The Family Name--The Arctic Incident
By Elbereth in April
Chapter 9: Goodbye for the Summer
Draco smoothed back his hair, pausing outside the dining room. He found he was quite nervous about meeting Fowl's father. If the man didn't like him, would his son break off their alliance? He liked them being allies. He hadn't realized how much he'd like it until this visit. Of course, that didn't make them friends, they were just--Draco shook his head. Their relationship was too complicated for him to figure out, anyway. He resolved not to think about it, and pushed open the door to the dining room.
The table had ingredients for sandwiches spread out all over it. Butler was setting out plates for everyone. They looked up as Draco entered. He came over to Mr. Fowl, who shook his hand automatically. The man was smiling friendly enough, but there was something cold and unwelcoming about the eyes that made Draco tense up.
"Father, this is Draco Malfoy," Artemis introduced them. "Malfoy, this is my father."
Draco called upon his years of Malfoy training for polite company and gave his most charming smile. "Pleased to meet you." He sat down next to Artemis.
Tim nodded. "Artemis has been telling me about his school. Your name comes up quite often."
Draco looked at Artemis, who carefully looked only at the tablecloth.
Butler came to his rescue. "It's make your own sandwich. Everyone dig in."
Once everyone's plate was filled, Tim continued the conversation. "You come from a long line of wizards, Artemis tells me."
"Yes. You've had quite a few prestigious ancestors in the Fowl line, as well," Draco answered, despite not really wanting to admit that.
The man's mouth twitched minutely. 'What is he thinking?' Draco wondered. 'That was a compliment.'
Artemis was starting to worry again. His father seemed to have adjusted to the idea and to be accepting of magic. But was he really? Something about his behavior seemed to be--off. He couldn't decide.
"Yes. . ."
"We both belong to Slytherin House," Draco said, changing the subject. He didn't really want to talk about families.
"Hogwarts has four Houses," Artemis explained. "They compete with each other for the House Cup every year. Something of a rivalry exists between them--especially in Quidditch."
"Quidditch?" Tim frowned in confusion.
"It's a very popular sport in the wizarding world. Seven players, three balls, and broomsticks. I'm the Slytherin Seeker," Draco reported proudly.
"Something he's actually pretty good at."
"Like that's so surprising!"
Artemis smirked. "It is."
"I'll have you know, I'm good at a lot of things."
"Really? I've never seen any signs. . ."
"Fowl. . ."
"Okay, fine, I'll admit you might have a small amount of magical talent."
Draco tightened his grip on the mayonnaise bottle, looking over at Fowl's father. He seemed to be taking their teasing in stride. Draco never would have been so open and disrespectful like this in front of his own father. "Expect to wake up tomorrow with Malfoy tattooed on your chest," he taunted back after a tiny pause.
Artemis raised an eyebrow. "You'd only give Parkinson more ideas."
"Never mind then." Draco actually blushed a little.
Artemis hid a smile with a bite of sandwich.
"Oh? Who's Parkinson?"
"Just a girl," Draco answered hastily.
Artemis nodded emphatically. "She's a bit strange, really."
Once the topic turned from magic, Mr. Fowl seemed to mellow and the boys unconsciously relaxed. Draco asked the adult about his business. Tim turned out to have a witty sense of humor.
"What are you doing in Ireland if you're from England?" he asked towards the end of the meal.
"My dad's here on business. I came here with him."
"What does your father do?"
Draco fidgeted a little. "Um, he's in politics. And he invests in various--financial opportunities."
"I see. Well, tell him he's welcome to come over for dinner some evening while he's here."
Draco quite deliberately smiled. "I'm afraid he'll be too busy this time. He doesn't get much free time for purely social activities."
Tim nodded, regarding him shrewdly.
Draco didn't break eye contact until Tim turned away to direct a question to Butler. Draco hid his relief, dropping his stare to the crusts of his sandwich and playing with the tablecloth. Now was not the time to get into a discussion of purebloods, Mudbloods, Dark wizards, and why it would be a very bad idea to invite Lucius Malfoy to tea.
A few hours later, Mrs. Fowl and Juliet arrived home, and a very touching reunion took place. Angeline shed many joyful tears, upon which Artemis and Draco escaped to Draco's room, and Artemis discovered Malfoy's "borrowage" of his computer. Artemis became indignant, Draco laughed, they both threatened the other with painful curses but never actually drew wands, and Draco finally agreed to give it back if Fowl would come flying with him.
They went out behind the house, broomsticks in hand.
"Can you keep up?"
Artemis hesitated. Despite everything, he was still more of a thinker than a doer. "Depends on what all you're wanting to do."
Draco gave this some thought, then mounted his broom. "Just get behind me. I told you I was taking you joy riding, didn't I? Let's go."
Artemis hesitated again, but if he refused he knew Malfoy would make fun of him. So he sighed, laid his own broom by the door, and climbed on behind Malfoy. "If you crash us, I'll never let you live it down."
Draco grinned and kicked off to the sky.
Mr. and Mrs. Fowl watched them from a window. "Isn't everything just perfect?" Angeline sighed.
Tim's arm around her shoulders unconsciously tightened. "I disapprove of all this. . . magic. It's not normal."
"Even without magic, he wasn't normal," she laughed. "But now, he's happy. He has friends. For the first time."
"I suppose it's all arranged for him to return to that school."
"Yes." She looked up at him with big, bright eyes.
Tim gave a sigh of his own. He had woken up, for some reason, not caring so much for money anymore, and regretting a lot of his past. He was thinking now of the importance of family, and how he didn't want to disappoint his wife anymore. "Fine. . ."
She snuggled up against him contently. From outside, they could hear their son yelling at his schoolmate, "Slow down and be careful of trees or I'll turn your hair pink!"
"Just perfect," Angeline smiled.
Two days later, Draco stood in the doorway, telling Fowl goodbye. A cab and an invisible house elf waited for him.
"I'm glad I came," he said simply, and started down the steps.
"Malfoy, wait." Artemis stepped after him. He shifted uncomfortably, then finally blurted out, "Why did you save my life? In Koboi Labs, why did you--do that?"
Draco had thought he was going to get away without being asked this question. "Um. . ." He sat down his trunk, playing with the handle. "Really. . . I don't know, exactly. I just sort of moved." Then he looked up, and smiled. "But what kind of ally would I be if I just let you die, right?"
Artemis stared a moment, then slowly nodded, swallowing hard. "Oh. Well. Thank you. For everything. I'm glad we're still under alliance."
"No problem." Malfoy thrust out his hand.
Artemis shook it. "I guess I'll see you in 3 weeks."
"Yeah." He picked up his trunk again. "Fowl. . . I'm glad you got your father back." Malfoy hurriedly turned away and bounded down the last few steps.
The cabbie took his trunk and loaded it in the taxi. Draco called back to the other boy, still standing on the steps, "Don't get in any trouble."
Artemis favored him with an innocent expression.
"You're not fooling me with that face, Mr. Oh-Hide-My-Accounts-Please." Artemis quickly looked over his shoulder, but his parents weren't in hearing distance. "You're more trouble than me, and I'm plenty devious myself."
"Hmm, could this be the first step toward your realization that I'm better than you?"
A half-smirk. "You're not fooling anybody with that, either. See you in 3 weeks." He got in the cab and closed the door. He waved once as the car pulled out of the drive.
Artemis watched him go, back to Lucius Malfoy. "See you," he said, even though the other boy could no longer hear. "I won't forget. Anything."
A/N: "I don't know why I saved you" was inspired in part by Naruto manga. Now then, this story is over. I will be posting the next part, The Family Name--Third Year, very soon. So look for it! And a big thank you to all my wonderful reviewers! You're all so cool!