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.
A/N: This story takes place in The Cabbage Capers era, but its focus is more on Draco and Ginny than the boys therefore I felt it did not belong under that grouping. This is not a lighthearted story about the antics of the boys.
Thanks to nokomis305 for the beta!
And before I get asked a million times: Liam is five – six in June and Gareth is two – three in April.
Draco and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Draco Apparated into the foyer of Agecroft Hall a little before seven in the evening with only one thing on his mind – to get into his warm bed as soon as humanly possible. He was tired, beyond tired really. He'd returned from a ten day business trip to Asia late the previous evening and his body hadn't had a chance to readjust itself to British time.
A warm supper and a hot soak were the first order of business. Then maybe, just maybe if Gin was in an indulgent mood, he could fangle a massage out of her. And then, once he was completely relaxed, a good night's sleep. It was all he wanted.
It was all he could think about all day to be honest. He thought about returning to his bed the moment his eyes opened that morning. Instead, he crawled out of bed at an ungodly hour and dragged himself to work to tie up the loose ends of his trip and take care of thing that had cropped up in his absence so he could have a long weekend to recover. It'd been hard to leave his wife sleeping peacefully in the middle of their big bed.
He could hear the boys in the dining room even before he opened the door. Of course, Gin would be seeing to their dinner since they couldn't wait until he managed to get home. They did have a bedtime to keep. She would take her supper with him whenever he got home.
The first thing he noticed upon entering the room was the diamond encrusted clip sparkling in his wife's upswept hair. It was a gift he'd given her just this past Christmas and it was terribly out of place with the dark purple velvet dressing gown she was wearing.
Liam saw him first. "Da!" he squealed delightedly, abandoning his supper with a clatter of silverware to run to his father with his arms outstretched.
"Little monster," he said with a grin as he scooped his eldest child up in his arms, giving him a spin.
Ginny picked up a very bouncy Gareth to wait for their turn for his attention. Draco set a very giddy Liam down so he could pluck his baby from his wife's arms, showering him in kisses until he was giggling madly. "And baby monster," he said to his son's delight.
"Da," Gareth sighed happily while hugging his father's neck tight and launching into a tale of Seymour's latest exploits.
"The boys missed you," Ginny said softly over the low din of the boys.
He allowed Gareth to wiggle down to the floor. "I missed you more," he whispered huskily.
She melted against him as his arms wrapped around her waist, pulling her close as he kissed her thoroughly; neither of them seemed to notice the children vying for their attention at their feet. He didn't stop until he'd left her panting.
"What's for supper?" he asked after pulling away before his carefully laid plans for the evening went out the window because he'd have to haul his wife up to bed.
Ginny looked slightly confused. "I thought we were going out."
Only then did Draco notice that the table had not been set for the evening the meal. Damn, and he was hungry too. "Why would you think that?"
Her mouth formed a perfect O as she looked at him in what could only be described as utter disbelief.
"Good evening, dears," Molly said brightly as she bustled into the room, stopping to hug and kiss each grandson. "Draco dear, you need to hurry if you're going to be dressed to go out soon and Ginny sweetheart, don't you have a pretty new robe to be putting on?"
Ginny's mouth snapped shut and her eyes blazed with anger.
"Are you going to that new fancy restaurant in Diagon Alley with the dancing?" his mother-in-law nattered on, completely oblivious to the cold chill that just passed through the room. She busied herself with forcing the last bit of peas in Gareth's mouth. "I think it's the perfect place to celebrate an anniversary. Don't you? Or are you going into Muggle London? Stay along as you like. You know I will keep the boys as long as needed. You two like to stay with Grandmum don't you? Besides, maybe I'll get another grandchild out of it because the more the merrier!"
"Mum," Ginny said stiffly. "I don't think we'll be requiring your services tonight after all."
Molly looked up, alarmed by the tension in the room. "Whatever is wrong, Ginny?"
"It seems my husband has forgotten our anniversary." She crossed her arms over her chest as she glared at him.
Draco felt his stomach drop. Oh sweet mother of Merlin. This was bad. Very bad. No words to describe how bad. The ability to form words suddenly escaped him.
"Oh dear. Well, you're both here now," his mother-in-law said cheerfully. "Why don't you just tell Nils to whip up something for dinner and I'll take the boys home with me…"
"No," his wife hissed, staring him directly in the eyes. "Today is just like any other day, nothing special about it whatsoever so I don't need a babysitter. I'll just take the boys upstairs and give them their bath and put them to bed just like every other day."
It was even worse than he first feared. And all he could do was stand there and watch as his wife grew more livid by the moment.
"Ginny," her mother pleaded, "don't be this way. It's your anniversary."
She level a glare at her Mum that made the formidable Molly Weasley take a step back. "Nils," she called to the head kitchen elf. "I'd like a tray brought up to my chambers. Now, if you'll excuse me I have to see to my children."
She scooped Gareth up and took Liam by the hand, leaving Draco to stare after her wake and his oldest son's sing-songy, "Da's in trouble," ringing in his ears.
Molly tried smiling, but he could tell that she was at a loss for words. And that was something he thought he would never ever see in his life time – his mother-in-law speechless. In truth, it scared him a bit, well, more than a bit. She left with a muttered apology and a promise to keep the boys anytime.
He could not recall the last time he'd seen his wife that angry. Sure she'd been angry before, but this went beyond simple anger. She was hurt as well. And if he knew anything about women, he knew that hurt fueled anger was a dangerous combination.
Despite being hungry earlier, Draco only picked at the roast and pudding that Nils served him. He'd lost his appetite the moment he realized he'd fucked up royally. He gave up after pushing his food around on his plate, figuring he'd might as well go upstairs and get the shouting over with rather sooner than later.
The nursery was awash in a soft glow signaling that Gareth had been put down for night despite the restless noises coming from the baby cot. "Hey, baby monster," Draco said softly, noting that his baby was almost too big for his cot now. They might not be able to wait until his birthday to move him out of the nursery and into his own room. "Do you want Da to rock you a bit?"
The little boy reached his arms up and nodded. "Uh huh," he mumbled, sounding a tad more than sleepy. "Not baby anymore."
No, Draco supposed, Gareth wasn't a baby anymore. He was wanting to be more and more like his big brother every day, even down to how he dressed for bed. Gone were the adorable footed one piece pyjamas in favor of flannel pyjama trousers, a long sleeved t-shirt and a pair of socks that Liam preferred. He was definitely no longer a baby monster, but a little wizard. Although some things never changed - he had to have his favorite green blankie that his grandmum made for him and Seymour the frog with him everywhere he went.
He settled down in the antique rocking chair, allowing Gareth to snuggle close before he began to rock gently. He loved that his youngest son was an equal opportunity snuggler. It wasn't that his other child didn't like to snuggle, it was just that Liam preferred to snuggle with his mum. Draco just knew that boy was going to be a terror with the witches when he was older…
It didn't take very long for Gareth to drop off to sleep. Draco brushed a kiss against his newly sprouted red curls before placing him carefully back in the cot, carefully tucking the blanket around him. Seymour was placed with his reach and the other animals and toys were piled at the foot.
"I love you, baby monster," he whispered, rubbing Gareth's back lightly to make sure he stayed settled down. He was a notoriously light sleeper.
Draco cast a light warming charm over the cot before heading out to see to his older son's bedtime needs. Ginny was just finishing up tucking Liam into bed when he walked into the bedchamber.
"Da!" Liam squealed, scrambling out from under the carefully tucked covers. "Will you read me a story?"
"Liam," Ginny warned softly. "It's past your bedtime and I've already read to you."
"Please Mum, just one story," he whined.
"Just one story, I promise," Draco said lightly. He could feel the waves of anger radiating off his wife still. "If it's okay with you, that is, Gin."
She shot him with a seething glare. It had truly been too much to hope that she'd cooled off just a little bit while seeing to the boys' baths. Ginny gave Liam a good night kiss before hastily brushing past Draco without so much as a word.
"Are you and Mum having a row?" Liam asked after the door was firmly shut.
"Not yet," Draco sighed.
"She's hacked off with you?"
"Very much so, yes."
"Are you going to row?"
"More than likely," Draco admitted, figuring honesty was the best policy. However, he didn't like the pained expression that darkened his son's face as he carefully pondered his next words.
"Are you going to leave Mummy," Liam blurted out in a burst of tears.
He gathered his son up in his arms, soothing his tears as best as he knew how. "No, I'm not leaving your mum."
Liam raised his red, tear streaked face to look up at him. "Promise?" he croaked as Draco's heart nearly broke in two.
"I promise," he said fiercely, squeezing his son tight. "Can you tell me what brought all this on?"
He listened as Liam related the tale of a classmate whose father left to go live with another witch after his parents rowed a lot and he was very afraid that it would happen to his parents. He went on to voice his fears of what would happen to him and Gareth if he ever left because Mummy would be too sad to take care of them.
Draco knew that his marriage to Ginny was far from perfect, but he knew that they loved each other enough to work through any problems that they might have and he needed to make Liam understand that. It pained him to know that his son had learned to learn about such heartache at such an early age. He couldn't stop himself from squeezing Liam tight.
"I promise you, Liam, that I will never ever leave you and your brother," he swore.
"And Mummy, too," Liam sniffled.
"Of course, I'd never leave your mummy. I love her way too much."
"Yes, it's why I married her."
"All right," Liam said, seemingly satisfied with his answers and burrowing deeper against his father's side.
"How about that story now?"
The father and son pair settled down for a reading of St. George and the Dragon, only with the dragon coming out on the better end of the deal since neither of them enjoyed reading about the untimely demise of such a beautiful and rare creature. Liam was tucked back into bed after a brief game of "I love you more."
He was somewhat surprised to find the master chambers empty, figuring Ginny would already be in bed. Noises coming from the vicinity of the vast dressing rooms signified that she indeed had not left him. All he hoped was that she'd taken a hot bath and had had a chance to calm down a bit.
He was quite sure he could smooth this over with her, make it all up to her on the 'morrow after a good night's rest in his big, warm, inviting bed. He'd make his apologies tonight, being a sheepish and very contrite just to make life easier so he could get some rest then tomorrow buy her some ridiculously expensive piece of jewelry, take her out to dinner and dancing, and then bring her home and allow the Malfoy charm to work its magic. The plan was perfect, foolproof even.
"What do you think you're doing?" Ginny asked angrily, startling him enough to make him stumble as he was about to step into his pyjama trousers.
Draco turned to face his wife who was glaring at him from the doorway into the dressing room, her arms crossed firmly across her chest and a very disapproving frown turning down the corners of her mouth. "Getting dressed for bed," he answered, thinking it should have been very obvious what he was doing.
"Out." This time she narrowed her glare for added emphasis.
"Ginny, please don't be this way," he pleaded softly, giving her his best puppy dog look. "I'm sorry."
She snorted. She actually snorted, he couldn't believe it. "Don't you even dare give me that look, Draco Malfoy! You forgot our anniversary!" He could tell it was taking all of her willpower not to launch herself at him. Clearly he'd underestimated her anger.
"Look Gin, I just got back from a business trip on the other side of the world. I'm exhausted. Can we discuss this like adults tomorrow when I'm not so tired that I can't remember my own name?"
"You're too vain to ever forget your own name, Malfoy."
"Ah, that's just nice, Ginevra." He knew how much she hated her given name, but damn it she was trying his last nerve. He'd fucked up. He got it. And he wanted to deal with it later.
Her dark eyes brimmed with tears. "I thought you forgot, but then I convinced myself you were having me on. Imagine my surprise to learn that you actually had forgotten after I bragged to Mum that you'd never forget!"
Draco knew that if he was going to get any peace tonight he was going to have to cut her off. He knew what he was about to do was a wrong, but sometimes it just had to be done. Liam had giving him the perfect ammunition. "Did you know that Liam was crying to me tonight that he's afraid that we're going to get a divorce because he knew we were going to row?"
She pulled the dressing gown tighter around her body as she finally made her way over to their bed where she started to viciously pull back the covers. "He should be more afraid of me murdering you in your sleep!"
"Gods, witch," he swore as his own anger bubbled dangerously under the surface. "I've already apologized. What the hell else do you want from me?"
"You forgot our wedding anniversary, Draco."
He groaned. All he wanted was to crawl into his bed. She could be angry. She could give him the cold shoulder. He didn't care. He just wanted to forget about this until tomorrow. "Yes, we've been over this. I've apologized. I don't know why you're making such a big deal over it anyway! It's not like it was one of the important ones!"
Ginny sat down ungracefully on the bed, nearly missing the edge. She wrapped her arms around her middle as a stricken expression slowly crept over her face. "They're all important to me," she uttered in an anguished whisper.
Draco knew even before the words left his mouth the devastating effect they would have on her, yet he couldn't stop the words from tumbling from his lips. This was by and far the worst thing he'd ever done in his entire life. Ginny had her head down so he couldn't tell if she was crying or angry, not that either made much of a difference. Both was bad, very, very bad, so bad it made his head hurt just to think about it. He waited, and waited, agonizingly long moments…
Then she did the most unlikely thing.
She slowly stood up and calmly met his curious gaze. This was the last thing he'd expected and it nearly chilled him to the bone. Her Weasley temper he could handle. Her tears he could make do. But this eerie calm from a witch not known for keeping her emotions in check was down right frightening.
"Out," she said simply, finally breaking the unnerving silence.
Draco started to take a step towards his wife. "Ginny-"
"You've made your feelings perfectly clear, Draco. Go before I hex you into next week." The slight quiver of her bottom like betrayed her calm exterior.
"All right," he agreed, not wanting to push her anymore. He'd done enough damage for one evening. They'd both get some rest then they could fix this in the morning. "I'll go for tonight because I don't want to row any longer." He went to reach for his pillows.
She stepped in front of him to block his path. "No. You don't deserve them or a blanket either."
"Ginny, you don't want to do this."
"Yes, I do," she practically purred.
It was more than apparent that she was going to take some perverse pleasure in torturing him - not that he didn't think he deserved it, but not giving him a pillow and blanket was just down right vindictive.
Draco held up his hands in surrender. He most definitely didn't like this version of his wife. "Fine."
"The guest rooms are off limits and don't even think about Liam's room." The corners of her mouth curled into a decidedly wicked smile.
He had little choice but to sleep on the sofa in the sitting room adjacent to their bedchamber. It was the only sofa in the house that was both long enough to accommodate his tall frame and it was not covered in leather. And if he wasn't mistaken, there were a couple of his mother-in-law's knitted afghans in there. He could survive one night right?
Just as he made it to the hidden door that led into the sitting room, she called after him. He turned, hoping against hope she'd had a sudden change of heart.
"One last thing," she said, loosening the ties of the black robe she'd been wearing so it slid to the floor in a whisper of silk. The nightgown underneath was a thin strapped black silk chemise that skimmed her curves in just the right places and the peek-a-boo black lace bodice left just enough to the imagination to make his mouth water at the mere thought of her breasts. "I just wanted to know what you were missing out on tonight." And with that, she climbed into their big bed, dimmed the lights with a wave of her and pulled the covers up to her chin.
He retreated to the sitting room and the uncomfortable-for-sleeping brocade sofa after she left him standing there in the dark.
He was damned if he did and damned if he didn't
Laying there with his eyes open, he would rehash their argument over and over in his mind, trying to pinpoint exactly when everything went South on him. And if he dared to close his eyes, he was assaulted with images of how impossibly long the short black nightie had made Ginny's legs look and how good they'd feel wrapped around his waist as he slid into her welcoming body.
Gods, it was going to be a long night.
To be continued…