A/N – This is the fourth and final set of my new collections, and this set is for the collection pieces that don't really fit in the other three. In this collection there are all sorts of pieces, ranging from light and fluffy to serious and dramatic. This collection is also rated M, for the odd steamy collection piece.
Like the other collections I'm posting, each chapter is from a different universe, and set at different times. Like the other collections, some of these pieces may feature in longer stories in the future, but there's also a few pieces written especially for this collection that I won't be taking any further (Mainly the sad pieces, where Draco and Hermione don't get their happy ending).
As for publishing, there will be no set schedule as I'll update when I've got a new collection piece to publish, and at times there might by months in between updates.
The first story in this collection –Unexpected Gift – takes place in a light and fluffy universe. No war, and no bad feelings between people. This story also features my favourite kind of Lucius and Narcissa to write – fun loving with a sense of humour. This is a fun, light-hearted snippet, meant to be humorous, and not taken seriously. Enjoy.
It was a gorgeous sunny day in July when Draco Malfoy and his fiancée, Hermione Granger called at the manor to discuss last minute wedding preparations for their upcoming nuptials. The pair were going to be married at an exclusive boutique hotel on the south coast, and Draco's mother, Narcissa, had been helping Hermione with all the arrangements. Since the visit was a pre-arranged one, Narcissa had everything ready for her future daughter-in-law. With it being such a nice day, she'd had a table set up in the garden, so everyone settled down in the sun to make sure the wedding would run smoothly in a little over two weeks time.
A couple of hours later, all the plans had been double checked and everyone was satisfied that nothing had been overlooked. It was going to be a wonderful day, and everyone was looking forward to it.
"While we're on the subject of weddings, I've got a little present for the two of you," Lucius announced as Narcissa packed up. "I'll be right back."
"What's he up to now?" Draco asked his mother as Lucius got up and headed into the manor.
"Search me," Narcissa replied with a frown. "This is the first I've heard of him having a present for you both. I thought our wedding present was going to be a villa in Greece."
"You're buying us a villa in Greece?" Hermione asked.
Even though she'd been with Draco for nearly four years it still took her by surprise how readily the Malfoys could spend thousands of galleons and not bat an eyelid. Hermione's family weren't exactly badly off, and growing up she'd wanted for nothing, but they'd never been able to afford to just buy a villa in a foreign country. Especially as Hermione knew the villa Lucius and Narcissa would have bought would be quite substantial. One thing she'd quickly learnt about the Malfoys was that they liked decent size properties, they didn't own any building that wasn't absolutely massive.
"Oops," Narcissa muttered sheepishly. "It was supposed to be a surprise. Do me a favour and act surprised when Lucius and I give you the deeds after the wedding."
"We will," Draco said with a chuckle. "So back to Father, you really don't know what he's up to?"
"Lucius Malfoy is a law unto himself," Narcissa replied with an elegant shrug of her shoulder. "I can't keep track of half the things that man gets up to."
"Sounds dangerous," Hermione remarked, taking a drink of her elf-made lemonade, made by the elves at the manor who were now free thanks to her work with the Ministry, as she tried to digest the news that she and Draco would be receiving a villa as their wedding present of his parents.
"It can be," Narcissa admitted. "But then again, you must know all about having an out of control partner."
"Hey, I'm not out of control," Draco protested.
"You my dear, are too much like your father," Narcissa said with an arched eyebrow. "You're impulsive and prone to acting without consulting Hermione."
"I do not," Draco argued.
"Yes, you do," Hermione laughed. "Just look at what happened last year. You went over to Blaise's for drinks, and the next thing I know I'm getting a floo call from Vegas because the pair of you decided to go gambling."
"That was all Blaise," Draco protested, wincing sheepishly at the memory. Yes, it was something they could laugh about now, but at the time Hermione had been furious that he'd taken off without first letting her know he was leaving the country.
"And you were just dragged along under protest, were you?" Hermione questioned.
Luckily Draco was saved from his fiancée's questioning stare as Lucius re-emerged from the manor and re-joined the table. If Lucius noticed he'd interrupted something he didn't comment as he handed Draco a large manila envelope.
"Have fun," He said mysteriously.
"With an envelope?" Draco snorted.
Lucius merely shook his head at his son and urged him to open up. Sharing a bemused smile with Hermione, Draco opened up the envelope and found a handful of legal documents. Pulling the documents out of the envelope he scoured them, before turning to his father with a frown.
"These are ownership documents for the Ballycastle Bats."
"I know what they are Draco, I've just gave them to you," Lucius responded.
"The what?" Narcissa asked in confusion.
"The Ballycastle Bats are a quidditch team," Hermione supplied. Even though she wasn't a quidditch fan she'd heard of the team as her best friend, Harry Potter, and his wife, Ginny, were professional quidditch players, although neither played for the Bats.
"You've bought Draco and Hermione a quidditch team?" Narcissa questioned warily. Even for Lucius, this was a strange and very unpredictable move.
"Not exactly," Lucius admitted with a slight shrug. "Let's just say I came into possession of the team, and since my interest in quidditch isn't what it used to be, I figured Draco could have some fun with the team. He can run the team himself, hire someone to do it for him, or sell the team on."
"What do you mean you they came into your possession?" Hermione asked as her fiancé studied the documents his father had given him. "How do you just happen to come into possession of a quidditch team?"
"It's a long story, one I'm sure no-one is really interested in," Lucius said, clearly trying to dodge the subject of how he came about the team.
"I'm certainly interested," Draco said, placing the documents down on the table and looking over at his father. "Something tells me this will be a good story."
"Hmm, I was just thinking the same thing," Narcissa murmured, fixing her husband with her firmest stare. "So come on Lucius, do share. Just how did you acquire the Ballycastle Bats quidditch team?"
Lucius was silent for a long moment, obviously contemplating the best way to spin his story, before he threw his hands up in the air in defeat. "Sod it. If you want the truth, here it is. I won them in a poker match."
"A poker match?" Narcissa repeated disbelievingly. "The poker matches you attend every month with your friends?"
"That would be the one," Lucius replied with a nod. Once a month, he and a group of wizards he'd known for years would meet up and have a few drinks and a few rounds of poker.
"What sort of stakes do you play for when you manage to win a quidditch team?" Draco questioned. When he played poker with his friends, the big winners usually walked off with a few hundred galleons, not entire quidditch teams.
"These days, anything goes," Lucius answered with a slight smirk. "Once upon a time we used to play for money, but these days we bet all sorts of things."
"I'm not sure I like the sound of that," Narcissa said warily. "Just what do you bet, Lucius?"
"Depends on the situation," Lucius replied.
"Let me put this another way, just what have you lost?" Narcissa demanded.
"A few pieces of jewellery," He began. "Nothing you liked," He added hastily when Narcissa opened her mouth to yell at him. "A few ugly paintings, the odd house."
At Lucius's last admission, Hermione almost choked on her lemonade. The way he'd just casually mentioned he'd lost the odd house was stunning. Who lost a house in poker and didn't think to tell their wife about it?
"You lost the odd house?" She finally managed to ask when she finished spluttering.
"Two or three, I've lost track," Lucius answered airily.
"Which houses?" Narcissa questioned. She was just hoping Lucius hadn't lost one of the properties she loved.
"None we've visited in years," Lucius reassured his wife. "Remember that horrid little place in Prague, well I offloaded that to Greengrass a few years ago. I think he gave it to his youngest daughter as a gift for her birthday."
"This is crazy," Draco said with a laugh. "What else have you and your mad old buddies betted over the years?"
"I tell you Draco, more deals have been done over that poker table than in the office," Lucius said, warming up to the subject now it looked as though Narcissa wasn't going to kill him. "Not to mention marriages that have happened due to lost bets."
"Marriages?" Hermione questioned, hardly able to believe her ears. She'd heard of purebloods arranging marriages, but never betting their children.
"Just one or two," Lucius said. "How do you think Theo ended up married to Pansy?"
"His father bet him in a poker match?" Draco gasped. He'd always wondered about Theo and Pansy's marriage, but all Theo would tell him was that their fathers had arranged it.
"Just the once," Lucius replied. "Only he was foolish enough to lose."
"Please tell me you haven't bet me," Draco whispered, picking up on his father's emphasis that Theo's father had been foolish to lose, implying that someone else hadn't been.
"I had a good hand," Lucius reassured his son.
"You bet me on a poker match?" Draco exploded. "What the hell? What if you had lost?"
"Then you wouldn't be sitting here planning your wedding to Hermione," Lucius replied flippantly. "You would already be married to Millicent."
"Millicent," Draco screeched. "You tried to marry me off to Millicent Bullstrode?"
"No, it was Bullstrode that initiated the bet," Lucius corrected. "I never would have bet you if I didn't know I was going to win. I only bet important things on hands I know I'm going to win."
"Just what other important things have you bet?" Narcissa asked as Draco continued to grumble about the fact he'd almost ended up married to Millicent Bullstrode.
"Nothing to worry yourself over," Lucius said, giving his wife his best smile. "As I said, I've never lost anything important."
Narcissa gave her husband a look that told him she wasn't letting the matter lie, and would be back to it later, before she asked what other sort of bets took place at his poker games.
"Mainly it's houses, jewellery and other trinkets," Lucius explained. "It's only occasionally we bet children and wives."
"Wives?" Narcissa screamed, and Lucius turned pale, realising his mistake. "Lucius Malfoy, tell me you've never bet me on a poker match."
"Put it this way, Cissa, I've never lost you," Lucius joked.
"What?" Narcissa cried. "This is the craziest thing I've ever heard. You have to stop going to these poker matches."
"But I win more than I lose," Lucius argued. "Just look at the quidditch team I won for Draco. Then there was that gorgeous emerald choker I gave you for Christmas. Not to mention the ranch in Cape Town."
"You won my choker, and the ranch?" Narcissa questioned in surprise. The emerald choker had been her favourite Christmas present the previous year, and she'd already fallen in love with the sprawling ranch in South Africa that her husband had taken her to just a few months previously.
"I did," Lucius confirmed. "As I say, I win more than I lose. And I have never lost anything of importance."
"If you continue with these games, I have a few conditions," Narcissa warned her husband. "First, you never bet me or our son again."
"Done," Lucius said with a nod. "I've never bet Draco since he introduced us to Hermione and I knew he was serious about her. And I never bet you unless I can be sure I won't lose."
"How can you ever be sure?" Hermione asked. "Even good hands can be beaten."
"They can," Lucius agreed with a nod. "But I always use a sneaky bit of magic when Narcissa is on the table. There's no way I'd risk losing my wife, even if it just for the night."
"Just who has lost their wives?" Narcissa asked, suddenly curious about what their friends got up to behind closed doors.
"Let's just say that a few wives have been around the table on more than one occasion," Lucius replied with a smirk that promised he would confide in Narcissa once they were alone. "Not that I've ever won one either. I have no interest in any woman other than my beautiful wife."
Narcissa smile slightly at the compliment, before she went back to listing her conditions for Lucius's continued gambling. "Aside from not betting Draco and myself, you don't bet any other members of the family. I also want to know everything you win, and everything you lose."
"It's a deal," Lucius said. "I promise, I won't keep anything from you. But really, these poker games are very handy. How do you think I got such a good deal on the hotel for the wedding?"
"You won our wedding venue?" Draco questioned.
"I didn't win it exactly," Lucius replied. "You'd already expressed an interest in the place, and the owner happens to be Greengrasses cousin. So in one of our games, I suggested Greengrass invited his cousin and for one of the bets, I got the venue half price for the weekend."
"What did you have to bet against that?" Hermione wondered. She knew for a fact the hotel they were using for the wedding was very exclusive, and very expensive, so even half the price of hiring it for the weekend would be fairly hefty. "A minor manufacturing company the firm owns, nothing important."
"You bet the business as well?" Draco asked, before shaking his head. "Why am I surprised? If you can bet your own son and wife, you can bet your business."
"Don't be so quick to judge, I won the Potions Company you run," Lucius pointed out. Even though Draco was officially his second in charge at the family firm, he took a more hands on role at their largest Potions Company. "Of course it was just a tiny firm back then, but I built it up into what it is today."
"Okay, maybe this gambling lark isn't so bad," Draco conceded as he looked down at the papers sitting on the table in front of him and smiled at his name listed as the owner. "And I suppose it could be fun to own a quidditch team. Hey Hermione, do you think I could poach Potter from the Tornadoes? He's the best seeker in the league. And Red, she's a brilliant chaser."
Hermione groaned slightly as Draco kept listing the players he would love to poach from other teams, and the thing was, she knew he could probably do it. If he decided to run the quidditch team full time, he could easily turn the Ballycastle Bats into a major force in the league. And somehow Hermione suspected her future husband had just found himself a new career for the next few years. Trust Lucius to win something that would ensure she would have to suffer through never ending quidditch talk and matches. Was it not enough that two of her best friends played the sport, now her fiancé had to own an actual team to play around with. She would definitely have to find a way to get back at Lucius, it was time he learnt that some bets just shouldn't be won, and this was certainly one of them.