The Basket Case
August 11, 2005
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or its characters and make no money of it. I'm not sure I would even if I owned them.
Warnings: This is my first HP fanfic which you got to see. I'm not a native English speaker, but I try. And this is going to contain SLASH! If you don't like it, you can still read it if you harbour masochistic tendencies. Flames are used to warm my cold little heart.
A/N: chapter edited for mistakes – nothing substantially changed in the plot, though.
Beta-ed by: Kathleen, Tigressa and Scarlett
8 ·m 8 ·m 8 ·m 8 ·m 8 ·m 8 ·m 8
Another morning dawned with the sun shining into his generously furnished spacious bedroom. The smell of delicious breakfast on his bedside table kept fresh by a charm. His body was satisfied and his sheets rumpled from last night's activity. The person whose company he had enjoyed had already vacated his bedroom before he woke up, leaving him to his esteemed solitude, as she had been commanded to do. Life was just perfect this time of the day. He liked to submerge in his thoughts and the laziness of being who he was, living the life of the rich and carefree.
He was disgustingly rich. He was strikingly handsome. He was admittedly witty and cunning. He was a pureblood wizard from an old, esteemed family, married to a pureblood witch who was praised to be one of the most beautiful women in England. He was envied, respected and bowed down to by most of the wizarding world. Draco Malfoy's life was everything he had always wished for.
He was about to celebrate his twenty-fourth birthday in a few months. He reminded himself to be proud of being so young and already having accomplished all that. Had his father still been alive, he would have been proud of his son, he thought with a self-satisfied smirk creeping onto his face.
Yes, he would be proud of him!
Sure, he didn't have the nifty job in the Ministry, as his father had had – yet. He didn't have the Minister eating out of his palm (but he was sure his father wouldn't blame him, seeing as how Granger wouldn't ever trust him, no matter what he said, did or how much he paid to 'charity' cases). She was too young to be Minister of Magic, anyway. Draco was sure that after the masses' fear of wars and Dark Lords had died down, they would realise that fact, and replace her with someone more appropriate for the position – a pureblood wizard of a respected family with more experience in politics, obviously. She was too young, too idealistic and a Mudblood to boot. Draco didn't say it out loud, because he didn't want to be accused of having chauvinistic views, but he also thought that a woman was not suited to govern a nation. Of course Draco wouldn't be too surprised if he was the one requested to take that position after the Mudblood's timely retreat. His father's teachings hadn't been wasted on him; he knew exactly how he should use the considerable amount of galleons at his disposal.
Oh, he wasn't so conceited to actually believe that he would have a chance of being elected, had he applied to the position. But an invitation would look good in his political career; even more so, if he politely refused for now, kindly agreeing to take the position of advisory to the new Minister instead. He didn't doubt for a second that he would be able to, after such measures. That would suit better his purposes, anyway; to dictate from the shadows, while other people took the blame for his actions. The only setback would be that it wouldn't satisfy his vanity, but he wasn't the impatient type. (Well, not always at least.) He knew that good things came to those who could wait - and while he was waiting, he could still manipulate the strings from the background.
There was only one issue in his life that he couldn't wait for much longer, and that was the question of an heir. He was already twenty-three, and had been married for six years – the seventh anniversary of his marriage was nearing now. And he still had no successor; Pansy hadn't got pregnant even once throughout the six long years. If he didn't know that she was equally concerned by it (for very valid reasons), he would have suspected that she used some means of contraception on purpose.
Pansy was a trophy-wife. She was blonde (now), fair, slender, willowy, elegant and refined - at least when she wanted to be - with a figure of a Greek goddess and the face of an angel (after she had surgically corrected her nose in St. Mungo's and had lost a few pounds, to meet Draco's conditions for their marriage). Draco understood that she didn't wish to deteriorate her hard-acquired perfect figure by bearing a child, but she also didn't wish to be stripped of her titles and fortune as the Lady of the Malfoy Estates. Since the two issues had contradicted each other, she had to choose, and Draco didn't have a grain of a doubt which alternative she had chosen. Nine-plus-some months of not looking perfect were worth retaining the whole mountain of galleons and her position in wizarding society.
But time was running out on them. The law of the Malfoy family – some long deceased ancestor's magically legalised last will – had declared that the prevailing Lord of the Malfoy Estates had to produce an heir of his own flesh and blood before he reached the age of twenty-five. If he failed to do that, all of his titles and the family estates would go over to his nearest kin, the next in line who had already satisfied these requisites. (That had been how his grandfather became Lord Malfoy after feeding an abortive potion to the Lady Malfoy of the time, and so successfully impending the birth of the next heir in the last moment. Of course, the deed couldn't ever be brought into connection to him.)
Draco had several cousins who would have jumped at the possibility to get his inheritance, but one of them – the most likely to get his titles if he failed to produce an heir – was the worst of all. His name was Cyrus Malfoy. He was six years older than Draco and had had a son at the age of twenty. That son was guarded like some hidden treasure, as he was the means for his father to get what he wanted – the Malfoy Estates. Cyrus, just as every other Malfoy aside from Draco and Lucius had gone to Drumstrang, so he knew his business well enough, and Draco didn't doubt for an instant that he would have to be wary of him.
Now Draco had only three months until his twenty-fourth birthday; that meant he had approximately six months to impregnate his wife so that the child would be born before his twenty-fifth birthday. After a successful conception, it was a trivial matter to ensure that the gender of the infant would be male. The method was a combination of spells and potions, which could be purchased in Knockturn Alley. The ritual, with everything involved, was a bit on the dark side of magic, but not enough so that the Ministry would feel compelled to prohibit its use. It stood the test of time as a very common practice in the Malfoy family and most likely in other pureblood families as well. The degenerative side effects had been never spoken of, as being dangerous only in the long run. (Draco sometimes wondered why centuries wouldn't count as the 'long run' in his family.) There was also the possibility of miscarriage, but seeing that he could afford the best of the medical personnel and security measures, he wasn't overly worried about it. Besides, he would have plenty of time worry after he succeeded in getting his wife pregnant.
For the first few years of their marriage, they hadn't been overly concerned by the issue of an heir. Why should they have been? They had had time – or so they had thought. Neither of them had felt the need to have a child at such a young age. Instead they opted to enjoy their newfound freedom that their marriage brought them - as strange as that might sound -, and spend some of the money that had come with their becoming the new Lord and Lady Malfoy.
They hadn't married out of love, few of the members of rich pureblood families ever did. Sure, they had liked each other enough. They had a 'fling' – as Pansy liked to call it – with each other over the years they had gone to Hogwarts, and after it had ended, they still could tolerate each other's company enough to live under the same roof. But neither of them wanted to force the other to dedicate themselves completely to their marriage. Both of them were released from their parents' supervision, were of age and were free to do as they wished – with certain boundaries. Both had a row of lovers and flings – it had been tolerated if not expected of them, seeing as who they were. Discretion of course was a must, but both had been already experienced in the art of secrecy.
They hadn't ever been in love with each other, that was quite obvious. Not that either of them could relate to that particular phenomenon from close up. They understood each other; their personalities were similar, even if their field of interest was not. They considered the other a friend (in Gryffindor and Hufflepuff translation, closer to a business affiliate). So after Draco's twenty-first birthday – during the fourth year of their marriage – when there still had been no sight of a progeny, they had come together and sat down to a conversation regarding the matter.
Draco had insisted that Pansy see a mediwitch and be examined for the possible cause of her infertility. When Pansy had brought up the matter that maybe Draco should do the same, she got the answer that it had been already done, and the result had unquestionably confirmed that he wasn't at fault in their inability to produce an heir. Pansy noted the statement and submitted herself to the examination by no fewer then four mediwitches and wizards. All of the examiners had given the same result: she was in good health and hundred percent fertile.
So the next two years were spent with Pansy imbibing strengthening and fertilizing potions, counting ovulation periods and utilizing them to full extent while serving one's obligation as a wife – all that to no avail.
Now, with only six short months to spare, the time had come when Draco Malfoy had seen appropriate to give way to despair.
Draco Malfoy was an unparalleled individual. His uniqueness lay – true to a former Slytherin – in his exceptional ability of bending the facts. He was so good at it that most of the time he was able to convince not only his subjects but also himself of the truth of certain statements. When he had told Pansy that the fertility of his seed was not to be questioned, he merely expressed his wish for it to be so, when he had no real facts to underlay its authenticity whatsoever. Sure, he had always believed in his own perfection, and to undermine that belief with something as ridiculous as sterility would have been unthinkable. So the thought hadn't even crossed his mind. The little white lie, that his condition had been already examined and declared impeccable, had come naturally to him, and the truthfulness of the second part of that statement hadn't been ever questioned by his mind – until this time.
Now, lying in his bed early in the morning (it couldn't have been later than half past ten), he felt very foolish, thinking about it and questioning his sanity. Of course he was not faulty! He was a Malfoy, for Merlin's sake. Malfoys were perfect; that was almost a law of nature, much like gravity. No one questioned gravity, and not ended up in St. Mungo's psychiatric ward!
As ridiculous as the idea seemed, though, it had somehow found its way into his thoughts every time he didn't wish to question his state of mind, and had driven him nearly mad. So he had decided– just to ease his mind – that he would undertake the necessary measures and let himself be examined by a specialist who could then tell him that – just as he suspected – everything was in perfect working order with him; and then he would Obliviate every person who had witnessed this embarrassing manifestation of this uncharacteristic and un-Malfoy-ish insecurity. At least the thought that he would get to manipulate people into acknowledging his superiority was Malfoy-ish, and therefore made the whole scheme if not entirely acceptable, at least a bit more all right.
He had gone so far as to inquire about the requirements of such an examination in St. Mungo's. Of course, he paid the personnel who got involved to shut their mouths until it was over and then he would get to Obliviate them. Also, he had given the name of Pansy as the future recipient of the examination. Not much later though he realised that he couldn't possibly keep it in secret from everyone. The bucket of ice water hit his face when the social column of the Daily Prophet had released an article about the Lady Malfoy's possible malady of gynaecological nature. He had been lucky that Pansy, when she had first heard of the news, had thought that the Prophet had got wind of her earlier examinations and written about it just now and hadn't connected the news with her husband.
He had been distressed about the matter, but then realised that he had gone way too far to quit now. If he didn't pull through with this, he wouldn't ever find his peace of mind. He noticed that he was far too distraught to be able to deal with the matter rationally when two weeks later he had found himself sitting in the waiting room of a Muggle Urologist Doctor's practice as the nurse called his assumed name. For a second he debated weather or not to stand up and run as far away and as quickly as his feet would allow, but his body thought differently and brought him obediently into the examination chamber.
The procedure had been infinitely embarrassing and uncivilised, but at least it had been short. He tried to forget it as quickly as he could after he stepped outside of the building. The results arrived in his Muggle post office box he had set up for this reason only, two weeks later.
'Low sperm count' – the 'urologist' had written. Whatever that may mean, he wasn't about to believe a Muggle charlatan! Whatever had possessed him to take up such a measure? He was a Malfoy, and Malfoys were perfect. Who was a lowly Muggle to ever question that fact?