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While Daddy Wasn't Watching by Lirie Halliwell
Daddy by Lirie Halliwell
Author's Notes:
Written for Sharlene and dedicated to her. And the red-haired plot-ferret =P
While Daddy Wasn’t Watching


Cherry blossoms swerved timidly through the air, settling with quiet unease on the shoulders of the present party. Amidst the shower of pale pink petals and heavy clouds of sweet perfume, stood a short figure, still shivering greatly and clutching the stout wand uncertainly. Unruly waves of copper hair framed the round frightened face in an unkempt mess, giving the figure more life and character than any other attribute. Dark blue eyes, shining with anxiety and trepidation, held their locked gaze on the target, not even contemplating yielding for a measly moment.

Albeit cherry blossoms were an odd choice of a weapon, but Molly Prewett’s temper apparently wasn’t aware of it.

“Now, don’t make me repeat myself, Lucius.” Her voice quaked slightly as it left her paling lips. “Give him his things back and leave. Please.”

Lucius Malfoy – rich, handsome, conceited and cruel – had been a playmate of Molly’s all those years ago when good playmates were worth more than gold. Her father had wanted the two to wed in the unthinkable distant future, however some differences of opinion between him and Malfoy Senior – and Molly’s unexpected sorting into the house of Godric Gryffindor – had caused the annulment of those plans.

Now, all she sported from those long forgotten days on the Prewetts grounds was the rare right to call Lucius by his given name. It did little to alter their current relations, however. Relationships between a Gryffindor and a Slytherin were forever cursed to be on razor edges, despite whatever previous acquaintances existed.

At this particular moment what caused this vicious attack of scented flowers had been a practice of Lucius’ favorite hobby – 'Waddle the Weasley'.

Arthur Weasley was a tall, lanky and redheaded boy a year below Molly, and he had the strangest character she had ever seen. He was quiet and reserved from afar, forever solemnly buried in books of Muggle studies and piles of assorted trinkets she could never name or recognize; but he was unfathomably warm and friendly if one ever dared approach him. He was also quite talkative if the right subject was triggered and Molly couldn’t help but enjoy his company, and endear his smile to her heart.

That is why Molly – the ever quiet, ever timid and ever polite Prefect she was – had stopped ignoring Lucius’ childish pranks and behavior towards this particular target. If Arthur was too good of a person to hit back and chose instead to turn the other cheek, which had already been mauled countless times, she definitely wasn’t, even if she was mindlessly frightened of the silvery-blond sometimes.

“Don’t be ridiculous, Molly,” Lucius drawled, tossing a sneer in her direction before casting his derision on the still prone Arthur. “It’s just Weasley. He doesn’t mind. Do you, carrot-top?”

The last moniker had been accented with a kick at Arthur’s feet, which the taller boy unsuccessfully tried to defend.

“I asked you nicely, Lucius,” Molly said almost calmly. “Please.”

Lucius evened her with a stare for a long moment, unnerving her with the mercury sheen of his eyes. “You fancy the blood-traitor.”

It wasn’t a question, really, but more of a simple statement. A simple venomous statement.

Lucius dropped the tattered backpack he was holding to the floor and left the scene, whisking his giggling cronies with him with a mere wave of his ring-covered hand.

Molly took a deep breath and lowered her wand, watching the silver halo disappear behind the nearest curve. Soon enough the crowd around them dissipated as well, and Molly made her quiet way to the crouching Arthur, who was gathering things that had dropped out of his bag. She knelt beside him and began picking up books and parchments, handing them over to their owner.

After a moment of silence when it became clear by the deep scarlet taint on Arthur’s face that he was nowhere in the state of conversing, Molly sighed heavily. “I’m sorry about Lu—“

“Y—you fancy me?”

Now the scarlet blush bloomed on her face and she was the one with her tongue tied in a knot. She never took notice of the things Lucius said in that tone of his, because they were always meant to hurt in the most spiteful of ways.

At the sight of her obvious embarrassment, Arthur’s flush deepened. He hurried to tie up his bag and stand up, taking a few steps away in the process.

“D—don’t answer that. It is alright, I didn’t think— I… I’ll be on my way… there!” He pointed in some direction and promptly disappeared from her sight, even before she had the time to calm him down.

When the mop of primly combed orange hair careened into a secret passageway behind some random tapestry, Molly found herself oddly disappointed. However, she couldn’t pinpoint what exactly made her uneasy, so she decided to not dwell on it beyond necessity and simply move on.


~*~*~


Molly,

A heinous rumor had reached my ears, which I hope with all my heart you are about to refute. I have been informed by trusted sources that you have been seen consorting with a Weasley boy in your spare time, and were even seen alone with him in the Hogwarts grounds and within the corridors. I’ll have you know I shall not tolerate such association from a Prewett and I better well receive a letter disproving these tales at ones, young lady.

Richard Prewett

***

Molly,

I have received your letter and read it thoroughly at least dozen of times. Though I am very pleased by your academic achievements in school, nowhere along those lines have I seen you denying having anything to do with that boy I talked about, and I need not explain how very displeased and disconcerted I was. I ask you again to refer to the matter in your next letter, before I come to Hogwarts to investigate the issue myself.

Richard Prewett

***

Molly,

I cannot, I shall not believe the words written in your last letter and simply assume it was another prank of those horrid brothers of yours, Gideon and Fabian and your barbarian cousin, that Alice girl. I demand a different letter (use anti-jinxing charms this time) to address the issue.

Worriedly,
Richard Prewett

***

Molly Prewett,

Have you gone completely and totally insane? I shall not stand for such folly, young lady! You shall end any and all ties you have with that Weasley boy, and avoid him for the rest of your stay in that establishment. I do not want to hear about it again! You should be grateful I am not pulling you out of that school.

Richard Prewett.

***

Young lady,

Do not, ever, in your entire life, dare to disrespect me as you did in your last letter. I do not wish to hear about what you think your feelings for the boy may be. I will not allow you to be wooed by a Weasley! End it and end it now!

R. Prewett,
Prewett International, CEO.

***

Molly,

I hadn’t heard from you in a long while, child. I hope all is well with you.

I know you might be slightly miffed with me, but you must understand that you are too young to comprehend. However, I am not, and I know very well what I am talking about. His sort are not worthy of our company, Molly, and you are a Prewett. You have a name to uphold.

I know you will not disappoint me. Take good care of yourself.

Love,
Richard Prewett

***

Molly,

I still haven’t received a letter from you. It's been over a month. Is all well? I hope you are not ill, but if you are, do not trust the school’s Medi-Witch. Just inform me and I shall owl Healer Rethorm immediately.

All in all, I know your grades are still impeccable. I haven’t heard any news of you and that Weasley boy. You have no idea how pleased I am at that. Keep up the marvelous work, Molly.

Love,
Richard Prewett.

***

HE HAD ASKED YOU WHAT? NO DAUGHTER OF MINE WILL EVER MARRY A WEASLEY!

Prepare your belongings, child. I am coming to get you this afternoon. You shall not stay in that school another week!

Your Father.


~*~*~



Her rueful gaze fell onto the pile of black dust flakes that just a moment ago had been an animated red envelope, booming with her father’s furious voice.

“I take it he, umm, wasn’t thrilled?”

Molly shook her head lightly, biting on her bottom lip. Something told her she should be feeling somewhat different in her present situation. She should feel dreadful, regretful, and doubtful at best. She should be reconsidering the whole ordeal and assuming that her father indeed knew better, like she had always assumed.

Whatever it was she should’ve been feeling, it definitely wasn’t what was coursing through her mind at that moment when a pair of earthily strong palms drew her closer, and an unsteady intake of air behind her, revealed all the gnashing fears hidden beyond the sheepish veneer.

She let go of her lower lip and sighed. What she felt was… defiance. Confidence. Simpleminded nonchalance.

It was as if somewhere between the darkest hour and the invigorating dawn she had shed the invisible threads that held her unbreakably compliant connection with her father and replaced them with craftily woven ropes of her bond to Arthur. Not even the rational part of her redheaded mind spoke of fleeting adolescent whims that she would most definitely regret later.

Anything that might’ve nestled in the caverns of her heart had been shattered by the familiar voice, bearing slight traces of uncertainty.

“You—you shouldn’t do it if you don’t… I mean, I’ll understand. I’ll probably turn permanently red in the face, but I’ll understand.”

Molly couldn’t help but smile. Even at his anxious state he did his best to appease her.

“I know you would,” she smiled simply and turned to face him. “All ready?”

Nodding, Arthur cast his eyes downwards. He gripped the loose lapels of Molly’s cloak and tug at them lightly, drawing her sapphire gaze up at him. His breath hitched at the sight of complete trust in those eyes, and he tightened the lapels around her.

“Alright then,” he murmured to himself and picked up two trunks, nudging her towards the steaming Hogwarts Express.

This was going to be one long Easter holiday for Molly Prewett. It was going to be even longer for Richard Prewett, who would arrive at the Hogwarts School within two hours to find a letter left behind from his daughter. A letter which proclaimed the same things she had attempted to tell him before and he refused to hear. A letter which held absolutely no information regarding her destination, or whereabouts, but only of her choice and her company. A letter that he would shred the moment he finished reading it, and toss into the fireplace in the Headmaster’s chamber, demanding explanations the seemingly amused Professor Dumbledore did not possess.






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Cherry blossoms swirled through the air in a giddy dance, prancing from one wisp of smoke to another, circling the fuming figure in the middle of the hallway. It was a lovely spring afternoon and the sunlight played on the copper tresses of said figure just so; creating the illusion that the mop of hair appeared to be blazing vividly against the dulling background. Dark hazel eyes burned with unleashed fury and traces of derangement not to be taken lightly, as years of avid practice and honing had brought this particular figure’s temper to such peaks of perfection, its mere mention made men shrivel and back down.

Albeit cherry blossoms were an odd choice of explosive, but all knew Ginny Weasley’s choices were never to be questioned.

“Don’t be a baby, Malfoy, and don’t make me repeat myself.” Ginny’s voice clearly indicated that this was not the first time she had been bothered that day by the perpetrator, and that she was rapidly becoming fed up with it all. “Give him his things back.”

Draco Malfoy – a poor, mangled renegade and still an insufferable git – once was the undeniable sovereign of Slytherin territory and the infamous bully of Hogwarts’ grounds. Back then he was rich, feared, and envied by many, and inadvertently his body didn’t sport the countless scars his escape had since caused him. Back then he could allow himself to be derisive, to be mean and cruel to his peers, because it was all too well known that money didn’t lose friends.

However it all had crashed around him when a choice regarding his loyalties left him homeless, faceless and on the run. He spent two horrible months in hiding, residing in abandoned alcoves of the geography, living on nothing, but what he could steal or gather from the woods. Hunted by both the Order and the Dark Lord’s acolytes – and never being all that keen on the concept of ‘hope’ – he had sagged deeper into the glooms of his mind, unable to see any end in sight. It was only after the death of his protector – the former Potions Professor – that he had discovered the astonishing facts about his Guardian’s own loyalties, and with that he was brutally slapped out of his stupor.

Pride shattered by months of subliminal existence, Draco had found himself in front of his former Lord, staking unshaken loyalties, and scorning in contempt, and hatred of the memory of his late Guardian.

The tale about how he came to the other side, replacing his former Professor in the whole scheme of events, could be woven out in great detail for hours on end. However, at that moment it meant little to the youngest member of Weasley clan, who had to endure the blond presence at the castle ever since he escaped Voldemort’s clutched by the skin of his teeth. She was slowly growing irreversibly murderous.

The reason for Ginny’s escalating anger was Draco continuous aims at her brother, Ron Weasley, who had been feeling dejected ever since his best mate fled the premises of the school grounds in favor of a dangerous scavenger hunt for Horcruxes, without asking Ron to join him. It left the redheaded wizard absentminded and unfocussed, either from worry or hurt, which made him the perfect target for the returning traces of conceit and malice in one mind-bogglingly bored Draco Malfoy.

That is why, while Ron became too placid to reciprocate, Ginny became even more aggravated and furious with the silvery-blond prat. She no longer cared that once upon a time the big bad Slytherin mindlessly frightened her, just because he bore the green crest on his chest and because he exuded the wrong air about him. Now, he was nothing but a tattered deserter, with too much spare time on his hands.

“You do know that was ridiculous, Weasley, right?” The blond mused out loud, referring to the floral attack. He absently plucked a frivoling petal from the air and sniffed the sweet aroma, his mouth twisting into a mockery of a smile. “Cherry blossoms? Pray tell, are you in love, little Weasel?”

That only prompted a growl and a spiteful jinx to be hurled his way. However, the rapid tap-dancing feet jerking as if disconnected from the rest of the ragged figure curse, caused no repent whatsoever, but a burst of delighted laughter.

“This is actually good,” Draco said after a moment of gazing down at his rabid feet. “I haven’t practiced for so long.”

Ginny rolled her eyes at the amused Slytherin and rushed over to her brother’s side, helping him to his feet. He was once again in his abstracted stupor, so she had to pick up his backpack as well and dust off his robes before he wandered off again, casting a vague, “Thanks, Gin” behind him. She sighed ruefully, her hands propped on her hips in perfect imagery of her mother.

A small cough drew her attention away from the departing figure.

“What?” she snapped at the prancing blond, turning to face him again.

“Could you unhex me, perhaps? Now that your brother is out of my evil reach.”

Ginny cocked an eyebrow at him and folded her arms across her chest. “Why should I? So you can find him and pick on him again? I think I prefer to watch you pirouetting.”

“Please, little Weasel,” Draco rolled his eyes as well, his voice quaking a bit in rhythm of his steps. “I can see when a bloke is on the ground.”

“Yes I know, Malfoy. You see it as the perfect timing to kick him in the shin. ”

“Oh fine, I give you my word… I won’t hunt down Weasley King anymore, alright?” Draco spoke as if appeasing an insolent child.

“Your word?” A bark of laughter escaped her. “Your word as what? A fugitive? A dethroned Malfoy? A Death Eater? A traitor? An Order’s charity case? You have no words anymore, Malfoy.”

Even as the words spilled from her lips, she could sense herself dying to take them back. There were some heinous thoughts at the back of everybody’s minds that should never be uttered in daylight, or the presence of others. Words could hurt deeper than daggers, and worse than wands, and she knew it very well.

The sudden bleakness in the previously smiling face hit her harder than she thought it would. The grey of those opposing eyes lost something instantly, becoming as hard and cold as she always deemed them to be. But in that moment, she realized she had never really seen his eyes hard before, not even when he was haunted by the vicious ghosts of his past in his first days at the castle when he roamed aimlessly through the corridors, searching for something.

Suddenly the Tarantallegra hex no longer seemed appropriate and amusing, but degrading and malicious. She hurried to take it off, her cheeks tainted red in shame and her eyes intently scanning the elaborated wooden parquet. She felt cold and odious, and her stomach churned wretchedly in the next few moments. He remained silent, staring keenly at his offender.

After a minute she sensed movement and noted him walking towards her. She expected him to get in her face, coming uncomfortably close, and spit something venomous and cutting, driving her to tears as he did so many times to others who dared to do as much as breathe on all the wrong buttons.

But he didn’t. Instead, he walked past her, bypassing her as much as the wide hallway allowed.

Ginny stood there, shivering for some reason and staring ahead with traces of horror in her eyes, as the departing footsteps reverberated in the silence.

A moment later, however, as if he found himself unable to simply walk away, his voice carried from behind the redhead. “Next time aim a bit lower. Compare me to my father. Ridicule my cowardice. Recap for me that I haven’t managed to save my mother. And for the final touch, remind me that I shall never reach the soles of Potter’s shoes.”

He disappeared behind a curve, and Ginny was left with nothing, but the roaring in her mind. His last words seemed to pierce her as much as they might’ve pierced him, and all of a sudden she found bitter remorse spilling from her eyes with salted grace.


~*~*~



Dear Ginny,

How are you, love? How are Ron and Hermione?

Your mother and I miss you terribly, and wish we could spend these unquiet times with you. However circumstances are apparently against such a concept, as the Death Eaters once again intercepted our last carriage. No one was hurt. Charlie's dragon, Milliant ( You should’ve seen your mother’s face when they were first introduced – yes, introduced – by Charlie. He turned out to be a wonderful man, but Merlin help me, sometimes he worries me) took most of the hex onto herself. She is also fine.

We received a letter from Harry the other day. He claims to be all right, but we could see he's getting tired of the chase from his words. Said he misses the Burrow. And you. He asked me to apologize for not writing. He can’t find anything worthwhile to tell.

How is Hogwarts, dear?

We heard the gates were opened to accept the refugees who lost their homes in Death Eaters’ attacks. Is it crowded there? How are you holding up?

Hope to hear from you soon,
Your Dad and Mum.

***

Dear Ginny,

You shouldn’t be angry with Harry for finding something to write us, but not being able to write you. He has a lot on his mind at the moment and you should cut him some slack.

I’m glad you're helping Madam Pomfrey in the Hospital Wing. You always had that knack for healing charms. You’ve no idea how proud I am of you and the fact that you’re struggling to help anyway you can. Shows I’ve raised an outstanding daughter.

I’m sorry to hear about Ron. His letters had been short and I guess it explains why. I’m glad that Hermione is by his side, though. He needs something steady at the moment.

I don’t like it, one bit that McGonagall allows the likes of that Malfoy boy to walk freely around the castle and attack students. We laid our trust in a reformed Death Eater once and it cost us dearly. I am going to owl Minerva immediately and ask her to contain some of the refugees where they can do minimal harm.

You shouldn’t let him get to you, honey. He has nothing over you and he knows it. Just avoid him and ignore him, and it’ll end soon enough.

Love you, miss you, wish I could hug you,
Your Dad

***

Dear Ginny,

What on earth had happened there? How did Ron end up sending that Malfoy into the Hospital Wing? (I can’t say I’m all that sorry about it, though. At least now he monitored.) If you tell me that boy provoked Ron into this, I will personally send a Howler to him, other patients’ rest be damned!

I hear from Poppy that you’ve shown exceptional talent in brewing of healing potions, love. That is excellent!

How awful that it takes times like these to reveal hidden talents in us. I heard about the attack on Hogsmeade and Minerva’s decision to keep all the wounded in Hogwarts’ Hospital Wing. I bet Poppy is secretly overjoyed to have more patients to boss around. You, however, should be spending time with your friends, doing homework or such. Not locked up in that Infirmary all day long, dear. Promise me to get out once in a while, all right?

Write more,
Your Dad

***

Dearest Gin-bug,

I don’t think it is such a good idea that you befriend that Malfoy. As I might have mentioned, I don’t really trust him all that much, despite his so-called rectification. I know that you’re smart enough to see that he is no good and I trust you to stay away from him, despite Poppy assigning you with his care. I’ve already owled her and I don’t think she’ll bother you with that again.

I can hardly believe their fight was any of your fault. I don’t know how he got you to think so, but you have nothing to feel guilty about, because it was definitely not your fault. I can’t possibly see why you would feel like it was.

In case you were wondering, we haven’t heard from Harry in a while. But we are positive he's still alive and relatively safe. He had been almost successful with his last lead, but unfortunately it turned out to be a dead end.

Continue taking care of yourself, your brother and the rest of Hogwarts’ ailing population, because you are wonderful like that.

Hugs and Kisses,
Dad

PS – Please keep away from Malfoy.

***

Ginny,

Though I do understand the kindness of your heart does not allow you to discard any character, even if it is as vile as a Malfoy, I still must ask you to not further your association with him beyond healer-patient relations. Trust me on this one. I know more about Malfoys than you.

I heard both Poppy and Minerva have recommended you to Professor Pyke for his next cycle at the Thillis Healing Academy. That's wonderful news, love! I am so proud of you! You will apply the moment this war ends, and grow up to be a most famous Healer Britain had ever seen.

Love you greatly,
Dad

***

Ginny,

I don’t know what is it you think you’re doing, or feeling, for that matter, but neither are anywhere near acceptable. Why on earth would I receive an owl from an already haggard Remus, telling me that you’ve been seen sneaking off to the Hospital after hours and spending your free time with Malfoy, either inside the castle or out on the Quidditch fields, doing only god knows what?

Why would you worry your mother and myself like this? Wasn't I clear when I told you to steer clear of that boy?

If I wasn’t, then I apologize, and let me spell it out for you again, young lady – Do not go anywhere near Draco Malfoy! Was that clear enough? Or should I send a Howler to emphasize my point?

What will you do if you’re to be with him? Be a fugitive’s mistress? You’re willing to throw your entire future into the gutter for that boy? He has nothing behind him! He will never be able to give you everything you deserve!

I don’t want to fight over this, but he has obviously bewitched you somehow. If you feel odd or ill, go to Minerva at once!

Please, I beg of you, take care of yourself.

Loves,
Dad

***

Dearest Gin-bug,

I haven’t heard from you in a while and am beginning to worry. Are you all right? Are you ill? Should your mother send you some healing potions?

I hope you’re not miffed at me for the last letter. Perhaps I overreacted a little, but it is only because I want the very best for you. And a Malfoy is nowhere near the best for my little angel.

Your mother and I are well enough, though this damn weather threatens to hit us with another fever epidemic around the base. Harry was reported to be seen the other week and from what we know – success! That is all I’m allowed to say, but trust me when I say this all might end before Christmas time.

We miss you terribly,
Your Dad and Mum

***

HE DID WHAT? NO DAUGHTER OF MINE WILL EVER MARRY A MALFOY!

You’ve obviously been poisoned by something horrible. Security measures be damned, I am taking you away from that place as soon as possible! Hogwarts has obviously become as unsafe as anywhere.

Your Father.



~*~*~



A long steady gaze fell on the pile of sable flakes that just moments ago were the sweltering crimson envelope booming with her father’s enraged voice.

“What, he wasn’t thrilled at the idea of surrendering his one and only baby-girl to the clutches of the reviled Malfoy heir?”

Ginny sighed softly, pinching the black flakes and watching as they swirled in the air again, resettling all over the wooden table. She was undeniably saddened by her father’s outrageous reaction and all the bullheadedness. Wasn’t her mother supposed to be the overreacting, irrational one?

With redheads, who could really tell?

However there was something odd within her. She didn’t feel thwarted or demurred by her father’s words in any way. On the contrary – she felt somewhat invigorated by his intentions, more confident and defiant than she ever was. Her father had made a tactical mistake in his haste to make his stand clear, and ended up waving a brilliantly red cloth in front of an already semi-crazed bull.

“Nope.”

She crossed her arms across her chest, her lips pursed and eyebrows furrowed in deep contemplation, and leaned back on her chair, rocking on its hind legs.

Her father couldn’t possibly think he could simply come and take her away from her friends, her school, her job, him. Just the fact that he assumed she would allow him such a thing showed how little credit he gave her.

But she didn’t want to grow irate or angered at her father. He actually did her a favor, making everything that much easy.

Her contemplations were sidetracked by the small cough in front of her and she blinked her eyes, finding Draco sitting across the table from her, straddling a chair. His expression was subtly grave and the shadow of stubble on his face gave him a worn look. After a moment of intense mutual staring, he broke his tired gaze away, fiercely rubbing his face.

“Don’t make me be stupidly valiant and claim that I can’t ask you to come with me, that family is more important, that your father is, and always was, right and I can’t give you nearly as much as you deserve.” His words were muffled by his hands, but still clear to her ears. “Because I won’t. Even if every word of that is true, I’m too selfish to let you go.”

Ginny nodded seriously, not allowing a smile to trace to her lips. She came forward with a thud. Draco was still hiding himself behind his hands, reeking of fear, like a deer caught up in headlights. A smirk graced her pretty, round face, and she placed both hands on the table, pulling herself up, silently climbing atop of it and beginning to prowl across, towards the nervous Slytherin.

Finally, unsettled by the silence, Draco looked from behind his fingers and almost toppled off the chair in surprise when he discovered a seemingly timid redhead sitting on the table in front of him. Something in the way her shoulders rolled just so, and the way her curls lulled him with that scent of cinnamon and apples, and that small sly smile graced her lovely mouth, made him think of a wily lioness luring its prey into a stupor.

Somehow he couldn’t bring himself to withstand her.

Seeing as she had gotten his full attention, Ginny gripped at the lapels of his shirt and yanked him closer to her, forcing him to stand in an awfully uncomfortable position of his half-squatted legs.

“Now you listen to me, Mister Stupidly-Valiant-In-Disguise,” she purred, her eyes twinkling with something that unsettled his stomach in a glorious way. “If I had ever thought, even for a moment, that I might ever regret being with you, I would’ve hexed your equipment off that first time you tried to grab my bottom, not heeding to the fact that you were heavily sedated on pain-killers.”

She paused, her gaze slipping to his lips, as he suddenly had to moisten them with the tip of his tongue.

“Am I making you nervous, Mr. Malfoy?”

He couldn’t help but laugh at the decidedly not innocent way her lashes battered against her cheeks.

“And to think all it took to get you was a couple of broken ribs, a broken nose and arm. Should’ve made someone push me down the stairs long ago.”

“Would’ve missed the purpose,” Ginny said evenly, dropping the husky monotone, but still keeping Draco nose to nose on his awkwardly bended legs. “I started working for Pomfrey only this year.”

“Right,” Draco agreed distractedly as his attention was drawn to the heaving bosom just below his gaze. “I should’ve at least pulled your pigtails. I feel like all those years of contempt and taunting were thoroughly wasted.”

“Indeed they were,” Ginny agreed with an air of truly sorrowful participant, nodding her head.

He licked his lips again, watching Ginny smirk in reply and parting her lips just a little bit. Forcing himself to look up into the hazel gaze and clear his thoughts, he shook his head a bit before speaking again. “So what is it you choose?”

Ginny let go of Draco’s shirt and sighed. “Do I have to spell it out for you, Malfoy? Are you really that blond?”

Draco sat down, pulling an exceptionally dry face. “No, I highlight in my spare time too,” said the genetically enhanced fair-haired.

Ginny snickered and leaned it again, placing a chaste kiss on his forehead. “I’m going with you.”

“So glad you’re the valiant one between us,” he smirked, drawing her in for a kiss.





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Cherry blossoms stumbled over themselves and random wisps of smoke on their way to the ground, chiming in delight at the familiarity of the scene. The assaulting wand was still raised in the air, steadied perfectly by the stoic figure; who was watching the blinking target with a nonplussed smirk on her thin lips. Straight strawberry locks laid lightly on the shoulders of her pristinely pressed oxford, framing her oval face and articulately chiseled features. The mercurial gleam in her mischievous gaze spoke of rights of birth and unacknowledged arrogance, along with the strong sense of familial camaraderie.

Albeit cherry blossoms were an odd choice of weapon, Abigail Malfoy held herself with enough confidence and stoicism that she could easily allow herself such a display.

“Cassie, don’t make me repeat myself,” she quipped almost playfully, twirling the custom-made wand between her long fingers. “Tell your goons to give James his stuff back.”

Cassius Malfoy – rich, arrogant, redheaded and a royal pain in his older sister’s behind – had been Abigail’s brother since the day he was born. However, back then he was a little redheaded wad of blankets that made Mum coo with delight and Father curse the persistent Weasley genes. Back then he would run around the house in nothing, but his diapers, screaming to be The King of the World as he skidded through the chamber Abigail shared with her other younger sibling, Narcissa. Back then he couldn’t word the condescending nonsense he managed to pick up from Aunt Pansy during her numerous visits. And back then he would actually listen to her when she asked him to quit something.

However, ever since he arrived at Hogwarts and was sorted into Slytherin – a fact that sent Father into exhilarated prancing around the mansion (considering both of his girls eluded the serpentine house, and were sorted into Ravenclaw and Gryffindor, respectively), and Mum into a barrage of wild accusations about him finally succeeding in corrupting their child, and wasn’t he oh so thrilled, and he should stop moving so she could properly kick him – he had become an insufferable little version of a Slytherin Prince.

Mum asked Abigail to look after him and make sure he didn’t go with the wrong crowd, but how exactly was she supposed to do such a thing when not only did he seek out the wrong crowd, but the wrong crowd sought him out as well? Father explained to her, when she first arrived at Hogwarts, and was approached by all sort of nasty characters, that it was something about the appeal of a Malfoy name.

Abigail, with her cold confidence that often came off as simple snobbery, couldn’t hide even in the premises of the Ravenclaw’s household, and was constantly bothered in her first year by Slytherins wishing to befriend her.

Narcissa, however, was lucky enough to avoid it. The tomboyish Malfoy-Weasley with a temper to best her mother’s, was sorted into Gryffindor faster than the Hat could shout it out, and thus automatically shunned anything of questionable Slytherin variety out.

And now, Cassius had fallen straight into the snake’s pit.

Literally, she reminded herself ruefully.

“You can’t tell me what to do! I’m a Slytherin, and we have the right to do whatever it is we want,” the boy recited dutifully. “Of course, you wouldn’t understand anything about it as you’re a Ravenclaw.” The exaggerated derision in her brother’s voice was so carefully executed, so spuriously pronounced, that she couldn’t help her eyes from rolling.

Now that he was actually gathering followers – Fifth and Sixth Year goons included – he was barreling right out of control. Especially with his favorite pastime – Pick the Potter.

James Potter was the oddest Sixth Year Gryffindor and a childhood playmate Abigail had ever known. With his unruly dirty blonde hair, spiking out in different directions despite his avid attempts to smooth it down, and his dreamy emerald stare, hidden behind horn-rimmed glasses, that always seem to wander off in the middle of conversations, and his affinity for strange jewelry such as the butterbeer corks bracelet and the radish necklace his mother gave him many years ago. He had practically made himself the perfect target for bullying.

Although his outstanding – and somewhat astounding – skills for Seeking gave him immunity within his own house, and respect of Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff, it also made him more hated by the Slytherins.

Now with the Malfoy addition to the Slytherin ranks – and Cassius never held any soft spots for the odd blond, even though they were practically raised in same backyard, by the same Grandparents – added to the harrying threat. It didn’t matter that Cassius was just a little First Year runt when he had older boys flanking his small shoulders on both sides. And James was too good of a person to ever think of striking back.

How good was it that Abigail wasn’t?

“Cassie-boo, would you like me to owl Mum again?”

The already pallid face paled another few shades at the sound of his sister’s threat, clashing awfully with the neat copper hair. Though the Slytherin mantra was well understood and fully grasped by his father, his mother never seemed to get into the spirit of things and was always entirely irrational regarding the issue. Cassius still held vivid memories of the Floo conversation the previous month when his father only managed to congratulate him on his sorting once before his mother hit the blond over his head with a shoe.

Abigail had already been forced to owl Mum with Cassius’ disciplinary mishaps after the incident on the second day of school, when their cousin Olivia found printouts from her baby album circulating the hallways. The whole incident might’ve been blamed on Narcissa and Uncle Fred’s boys, if it wasn’t for Cassius’ megalomaniacal tendencies and his need to be appreciated for the havoc he wrought.

“But Abby! This is just Potter, he doesn’t mind. Do you, Jammy-Jimmy?” Cassius smirked down at the figure lying on the ground, nudging its feet tauntingly.

“Are you out of your redheaded mind, Malfoy?” Abigail scolded, aghast that the little rugrat would actually suggest that James didn’t mind being picked on by a boy half his size. “Give him his things back right this instance, before I take out your baby pictures, you little twerp!”

A red tinge burst on the suddenly sulking cheeks and Abigail watched her little brother narrow his eyes balefully. He obviously wanted to believe she wouldn’t dare doing such a thing, but he knew better than to underestimate her. She was a Malfoy, after all.

He grabbed the oddly patched backpack from the stubby fingers of one of his cronies, and dropped it, and James’ glasses on the blond’s stomach, before turning to walk away with an awfully haughty air.

“I’m telling Father you used our name like it’s a bad thing again,” he cast behind his back, before dragging his entourage from the sight.

Abigail sighed apologetically, pocketed her wand, and walked over to the figure sprawled on the floor. He was staring upwards at the ceiling as if nothing had just transpired and he was simply stargazing. She would’ve been worried that he was hurt somehow, if she didn’t grow up with him and was personally familiar with his, and his mother’s quirks. Stifling another sigh, she walked around him and stood just beside his head, propping her fists on her hips and staring down on him disapprovingly.

“Stand up, James, you don’t want to catch anything,” she said in a tone resembling her Grams’. “Besides, Filch will have a fit if he sees us loitering around the corridors.”

“I don’t think Filch would bother with me,” James’ dreamy voice drifted up, his green gaze remaining fixated in the arched ceiling. “I know a secret he wouldn’t want to share.”

Abigail arched a brow, fully prepared for another fib. “Oh?”

“Mhm… of course if I was actually a Guising Goozbarak instead of a human being, I wouldn’t want that fact known in public too.”

Abigail paused for a moment, her lips pursed and head slightly nodding. Then she crouched beside his head and looked at his face closely, hugging her knees. He had distinct features that disappeared within the mist surrounding his ever-drifting expression. Though his characteristics reminded everyone of his equally eccentric mother, his expression, mimics and the majority of his traits were his father’s, which made him a true Potter and a truer Gryffindor.

However, it is moments like this, when Abigail would find him staring in space, talking to trees or walking backwards every last Thursday of the month, that she couldn’t help but be troubled on his part. She didn’t want to pity him, because there was honestly nothing to pity – he was healthy, smart, good at sports, and some even say cute – but still, she found herself gazing forlornly at his deeply concentrated face.

“You worry me sometimes,” she whispered sadly at him, absently brushing a lock of dirty blond from his eyes.

James blinked at the unexpected contact, finally tearing his stare from the ceiling and imbedding it into her. Grey clashed against green to the sense of discomfort, but he kept holding her eyes.

“Good,” he finally stated. “It means you care.”

“It means you make me worry,” Abigail insisted. “When you don’t have to. Why can’t you be a little bit more normal at times? I know you can be.”

James’ brows furrowed slightly, creating an odd sight from Abigail’s point of view. “I am normal.”

“You know what I mean, James,” she said dismissively, waving her hand at the subtly offended tone.

After a minute of pause, the blond nodded. “Yeah, I do.”

She deemed his intonation to change somewhat, gaining a bitter undertone. He finally broke the eye contact and pulled him up into a sitting position, his back to the imploring redhead. He rubbed the back of his neck, working out the cricks from the extended rest on the hard floor, and slowly climbed back to his feet and slipped his glasses on, keeping his gaze off Abigail. Then, standing up, he dusted himself and finally turned towards her, offering a hand to help her up.

Frowning slightly at his odd wordless behavior, she took his hand and pulled herself up. She was about to speak again, to break the silence, when she noticed that he was still holding her hand. She glanced down at it in surprise, but was forced to look up and meet those green eyes again at the sound of her name.

“If I do not suit your definition of normalcy, then you shouldn’t stop your brother from picking on me... if that's what makes him feel good about himself. And you definitely shouldn’t worry about me, Abigail.”

Abigail frowned at his strange words, not managing to grasp where they were coming from, where the hurt in his voice was coming from. Her thoughts were cut short then when James dropped her hand rather abruptly and turned to leave without another word.

She watched him slink behind the tapestry of Gregory the Groggy Gargoyle, the hanging carpet flapping behind him in residues of some indignation he wasn’t about to express. Something told her that she was in the wrong in this particular situation, but the thought was so alien to the redheaded Ravenclaw that she couldn’t quite fathom it.

Shouldering her own backpack higher up, she started walking down the hall, her eyebrows still settled in a deep confused frown.


~*~*~



Dear Abby,

How are you, Princess?

I was sorry to hear Cassius is causing you trouble, but since your mother read your previous letter first before I could hide the relevant paragraph from her, I believe he should be expecting a Howler tomorrow at breakfast.

All in all, I’m glad to hear Professor Singe accepted you as her apprentice. I never doubted you for even a second. Your potion-making skills are exceptional and with the help of Singe, you could learn to do amazing things. Keep up with the marvelous job, Princess!

Your mother has been acting strange ever since we came back to an empty home on the first of September. She’s been walking around glumly, carrying around stuffed animals from all three of your rooms, and eyeing the calendar spitefully, as if the sole responsibility of your leaving is to be laid on that wad of paper. If I ever drop by for an unexpected visit, you should know it's because I found her to be more disturbing than I could bear.

Of course, I am just joking, darling. I love your mother very much.

No matter how scary she can be with a kitchen knife.

Cassius wrote to me that you’ve been calling him ‘Malfoy’ again. Now, Abigail, I know very well that the two of you are fighting over control for your school at this moment, but I have to ask you, as a personal favor, to refrain from using our collective surname as an insult. You are just like your mother.

Also, I heard that you and that Potter boy had a falling out and he’s been avoiding you like a plague. That’s my girl! You must tell me what it was, though. Perhaps it would work on his father as well.

I’d tell you to be good and stay on top of your class, but honestly…

Love you,
Father

***

Hello, Princess,

This is will be a short letter because your mother and I are heading out to a dinner party at your Aunt Pansy and her Longbottom’s house. We’ve been warned to dress casual, so you just know Longbottom will be wearing his ‘Kiss the Wizard’ apron tonight. I’m expecting to be amused for the rest of this week.

What do you mean you apologized to Potter and you two are alright again? Apologized for what exactly? You were my hope, Princess! Hope that Potters are indeed avoidable! And now you come out and prove to me that they’re not? How awful…

Anyway, it is your choice who you befriend with, and though I can’t say I’m happy about it, your mother is reading this over my shoulder so I pretty much am forced to at a gun point. So there – befriend whomever you like.

But if you come home for the holidays, talking about Blibbering Gumballies, I am going to hunt that boy down and pickle his eyes, toes and tongue. Yes, your mother just left and I am sending this before she returns.

Miss you,
Dad

***

Dear Abby,

Expect a visit from your father soon enough. He had refused me in a simple request and I’ve told him that he is going to pay. So naturally he’s running away.

Harry tells me you and James are getting along quite nicely as of late. I think it is great. James is a wonderful boy, even if he is a bit on the Lovegood side.

Cheers, Love,
Give them hell,
Mum

***

Princess,

I don’t know what your mother told you, but do not believe a single word. I currently am blackmailed, threatened and extorted into doing something I am not completely comfortable with. So whatever she might write you, know that I am indeed your real father; I have never tried to bake you or sell you off to the highest bidder; I was not the one who caused your Pygmy Puff to jump out of the window; and I am allergic to cats, I do not just say that because I want to deprive you of the joys of domestic felines. I love you very much; so don’t listen to that woman!

On a completely different note – Cassius informs me that you’ve taken up Quidditch practice. I think it is a marvelous idea and I am extremely pleased that you wish to follow your father in the Seeking business, but just one thing that prods me the wrong way – does your tutor have to be Potter? Can’t Cissa help you out? She is indeed a Beater, but she could pass along the basic flight principles, without drilling your mind with only god knows what.

Worriedly,
Your poor haggard old Dad

PS – Professor Singe is quite impressed with you. I am glad to hear that you’ve managed to teach her a few things.

***

Dearest Abby,

The mystery of your mother’s maniacal behavior as of late has been finally unraveled. Too bad that bespectacled idiot had to be the one to inform me exactly what has been bothering her, and that now I owe him. Urgh, it feels wrong even putting it on paper.

But everything is going to be just fine now that I know why she was acting like a madwoman. No need to worry.

Glad to hear about your zealous dedication to the arts of flying, love, but was Narcissa really that busy with her own training that she couldn’t find time to help you out? Potter’s on the same team as she is and it seems he had immeasurable amounts of spare time to spend on the pitch with these private lessons.

Don’t let your grades drop for this, honey. I would much prefer to have a valedictorian daughter, than one who can fly a broom.

Love you greatly,
Your Dad.

***

Princess,

Congratulate your mother and me (and yourself and your siblings), because we’re now expecting another little joy to join our cozy little family. Yes, that was your mother’s phrasing.

Me? I’m just oh so grateful she is not going to attempt to smother me with a pillow again.

Hopefully.

Love,
Once more Dad

PS – Don’t you dare think about skipping Christmas holidays, Princess, because I will personally haul you back. You are not leaving me alone with a pregnant woman again!

***

Abby,

Please, please, please, oh Merlin, let it be a nightmare, please tell me Cassius had fallen down the stairs or had an unfortunate Potions accident that made him see and imagine things!

Please tell me he didn’t find you with that Potter boy in a Greenhouse… doing things!

I allowed you to become friends with that bespectacled wonder, because I thought I could trust you not to fall for that little runt’s lame attempts at wooing! I told your mother that something horrible would happen if you spent too much time with him, and now look at it! My baby girl is fraternizing with the enemy!

So help me Circe, I am going to KILL Potter! BOTH OF THEM!

Furiously yours,
Daddy

***

Abigail,

No, I am not overreacting, young lady! I understand perfectly the situation, and all its participants, and I feel my reaction is really quite suitable, if not painstakingly mild. I should be knocking on Hogwarts entrance right this instant, and demanding blood of Potters everywhere!

However, considering how much of a rational and loving Father I really am, I am still in Wiltshire with a pregnant woman in my house. Why? Because I trust you to break things off with that Potter boy right away, and without any foolishness.

There’s nothing to talk about or debate. This is not open for discussion, Abigail. I do not want to see another letter from either of you concerning your and Potter Junior’s relationship.

Your Father.

***

Abby love,

I haven’t heard from you in a while. Are you all right, Princess? You’re not sick, are you? Would you like me to call in Healer Freest?

I hope you’re not angry with me for my last letter. Perhaps I was slightly miffed while writing it, but I still stand by my words. Potter is nowhere near good enough for you. You are a Malfoy and you deserve the very, very best. Which he isn’t.

Cassius says you haven’t been seen with him anymore and I am glad you’ve listened to me.

Trust me, Princess. I know what’s best for you.

Love,
Dad

***

HE PRO—WHAT? NO DAUGHTER OF MINE WILL EVER MARRY A POTTER!

Pack your things this instant, Abigail. Christmas holidays are coming early this year!

Your Father


~*~*~



A steadily narrowed glare settled on the wisps of black ashes, which just mere moments ago had been a scarlet envelope roaring with her father’s hysterical voice, and watched them scatter across the Quidditch pitch.

“Something tells me your father wasn’t all that thrilled about the Crumple-Horned Snorkacks hunting as the ideal honeymoon, was he?”

Abigail pursed her lips, arms folding across her chest, and tightened the billowing robes about her. The cold late autumn breeze swiveled around her, sending rimy chills into her bones, but she couldn’t bring herself to care enough to look for a shelter in the stands. She continued watching the ashes as they were swept away by the wind, her stomach growing cold with no connection to her surroundings.

She couldn’t quite believe what her father’s letter stated. He was threatening to take her out of school, telling her to break things off with James, and treating her like she was a dimwitted five-year-old.

She was a Malfoy! And a Weasley! Was that man completely suicidal?

Her eyebrows settled deeper into a frown and she found the side of her mouth tugging upwards into the familiar sneer it took her years of restraint to get rid of. Now, however, she couldn’t stop it from gracing her unblemished face, twisting her lips into a semi-scoff and wrinkling her nose.

She was not a child and hadn't been one for a very long time, and if her father was too caught up with his dislike of James’ father to see it, then the pregnant Weasley in his house would be the least of his problems. She was not going to let him treat her like a child anymore, and she was prepared to do whatever it took.

“Breathe, Abigail, breathe.” James’ calming tone drifted into her focus as a pair of Quidditch sculpted arms circled her stomach from behind and drew her closer into the warmth of their owner. “He only thinks of your benefit, so you shouldn’t be angry at him. That and I don’t think you understand how much that snarl of yours aggravates the Quallies on this pitch. I think I saw some of them trying to grab your feet.”

“He has no right,” she spat through her clenched teeth, fighting against the desire to lean into James’ chest.

“To care for you? I beg to differ,” James replied evenly, nuzzling into the freezing red locks. There was something about the smell of her hair that made him lightheaded, and he enjoyed that feeling, especially when she was this close.

“You know what I mean,” Abigail dismissed him, leaning her head back onto his shoulder.

“He has no right to try to control your life, yes, I understand that. He has no right to tell you what to do – excellent. He does have however the right to think in your best interests,” the blond murmured into the curve of that slender neck, managing to keep an evenly calm voice.

You are in my best interest,” Abigail insisted, tugging at the arms around her stomach.

“And he has the right to differ,” he finally concluded, pulling his muzzle out of her intoxicating scent before he could get carried away. He turned her around, grasping the lapels of her robes and pulling her close. “If this is what you really want, than there is very little he would be able to do about it.”

The redheaded witch stared up at him for a long moment, her grey eyes glazed with adoration and her petite lips curled subtly into a smile. “And what would the Snorkacks say if they heard you speaking with such clarity and persuasion?”

James curved his lips in a perfect imitation of her infamous Malfoy smirk and leaned in to kiss her forehead. “They’d say their work here is done.”

Abigail laughed and flung her arms around his neck, burying her face in the collar of his robes. After a moment of deep inhaling and thorough contemplation, a small, seemingly meek voice was heard from behind the copper curtains.

“Let’s leave.”

A moment of silence and an arched brow later, Abigail lifted her face to gaze up at the Gryffindor. “Let’s leave together, before my Dad comes.”

“You want to leave? To run away?” James arched both brows at her, her eyes shining with skepticism. “That is not the Malfoy-Weasley way, love. Neither is it Potter’s.”

She sighed sadly and tightened her grip around his neck. “Then it shall be your job to prevent me from Bat Bogey hexing my own Father.”

James laughed, shaking his head. “I’ll do my best,” he assured her, leaning in again, this time towards her grinning lips. “Maybe.”


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