The Timestamp Ficlets by Rainpuddle
Summary: A set of unrelated ficlets resulting from the livejournal timestamp meme where readers asked to see a moment either in the past or future of one of my fics.
Categories: Works in Progress Characters: D/G Offspring, Draco Malfoy, Ginny Weasley
Compliant with: None
Era: Future AU, Past AU, Post-Hogwarts
Genres: Humor, Romance
Warnings: None
Challenges:
Series: None
Chapters: 7 Completed: No Word count: 5719 Read: 34339 Published: Feb 08, 2007 Updated: Mar 07, 2007

1. Timestamp 1 - Gareth Unbound by Rainpuddle

2. Timestamp 2 - Of Tomboys and Princesses by Rainpuddle

3. Timestamp 3 - Sweet Emotions by Rainpuddle

4. Timestamp 4 - The Same Old Thing by Rainpuddle

5. Timestamp 5 - The Blob by Rainpuddle

6. Timestamp 6 - Don't Drink the Water by Rainpuddle

7. Timestamp 7 - The Stolen Moment by Rainpuddle

Timestamp 1 - Gareth Unbound by Rainpuddle
Title: Gareth Unbound
Name: rainpuddle13
Rating: Not Naughty
Characters/Ships: Gareth Malfoy
Word Count: 735
Disclaimer: his 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.
Notes: For dragonsangel68 - How about the summer Gareth finishes Hogwarts?

Summary: Gareth ponders how to spend his summer after leaving school.

It felt odd waking in his bed at home with its deep green velvet duvet and curtains and dark mahogany posts. The dark earthy colors he favored lent the large room warmth and character, while the clutter of furniture and shelves filled with books gave it a nest like quality.

Odd in that his first waking thought was not of the homework he had to do over the summer – he was always a diligent student, doing it the first week he was home so he could spent the rest of his holiday footloose and fancy free. He was free until early September when Auror training started up.

Complete freedom was an almost disconcerting feeling. He could spend all day in bed if he wanted. Or he could take a holiday in Italy with his brother, and meet some exotic witch and have some fun. He could go to Diagon Alley to Flourish and Blott’s and buy enough books to read until he went blind; there were at least forty books he could think off the top of his head that he wanted read. Or he could spend his days in Muggle London exploring all the museums, and he could take his recently retired grandfather with him. He could take a leap across the pond to New York just to see what it was all about since he could barely remember the time Da took him on a business trip there when he was still just a wee lad. Or he could always take a scuba diving trip to the Maldives Islands because he’d always wanted to swim with sharks…

Gareth could go anywhere or do anything he wanted since upon successful completion of his primary education he came into half of his trust fund. The world was his oyster.

“Finally!” an exasperated little voice said from the doorway. “I thought you’d never wake up! It’s nearly seven!”

He mumbled and turned over, trying desperately to feign sleep. The last thing he wanted was to spend the summer catering to the whims of his sister.

“Gareth,” Ava said, pouncing on the bed, her knees landing solidly in the middle of his back. “I know you’re awake!” She gave a little bounce just to make sure.

“I’m up, I’m up,” he groaned, turning over to face the little blonde girl already dressed in a Quidditch kit.

“Good, I’ve got plans for today.”

“You do?” he asked before he could stop himself. He loved his baby sister, really he did, but she always instilled a sense of dread in him. She always got her way. Always.

“Yes,” she said, smiling broadly and showing off a missing tooth, “you’re taking me to London for shopping and lunch.”

"I am?”

“Uh huh, you missed my birthday and I decided that was my pressie.”

“I was at school.”

She gave him an incredulous look, and he knew right then that he was in hot water. “That’s not an excuse.”

“I sent you a present,” he said. And he had too, a really nice present at that – a little silver charm bracelet with Snitches, Bludgers, Quaffles, broomsticks and bats.
“But you weren’t here.” She pouted prettily, giving him big blue puppy dog eyes. “And I’ve missed you ever so much!”

“All right, all right, you win,” he said with a sigh. There was no way in the world he could resist her when she was being so sweet. “I’ll take you and we’ll do whatever you want.”

Ava perked up immediately, giving him a quick squeeze before hopping off the bed. “You’re the bestest brother and I love you!”

“Well, go get ready,” he instructed, sitting up and giving thought to what he was going to wear since he no longer had the fall back of putting on a uniform everyday.

“Rauri,” she shouted at the top of her lungs as she skipped out of his room, “I told you he’d take us to London today!”

Gareth ran his hands through his hair and sighing heavily. He had just been had by a four-year-old con artist. All of his plans for a fun and exciting summer had just gone right out the window. Not that he would have gone off and done any of them anyway, except maybe splurge on books and take his grandfather to the British Museum, because there was no place he would rather be than with his family.
Timestamp 2 - Of Tomboys and Princesses by Rainpuddle
Title: Of Tomboys and Princesses
Name: rainpuddle13
Rating: Not Naughty
Word Count: 1,049
Characters/Ships: teenage!Ava, Draco/Ginny
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.
Notes: For hpbutterbeer, jeybey, and crazy_lil_loud1 because they all requested Rauri or Ava bring home a boy to meet the family.


Summary: Ava breaks her own cardinal rule.

Ginny wrapped her arms around her husband's waist from behind, nuzzling her cheek against his strong back. She loved these quiet moments, catching him unawares.

"Mmm, Gin," he growled, reaching around to wrap an arm around her and pull her around to his side for a quick kiss.

Once he finished showering her in tender kisses and had returned to staring out of the window, she asked, "So what are you staring so intently at out there?"

"Ava," he said simply, but she could hear the underlying edge to his voice. "She's with a boy."

"I know." Ginny searched the horizon until she caught sight of the long, slender silhouette of her youngest child flying high above the tree line. A second, heavier figure joined her immediately before they took off, performing death defying aerial tricks in an effort to outdo one another in the broom skills department.

"Boyfriend?" he asked, and she knew instinctively that he really didn't want to know the answer to that question.

"Just a friend," she clarified.

She could feel Draco relax in hear arms. "Good. Friend I can handle."

It was all Ginny could do not to giggle. Her husband was so clueless when it came to his daughters. He rejoiced at the birth of Rauri and Ava, stating that girls were far easier to raise than boys because they were sweet little princesses and he could spoil them rotten in ways he could never do with Liam and Gareth. What he failed to realize was that yes, girls were easier at the beginning, but then they grew up into complicated and moody creatures from the depths of hell.

"Oh, Draco," she chided gently, "you have so much to learn about your daughters."

"What?" He sniffed indignantly. "I know my daughters very well."

"No, darling, you don't, because just a friend here is code for boyfriend."

He suddenly turned very serious. "What do you mean?"

"You know Ava is never going to admit to having a boyfriend. That would mean that her sister was right, and you know she could never live with Rauri holding something like that over her head!"

"Rauri would never tease her younger sister about having a boyfriend!"

Ginny snorted then, unable to hold back her mirth any longer. “Rauri is not the sweet little princess you like to imagine she is.” There, she’d said it, not that he would actually believe her, but it was out in the open. It was high time he started seeing his little girls for the young women they were quickly becoming.

“How do you know that he’s more than just a friend?” he asked, ignoring her comment about their eldest daughter just like she knew he would.

“He has a name,” she offered tantalizingly.

“He does?”

“Yes, he does and it’s Barclay Abercrombie since you insist on being so nosy. He goes by Clay.”

“Clay Abercrombie,” Draco repeated. “It’s a nice name, a good friend-like name.”

“He’s more than just a friend, Draco.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“She’s being going on all summer about how handsome he is, and how good at Quidditch he is, and how he’s got the prettiest hazel eyes she’s ever seen…”

“He can still be a friend,” he insisted, denial clearly written in his panicked eyes.

“She asked to borrow some of my “pretty stationery” to write him notes.”

“Oh, that is cause for concern.”

“He’s escorting her to the Summer Fling at the Ministry this weekend,” Ginny said wistfully.

Draco blinked in surprise. “She does know it’s a formal event right?”

“We went shopping this morning to get her something appropriate.”

“It’s not strapless is it?”

“No,” she assured him, burrowing into his side, “it’s an ice blue silk column dress with spaghetti straps and a modest slit up the side of one leg. She looks absolutely lovely in it.” It was true. The color was exquisite with Ava’s alabaster complexion, flaxen hair, and cornflower blue eyes. She’d never seen her youngest daughter look so beautiful.

“But, but, she hasn’t the proper things to wear with it. Shoes…”

“We spent nearly an hour in Cobby Cobblers trying on shoes before she decided on a pair of strappy high heel silver shoes before we headed over to Underwraps for the proper under things,” Ginny supplied before he started asking embarrassing questions.

“Stop!” he cried.

“We even picked jewelry – a simple, but elegant diamond bracelet and earrings. We thought it was best not to overpower the dress with too much jewelry.”

“Stop!”

“We can’t decide on how she should wear her hair, but we’ll play with it this week. I was thinking of some sort of up-sweep style with loose tendrils. I bought the crystal encrusted hair pins just incase we wanted to add a little sparkle to her hair.”

“STOP!” Draco shouted. “Just stop! I can’t stand it anymore!”

“We didn’t empty the vault, I promise,” Ginny said, trying to assure Draco. He always gave her a difficult time after a particularly big shopping trip. It wasn’t that he so much minded she spent his money liberally, he encouraged it in fact, but it was just part of his charm.

“I’m not worried about that!” he exclaimed with a wave of his hand. “I’m worried about my daughter! What happened to my little tomboy who didn’t have time for anything other than Quidditch?”

“She’s still obsessed with Quidditch,” she said, trying to reassure him that no one had switched bodies with Ava. She knew how her husband’s mind tended to work.

“But, she’d rather die than put on a dress…”

“Things change.”

“I don’t like change,” he whined. “I love my little tomboy! We used to have so much fun. If I needed to know a stat, I could ask her. I always had someone to listen to the Saturday afternoon match with me. Now she’ll be obsessed with shoes and hair ribbons and boys!”

Ginny tightened her arms around his waist. She really wanted to sympathize with him, really she did, but she’d been waiting sixteen years for this moment and she was going to relish every second of it. “I know, I know, but, Draco, you have to remember that little tomboys grow up to be lovely young ladies when you’re not looking.”
Timestamp 3 - Sweet Emotions by Rainpuddle
Title: Sweet Emotions
Name: rainpuddle13
Rating: Not Naughty
Characters/Ships: Liam Malfoy
Word Count: 414
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.
Notes: For tigereyes320 - Amici ed Amanti a time in the future when Liam holds his firstborn

Summary: A father bonds with his brand new baby.

He was not prepared for this day, not even after nearly ten years of marriage and many long discussions, a row or two, a major disappointment, and a good bit of nattering from his mother.

Liam had not wanted to give up his comfortable lifestyle. He enjoyed dropping everything to go off on long weekends that turned into the occasional week or month long holiday if he really liked the place. Now those happy times were to be no more, but he found himself not minding all that much now.

A new sort of contentment settled into his bones, like he’d been waiting for this all his life and just didn’t know it. He’d held many babies in lifetime – his sisters, cousins, his brother’s children – and not one of them had made him feel this way. His father had told him time and time again that holding his own child would make a difference. And for once, he wasn’t loathe to admit his father was correct.

He just couldn’t get over how tiny the two-hour old baby was in his arms. Tiny, but perfect in every single way – ten little toes on squirmy little feet and ten little fingers on surprisingly strong hands. He couldn’t get over how adorable the chubby little cheeks and puckered rosebud mouth were. Surely his baby was the most adorable baby ever to live.

His mum watched tearfully from the doorway of his bedchamber for a few moments, he’d seen her in the corner of his eye, before disappearing into the darkened corridor without a word. She’d been there for him through this whole experience, patiently answering all of his questions, no matter how silly or embarrassing, and quietly assuaging his fears.

The baby stretched and yawned, cracking open blue eyes that seem to look right into his soul. Liam’s breath caught in his throat. He knew in that instant that having this baby was the single most important thing he’d ever done in his life.

He brushed his lips tenderly against the downy crown the baby’s head, muttering comforting sweet nothings until the baby settled against his chest. He looked up at his wife, a prickle of tears glistening in his eyes, and mouthed, “thank you.”

“Well,” she asked, sounding mighty pleased with herself, “what to do you think?”

Liam made a funny face at the sleeping baby in his arms, and said with a voice thick with every emotion he was feeling, “I think I’m in love.”
Timestamp 4 - The Same Old Thing by Rainpuddle
Title: The Same Old Thing
Name: rainpuddle13
Rating: Not Naughty
Word Count: 467
Characters/Ships:Liam Malfoy, Draco Malfoy
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.
Notes: For dragonsangel68 - I would like to see Liam introducing his first born to Draco :)

Summary: Waiting is the hardest part.

He was starting to get antsy.

Patience was not one of Draco’s strong suits, never had been, but not especially now when he was waiting to be introduced to his firstborn’s firstborn. He never thought he would never live to see this day, what with Liam having to do everything in his own time.

Truth be told, he was dying to see his newest grandchild. It was terribly unfair that his wife had not only been there to witness the birth of the Malfoy heir, but she’d also got to hold the baby mere moments later. Apparently, it was the most beautiful child ever to be born in her opinion, but then she said that every time a new grandchild was born therefore she was an unreliable source. He’d have to see for himself, if only his son would present him with his grandchild.

“The grandfather is always the last to see,” he muttered as he pushed himself up out of the comfortable chair before the fireplace in the upstairs sitting room of Malfoy Manor. He stopped his pacing long enough to gaze a picture of Gareth and his young family sitting on a table by the window. “We’re important too.”

“Da?” Liam said softly, his voice full of awe and wonder.
Draco turned quickly to see his son standing in the doorway, gingerly holding a bundle wrapped in a cream colored baby blanket knitted by a very proud great-grandmother. “Give me!” he demanded, holding his arms out for his grandchild. He lightly nuzzled the baby against his cheek the second his son placed the newest Malfoy in his arms, inhaling deeply. “Mmm, new baby smell.”

“Well?” his son asked anxiously after a few minutes. “What do you think?”

“I think I’ve seen this before, several times in fact,” Draco said with a wink. “I think you need to go back and try again until you can show me something new.”

Liam smirked at him, reaching for the sleeping baby. “Well, if you feel that way, I will just take my baby back.”

“Oh, no,” he chided, taking a few steps back so he’d be out of easy reach. He wasn’t about to give up that easily now that he had his grandchild in his arms. “I didn’t say a thing about giving this one back. I merely suggested you try again until you have something new to show me.”

“Maybe later, we have to raise this one up a little bit first I think.”

“I suppose you’re right. It’s not good to have babies one right on top of the other.”

Liam carefully readjusted the blanket to cover up the tiny pink foot that had somehow managed to escape its confines. “So, Da, what do you really think?”

“You did good, Liam, very good,” he whispered.
Timestamp 5 - The Blob by Rainpuddle
Title: The Blob
Name: rainpuddle13
Rating: Not Naughty
Characters/Ships: Liam Malfoy, Gareth Malfoy
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.
Notes: For shady121 - Between And Baby Makes Three and Cabbage Capers. Liam's take on the whole 'Gareth situation' (Mainly, how does Liam react to being a Big Brother).

Summary: He didn’t know what all the fuss was about.

Everyone was gone, finally. All his aunties, all his uncles, and his grandparents had finally returned to their homes, leaving his house unnaturally quiet and still. The only sounds he could hear were the ticking of the hall clock and his mum’s soft breathing. She was asleep on the sofa.

Liam didn’t know what all the fuss was about, really. Everyone in the family seemed to think that the little blob his mum insisted on calling Gareth was perfect. As far as he could tell, the baby didn’t do much of nothing except cry, make poopy nappies, and take up far too much of Mummy’s time.

“I know my colors and shapes,” he told his sleeping baby brother. “I’m learning to read and I’ve got most of my numbers down.”

He picked up the little frog that Auntie Pansy had gifted the baby with the day he was born, examining it carefully before putting it back before he got into trouble for messing with something that wasn’t his. “Gustav is better, you know,” he said, picking up the little yellow duck that had been lying on the floor next to his feet to show his brother. “And keep your hands off, cos he’s mine.”

Gareth didn’t even have the good manners to seem suitably impressed with what he was trying to tell him. Rude little bugger, Liam thought sourly as he stalked off to play with his ever-changing blocks.

A soft rustling noise coming from the vicinity of the low cradle drew his attention away from the grand castle he’d spent the better part of the last hour building. He got up to investigate, hoping against hope that the baby was doing something that would get it into trouble with Mummy. All he found was Gareth squirming and kicking at his soft green blanket that Grandmum had knitted for him. His little face was tinged pink which, Liam had quickly learned in the three days the baby had been in the house, was not a good sign.

“Shhhh,” he shushed his brother to no avail, “Mummy is sleeping.”

Liam glanced about for help. His mother hadn’t stirred despite the increasing volume of Gareth’s displeasure. Da had gone into the office for a few hours. All of his aunties, who were always more than eager to take care of the baby so his mum “could get some rest”, were long gone. Costa was probably in the kitchen fixing supper…

There was nothing left for him to do, so he gingerly extracted his brother from the cradle. He knew he wasn’t supposed to hold the baby without supervision, but he was alone and desperate times called for desperate measures. He made sure he kept an arm under Gareth’s head just like Mummy had told him to do as he settled carefully on the floor in front of the fireplace.

“Why you still fussy?” Liam asked his brother after rocking hadn’t seem to do anything for the baby. “You’ve got a poopy nappy, don’t you?”

He put the baby down on the afghan he’d been using earlier as a moat around his castle, admonishing him not to move until he returned with the nappy bag. Changing a spoiled nappy was the worst thing he’d ever done in his life, but one that couldn’t be avoided if he wanted to save his ears from Gareth’s piercing wails He’d been very rudely awoken twice the previous night.

“Okay,” he said, returning promptly with green and white striped bag with colorful little frogs all over it and setting to work.

Gareth squirmed as Liam set him on the thick carpet, sliding the changing pad underneath of him, and making quick work of the blanket and unsnapped the adorable little blue onesie with little dragons all over it that used to be his. He’d seen his aunties and his mother change countless nappies, it wasn’t that difficult, or at least he hoped it wasn’t. The safety pin had him worried though.

He sucked in a deep breath before he dared to peel the soft cotton material away from around the baby’s waist, breathing a heavy sigh of relief upon discovering there was no poopy in the nappy. It was just sopping wet. He removed it, balling it up and tossing it aside before digging through the bag for something to clean Gareth up with. The fussing stopped immediately in favor of gurgles and flailing legs.

“Hey,” he cried, horrified to find a stream of liquid squirting out of Gareth’s naughty bits before he managed to cover it with an unfolded nappy, “that’s just rude!”

There was too much powder, the nappy wasn’t folded neatly, it was too loose and not pinned properly, but it was dry and there was no danger of Gareth spraying anyone. The onesie proved to be difficult to set back to rights, mostly because his brother wouldn’t stay still, so he just wrapped him up the best he could in his blanket.

“You’re a bunch of trouble,” Liam told the baby as he moved them to a pile of pillows so he could be more comfortable while holding his brother and waiting for his mum to wake up and take control of the situation. “I’d rather have a kitten, but I stuck you with.”

Timestamp 6 - Don't Drink the Water by Rainpuddle

Title: Don’t Drink the Water
Name: rainpuddle13
Rating: Not Naughty
Characters/Ships: Draco/Ginny
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.
Notes: For desertraincloud- Gareth - Draco's reaction to finding out that Ginny is pregnant with him.

Summary: Ginny has a little surprise for her husband.

“There you are,” Draco said after finally locating his wife sitting on the side of the marble tub in their shared bathroom. She was dressed in his favorite pale peach colored silk nightgown, the one that always made his mouth water just looking at her. “What are you doing in here? You didn’t come back and I had to put Liam to bed by myself. He kept asking for you.”

Ginny didn’t look at him up, she just kept staring at a small clear glass phial filled with bright green liquid that sat on her vanity table. She scooted over a little to make room from when he attempted to sit down beside her.

“You’re cold,” he whispered as he brushed a stray curl from her bare shoulder. Her skin was cool to the touch, and he knew her bare feet must be freezing on the deep gray slate tile floor. Draco was quickly becoming concerned; it wasn’t like his wife to be so unresponsive.

“I know,” she finally said after a bit of delay.

He retrieved his thick dressing gown and her slippers from the other room; there was no way he was going to allow her to freeze to death. “Here,” he prompted, kneeling down to slip the shoes on her feet before draping the robe over her shoulders. “Care to tell me what this is all about?”

“I’m… I’m…” she trailed off in favor of pointing towards her vanity.

“I’m what?” he prompted, unable to tear his eyes away from what she was so obviously pointing at – the little glass bottle.

Ginny drew in a deep, shutting breath. “Pregnant.”

“Wha…wha…ut,” he stuttered, suddenly feeling as if all the oxygen in the room had been sucked out.

“Pregnant,” she said softly.

“How?”

A ghost of smile turned the corners of her mouth up slightly. “I’m going to have a baby.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, quite positive.”

“How can you be so sure?” Draco asked, fighting desperately against the urge to panic.

“The test is never wrong,” his wife answered calmly.

“Test? What test?”

Ginny got up to retrieve the phial full of the tell-tale green liquid. “This test.”

“What’s that?” he questioned, wishing he’d paid more attention to his wife when she’d natter with her sisters-in-law about baby business.

“A home pregnancy potion,” she explained carefully, “and it’s always accurate.”

“Always?”

“Always.”

“Oh, wow.”

The fearful look she was giving him nearly broke his heart. “Well?” Ginny asked cautiously.

Draco took a moment to process that fact that he was about to become a father of two. “I told you not to drink the water at the Burrow!”



End Notes:
This is the ficlet I had the most trouble with so far because it fell directly in the middle of a planned set of stories which I've already gotten partial written. This scene is fresh though, and now makes me want to go back work on what I've already gotten a start on so I can continue this scene on to the planned conclusion... *revels in ebilness*
Timestamp 7 - The Stolen Moment by Rainpuddle
Title: The Stolen Moment
Name: rainpuddle13
Rating: Not Naughty
Characters/Ships: Draco/Ginny, Rauri
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.
Notes: For kaumzuglaubenwho requested Draco when he's alone with Rauri for the first time after her birth. I don’t know if this is quite what you wanted, but this is what came to me. I hope it’s okay! Thanks to nokomis305 for the quick read through.

Summary: Draco spends a little quality time with his second favorite girl.


"I shouldn't be gone longer than two hours," Ginny told him as she searched for her handbag. "Rauri should be fine until then, but if I end up having to stay longer because Mrs. Moneypenny wouldn't shut up…"


"There is a bottle in the icebox," Draco finished for her. He stood in the doorway of his wife's office, cradling his six-week-old baby daughter in his arms. Rauri was looking impossibly adorable in a pink cotton romper with little bunnies and sprigs of flowers all over it. He was going to have to find the matching little hat with bunny ears on it to put on her the minute he got rid of his wife.


"If you need me, I will be at the Honeychurches’," she reminded him.


"I know, you've told me ten times in the past hour."


“There are clean nappies-”


“At the changing station, I know.”


“She likes a little airing out time and a very light dusting of powder.”


Draco had to bite his tongue to keep from tartly replying that this was not the first time he’d changed a soiled nappy. He nodded his head instead and mumbled, “Yes, dear.”


“She likes it pinned snugly or she’ll be fussy,” Ginny nattered on as she reluctantly slipped on her cloak before trying to take the baby from him. “Maybe I shouldn’t go.”


“Remember you’re electing the Treasury post today. Can you imagine if Mrs. Moneypenny won?” He knew it was a low blow to mention his wife’s most bitter critic, but desperate times called for desperate measures.


Ginny looked horrified by the mere thought that Mrs. Moneypenny might control the purse strings of her children’s charity group. “I should probably be there.”


“I think that might be wise,” he prompted her.


She gave the baby a tender kiss on the cheek before giving him a quick peck. “I shouldn’t be gone too long,” she said before Disapparating.


“Well,” Draco drawled slowly as he lightly bounced the bundle in his arms, “I thought she’d never leave!”


Rauri gurgled and smiled up at him as if she too approved of her mother’s sudden departure.


“So what would you like to do this afternoon, princess?” he cooed to his daughter, nuzzling his cheek against her ginger curls. “Snuggle? I think that’s a capital idea!”


He made his way upstairs to the bright and airy nursery that occupied the suite of rooms directly across from the master’s chambers of Agecroft Hall.


“I don’t know why your mum is so worried about leaving you in my care,” he said softly, settling down in the white rocking chair in front of the large windows with a view of the front gardens. “It isn’t like I have no experience with babies. I managed to take care of your big brothers by myself on occasion and they are no worse for the wear. Well, mostly anyway. Gareth does have that scar…”


Father and daughter sat in companionable silence for a long while, dozing lightly together; the only sound in the room was the soft rhythmic creaking of the ancient chair. It had once belonged to his wife’s great-grandmother on her mother’s side, and it had proudly been handed down mother-to-daughter for four generations. Draco didn’t even want to begin to think of the day that the comfortable chair was passed down. He figured he had at least twenty good years before he had to think about any of that unpleasantness.


He ran his fingers lightly over Rauri’s chubby cheek, smiling when she rewarded him with a little giggle. “You’re so beautiful, did you know that? I bet you don’t realize this yet, but you look just like your mummy, which is a good thing for you, princess, because she’s the most beautiful witch in the world. I’m going to have to hex more than one young wizard into the next century for just looking at you,” he grumbled as his protective fatherly instincts kicked in.


Rauri squirmed and kicked until her feet until Draco unwrapped them from the tangle of blanket, placing a tender kiss on each one before setting her completely free.


“And just know I’m going to have trouble telling you no, I can see it now, but I don’t think you’ll have any trouble with that, nuh uh.”


“But I might,” Ginny said from the doorway.


Draco jumped at the sound of his wife’s voice, jostling the very comfortable Rauri. “How long have you been standing there?”


“Long enough,” she said with a smile, taking the baby from him and patting her bottom gently before she could work herself into a full-on Malfoy snit.


“I thought you were going to be gone for a few hours,” he said guiltily. He was thoroughly embarrassed that Ginny overheard his private conversation with their daughter. He’d be devastated if his wife finally discovered that he really was a big softie under his cool, calm and collected Malfoy exterior after all these years.


“I’d had enough after an hour,” she said with a grin.


“What about electing Mrs. Moneypenny?”


“First order of business, and for the record, she was soundly defeated.”


“That’s good.”


“Uh huh,” Ginny purred, putting the baby down in the cot before turning to face him.


Draco could feel his stomach being to flutter under his wife’s intense gaze. “So what do you have planned for the rest of the afternoon since you kipped out of your meeting early?”


She pressed herself against him, wrapping her arms around his neck and placing feather light kisses along his jaw. “I thought I might show my darling, sweet husband just how much I adore him…”
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