Disclaimer: Everything here belongs to JKR and her various publishing companies except Liam and Gareth, who are mine, all mine.
A/N: This is the third story in the Tangled Web story arc. This takes place when Liam is four years old and has aquired a younger brother.
The Great Cabbage Brouhaha
"You're going to sit there until you eat every last bit of that cabbage, do you hear me?" Ginny said sternly to her four year old son who was steadfastly refusing to clean his plate.
"But I don't like it!" Liam whined at the top of his lungs.
"Well, then I guess you're going to have to just sit there." She knew it'd be a test of wills, he was just as stubborn, if not more so, than his father. Unfortunately, she couldn't use the same tactics to break Liam as she employed to break her husband. It always came down this – him whining while she made him sit there. "If you just eat it, you can leave the table."
"No," he stated resolutely, pushing his plate away before crossing his arms. "Why do I have to eat icky stuff when Gareth don't have to?"
She bounced the year old baby perched on her hip a little bit, Gareth gurgled happily. "Because he's a baby and you're a big boy."
"I don't wanna be a big boy!"
"Fine, then I'll put you back in nappies and you can sleep in a baby cot again."
"Nooooooo," Liam wailed, tears streaming down his face. "I want to be a big boy like Da!"
"Well, then," Ginny said with a grin, using the ultimate trump card in her arsenal. "Da likes to eat his cabbage."
He shook his head slowly. "Uh uh, Da doesn't eat it! He charms it away when you're not looking!"
"He does what?" Ginny asked flabbergasted. Draco always told her how good her cabbage and potatoes were. Oh, he was most definitely going to hear about this when he got home.
"Charms it away, he told me not to tell."
"Well, you still have to eat your cabbage, now get on with it," she said firmly, shoving the plate back in front of him. "I don't have all day."
Liam eyed his plate dubiously, shoving the offending food with his fork. "It's cold."
Ginny groan in frustration before warming the plate of cabbage with a flick of her wand. "If you'd just eat it, then it wouldn't get cold."
"But I don't like it!"
"Just eat it!"
"Fine," Ginny seethed, her patience quickly running out. "You will sit there until you rot."
The small, tow headed little boy stuck his tongue out at his Mum in defiance.
"William Draco Malfoy!"
He sobered immediately.
"I'm going to go put Gareth down. When I return, I expect to see a clean plate - do you hear me, young man?"
Liam nodded his head and sniffled. "Yes, Mum," he whispered.
"And we'll be having a talk with your father when he gets home."
Ginny slowly made her way upstairs to put the baby down for the afternoon, the anger coursing through her was slow to fade. Liam could be so cheeky sometimes – it was enough to drive her nutters. And Draco only encouraged the behavior, thinking it was cute. It was a one woman battle in a household full of cheeky men, well; at least she still had Gareth. He hadn't been corrupted, yet anyway.
She sat back in the rocker, her eyes closed, enjoying the peace that came with slowly rocking the baby to sleep. There was no annoying mini Draco in the nursery to defy her at every turn.
A small voice shattered her peace a little while later. "Mummy?"
"Did you eat your cabbage?" She didn't opened her eyes.
"Then I suggest you do that."
"What did I just say?" Ginny could feel her blood pressure rising.
"I don't like it."
"And I don't care! You will eat your cabbage."
"No," he said with all the gravity in the world. "I'm gonna runaway."
"Fine," she muttered as she put Gareth down in his cot. "Don't wake him while you pack."
Liam nodded. "Okay."
She left the door partially open so she could hear her children from downstairs. The house-elves had beaten her to clearing the table, sparing Liam from seeing his unfinished lunch plate at dinnertime. She'd have to speak with them about that.
A soft pop ceased her frustrated attempts at picking up toys. The ringleader of the cheekiness was home.
His arms slipped around her waist, pulling her back against him. "Mmm, I'm home."
"And?" she grumbled, stiffening slightly before pulling away from him.
"Okay, who did what?" Draco asked. "It wasn't me I hope."
Ginny just glared at him, her ears turning slightly red.
He blanched a little. "What did I do?"
"Got me pregnant, that's what!"
"Again?" He fought hard to keep the smirk off his face.
"No, the first time!"
"What did Liam do then?" he asked, relief evident in his voice.
"He wouldn't eat his cabbage," Ginny stated as if he should have already known.
"Oh? You had cabbage for lunch? I'm sorry I missed that!"
"I bet you are, Mr. Charm-it-away-when-I'm-not-looking," she seethed.
Draco swallowed hard. "You weren't supposed to know about that."
"I know more than you think."
"I see that. So where is Liam now?"
She huffed. "Your son is upstairs packing - he's running away because I wouldn't let him leave the table until he ate his cabbage."
The slamming of drawers could be heard during the ensuing silence following Ginny's declaration.
"I'll go talk to him," Draco said softly, turning to head toward the stairs.
She stopped him. "No, he needs to learn the hard way."
A closet door slammed followed quickly by the sounds of a crying baby.
"I told him not to wake to Gareth," Ginny bristled as she sprinted for the stairs.
Draco caught up to her just as she lifting the baby from the cot. Ginny soothed her son, while taking in the devastation of the nursery. Clothes and toys where strewn about everywhere. The room was straight when'd she'd put Gareth down.
Liam came in dragging a couple of stuffed suitcases behind him.
"So," Ginny asked smugly, "where are you going?"
Liam smiled innocently, his gray eyes twinkling mischievously. "I'm not going anywhere. I'm not old enough to Apparate yet. I packed your suitcases."