “Okay.”
“Who’s that?” he asked as he carefully sat down on the floor beside her, motioning toward the stuffed blue elephant she seemed to be guarding with her life.
“That’s Sampson,” she said happily. “He goes everywhere with me.”
A pang of jealously tightened in his chest. He’d wanted to bring Gustav with him to school this morning, but his father put an immediate halt to that notion. Not even a barrage of tears helped his cause so he’d handed the beloved duck over to his Mum for safe keeping. “Oh, he’s very nice. Can I hold him?”
She looked him up and down carefully before handing Sampson over. “What’s your name?”
“Liam Malfoy.” He carefully handled the elephant, noting it was not as soft as his Gustav, but it didn’t keep him from giving it a quick hug before handing it back.
“I’m Lucy Ann Honeychurch. My Daddy works for your Daddy.”
“Da,” he corrected her. “He works for my Da.”
“What do you want to play?” she asked.
She wrinkled her little nose. “How about house? I could be the Mummy and you could be the Dad..Da, and Sampson can be the baby.”
Liam sighed, having not been around many girls, he’d not foreseen this major problem. He glanced back over to the last boy under consideration - he was sampling the water from the fish tank. That sealed his fate. Lucy Ann was his best option. “Okay, but I’m an Auror.”
“Okay,” she said agreeably before promptly bossing him around.
They read to Sampson, fed him dinner, played with him, put him down to sleep, and woke him up in the morning. Liam almost felt like he was back at home only if Sampson was Gareth and he was watching his parents. It was oddly comforting.
“Now it’s time for you to go to work,” she directed him, holding Sampson up to him. “Now say goodbye to the baby.”
Liam obediently patted Sampson, giving him a quick peck before announcing, “I’m off to work to catch dark wizards and send them to Azkaban!” He then leaned forward to give Lucy Ann a quick kiss on the mouth just like his Da gave his Mum every morning.
She spluttered indignantly just before clubbing him with her right fist. He fell backwards on the floor clutching the side of his face, trying desperately not to cry.
“What is going on here?” Mrs. Thomas demanded, leaving the giggly girls behind in her wake. “One minute you’re playing quietly and the next you’re fighting!”
“He kissed me!” Lucy Ann complained bitterly.
“She hit me,” Liam managed to get out.
“To the Head Mistress’ office with the both of you!” The teacher cast a couple quick spells to keep the class in order while she took the two mischief makers to the main office.
The time between being told to sit in the chair across from Lucy Ann and behave until his parents showed up felt like an eternity to Liam. The headmistress seemed quite displeased with the turn of events in the kindergarten class on the first day off the new school year. The side of his face hurt and he just really wanted to go home.
His Mum burst into the office in a whirlwind of robes and flying hair. “Liam! Oh Merlin, your face! My poor baby!” She quickly gathered him in his arms. “Are you okay?”
Liam nodded against her shoulder. He was afraid to look up at his father who’d trailed in behind his mother with a none-too-happy look upon his face. “Fighting with a girl?” he asked sternly.
He shook his head. “No, she hit me.”
“What did you do?”
“I kissed her,” he croaked.
“Lucy Ann Honeychuch!” a tall, older wizard exclaimed as he stepped into the office with a petite red haired witch right behind him.
His father turned around. “Honeychurch?”
“Mr. Malfoy,” the man stated stiffly.
“Good, we’re all here. My office please,” said the head mistress, a dour looking older witch dressed in black robes.
Liam stood by his Mum’s chair, holding her hand while the adults sorted out the problem. He would occasionally hazard a glance at Lucy Ann who was sitting protectively on her Mum’s lap. She’d smile back at him every time.
He told his side of the story when he was prompted, explaining that he only kissed her because that was what his Da did every morning before he left for work. He then explained how his Da was always kissing his Mum in the kitchen, in the sitting room, in the study, everywhere really, even in public. His Mum silenced him with a hand over his mouth as her embarrassment shone brightly upon her cheeks.
Lucy Ann and Liam were sent to wait in the chairs by the head mistress’ office door while the grown ups decided what to do about the situation. He picked the chair closest to the window so he could stare out at freedom he was being denied by having to go to school. If he was at home at that moment, he’d be outside running about in the gardens with Gareth chasing gnomes.
She slid into the chair next to him once he got settled, sitting as close to him as possible without actually touching him.
“Are you mad at me?” she asked after a while.
“No,” he answered softly.
“Are we still friends?”
“Good. I don’t like the other kids in class.”
“Then it’s us against them.”
Liam nodded then. “I liked how you got those girls in trouble.”
“I learned that from my brother. He’s always getting our sister in trouble like that,” she giggled.
The opening of the door silenced any further conversation. Their parents filed out followed by the head mistress.
“You two are no longer in trouble,” the head mistress announced, “but I don’t want to see either you in my office again. Do you understand?”
“Yes, ma’am,” they said in perfect unison.
“There will be no more kissing or hitting,” she continued on.
“You’re free to return to class. Miss Tynsdale will escort you back.”
His Mum pulled him to the side to cast a healing charm on his black eye. “Liam, baby, I want you stay away from that girl. She’ll only get you into trouble.”
“Mum!” he cried, “we’re friends!”
“Make others,” his Da chimed in.
“But Da! They’re all so Hufflepuff!” He looked up at his father to plead his case.
“There is nothing wrong with Hufflepuffs,” his Mum cut in.
Both Liam and his father looked at her as if she’s finally gone around the bend.
“They are very scary, Mum! One drank water out of the fish tank before Mrs. Thomas stopped him!”
“Oh,” she said as she reconsidered her position.
“We have a white ferret for a class pet! I love him! I want one!” Liam said excitedly
“No,” his father said swiftly, giving his Mum a very hard look at she nearly keeled over laughing. “You have a cat.”
“But, he’s so soft and cuddly! He could stay in my room and I’d love him forever! I’d name him-”
“I said no. Need I remind you that you live in a dictatorship not a Liamocracy? What I say goes, period.” Da had turned an unflattering shade of red.
“But Draco, sweetheart,” his Mum said in a sing songy voice. “He just wants an itty bitty bouncing white ferret.”
Liam watched his parents hopefully. Mum was very good at getting her way with Da. He wasn’t sure how she did it, but at this point he didn’t care if it got him a ferret.
“No means no,” his father stated very firmly. “There will be no more talk of pet ferrets as long as I’m alive.”
He sighed heavily. It didn’t look like Mum was going to be having her way this time. Although she hadn’t had enough time to work her magic with him yet so maybe there was a bit a hope.
“Okay, baby,” his Mum smiled down at him. “You go back to class and behave yourself. I’ll see you this afternoon.” She kissed his forehead before sending him over to Miss Tynsdale who was waiting patiently holding Lucy Ann’s hand.
He turned to watch is parents go before ignoring Miss Tynsdale’s proffered hand in favor of taking Lucy Ann’s hand. They slowly made their way back to Mrs. Thomas’ classroom.
Liam leaned in close to Lucy Ann before whispering, “Did you get in trouble?”
She shook her head. “No, you?”
“Friends,” he agreed.
She smiled, showing off the gap made by her missing front teeth. “Just don’t ever kiss me again.”
Buttercups and Prince Charmings by Rainpuddle
“What are you doing to my son?” Draco asked as he eyed the pastel coloured satin material she had draped over Liam as he stood on a chair. He’d just Apparated home from work.
“I’m making his costume for the school play,” Ginny stated matter-of-factly as she tapped her wand on the material, shaping to suit her tastes. She would pull back to take a look before trying something different.
Liam gave his father a desperate look, pleading for help.
“My son will not wear pastel blue.”
Ginny blinked up at her husband. “He used to wear it all the time.”
“Yes, when he was baby.”
“But, it looks nice with his blond hair and blue eyes.”
“His eyes are gray like mine,” Draco stated stiffly. “And I will not stand for my son, the Malfoy heir, prancing about on stage in pastel colours.”
“His eyes change colour with what he’s wearing.”
“I don’t care! I refuse to allow you to use it,” Draco commanded, crossing his arms and fixing his wife with a heavy stare. “He should wear something regal like dark green.”
“Well, it’s the material that I purchased,” Ginny said defiantly. “And the material I will be using.” She pulled the soft material over Liam’s head. “Baby, go upstairs to your room and take Gareth with you.”
He pouted. “But I didn’t do anything.”
“I know, baby,” she said before kissing his forehead. “Your father and I are having a discussion.”
“You’re going to have a row, aren’t you?”
“No,” she said softly. “We’re going to have a discussion.”
“If you say so,” Liam muttered as his took his brother’s hand and started up the stairs. “C’mon, Gareth, before they start shouting.”
Draco rounded on his wife as soon as he heard the door shut upstairs. “Now, why wasn’t I informed of this play?”
“I didn’t think you’d care since you’re so busy with work,” she replied tersely.
“You know I’ve been working on a merger with that American company. It requires a lot of late hours.”
Ginny made a disparaging noise. “Convenient that it happens to coincide with school activities, but never Quidditch practice.”
“Are you accusing me of using work to get out of school activities?”
“You said it, not I.”
“Ginny-” he started to warn.
“Don’t Ginny me! You promised me you wouldn’t work so much!”
“This is something important!”
“More important than your sons?”
“Of course not.”
“Well, it sure seems like this merger is more important than Liam and Gareth.”
Draco groaned. “Damn it, Ginny! I work! You stay home to take care of the kids! My father never bothered with my school activities.”
“Ah, yes, your father,” Ginny snorted. “The shining example of parenthood he was.”
He cut her a hard look, but managed to keep his tongue in check.
“I refuse to allow you to be like him,” she continued.
“I am nothing like him!” he yelled.
“For now,” she muttered under her breath.
“I heard that!”
“This is how it starts. You’re too busy for this play, but what about the next one? Will you be too busy for that one as well? Do you know that when Gareth goes to school there will be even more activities?” She looked away from him so he couldn’t see the tears welling in her eyes.
“When is this play?” he asked, trying to keep a reign on his anger.
“Friday evening, if you must know. Tonight is the dress rehearsal. But you didn’t answer any of my questions,” she answered bitterly.
“I’m going to go buy him a decent costume.” He summoned his robes, pointedly ignoring her.
Ginny sighed and rolled her eyes. “I told you, I’m making his costume.”
Draco bit back a snide remark about her not being poor anymore. He did want to sleep in his own bed, after all, and preferably with his wife. “Fine,” he said curtly before throwing down his robes and walking away.
Draco slammed the study door behind him, rattling the paintings hanging on the wall. He loved Ginny, Merlin only knew how much, but she could be damn infuriating when she wanted to be.
How dare she accuse him of not being interested in Liam’s education! Wasn’t he spending gobs of Galleons to send the boy to the finest primary school in all of wizardom? Gareth would be attending the same school in a couple years. Why couldn’t she see that he did what he had to to take care of his family? Sometimes work took precedence, but it wasn’t as if it was going to be forever - just a few weeks, a month or two a best.
He dumped his briefcase full of files on his desk in an attempt to bury himself in work so he wouldn’t have to think about just how naffed off at his wife he was at the moment.
She just didn’t understand that he took care of the family the best way he knew how. Why couldn’t she see that?
And he was nothing like his father. That had hurt. He knew he wasn’t a perfect father, but at least he tried .
Ginny gathered up the material for Liam’s costume and stuffed it in her bag. She’d finish it up once they arrived at the school; it only required a couple more quick alterations anyway.
She sank down to the floor, dropping her head into her hands and willing herself not to cry. Their little row had been simmering for a week now and she counted her lucky stars it wasn’t any worse than it had been. She knew he was stressed over the merger, but she couldn’t help feeling a bit neglected. He hadn’t been home when she retired for evening for nearly two weeks and when he was home, he was distracted and often short with her.
It also didn’t help that boys had asked for their Da every night at bedtime.
Right now, none of her issues with her husband were important. She’d just have to deal with him later. The boys needed to be fed dinner and she had play rehearsal to attend. She sucked in a deep breath before getting up to attend what needed to be done. She waited to call Liam and Gareth down to dinner; it wouldn’t do for them to see her upset.
Liam cast dark looks at her across the table as she struggled to get Gareth to eat his supper. It seemed everyone was in a fine mood. Her oldest child was so much like his father at times it frightened her.
“You made Da go away, didn’t you?” he accused, finally breaking his silence.
“Your father is in his study doing work,” she said flatly.
“Da?” Gareth asked, his eyes brightening.
“Da is in his study, baby,” she said as she offered her youngest a spoonful of peas. “Please, eat something.”
“No!” He slapped at the offending green vegetables, sending them scattering across the kitchen floor before screaming at the top of his lungs and angrily kicking his feet.
“You had a row?” Liam continued.
“Yes,” she sighed, there was no point in lying to him. He could sniff out a lie at fifty paces.
He threw down his fork and slipped out of his chair to run to his father, but she caught him before he could make it to the door. “I want my Da!” he howled, kicking and squirming in her arms.
“Liam!” Ginny admonished. “We have to leave in a few minutes.” She managed to drag him to the back steps despite his protests, patting his bottom to send him on his way. “You’re going to go upstairs and brush your teeth.” She ended up having to carry him half way before he got angry enough to do it on his own.
Gareth was still sitting in his high chair throwing his food on the floor while chanting for his Da when she returned from hustling Liam upstairs. She plucked the squirming baby from the highchair.
“You want your Da, do you?” she asked, stalking down the hallway, fighting to keep a grip on Gareth and managing to open to the study door at the same time.
Draco looked startled when the door burst open and completely horrified when she dropped the squalling, messy little boy in his lap.
“I’ve got to take Liam to play practice and since you’ve decided to grace us with your presence this evening, you can keep Gareth,” she said with vicious satisfaction of knowing that Draco would have no idea what to do with their son when he was in that state. “I don’t know when I’ll be back.”
She fixed him with a smug smile before taking her leave to see about the other little monster.
Draco Apparated to the school after Gareth had calmed down enough to get drowsy and allow him to cast a couple cleansing charms. He also magically bound Seymour to the little boy before wrapping him up in his favorite pale green blanket. There was not going to be a repeat performance of searching all over creation for that frog again if he could help it.
As soon as he saw the bright, pastel coloured staging, he knew he’d been in the wrong about insisting on a purchased costume. Mrs. Thomas had somehow thought it’d be brilliant to have homemade costumes and sets. Obvious the woman did not realize the error of her ways, judging from some of the horrible creations the poor children were wearing.
He spotted his two favourite kindergartners playing up on the stage while the adults hurried with last minute set adjustments. Lucy Ann looked like a big buttercup with wings, in his opinion. Liam, however, looked every inch the regal prince he was supposed to be in his expertly tailored costume thanks to his wife. She was quite brilliant with those tailoring charms, but then again, she had probably more than enough experience with them growing up a Weasley.
Ginny was showing another mother how to tack up a hemline when he found her. He waited patiently for her to finish. “Ginny, can I speak to you please?”
She nodded solemnly and pushed herself up from the floor, carefully avoiding Mrs. Thomas as she led him to a small dressing room. “Is he all right?” she asked as soon as she shut the door. “Did he get sick?” She rubbed her hand soothingly over Gareth’s back. “He gets sick if he gets too upset.”
He didn’t have the heart to lie to gain advantage because she just looked guilt ridden, so he just handed his son to her. “He’s fine.”
“I shouldn’t have left him,” she muttered as she checked him over, making sure he was all right. “Mummy’s sorry, baby.”
Gareth’s only reply was to snuggle closer to her and fist his hands in her deep green robes as she rocked him and brushed soft kisses against his curls.
Draco was stuck by the image of his wife and son. He was amazed at just how beautiful they were. Gareth’s hair was slightly less red than Ginny’s, with a hint of gold, and he had the same peachy complexion that some day would become dusted with freckles. If there was one thing he’d change about his youngest child though, it would be his eyes. Gareth had eyes of deep blue like his Grandfather Weasley and Uncle Ron instead of Ginny’s mud brown. He loved her eyes.
“I’m a terrible mother,” she muttered before she looked up at him with tear filled eyes.
“No,” Draco said firmly, closing the distance between them quickly. “No, you’re not.” He kissed her temple because he didn’t know what else to say, his lips trailed down to her cheek before claiming her mouth in a tender kiss.
Her head lolled back as his mouth continued to burn a trail down to the hollow of her throat. His arms slipped around her, careful not to crush Gareth, as he begin to suck lightly at the little spot that always made her knees weak. Maybe, just maybe he could make her forgot about their row.
“Draco, stop,” she protested weakly. “Please.”
He ignored her, continuing to nip lightly at her soft flesh instead.
She pulled away from and turned her back. “You can’t just kiss me and make everything better this time, Draco.”
She was right and he knew it.
There was no way that he could smooth this over with a few kisses. She would usually let him get away with that, but she expected more from him this time. Much more. He stepped up close behind her so he could nuzzle the back of her neck as his arms snaked possessively around her waist. Her hair smelled like lilies. “Tell me what you want to hear,” he murmured near her ear.
He felt her stiffen in his arms. “If you don’t know, Draco, I can’t help you.”
“I love you, Gin.”
“I know, but it’s not enough.”
“It’s not enough?” he asked, not sure what the problem was.
“Not this time. If it was just about me, I wouldn’t care as much, but this is about Gareth and Liam.” She mistook his silence for confusion because she continued on. “You just don’t get it, do you? This ceased being about us the moment Liam was born. Everything we do is for our children. We brought them into this world and now we have to raise them the best way we know how.”
“Are you saying that I’m being selfish then?”
“That is exactly what I’m saying.” She met his shocked eyes defiantly.
“So you want me to give up everything I’ve worked so hard for? Don’t you know that everything I do is for you and the boys,” he said hotly.
“Yes, I know that.” Her face softened as she took his hand. “And I love you so much for it, but I don’t want that to take you away from us. Liam and Gareth need you. I need you.”
Draco stared down at his wife as the realization hit him that he had been putting work ahead of his family in the name of doing the right thing by them. Once again, Ginny proved to him that she really was the brilliant one in the family. He didn’t want to think what life would be like without her. “I love you.”
She bestowed him with the smile that she reserved only for him, the one that made his knees weak. “I’m sorry about our row earlier. I was upset and feeling a bit neglected. Can you forgive me?”
“Of course,” he said softly, lacing his fingers with hers. He took a deep breath. “I’m sorry, too.”
“Ha! Sorry is in your vocabulary!”
“Only because you taught it to me.”
She gave him an expectant look. “If you don’t kiss me right now I’ll never forgive you again!”
He needed no further invitation to kiss her softly from an awkward angle of having to bend over their son sleeping in her arms. She tried to deepen the kiss by nipping at his bottom lip. He reluctantly pulled away from her mouth to dot her cheeks with butterfly kisses before moving to her temple and her hair.
“Let’s take this home,” Draco suggested when Ginny leaned into him. He was more than ready for a little alone time with his wife.
“Can’t,” she mumbled with a frustrated sigh. “Play practice.”
He hated the light blue satin costume, even if it was better than everyone else’s. He hated being up on the stage. He hated that Lucy Ann was stuck in the back. He hated kindergarten. He did, however, like the idea of being a prince.
Having Da there with Mummy did make things a little now better, he supposed.
He didn’t like it when they rowed, although, he didn’t like it all that much when they were all kissy either. For the life of him, he couldn’t figure out why Mummy just didn’t hit Da when he kissed her.
Kissing was highly overrated in his opinion. One of his favourite pastimes was interrupting them when they were kissing so he could steal her away from Da. Mummy was his and he didn’t like having to share her.
Mrs. Thomas roused him from his ruminations when it was his cue to go on stage. He carefully recited his lines that Mummy had practiced with him. He then glanced back at Lucy Ann before pretending to brush Enid’s cheek with his lips.
He didn’t understand why he had to kiss ickle girls that weren’t his Mum or maybe Lucy Ann.
Before he could finish his thought, Enid was on the floor under a heap of frothy yellow material topped by faerie wings and long red curls.
“Lucy Ann Honeychurch!”
She looked up at her mother with the most innocent expression on her face as other little girl struggled underneath her. “Yes, Mummy?”
“Get yourself down here right now!” She’d walked over to the stage, waiting by the steps to take her errant daughter by the hand. They were standing almost in front of the Malfoys. “Just what do you call yourself doing?”
“She kissed Liam,” Lucy Ann stated, perturbed that her mother wasn’t more offended that another girl had kissed her friend.
“That gives you no right to hit that other girl,” her mother informed her. “She was only playing her part; besides Liam kissed her, not the other way around.”
She cast a dark look at the little blond boy dressed in pastel blue standing on stage. Just because she didn’t want to kiss him didn’t mean she wanted him going around kissing other girls. “He’s my Liam.”
“You don’t own him, darling,” her mother tried to reason.
She just sighed, resigned to the fate of having to convince her mother that Liam Malfoy was indeed hers. “He’s mine always and forever,” she insisted.
Draco pulled his wife aside when it looked like she was about to cut into the mother and daughter conversation. “Leave it be.”
“They’re talking about my baby,” Ginny said, her hackles clearly rising.
“Your baby is right here asleep. Liam is big boy who’s got himself a little girlfriend.” He couldn’t help but grin at the idea that his five year old son already had girls fighting over him.
“He’ll always be my baby,” she frowned mightily as she said it.
“Well, I suggest you get used to it, beautiful, because Lucy Ann is going to marry Liam.”
She took Gareth from her husband. “What makes you so sure of that?”
“Because she’ll beat any girl that so much as looks at him to a blood pulp,” he said proudly.
“You find this amusing, don’t you? Girls fighting over our son already,” she accused.
The Malfoy tradition had been upheld for another generation and all Draco could do was smirk.
“What’s that?” Ginny asked in a sing song-y voice of her youngest son. She was pointing to a picture in the large children’s book on the floor before them.
“Sey Sey!” Gareth squealed excitedly, bouncing up and down in her lap.
“No, no, pumpkin, that is a frog,” she corrected gently. “Can you say frog?”
“Frog,” he parroted.
“And what does a frog say?”
“Very good!” She turned the page after hugging and kissing the little red haired boy. Gareth loved to cuddle. “And what’s this?”
“A dwaken!” He leapt up from her lap to run circles around her and his older brother, flapping his arms wildly as if he was in flight while screaming at the top of his lungs, “Raawwrr! Raawwrr!”
She grabbed him when he got close to her again, smothering him in hugs and kisses as he squealed and giggled and writhed in her arms. “Care to join us, Liam?” she panted after a few moments. The kids always loved a good bout of rolling about on the thick shaggy carpet in the game room.
“No,” he drawled, never looking up from his task. He’d recently become obsessed with a dragon coloring book that his Uncle Charlie had given him. Every time he’d finished a picture, he and his Da would spend hours after dinner carefully cutting out and animating it so it’d fly around the room, roaring and breathing paper fire. “I’m working.”
She regarded her oldest child thoughtfully for a moment. He was more like his father than she cared to admit, which unfortunately made her forgive him immediately for almost any transgressions he might commit. One look from those little grey eyes of his and she melted instantly. It was hard to stay angry with a little boy as adorable as Liam.
Not that Gareth didn’t get away with his fair share of things either it was just that he so rarely got into trouble. He was her ‘good’ baby - always full of smiles and giggles. Hardly anything fazed him, which was probably good, all things considered. What she thought was most adorable about him was how much he loved his big brother, following him around like a little puppy and hanging on his every word.
She spent the remainder of the afternoon going over the various animals in the book, coming back to the duck from time to time. Gareth refused to believe the cute little yellow bird in the picture was called a duck.
“What’s this called again?” she prodded, trying not to allow her frustration to creep into her voice. He had no trouble with any of the animals - cats, dogs, pigs, cows, frogs, rabbits, dragons - but the duck, he just refused to believe it was called a duck!
“Gustav,” Gareth insisted. Liam snorted softly, never looking up from his coloring.
“No, no, pumpkin, this is a duck. Can you say duck,?”
“Gustav! Quack, quack, quack, quack!”
He left the safety of her lap to venture over to his brother, daring to pick up Liam’s most prized possession. “Gustav!” he exclaimed, shaking the stuffed yellow duck at her. “Gustav!”
Ginny sucked in slow, deep breath. “Yes, that’s Gustav, but what did we feed when we went down to the lake this morning?”
“We fed the ducks, Gareth, ducks.”
“Quackquackquackquack,” he started chanting as he ran around the room with Gustav in hand, earning him the glare of death from his brother.
“Give him back!” Liam demanded, abandoning his coloring book to reclaim Gustav. After a few moments of fruitless circling of the game room, he stopped dead in his tracks and squeezed his eyes shut. Gustav zoomed across the room from behind the dark green leather armchair and straight into his outstretched hand. He then shot his mother a smug look as he hugged the stuffed animal protectively.
“Liam!” Ginny exclaimed. “How long have you been able to do that?” She was startled. It had been his first sign of magic when he was a baby, summoning Gustav when he was distressed, so she shouldn’t have been surprised to discover that he could now do it at will. Draco would be so proud.
He settled down carefully in front of his artwork, Gustav fisted tightly in one hand, while pointedly ignoring the increasing wails of his little brother. “’Ever.”
Gareth toddled out from behind the chair to see refuge in his mother’s arms. He accepted the offered Seymour before burying his face in her robes to cry his eyes out and mumble about Gustav. She rocked him, whispering sweet nothings to him until he had quieted down enough to almost fall asleep.
Liam heard it before anyone else, jumping up at the sound of his father Apparating home from work and racing to greet him at the door. Ginny struggled to her feet, trying not to rouse the now quiet baby, only to have to wait her turn to greet her husband.
“How was your day,” Draco asked after putting Liam down and soundly kissing his wife.
“You don’t want to know.” She kissed him again for good measure. “But I’m glad you’re home.”
“Me too,” he replied honestly, reaching for Gareth. “And just how’s my baby monster?”
The little red haired boy regarded him a moment before give him a sloppy kiss. “Duck!”
Draco’s face fell suddenly. “Duck?”
Ginny sighed. “We’ve had a spot trouble with the difference between Gustav and duck today.”
“Duck, duck, duck, duck,” Gareth repeated, over and over, punctuating each one with a kiss.
“Please explain to me why my son’s calling me duck.”
“I don’t know,” she frowned, and patted her husband’s chest. “Gareth, who’s this?”
The little boy beamed like a morning ray of sunshine. “Duck!”
“Liam,” she called desperately, “who is this?”
The little blond boy looked up at her with the most mischievous grin she’d ever seen. “Duck.”
“How could this happen?” Draco asked, his face turning redder by the second. She knew he hated ducks, Gustav in particular, more than anything in the world.
“Gareth’s tired. He’s probably a little confused,” she tried to placate her irate husband. “We went over so many animals today.” She thought she heard him mutter something about a dark lord ducks under his breath just then. “You know how children are. It’ll blow over.”
The only problem was it didn’t blow over like Ginny predicted.
Two weeks later, Gareth was still insisting that his father was Duck much to his dismay. Draco had made her swear not to tell another living soul. He’d even made them skip a Sunday brunch (and he really loved brunch) at the Burrow by feigning illness because he was too mortified someone (namely the twins) would find out.
And now it was Charlie’s birthday, complete with a Sunday afternoon picnic with the full family in attendance. There was no way they could get out of this one. Liam had been sent off to spend all day Saturday with Auntie Pansy while Draco and Ginny tried to break Gareth’s habit of calling his father Duck. He’d been put to bed that evening tiredly mumbling about his Da. The mission had been accomplished.
“Now,” Draco addressed his children after Apparating to the front porch of the Burrow, “do not accept any candy from your uncles or cousins, do you hear me?”
Liam nodded solemnly. Having been on the receiving end of one too many canary creams, accepting candy from his twin uncles was something he was not very likely to do. Gareth, on the other hand, brightened considerably at the mention of the word candy.
“I don’t think you have to worry,” Ginny said, “Mum would murder Fred and George.”
He gave her a pointed look. “And when did that threat ever stop them?”
“I think you worry too much.”
“Are you sure I can’t memory charm him?” Draco asked hopefully.
“You do want to continue to sleep with me don’t you?” she warned.
“A mild silencing charm then?”
“The answer is still no. I don’t see what the big deal is anyway! I think it’s adorable.” She showered her youngest in kisses and made a fuss over him while the oldest one made retching sounds.
Draco automatically covered Liam’s mouth with his hand to keep him from getting into trouble. “Of course you do, you’re not the one being called a duck!”
“Duck!” Gareth squealed while reaching for his father.
Ginny giggled. “See what you’ve done now!”
“It’s not funny,” he huffed.
“Duckduckduckduck,” the red haired baby insisted, pulling on his father’s robes.
“Da,” he stated firmly. “I’m your Da.”
“Stop being so silly and come here,” she demanded, standing on her tiptoes so she could press a soft kiss against his mouth. “There’ll be more of that if you behave yourself.”
He sighed in defeat and muttered something about ducks under his breath that she couldn’t quite make out. “I’ll behave.”
“Good,” she said, taking his hand. “Everything will be fine, you’ll see.”
They made their way inside the Burrow, greeting her various family members as they came upon them. Liam immediately broke away to show his Uncle Charlie his menagerie of paper dragons that had been reanimated just before they’d left Agecroft Hall. Gareth was so excited to see his Grandmum that he totally forgot about his father and ducks. Once unencumbered by her own children, Ginny attached herself to the youngest member of the clan, Lissanne Potter, while Draco went to change into his Quidditch gear.
She’d been good, although it had been difficult and she’d been tempted many times. Gareth was just the cutest little thing ever and she had wanted to share that with her family. Only her love for Draco had kept her from saying a word. He still had a stubborn streak of Malfoy pride in him that did not allow him to take jokes at his expense lightly. His pride combined with the twins’ penchant for mischief often resulted in a volatile mix.
Everything seemed normal, just another family gathering at the Burrow. Her brothers were rowdy, her sister-in-laws chatty and there were children everywhere and there was not a single duck anywhere in sight. Well, that wasn’t entirely true. Gustav, the little yellow duck, was helping Liam show off his dragon collection, but the stuffed animal really didn’t count seeing as he was a member of Clan Malfoy. Draco would be happy, no one knew his dirty little secret.
Ginny’s heart fluttered at the sight of him striding into the sitting room in his light grey britches, high black leather shin guards and black Falcons jumper. There was something about a man, especially her man, dressed in Quidditch gear that just did it for her. She admired how the snug britches defined the hard muscles of his thighs and other assets. A very smug smile of satisfaction curled the corners of her mouth.
“A Knut for your thoughts,” he said in a low sultry voice before bracing himself on the arms of her chair and leaning in for a kiss.
“I was just wondering if Mum would keep the boys tonight.”
“Whatever for, Mrs. Malfoy?”
“I thought maybe we could play a little one on one Quidditch.” She sat up to place soft kisses along his jaw.
“I’m positive a private lesson could be arranged.”
“Who says I need a private lesson?”
He swallowed a groan. “There are no words to describe how much I love it when you’re being naughty.”
Ginny giggled. “You can always show me since words seem to be failing you.”
“All right, old chap,” Fred, no George said, patting Draco on the back. “Enough of that before I end up witnessing something I’m not old enough to see.”
“You’re older than we are!” Ginny huffed.
“You’re my sister therefore I’ll never be old enough!”
Draco drew himself up to his full height. “And she’s my wife.”
“How do you think we got Liam and Gareth?” she taunted. “We didn’t just transfigure them out of stone, you know.”
George covered his ears with his hands. “Stop or you’ll ruin my illusion!”
“Yes, all of you’d do well to remember there are children here,” Ron chimed in from the other room in an attempt to stop the posturing before it started.
“I just want to kick Malfoy’s arse in Quidditch, now c’mon!” Fred yelled from the porch.
Draco leaned in once more for a leisurely kiss. “Wish me luck?”
“Luck,” she said a little breathlessly.
He kissed her one last time before walking away with the awaiting George. It was all Ginny could do to stifle her snicker before panic set in upon seeing the name on the back of Draco’s jumper had been changed to read ‘Quackers’. There was no telling how brassed off he’d be when he made that discovery. She wondered which brother was going to die first.
“Quackers,” Pansy snickered as she sauntered into sitting room with her nearly asleep daughter, Sabine, in her arms. “He’s so not going to like that.”
Ginny eyed her friend suspiciously. “I’d like to know how my brothers found out.”
The dark haired witch grinned wickedly. “I knew when Liam told me about Gareth calling his Da Duck, it was simply too good to keep to myself.”
“He’s going to kill you nine different ways, you know.”
“Like I’m afraid of Draco Malfoy,” she laughed.
The Quidditch match was going full force when she arrived at the pitch after helping her Mum set the table and putting Liam and Gareth down for a nap. No one was dead so he obviously hadn’t noticed yet.
Draco and Harry were attempting to knock each other off their brooms as she settled down on a blue knitted blanket to watch the rest of the action. It wasn’t long before they both had spotted the Golden Snitch fluttering high over their heads in the bright afternoon sunlight and went flying after it at breakneck speed, elbowing and kicking all the while. Her heart lodged in her throat as Draco broke away, diving straight down at the ground. He showed no sight of backing off as he determinedly reached for the elusive Snitch. This was the part she always hated the most no matter how exciting it was for everyone else.
Harry was honing in on the Snitch at a low angle from across the pitch. He was on a direct collision course with the diving Draco and she knew they would both rather die than give way to the other. She squeezed her eyes shut unable to watch just as they were about to cross paths. The sickening thud of bodies and brooms crashing into the grassy pitch that she always dreaded never came only a very loud “Take that Potter!” and her brothers cursing.
“I hear you’re my biggest fan,” Draco said smugly, looming over her after lauding his victory over Harry for a few moments.
“Shhh! don’t tell my husband that,” she giggled. “He’d be very jealous.”
“The jealous type is he?”
“You have no idea.”
“Would you care to take a walk with me then? Get away from prying eyes.”
“I’d love to.” She took his proffered hand, allowing him to help her up from the ground and then lead her down an overgrown path through a thicket to a small clearing where she used to play as a little girl.
Ginny was just about to ask him what he thought he was doing when he asked, “Where are the boys?”
“They’re in the house taking a nap.”
Draco made a low noise as he pulled her flush against his long body. “So tell me, what is a beautiful witch like you doing all alone?”
“I’m a Quidditch widow, I fear,” she breathed, thoroughly distracted by how close his mouth was to hers. Her robe hit the ground.
“What a pity,” he said sympathetically, “your husband should be crucioed.” She just nodded in agreement. “Do you think he’d mind if I kissed you?”
“Yes,” she managed to mumble, “but I wouldn’t.”
She sighed in relief as his mouth descended upon hers for a soft kiss. His hands slipped down to her hips to hold her in place as the kiss deepened, and he nipped at her bottom lip begging for entrance to her mouth. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders as her head lolled back and her knees became weak. A soft moan escaped her lips.
His nimble fingers found the zipper to her chocolate brown suede skirt. “Do you think he’d mind if I did this?” he asked huskily as he slowly pulled.
“Draco,” Ginny protested weakly, trying to push his hands away. “We shouldn’t do this.”
“Give me one good reason why not.” He pressed a hot kiss just beneath her ear that very nearly undid her.
“Because,” she started, but gave up as more words refused to come to mind.
The skirt was being guided over her hips to fall to heavily at her feet. She could feel him, hard and ready, pressing against her hip every time he moved as hot desire pooled in her belly. His hands were tugging up on the hem of her soft cream angora jumper.
Ron’s loud voice from just the other side of the thicket stilled her frantic hands on the waistband of his britches. “We can’t do this,” she whispered, her body trembling.
He ignored her protests, sliding down to kneel before her, his mouth worshipping the soft skin of her thighs. The combination of crisp fall air and his hot breath were wreaking havoc on her better judgment. Her fingers threaded through the fine strands of his pale hair as strangled moan caught in her throat.
“Here,” he said, unzipping her knee high boots and tossing each one to the side when she stepped out of them. Once that task was completed, he hooked his fingers in the silk of her knickers and tugged her down to the grass.
“Draco,” she begged, but allowed him to carefully place her on her discarded robe. He tossed her knickers over his shoulder before kissing his way up from her hip, over her stomach, stopping to lavish attention to her silk and lace covered breasts after finally divesting her of the offending jumper. Ginny felt like a goddess being worshipped among the grass and fall leaves. She bit her bottom lip to keep from moaning loudly when his mouth tugged firmly upon one nipple. He sat back on his haunches, pulling his jumper over his head and finished unbuttoning his britches.
“Here, let me help,” Ginny purred, pushing the heavy material and his silk boxers down over his hips. She lightly sucked at the tender spot on his neck as she took his erection firmly in hand, slowly stroking him.
“Evil wench,” he groaned, pushing her down on the soft ground and settling between her thighs. “No time.”
She could feel him nudging at her entrance, her hips pushing up to welcome him, but she stiffened as the sound of her mother’s voice drifted over from the garden. “Draco, someone might hear us!”
“Then you’ll just have to be quiet,” he hissed as he slid slowly into her wet heat.
She cried out softly at the welcomed invasion, her legs instinctively coming up to wrap around his hips to pull him in even deeper. Her nails dug into his strong shoulders as he began to move, slowly at first, but quickly picking up the pace, his mouth roughly ravishing her neck and shoulder. The desire that had earlier pooled in the pit of her stomach had quickly become a raging fire that only Draco could extinguish. Her breath was coming in ragged pants as she desperately tried to keep quiet. The heady notion of being naughty with her family so near mingled with the fear of being caught was enough to send her flying hard over the edge. She bit his shoulder to keep from screaming her release as her walls clinched hard around his cock, as hot wave after wave of pleasure swept through her body. He followed quickly with his own release, a heavy groan muffled in the crook of her shoulder.
“I’m so glad I’m your husband,” he managed after rolling on his back and regaining his composure.
Ginny curled her body against his, her soft curves fitting just so with the hard planes of his form. She wasn’t quite ready to rejoin her family. “Me, too.”
“I don’t think anything could possibly ruin my good mood,” Draco said as they slowly made their way back to the Burrow after making themselves somewhat presentable. “I beat Potter to the Snitch and I have the most gorgeous wife in the world.”
“Gin Gin, is that leaves in your hair?” Fred questioned, picking out the offending plant life from his baby sister’s messy hair.
“Yeah, Gin, where have you been?” Ron demanded. “We’re starving!”
George’s eyes grew wide as he began to mutter, “Transfigured from stone, transfigured from stone.”
“Yes, Draco,” Pansy drawled. “Just where have you been?”
“Never you four mind where they’ve been,” Molly stated firmly, leave no room for argument. She hadn’t even looked up from putting food on the table. “If it gets me another grandchild, then I don’t care!”
There was a loud chorus of “MUM!” before everyone glanced away. Ginny’s cheeks flamed scarlet before she could bury her face in husband’s jumper. She totally missed the not-so-innocent smug smile Draco shot at her family as he wrapped his arms protectively around her and kissed the top of her head.
“Yes,” he drawled in his most arrogant tone of voice, carefully picking out a shortbread cookie topped with a chocolate drop off the desert table. “Never you mind.”
She took a deep breath to settle herself. She didn’t know what was more appalling - that her brothers figured out what she’d just been doing or the fact that her mother also knew and condoned, no, approved of her actions. Of course, there was something in it for her - the possibility of another grandchild. And Merlin only knew as far as Molly Weasley was concerned it was the more the merrier.
“Draco dear, don’t eat that. It’ll ruin your dinner,” Molly chided.
“It’s won’t ruin my dinner. I’m quite famished - worked up quite an appetite this afternoon.”
Ginny turned pink again and slapped his arm. “Just stop!”
“What?” he asked innocently, poised to pop the shortbread in his mouth.
Fred and George’s snickering alerted her to the fact that something was not right, but before she could stop Draco from eating the cookie, her youngest child appeared from around the corner of the house with Sabine, Noah and Uncle Charlie in tow who announced, “Look who all’s awake!”
“Duck!” the youngest Malfoy screamed at the top of his lungs upon spotting his father.
A stricken look of panic crossed her husband’s face as he suddenly stopped chewing the cookie he’d just put in his mouth, but there was a loud *pop* before he could spit it out. All of them - Ginny, Molly, Fred, George, Pansy, Ron, Charlie, Sabine, Noah - just stood there staring the large white duck that used to be Draco Malfoy.
Gareth’s eyes grew as round as saucers as the duck shook its head and began to quack. “Gustav!” he said excitedly, trying to capture the duck in a hug. “I love Gustavies!”
“What did you do?” Ginny asked angrily as she repeatedly tried to hit the twins, but was distracted by a loud shriek.
Pansy was being chased around the table by a very angry Draco the duck, who was quacking, flapping his wings furiously and trying hard to peck her, with a little red haired boy giggling madly and running behind trying to catch them. Ron received a hard peck to the forehead for all his efforts in trying to quell the angry duck that had next turned his sights on the twins.
The porch was lined with family members that were drawn out by the commotion in the back garden and those that came up from the Quidditch pitch stood off to the side, well out of the way. The numerous Weasley grandchildren joined Gareth in chasing Draco the duck around the garden.
Ginny didn’t want to know what would happen to her brothers once the Limited Edition Duckie Drops (Extra Long Lasting for More Fun) wore off. Draco was madder than a hatter. And Mum, well, she couldn’t remember ever seeing her Mum’s ears that red. She knew that her Mum had a special place in her heart for Draco, and she was always after the twins and Ron to be nice to him.
Molly had taken the two wayward chicks that were Draco and Pansy under her wing after the final battle because both of them had lost their families. After much resistance, Molly’s mother henning won them over and they simply became part of the patchwork fabric that made up the Weasley clan.
“Mum?” Pansy asked almost timidly, testing the waters. Ginny knew that there was only one person on the face the Earth that she feared and that was Molly Weasley. “You might want to do away with these Quacker Crackers too.”
“No less than they deserve,” Molly muttered, making the offending cookies disappear with a flick of her wand as her twin sons ran around the garden with an angry duck in hot pursuit. “If he doesn’t murder them, then I will.”
Liam sauntered up to Ginny and tugged on her hand so she’d pick him up. He watched the chaos, from his safe vantage point, looking perplexed. “Mummy, I thought Da was a ferret.”
Everything belongs to the lovely JKR.
A Lesson in Kissing by Rainpuddle
A Lesson in Kissing
Harry leaned in close to give his wife a quick kiss. She was standing over the sink peeling potatoes for dinner. He didn’t really want to disturb her.
“You did that all wrong,” Liam informed him.
“Did what wrong?” he asked, eyeing him warily. Really, what advice could a child give him?
“Well,” the little boy sitting at the table said, “my Da always makes Mummy stop what she’s doing so they can kiss.”
Hermione chuckled, but continued to peel potatoes. This was one conversation she didn’t want to be part of.
“And why is that?” Harry asked against his better judgment.
“Because,” Liam explained very carefully, as if he was talking to his baby brother, “Da says that there is nothing more important than them.”
He didn’t know what bothered him more. The fact that a young child was talking to him as if he was daft or that he was actually giving sound advice.
His wife gave him a questioning look as his silence dragged on. He felt a bit uncomfortable snogging his wife in front of their charge.
Liam rolled his eyes. “Kiss her already!”
Harry took Hermione’s hand in his, pulling her to him before capturing her mouth in a gentle kiss. She slipped her arm around his neck so she could toy with the hair at the nape of his neck with her free hand. For a few moments they were the only thing two things that mattered in the world.
When they finally surfaced for air, they had an audience. Noah and Gareth were both standing at the railing of the playpen watching and applauding their performance. Liam was regarding them coolly with a raised eyebrow.
Hermione smiled. “That wasn’t so bad was it?”
“No,” Harry sighed. “I just hate taking advice from a four year old on how to kiss my wife.”
“I think it’s adorable.”
“You would, he’s a bloody menace if you ask me.”
“Be nice or I won’t snog you anymore,” she warned with a decidedly evil grin.
Liam sighed heavily. “Less talking and more snogging is what Da always says.”
It was all Harry could do not to snicker. “Now there is some advice for you, Hermione.”
She turned back to peeling her potatoes with a vengeance. “Keep talking and there’ll be less shagging.”
This little drabble is for Lissanne because she's a fantastic friend.
I don't own Harry or Hermione either, at last check, JKR still does.
Be Careful What You Wish For by Rainpuddle
Cabbage Capers - Be Careful What You Wish For
“Your daughter has the most beautiful hair,” the salesclerk said as she neatly wrapped up his wife's purchases.
Draco thought his eyes might fall out of he rolled them one more time. This was the third time on this shopping excursion that someone had mistaken Gareth for a girl. He'd told Ginny that it was past time for the little boy to have a haircut, but she was having none of that, insisting that his hair was far too pretty to cut just yet. So here he was.
“Boy,” he said through gritted teeth a few moments later since his wife hadn't made an effort to correct the clerk. “He's a little boy.”
Her cheeks flushed red. “Oh! I'm sorry. I saw those pretty ginger curls and I just thought…”
“It's all right,” Ginny said, finally speaking up. She ran her fingers through Gareth's baby fine curls, adjusting his cream colored knitted hat before lifting him from the counter to perch on her hip again. “I just can't seem to bring myself to cut his hair yet. It really is pretty isn't it?” He zoned out as the two witched nattered on about how adorable his youngest son was.
She was trying to kill him that was all that was to it.
She'd made no bones about wanting a little girl. Since she didn't have one, he figured she was attempting to make Gareth into the daughter she'd always wanted. And would never have after they (more like he) had decided that two children was enough. He wasn't about to have her ruin herself by trying to have a little girl. It nearly killed him to know that with their combined families' track record of having boys, he'd never be able to give her what she so desperately wanted. So it was just best to be happy with the two they had.
He didn't want to have to share her with anymore boys than he had to anyway.
“I think it's about time Gareth had a hair cut,” he said, holding the door open for her as they exited the exclusive little wizarding shop specializing in things for the bath.
“Liam,” Ginny shouted after the little blond boy who'd darted across the snow covered square to gaze wide eyed at the enchanted Christmas tree. “Come back here right now!” She shoved her parcels at her husband before pursuing their wayward child.
“Didn't you hear me?” he asked once he'd caught up to her and waited for her lecture their five year about wandering off.
“What I said about Gareth?”
“What about him?”
He would swear on his mother's grave that she had selective hearing. “About getting his hair cut?”
“Oh that. Yes, I heard you.”
“Then why didn't you answer me?”
“I chose to ignore it,” she stated blithely.
Sometimes it was just best to leave things alone. He laced his gloved fingers with those of her free hand as they walked the crowded streets of Diagon Alley a few days before Christmas. Gareth was bundled up and hitching a ride balanced on her hip while Liam darted in and out of the crowd a few feet in front of them.
“You really should consider it,” he said as they stood in front of the toy shop window while the boys watched the display in wonderment a little while later. “People are starting to mistake him for a little girl.”
Her breath billowed out in a white plume as she sighed heavily. “His hair is too pretty to cut.”
“He is a little boy and little boys don't have long pretty hair.”
“There are many portraits hanging at the house that say otherwise.” She smirked at him before giving Gareth's curls a quick kiss.
“Ginny,” he warned. “Liam had his hair cut well before he was this old”
She gave him a hard look. “Yes, but Liam's hair wasn't nearly as pretty now was it? All straight and baby fine like it was. It needed to be cut so it would look halfway decent.”
He swallowed his growl of frustration. “I think he needs a hair cut.”
“And I think we should have another baby,” she countered, giving him that look that always caused dread to pool in the pit of his stomach.
“Whoa! How did we get here from discussing Gareth's hair?”
“Well,” she started softly. “I've been giving it a good bit of thought lately. I'm not getting any younger and I really would like to have a girl.”
Draco wrapped his arm around her shoulder and drew her close before leaning in to lightly nuzzle her ear. “Gin, this isn't the time or place to discuss this. Besides, we decided that the boys were enough remember?”
She pulled away slightly. “If I remember correctly, it was you that decided.”
“Yes, but you agreed.”
“And I reserve the right to change my mind. I've decided I want another baby.”
Draco always knew this day would come, but he never dreamt he'd be standing in front of the toy store freezing his arse off in the snow when his lovely wife decided it was time to have the I-want-another-baby talk. Witches - can't live with them…and he really couldn't live without this one.
“I think you've been spending far too much time with Sabine and Pansy,” he said. “They're bad influences you know.”
Sabine was only two months older than Gareth so it was only natural that he would spend a good deal of time with his cousin. Being Pansy's daughter was a bonus in her favor as far as Draco was concerned. It at least made her Weasley blood more tolerable.
“Sabine is the most darling little girl,” Ginny gushed, her facing lighting up. “Did you know that Pansy has been talking about having another baby?”
At least now he knew where this was coming from. The sisterhood of Weasleys could never do anything individually - it was always a team effort with at least one of them going along with whatever was going on with them so they wouldn't have to go it alone. That is how they ended up with Gareth…
“Why don't we find some place warm to finish this conversation?” he suggested. “I'm sure the kids are cold.”
Any hopes of carrying this discussion on in front of the warm fireplace in his study were immiedately dashed when Ginny grabbed Liam's hand and led them towards Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes. She deposited the boys with which ever twin was behind the counter and unceremoniously tossed the other one out of the office before shutting the door and casting a silencing charm.
“It's warm. Talk,” she demanded.
He looked around the cluttered office. The desk was nearly hidden by a mound of parchments almost as tall as he. There was a long low table against the far wall where Merlin only knew what was bubbling in various cauldrons. Boxes, tins and phials littered every available surface.
“This isn't exactly what I had in mind,” he sniffed.
“This is as good as place as any.” She shoved some boxes and parchments off a small ugly bright green sofa before sitting down, crossing her arms and her legs. “I want to have another baby.”
He ran a hand through his hair as he pondered his words carefully. He decided going negative might be the best course of action. “Did you enjoy being up half the night with a crying baby? Do you really want to have to change nappies again now that we've about gotten Gareth potty trained?”
“I don't mind those things at all.”
“I wouldn't be able to take you away on long, romantic weekends while you're nursing a baby.”
“That is what we have our old age for!”
Fine, she wanted to play dirty. Two could play that game. “All right, what about the other day when you were complaining your arse looked fat? You do realize what having another baby will do right?”
She spluttered indignantly. “It won't matter to me as long as I get my baby girl. And you think my arse is fat do you?”
“No! Let's get this straight right now,” he said firmly, not wanting to her to get the wrong impression. He much preferred his bed to the transfigured sofa. “I was only reminding you of what you said not what I think.”
She pursed her lips and acted like she wanted to continue arguing with him, but she remained silent. He wasn't too sure she wasn't plotting ways to kill him in his sleep and dispose of his body.
“Ginny,” he said sternly, bravely daring to settle beside her on the sofa after a few silent, tense minutes. “I love you more than life itself you know that right?” She nodded, but wouldn't look at him. “And you know that I would give you anything in the world if I could?”
“Yes,” she mumbled.
“I can't promise you we'd have a little girl and I couldn't bear your disappointment. Between your family and my family girls are extremely rare. I'm sorry,” he said regretfully. In truth, he wouldn't have minded having a little girl to treat like a little princess, spoil rotten and threaten boys with bodily harm when she was older. A little mini Ginny was what he'd always had in mind. Yes, a little girl would have been very nice.
“I know,” she whispered, leaning against him for support, “but I just know that our next baby would be a little girl.”
“You don't know that for sure.” He wrapped his arms around her and kissed the top of her head.
“I do. I can feel it, Draco. Feel it in my heart, we'd have our baby girl.”
She sounded so sure that it almost broke his heart to know that she would be wrong. And that was exactly why he didn't want to get her to get her hopes up. “Why don't we enjoy the two we have right now and revisit this discussion when Gareth starts school?”
“I thought it would be nice to have them all closer in age…” her voice trailed off as a blue sparkling Catherine Wheel squeezed through the crack beneath the door..
“What the…” Draco started when his wife opened the door and was enveloped in brightly colored bouncing fireworks and the squeals of children.
Fred darted past the office door, chasing a red dragon firework and putting out the spot fires every time it roared. “I wouldn't come out,” he yelled back to them. “We've got a bit of a mess currently.”
“You find Gareth,” Draco commanded, all the while dodging spinning fireworks as he set out into the chaos. “I'll retrieve Liam!”
He found his oldest child a few moments later splashing in the murky waters of a small portable swamp by the front counter and looking for all the world as though he was having the time of his life. His wife's hysterical shrieks caused him to stop in the middle of casting a few drying charms on Liam's shoes and robes and run across the store to see what caused her distress.
Then he saw them.
George on the floor, Gareth trapped between his legs so he couldn't escape. The little boy was desperately trying to squirm out of his uncle's grasp while wearing only his training pants, the rest of his clothing were no where to be seen.
But that wasn't the worst of it.
The worst of it was the piles of ginger curls that littered the floor, tangled in wads of Billion Blue Bubbles Blowing Gum. Half of the little boy's head had been sheared like he was a little lamb and his uncle was desperately trying to finish the job.
“What have you done to my baby?” Ginny asked hotly, kneeling down and holding her arms out to him. Gareth launched himself into her arms, crying and pulling at the sticky wads of gum in his hair. “You cut his hair!”
“They found the stash of special Christmas Crackers,” Fred offered quickly.
“It needed cutting anyway,” George said with a shrug.
She slapped at her brother's arm. “I didn't want his hair cut!”
“He was looking like a little girl.”
She looked over what was left of Gareth's hair with tears glistening in her eyes. “You've ruined it!”
“Awah, Gin Gin,” George said, scooting away from her as if a little distance might save him from her wrath. “It's just hair, it'll grow back.”
“That's not the point! And where are his clothes? He's shivering!”
“I'll find them,” Draco said quickly, anything to get away from the little family drama that was playing out before him, much to his amusement, before his wife caught his all-too-pleased grin. He'd actually gotten his way without having to dirty his hands or suffer through her righteous indignation. The gods must have smiled upon his fortune this day.
Ginny redressed Gareth quickly, all the while complaining bitterly about the state of his locks as the grown-up wizards watched her with a mixture of fear and trepidation.
“Mummy,” a little trembling, watery voice came from behind her. “I think my nose is bleeding.”
Liam stepped into view, the front of his robes covered in the bright red blood that was flowing freely from his nose. Ginny immediately abandoned Gareth to see to her other child. She clamped his nose shut with her hand and tilted his head back while cradling him against her body. “It's okay baby, Mummy will make it stop.”
Draco didn't think a body that little could hold so much blood. Seeing one of his sons in distress first hand was far more gut wrenching than actually hearing about it after the fact which was usually how he dealt with matters such as these. He was at a loss as to what to do so he offered his pristine white handkerchief to his wife to help staunch the blood flow.
“Uhm, Gin…you might not want to do that to him,” one twin started.
“He'll drown in the blood,” the other filled in.
“He needs to eat the other half of the Nosebleed Nougat!”
“Where is it?” she demanded just as Liam coughed up a mouth full of blood all over her cream colored cashmere sweater set.
“Candy!” Gareth said delightedly, stuffing half of a piece of candy he found on the floor into his mouth.
Draco lunged for his youngest child, just missing him as he took off down the aisle. “Gareth, no! Don't eat that!” Luckily for him, his legs were much longer than the little boy's legs and he caught up with him in two strides. “Give that to me,” he demanded, holding out his hand for him to spit out the candy. Gareth refused, forcing him to have to dig the partially chewed piece out of the little boy's mouth with his fingers.
He handed the disgusting piece of nougat to his wife to give to Liam who in turn refused to eat it after it'd been in his brother's mouth. It took the both of them to hold him down and force it in his mouth so he wouldn't bleed to death.
After the blood ceased to flow and the appropriate promises of long painful deaths had been made, Draco took his wife and children home. He was physically and mentally exhausted as he followed them through the evening ritual of bathes, pyjamas, supper, brushing teeth and tucking them in for the night. He'd been giving the task of disposing of their ruined robes. No matter how many cleaning charms he tried, he just couldn't get all the blood out of hers.
He settled down on his side of the large bed with a book after a long, hot shower to rinse away the evidence of his oldest child's near death experience. His bit of reading was quickly forgotten as he mentally ran through the events of the afternoon. He honestly didn't think he could deal with another child on top of the two they already had. Couldn't Ginny see they were outnumbered as it was? Adding a third child to the mix would be like throwing kerosene on an open flame.
Although, she really seemed to have her heart set on having another baby. He sighed as his thoughts turned to appeasing her whim. Being a mother was what she was made for and who was he to deny her the joy that having children brought her? She really was a good mother, far better than all of her sisters combined.
And he was never really any good at denying her anything she really wanted.
He'd tell her the next time she mentioned having more children that it was all right with him. He couldn't help but smile as he imagined her happiness at the news. He could already picture what their new child would look like - a perfect blending of them - big gray eyes and unruly red hair. They did make truly beautiful children together if he said so himself. And if they did have a little girl, then it was all the better.
Ginny's soft warm lips on his bare shoulder startled him awake. “My poor pumpkin is still trying to figure out what happened to all his hair,” she said quietly.
“What's he doing?”
“He's lying there in bed patting his head, feeling around for the curls and then he'll rub his hands over the stubble that's left.”
“He'll get used to it in a couple days,” Draco assured her while fighting the urge to grin from ear to ear because his baby finally looked like the little boy that he was. "How is the little monster?"
She sighed. “I know, but I'm going to miss his sweet little curls. Liam is sleeping like a little log. I think he's still a bit traumatized.”
“You were in the bath an awful long time,” he said by the way of changing the subject before they went to down a path he didn't want to venture down again any time soon.
“I know,” she whispered, snuggling against him. “I was doing a lot of thinking while I soaked.”
He kissed her languidly, pulling her across his lap so she was straddling his thighs. “Dare I ask?”
“I've decided you were right.”
He tore his eyes way from the enticing display of her breasts that were barely hidden by the black silky material she wore to blink confusedly at her. “I was?”
Her fingers drew lazy patterns over the skin of his finely muscled torso. “Liam and Gareth are more than a handful right now, and I do love being able to go away with you on a moment's notice. Right now might not be the best time to have another baby.”
“If that is what you want,” he said flatly, a sharp stab of disappointment welled up in his chest.
“It is.” She tenderly kissed him. “But I reserve the right to reopen negotiations later on if I change my mind.”
“Fair enough,” he agreed, sliding his hands up the soft skin of her thighs, pushing her nightgown up as he went only to discover she was knickerless. She smiled wickedly at his enthusiastic murmur of appreciation. “Now, you naughty little witch, you need to help me forget about seeing Liam nearly bleeding to death every time I close my eyes.”
“I think I can do that,” she purred in his ear, promptly making him forget everything, including his own name at that very moment.
Thanks to dragonsangel68 for the read through. You're a doll!
By the way, I don't own Draco or Ginny. They belong to JKR and all her lovely publishing companies.
Grin and Bare It by Rainpuddle
I had originally intended to write a cute Christmas ficlet, but I couldn’t get my arse in gear. I opted for a New Year’s ficlet, but again, that didn’t work out either. I struggled a fair bit with this and I managed to finish just in time for baby!Gareth’s biggest fan’s birthday!
Happy Birthday Cupid12203!!!
Thank you to Nokomis305 and fab4fan for the once overs and Dragonsangel68 for plot discussions!
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
The Cabbage Capers – Grin and Bare It
Gareth buried his face against his mum's neck. He was tired and ready for bed. All of these strangers in his house didn't make him feel any better either, even if Mummy was dressed like a princess in a shiny deep blue dress and sparkly jewelry around her neck. He just wanted everyone to go away so he could get in his warm bed and go to sleep.
It'd been a very busy past couple weeks leading up to Christmas. He and Liam hosted a party (with a smidgen of help from their mummy) on the Sunday afternoon prior, collecting toys for less fortunate children. Then they spent the actual day with all of his cousins enjoying their new toys and the sweet treats the aunts had created. Boxing Day was spent receiving family friends and his Da's employees. That required him to have to wear dress robes and be on his best behavior. He didn't think his mum realized just how very difficult it was to be good all day. And now, a New Year's party for one of Da's super-important-you-must-be-on-your-absolute-best- behavior-young-man work guests.
He gave his Da a goodnight snuggle and kiss and waved to the prettily dressed people gathered in the drawing room when Mummy announced that it was time he and Liam should be in bed. He watched from the safety of his mother's arms as his brother made his case for being allowed to stay up to see in the New Year to their father.
His mum tried putting him down once they’d reached the back staircase. "Baby, don't you want to walk up the steps yourself?" she asked sweetly.
"No," he said, tightening his arms around her neck. "Sleepy."
"All right, baby. Liam, come along." They trudged upstairs with Costa making sure Liam didn't go astray.
"I don't see why I can't stay up," his brother complained bitterly once they reached the landing. "I was having fun!"
"And now it's past time for little boys to go to bed," she stated firmly.
"I'm not a little boy!"
"You're my little boy."
"It's true. You're little, you're a boy and you're mine, therefore you're my little boy," Mum said with a mischievous grin.
"I still don't see why I can't stay up," Liam said, trying to redirect the conversation in his favor.
"Liam, I said no and I mean it," Mum said sternly.
"But I was allowed to stay up Christmas!"
"That was family and this is for some of your Da's most important business clients. And good little boys who want to live to see the next day of their lives do as they are told."
After his brother threw himself in the overstuffed chair in the corner by fireplace to pout, Gareth raised his head to give his mum a peck on the cheek. "I'll be your good little boy, Mummy."
She hugged him tight before saying, "Oh, pumpkin, you're my good baby boy."
"I'll be your baby forever," he said, nodding.
"Of course you will." She punctuated each word with a kiss. A loud grumble came from the other side of the room.
Gareth gave his brother a cheeky grin from over their mum's shoulder.
"All right, into bed with you," she said as she carefully pried his arms from around her neck. "You're going to stay in here with Liam tonight."
"Mum!" Liam cried, clearly aggrieved at having to share his bed.
Gareth just nodded, eyes drooping as she quickly dressed him in his favorite pyjamas – the flannel trousers with little frogs all over them and a white t-shirt after checking to make sure he didn't need a fresh nappy. The arrangement was agreeable to him. He actually liked sleeping with his brother or his parents. There were no monsters under the bed to worry about (they were afraid of Da), he was always very warm and comfy (Mum was the best cuddler ever), and he just loved his big brother so much that he wanted to spend every bit of time he possibly could with Liam.
"He'll go right to sleep if you leave him alone. Read some of your books or color. Just be quiet please," Mum instructed.
"No buts, William Malfoy or it's lights out for you, too!"
Mummy tucked him into bed with a whispered "I love you" and a soft kiss pressed to his forehead. Gareth's eyes drifted closed before she moved away from the bed. He turned over, hugging Seymour tight as an exhausted sleep claimed him.
The room was still brightly lit when a loud noise startled him out of sleep. Liam was coloring by the fireplace and Mummy was nowhere in sight. Costa was curled up in the corner fast asleep. He could hear the faint strains of music and voices drifting up from the festivities below. The small Quidditch themed Christmas tree was still twinkling in the corner. Hecate raised her head to regard him curiously before curling up into a tight ball again on the foot of the bed.
"Li Li?" he called out.
"Go back to sleep," his older brother commanded.
"She's downstairs at Da's party, 'member?"
Gareth slipped out of bed to see what his brother was in the process of doing. "Can I color?"
"No, you're supposed to be asleep."
"I'm not getting into trouble for you. Now go back to bed, will you?"
He shook his head. "No, I wanna color!"
Liam stood after making sure that Gustav was safely out of reach. "No! Now go back to bed," he said harshly, shoving Gareth back toward the rumbled bed.
"Up now!" he insisted, pushing back. He wanted to do whatever his brother was doing. If Liam was coloring, then by golly he wanted to color too. "I wanna color!"
"Oh alright, here is a coloring book and some crayons. Now be quiet!"
Gareth carefully examined the coloring book his brother gave him from the bottom of the heap stuffed in a basket by his bookshelves. Most of the magical reptiles had already been colored, leaving him with little to choose from. He finally decided upon a two headed toad that had been abandoned with only one head colored in.
"Can I have a dragon?" he asked, eyeing the thick new Dragons Through History coloring book his brother had acquired on their most recent trip to Diagon Alley. Gareth was starting to regret the purchase of a story book instead of a new coloring book. Liam could be quite stingy when it came to doling out pictures from his stash of books.
"No! It's mine. Now hush up and color what I gave you!"
He sighed and began picking through the bucket of nubs and broken crayons, looking for just the right color for his toad. A metallic dark green crayon lying on the carpet caught his attention. That would be the perfect color for his toad.
"What do you think you're doing?" Liam asked, snatching the crayon away from him before he could reach it. "That's mine! And this one too! And that one!" His brother started gathering up all the pretty metallic crayons and putting them in the tin he reserved for his most prized possessions.
"Please," Gareth said sweetly as he squatted down next to his big brother to admire his handiwork. "I'll be really careful, I promise."
Liam gave him a dubious look. "You'll wear it down unevenly or worse, break it in half."
"I don't do that!" Gareth squeaked.
"Yes," his brother said, shaking a box of nubs, crumbles and broken crayons at him, "you do. You press too hard."
"I don't mean too," he said softly, taking the box.
"It's cos you're a baby."
"I'm not a baby."
"Yes, you are."
"Can I have a dragon? Peas?"
"Can I hold Gustav?"
"Just for a second?"
"Can I help you color?"
"No, you color outside of the lines." Liam regarded him with one eyebrow raised. Gareth thought he looked an awful lot like their Da when he did that.
"I'll be careful, promise."
"No. Go back to bed."
"Because you're a baby."
"I'm a big boy!" Gareth said proudly. And he was a big boy. Mummy and Da said so. He slept in a big boy bed in his own room now. He wore big boy pyjamas like his brother. And he was working slowly towards being able to do without a nightlight.
"You're a baby," Liam insisted.
"Nuh uh!" he countered.
“You’ll be a baby as long as you wear a nappy,” Liam said accusingly, poking at his padded hip.
Gareth’s eyes grew wide. Nappy wearing was a very touchy subject for him; one of the few things from babyhood that he still voraciously clung to. It wasn’t like he really needed to wear one because he’d been using the loo on his own for a while now, but he liked the comfort of knowing that if he had an accident, he wouldn’t fall victim to the ridicule of his older cousins. He’d seen it happen and the end results weren’t pretty and the last thing he wanted was to be labeled a cry-baby. Besides, Mummy didn’t seem all that concerned about it.
“So,” he countered.
“Only babies wear nappies,” Liam said with a smirk.
He thought of the drawer full of baby boxers that his Mummy had helped him pick out – blue and green stripes, red check, green plaid, solid colors in cottons and flannels – he had plenty to choose from when the mood struck him. His brother wore boxers at all times because their Da wore them and he too would wear them when the time was right.
“I don’t hafta wear it,” Gareth snapped.
His brother snorted. “Did you know that your winkie will fall if you keep wearing nappies?”
“Nuh uh,” he replied half heartedly. He wasn’t sure if he should believe Liam or not. Surely his brother wouldn’t lie to him, but then again he really couldn’t take that chance.
“Uh huh, nappies don’t let it get any air. It shrivels up and falls off.”
Gareth wasn’t quite certain what the word shrivel meant, but whatever it was, it didn’t sound like it was all that good. Surely he would have heard of this before now. “Nuh uh!”
Liam gave him a smug look. “Da said so.”
He gasped in horror. That most definitely confirmed it. Da knew everything and if he said this was true... Gareth stared at his older brother in disbelief. For all he knew his winkie was about to fall off at any moment, never mind the fact that it seemed alright when he put on his pyjamas earlier.
“I’d get out of that nappy, if I were you,” his brother suggested casually before turning his attention back to his coloring book.
Gareth needed no further prompting, tugging desperately at his pyjamas trousers and falling on his bum when his feet got tangled up in them. He wiggled out of the nappy, kicking the offending undergarment as far away from him as he could manage. It landed () by the toy chest across the room. He frantically pulled his t-shirt over his head just incase his skin couldn’t breathe either.
He gave himself a cursory inspection, but having not paid that much attention to that particular part of his anatomy, at least what it looked like anyway, he wasn’t exactly sure what to look for. “Li Li?” he asked shakily, afraid of what the verdict might be.
Liam glanced up at him, making a grimaced face. “Oh, that doesn’t look good at all.”
“What?” Full panic was starting to seize Gareth. The last thing he wanted was for his winkie to fall off.
“I think it’s too late.”
Liam nodded gravely. “Yep, too late. You’re gonna be a girl now and have to wear dresses and ribbons in your hair!”
“No!” Gareth cried tearfully.
“And you’ll have to get a new girly name…”
“Mummy,” he howled like a wounded animal.
“And wear pink.”
He ran to the door, struggling with the knob in his haste until the door finally opened just enough to allow him to slip out into the long upper hallway of the family quarters. He made a beeline towards the music and voices wafting up from the party still in full swing in the atrium below.
“Mummy,” he screeched at the top of his lungs as he stumbled down the steps, “Mummy!”
The band stopped abruptly. Gareth halted at the foot of the steps to stare wide eyed at the all the guests who’d turned to see what all the noise was that was coming from the darkened portion of the manor house.
“Gareth Malfoy,” his father said sternly as he emerged from the sea of colorfully dressed witches and wizards, “where are your clothes, young man?”
He was gone like a shot when his father tried to snatch him up. “Mummy,” he screamed, weaving his way between party-goers in a desperate search for his mother. Da was no longer trustworthy. “Mummy! My winkie’s gonna fall off!”
“Gareth?” his mother called out, concern clearly laced in her voice. The loud tinkling of breaking glass filled the air as his father lost his balance and stumbled into a waiter as he gave chance through the crowd.
Gareth could hear her, but he was having trouble locating her in his panic - all of the colorful robes were becoming blurry through a haze of tears. He ran desperately through the throng in search of her, sobbing the whole while that he didn’t wanted to be a girl when his winkie fell off.
A very tall wizard lifted him off the ground as he ran through a crowd, holding him out and facing away from his body and carried him through the crowd to his parents. “I believe this young man belongs to you, Malfoy,” he said in a deep voice with a funny accent.
His mother immediately gathered him in her arms, whispering soothing words to him as she tried to kiss his tears away. “Pumpkin, where are your clothes? You’re freezing.”
“Upstairs,” Gareth whispered, suddenly embarrassed at his state of undress.
“Thank you, Carraway,” his father said, tightly. “I don’t know what has gotten into my children tonight. They don’t normally act this way.”
“It’s quite alright. Children will be children.”
Gareth hazarded a closer inspection of his savior. It was the American wizard his father had introduced him to earlier in the evening. Mum had stressed that he was very important to Da’s work and he and Liam had gotten a lengthy lecture about being on their best behavior while he was at the manor. Something about Da trying to convince him to invest in an overseas venture. He really didn’t understand it all, but he’d do his very best to make it happen if that was what Da wanted.
“Why are your pyjamas upstairs and you’re downstairs, baby?” his mother gently prodded.
“I don’t want my winkie to fall off,” he responded quickly.
“Why on earth would you think that?”
“Cos I still wear a nappy.”
“It’ll shrivel up and fall off and then I’ll be a girl!” Gareth cried, distraught.
“Oh, baby,” she said with a giggle, “who told you that?”
“He did, did he? Well, Li Li was mistaken, because it isn’t true.” She nuzzled his soft red curls.
“Uh huh! He said Da said so!”
“Da is clearly mistaken,” she said soothingly, all the while looking at his father, “and Mummy will take care of him later, so don’t you worry your pretty little head about it anymore. Your winkie isn’t going to fall off, I promise. Now let’s go see about finding your pyjamas and seeing what your brother has to say about all of this.”
“Mummy, am I a big boy?” Gareth asked when his mother carried him upstairs. He just wanted to be clear on the facts. He’d been given so much misinformation already this evening.
“Of course you are.”
“Li Li says I’m not cos I still wear nappies.”
“Li Li doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
“I don’t wanna be a girl.”
“You’re not going to turn into a girl.”
Mummy took him to his room, helping him pick out a new set of flannel pyjamas and supporting his decision to opt for a pair of blue and white striped baby boxers. She put a pair of socks on his feet and helped him put his froggie slippers on before they headed to his brother’s room with him perched on her hip.
“Liam,” she said firmly as they entered, “I suggest you put your things away right now.”
He put his crayon down, glaring at Gareth. “What’d I do?”
“I think you are well aware of what you’ve done. Put your things away now, please.”
Liam grudgingly put his crayons way, taking his sweet time sorting them into the correct boxes. He made a show of slamming shut his book before standing up. “I thought I could stay up if I was good!”
She snorted. “And you haven’t been good, so in bed you go.”
“But I’m not sleepy,” he protested. “I wanted to go back to the party! Da said I could after Gareth was asleep!”
“Da says a lot of things he has no business saying,” she stated, carefully balancing Gareth as she turned down the bed for his brother. “In you go.”
His brother glared at him as he flung himself onto his high four poster bed. He looked like he was ready to mount another protest.
Mum cut him off before he could even get started, pulling up the covers and tucking them firmly around him. “I don’t want to hear any cheek from you, young man, or you’ll be finding out what my wand feels like on your little bum. You don’t want that,do you?”
“No, ma’am,” he groused, kicking at the bed clothes.
“Now what do you say to your brother for scaring him half to death?” she prodded.
Liam mumbled something under his breath and tossed a stuffed frog from his bed. “Sorry.”
“Does that make things better, pumpkin?” Mum cooed to him, giving him a quick squeeze after picking up his beloved frog.
Gareth nodded, smiling happily and hugging Seymour close to his chest. This evening turned out way better than he’d imagined it would since he woke up out of a dead sleep and found his brother coloring: Liam was now in deep trouble; Mummy snuggling him; and getting to go back to the fancy party now that he was no longer tired and cranky.
They sought Da out immediately upon returning downstairs. He was still conversing with the tall wizard with the funny accent who’d put an end to his little exhibition.
“I trust things are going better for you now that you have some clothes on, Gareth?” the wizard asked.
“Uh huh,” Gareth said, suddenly bashful, burying his face in his mum’s neck.
“Everything okay, Gin?” his father asked, lightly rubbing Gareth’s back.
“Perfect,” she responded curtly.
He wasn’t sure, but he thought his father looked like he might get sick. “Liam-” Da started.
“Liam is in bed for the rest of the evening,” she said, cutting him off.
“I told him-”
“I’m well aware of what you told him, and he will not be rejoining us after his little stunt.”
“Ginny,” his father cajoled, “boys will be boys.”
“How well I know.” She shifted Gareth to her other hip away from his father’s out stretched hands. “I won’t let you corrupt him like you did Liam.”
“Monster,” Da addressed him, reaching for him again, “come to Da, baby.” Gareth regarded his father warily for a moment from the safety of his mum’s arms before finally giving in. “You can help me talk Mr. Carraway here into investing in Da’s business.”
He brightened immediately. He loved nothing better than going to work with Da and helping him out at the office. He had his own desk and everything in a corner by the windows of the huge suite that was the center of D & G International Holdings Company. He got to go to meetings and file reports with Calla, his father’s long time assistant. The best part of the day was business lunches in Diagon Alley and afternoon naps under Da’s desk.
“Yaya,” he exclaimed. “I love to go to work with Da!”
His mum sighed as she handed him over. “You’re going to damage him for life, yet. Telling a baby his bits will fall off.” The last sentence was muttered bitterly.
“I haven’t damaged you, have I, Gareth?” Da asked with a smile, bouncing him a bit on his hip.
He giggled and shook his head. “Nope!”
“Give me a kiss!”
Gareth did as he was told and gave his father a big, sloppy smooch.
“See, no damage,” Da said with a smirk.
His mum rolled her eyes and sighed dramatically. “I will never understand little boys, never!”
“All right, son, let’s get to work.” Da patted his bum. “Uh, Gin, is this a nappy-less bum I feel here?”
“Yes,” she said tightly, “he insisted on the boxers when I was getting him dressed.”
“Ah, so it did work then.”
“That’s two for two if my arithmetic is correct.”
“Once. It worked once. Liam actually told him, not you,” Mum said with a smirk of her own.
Da kissed the top of Gareth’s head. “That may be true, but he was using my words of wisdom and now his brother isn’t wearing nappies any more.”
“You just think you’re so brilliant, don’t you?”
“I don’t have to think it, baby, because I know it!”
“You are impossible,” she said disgustedly. “Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to go see to our guests. Mr. Carraway.” She nodded.
Gareth watched as his mum disappeared into a sea of people before turning his attention back to his father and Mr. Carraway. He was ready to get down to business. It made him feel important and needed.
“I think we can do business after all, Malfoy,” the older wizard drawled. “And now tell me about advice? My son is having trouble getting my grandson to give up his diapers
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.