Author: Apathetic Empath (Zoe)
Rating: PG-13 for unabashed references to sex and the unorthodox use of a kitchen table.
Word Count: 7126
Disclaimer: I don't claim to own Draco and Hermione. I merely use them for my own evil purposes that usually involve little plot and constant references to sex. Don't sue me.
Summary: Sometimes, it's the odd, little things that make up the whole picture. Because being married is weird like that. Really silly. D/Hr
Author's Note: Started as a writing exercise in which I was given three things that must be incorporated into the story (cooking, butterflies, and mirrors), and a minimum limit on words (1000 words). I don't presume that this is good. It's really silly, and poorly done. But the idea amused me greatly, so write it I did. But I've been called a liar many times on this point, so I won't say anymore about it.
Warnings: None, really. This one is pretty clean. Some allusions to hot monkey sex between the characters, but beyond that, nada.
For attica, for her awesome beta skills, self-confidence, kick in the ass, and threats of a spanking. And for getting it, too. You rock, girl. Hard. Honestly, I'd be lost without you. Thankies. For everything. Even the threats. Got your grill, didn't you:)
- - - - - - - -
She was cooking again.
She did that. A lot. Draco still hadn't figured out why.
She wasn't good at it—not really. Stomachaches were common enough in their home that they kept medicine for it in the cabinet above the bathroom sink. She was better than she'd been before though, which was saying something. Nonetheless, Draco had developed a very healthy paranoia of his wife's cooking after finding himself in St. Mungo's for three days a couple of months ago. She'd made some kind of crab salad the night before he was admitted, and both pretended not to know where Draco could've possibly gotten food poisoning from when the mediwitch had given them her diagnosis. They didn't talk about it again.
It was pointless anyhow. She would continue to cook, and Draco would continue to eat whatever she set before him. Because that was simply the way things between them went. Cooking made her happy, and Draco Malfoy wasn't enough of an arsehole to tell his wife that her cooking sucked and she was an absolute failure as a chef. Because cooking made her happy, damnet, and Merlin knew he wanted that woman to be happy. Even if he thought she was dooming herself to be miserable for the rest of her life by marrying him.
But those were just semantics.
Besides, he didn't have to tell Hermione that her cooking sucked; he wasn't the only one getting sick.
She didn't cook everyday.
It was a sometimes thing. A hobby of sorts.
They'd spent the first six months of their marriage living off take-out. Only after a visit from Molly Weasley in their home in which she'd given them a severe dressing down on the bare state of their pantry and how they were behaving like children with their constant ordering out had their eating habits changed. Molly had made them promise to change them, and while Draco was of the opinion that promises were made to be broken (if he was going to do something, he did it; no promising necessary), he'd learned long ago that the Weasley matriarch wasn't one to be trifled with.
So he and Hermione had promised. No more take-out.
Molly had summoned a few cookbooks from home, and both Draco and Hermione had looked equally incredulous at the idea of having to cook for themselves. He didn't cook, of course—Malfoys didn't cook—and Hermione had made it clear from the very beginning that she didn't either. She'd looked at him fiercely when she'd said this—as if she had expected him to fight her on it—but honestly, Draco hadn't cared. Not when Mr. Tan and his delicious pork rolls were only a floo call away.
(Oh how he had wished she could later on though, when she'd decided to add cooking to the list of Things Hermione Granger Could Do. It'd been four months now, and it wasn't going so good.)
It'd still been funny, being scolded by Molly Weasley; the two of them nearly twenty-six and still being treated as if they were eight. Hermione had laughed when he'd said that, free and loud, and Draco remembered being transfixed by the sight: her lips parted and eyes closed; head thrown back; the creamy skin of her neck exposed as that joyful sound left her lips. He had pulled her into his arms and kissed her then, his feelings for the woman overwhelming him once again as he took her hard and fast on the kitchen table.
He loved their table.
Two hours later, they were on the kitchen floor laughing, the how and why unknown. Sex made you hungry, though, and just before Hermione had made to floo that new Japanese place in Diagon Alley (their California rolls were a thing of God), she'd stopped and turned to look at him. And Draco was horrified, because he knew why she'd looked at him, but his stomach was growling because he'd just shagged her rotten and fuck, he was hungry. And maybe if the woman who'd made them promise wasn't Molly Weasley, he'd have suggested that they choose to develop selective memory loss and select to forget the entire conversation with the woman but really, it was Molly Weasley. She'd find out about it, and then she'd shout at them until their ears bled when she did.
In the end, they'd ordered Japanese anyway. Because they'd just had sex and sex made you hungry and really, there was nothing to be done about the promise they'd made to Molly Weasley now. She'd found out about it, of course, clucked at them until they felt as if they were five and had gotten caught stealing sweets before dinner. They made arrangements immediately afterwards.
They hired a house-elf.
Whoopy's (the name made Draco cackle) sole purpose in their home was to cook, nothing more—despite the elf's efforts to help Hermione with the housework. He was to report to their flat at five every evening and leave precisely at seven, when he was finished with the cooking. Hermione paid him ten Galleons a week, and had the disfigured creature nearly in tears every time the woman refused his help. Draco found it all to be ridiculously amusing. He'd said that Hermione had a mean streak in her. This was his proof.
And while hiring a house-elf to prepare their meals wasn't exactly what Mrs. Weasley had had in mind when she'd made them promise to change their eating habits, it was definitely a step up from their constant diet of take-out. But Mrs. Weasley was an old-fashioned kind of gal, and Draco assumed she'd never be happy with their marriage or the way they lived their lives. She'd complained about their habits from the very beginning, like the lack of furniture in their flat the first four months after they'd been married. He and Hermione had been too busy to buy furniture. They had to work. Besides, they had all the things they needed: a bed, a table, a couch, and another table. Mrs. Weasley had turned the most interesting shade of red when Fred and George had made a joke about how all these items were flat and sturdy—not likely to break under a little pressure when things went bump bump. And Draco had laughed. Because they were right, of course. He and Hermione had figured it out themselves.
Molly Weasley complained about nearly everything they did, and Draco doubted there would be a time when she wouldn't. He didn't want that time to come, either. Because honestly, the thought of living a life that Mrs. Weasley approved of made him nervous.
The first time she had cooked had been four months ago, in the fall. The leaves were changing, the air was brisk, and one November day, Draco Malfoy had come home to his studious little wife baking a pie.
It'd been odd, to say the least.
So odd, in fact, that he'd stared at her for nearly a minute—a full, sixty-second minute. Not one of those moments that seem like a minute because you're young and in love and unconsciously exaggerate everything involving that person who turns your brains to goo. It'd been a minute, long and scary because he was seriously contemplating if he was in the right flat. Because his flat didn't look like this. His kitchen was never this—this messy; cookbooks and rolling pins and what seemed like an entire bag of flour spread around the whole of the room. And in the middle of it all was his wife, brown hair wild and full of flour as she turned to give him a smile, her eyes bright with delight and an excited flush on her cheeks.
This feeling of surreal-ness had filled him then, because this was really his flat, and that was his wife—the bookish I'll-never-cook-a-day-in-my-life Hermione Malfoy nee Granger—standing in their impossibly disordered kitchen with an apron tied around her hips and a smile on her face. "Odd" didn't even touch on how strange the situation was. Because this was something that one just didn't see when they were living with this woman.
His wife had always surprised him with her eccentric habits and the new diversions she often found to amuse herself, however Draco had never expect her to take up cooking as a hobby. Not after how vehemently she'd told him that she absolutely didn't in the beginning.
In fact, he'd had half a mind to ask her what the bloody hell was wrong with her—if he should call Ginny and ask her to check out his wife's head. Because Gin was a medi-witch and she was just good with crazy people and problems with the head. And, had Draco not had this outrageous urge to take her against the counter (something about that woman in an apron just did it for him), he would've, too.
But alas, Draco's manly urges had lost the battle against the apron on her hips and the flour on her cheek, and on the counter Hermione had gone.
The pie burned.
It smelled like too many things to give it one distinct smell, though Draco gathered that it was apple. He liked apples.
She'd made the pie for him.
It was dry, and burnt, and his stomach protested the after-tang of cinnamon on his tongue (dear God, how much had she used?). Hermione smiled at him, kissing him softly on his cheek as she put a dollop of whipped cream on his plate.
Draco ate every bite of his piece.
It was another two weeks before she'd done it again. This time, it was spaghetti, which was, in Potter's words, idiot proof.
She put too much oregano in the sauce.
He couldn't understand for the life of him why she was doing this. She couldn't cook—she'd said so herself. Draco knew every peculiar oddity about his wife (from how she got up ridiculously early in the morning to read, alwaysalwaysalways brushed her teeth from left to right, and even how she hummed the sorting hat's song from their first year at Hogwarts when she thought no one could hear). He knew everything about Hermione, and he'd spent so long with her that he generally knew what to expect from her. She still managed to surprise him sometimes of course, however some things about her were just beginning to creep him the hell out.
Like how she flooed him at work sometimes, just to hear his voice or because she wanted to say, "I love you." The only reason she used to floo him before was to tell him about her plans for the evening—whether or not she could make it to dinner and the like—or to ask him for his. Or to ask if he had time for a quick shag before the next meeting she had. It got her mind working, she claimed. Draco assumed it was just an excuse to get into his shorts, but honestly, he wasn't complaining.
Then there was how she was always agreeing to go out on these little dates with Lavender and Parvati. She was friends with the two (sharing a dorm for six years could do that to people), however Hermione avoided exposure to the duo at all costs when she was alone. She always dragged Ginny or Luna with her to the little lunch engagements the girls had every other week or so. Pansy was subject to be dragged along as well, however the wanton little hussy was hard pressed to be separated from Potter and the magnificent piece of man-flesh he supposedly possessed. Besides, she thought Lavender and Parvati were annoying. So did Hermione.
Which was why Draco found it very odd indeed that Hermione was visiting with the two far more often than she'd been before. She wasn't alone—not all the time. But the fact that there were times that she was alone sent warning bells off in the blond man's head. She denied there being anything wrong when he asked about it. She said she was just visiting friends—that she could finally appreciate Lavender and Parvati for the people they were—and there was absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Her tone brooked no room for argument. To be safe, he assumed, she walked away from him before he could form one.
That mean ol' witch.
He still had his theories of course: that the two daft and impossibly made-up women were out to girl-ify his wife and make her into one of them by means of brainwashing and the constant repetition of the fashion and makeup section of Witch Weekly. But that sounded stupid even to Draco, and eventually, he stopped thinking about. Or tried to, at least.
There were lots of other things that were out of the ordinary, too. Like how she took off of work sometimes because she felt like it—something Hermione would never do before. She went shopping a lot now, too; not always buying things—not that he cared how much money she spent; they had too much as it was—but just looking, which Draco found freaky. Who just looked at things when there were out shopping? Wasn't that just a waste of time?
He was told by several infallible sources (Blaise, Theo, Neville and the Weasel—Potter still couldn't shake off Pansy yet) that it was just a stupid female thing. However his wife had never done that before. It scared the living hell out of him. Was she going to become some sort of clothes-looker-ater or something? God, was she going to become Lavender and Parvati?
Good Merlin, he hoped not. Just seeing those two made him grind his teeth together. He'd kill himself if Hermione became the new addition to their clique.
Then, when the spastic woman did buy things on her shopping trip, they were odd. Like picture frames and photo albums and this stupid Muggle camera-video thingy which Draco had no idea how she planned to use. And then there were the mirrors. She started buying mirrors two months ago, and their flat had now accumulated seven in total. They were affixed to various walls around the flat, and in the most peculiar of places (like the small little square on the side of the fridge, or the long rectangular one behind the bedroom door). When Draco had questioned her about that, she blamed it on him. If he would only keep his libido in check, she said, instead of taking her against any available surface around the house at the most inopportune moments (like when there were guests over—such as the Zabinis last week), then she wouldn't need a mirror by the hall closet to check her makeup and hair when he was through.
In typical Hermione fashion, she'd hmphed when she was finished. And that, simply, was that.
And then she was making all of these Goddamn lists of things that she would never let him see. She'd always made lists—because she was weird and crazy and crazy people did those sorts of things—but she'd always let him see them. "They're not important," she said, though Draco knew that her excuse was complete bollocks. That was all the more reason for her to show him the lists—because they weren't important. She never would though, and before Draco could go into a full-out pout, she'd kiss him and then proceed to distract him with sex. Because she was mean and sneaky like that; Draco was convinced she should've been in Slytherin. Even worse, sometimes she'd just brush him off when he asked, telling him that the lists weren't important and to leave her alone because she was busy and he needed a new hobby if he had so much time on his hands that he could annoy her.
Not important his arse. She was keeping something from him, and the mere thought that she was made Draco scowl. Not that he really asked her about it anymore. He knew when he was walking on thin ice, and he really wasn't of the mind to be hexed by his wife.
And maybe he really did need a hobby. Or some man-time, you know—no women whatsoever. That night, he'd gone out with Blaise and Theo and the Weasel (Potter was unavailable at the moment. Rumor had it that Pansy had allegedly chained him to the bed for her own sexual purposes.) They managed to convince him that he was just being paranoid about the lists and the mirrors and the dates with Lavender and Parvati. Given who his wife was, they said, that behavior wasn't odd for her at all.
With Hermione, a half-drunk Weasel had explained to him, odd behavior is normal behavior. It didn't go unsaid that the woman was just a tad bit off her rocker, and because Draco was half-drunk as well and hell, it was true, he'd agreed.
The lists and the mirrors and the stupid little girl dates hadn't bothered him since. Not really.
Besides, Neville told him that they were just hanging out at his and Parvati's house, playing with the kids. They had two of the most adorable little girls, Alyssa and Sarima. (It was nearly impossible to tell that they belonged to Neville; the guys often joked that they weren't his at all, much to the former Gryffindor's dismay.) There was no harm in playing with kids though, right?
There was still the cooking though. The Weasel hadn't been able to clarify that one. Nor had Potter (who'd mysteriously turned up at work three days later looking so malnourished and freaking exhausted that Weasel had threatened to call Social Services on Pansy), or even Hermione's father. Mr. Granger had suggested asking Mrs. Granger, though Draco declined. He knew how females worked. If he asked Mrs. Granger, it would undoubtedly get back to Mrs. Granger-Malfoy, and then he'd be in trouble for making her parents think there was something wrong with her and, in the end, sleeping on the couch.
Or, worse, she'd make him go stay with Pansy and Potter and listen to their disgusting sex sounds while he tried to sleep. And he definitely was not going to invite that type of trauma upon his mind.
Therefore, to avoid this, Draco refused to ask anything remotely female-like in shape. Not his mother, Minerva McGonagall, Molly Weasley, or hell, Millicent Bulstrode. She may not have looked like a woman, but those two "X" chromosomes in her DNA had to count for something. They all probably knew what was going on, but Pansy/Potter sex was not something he was willing to risk. He only asked men.
However guys tended to be stupid when it came to questions about women, and four months after this whole startling change in his wife had begun, Draco still hadn't a clue as to the reason why it'd occurred at all. He still didn't know why she was cooking.
And Hermione took the process so seriously. Draco had watched her once—when she was making a casserole. The woman was beyond meticulous when she cooked, always checking back to the cookbook she was using to see if she was doing things correctly. It reminded him of how she'd been back in Potions class in Hogwarts—studious and methodical so that whatever she was concocting that day would receive a perfect score from Snape. A score which she never received—because Snape was mean and biased and never gave Gryffindors perfect scores—but that wasn't the point.
The thing was, as far Draco could tell, Hermione was doing everything correctly, which was why he didn't understand how things always turned out so wrong in the end.
If cooking was a N.E.W.T.-level course, she'd most definitely get an "O." For effort, at least. Her results—disastrous as they were—would make her fail.
Theo suggested she was trying to kill him. That didn't make sense. Hermione had already promised that, when the time came, she'd strangle him in his sleep.
She'd been joking, of course, however it was a small comfort to the man now when he actually stopped to consider the thought that his wife just may be trying to off him through food.
Draco liked when she cooked.
Correction: Draco loved when she cooked.
She was always so happy when she cooked—so hopeful. She moved through the room with this easy grace, smiling and laughing and talking candidly to that decrepit orange fuzz ball that she called a cat. Life had taken a lot out of Hermione, and that ever-present youthful optimism that seemed to pour off of her in waves wasn't nearly as present as it'd been before. Not that she was some pessimistic wanker or anything—not like him. She was just a bit subdued. She still had her fire (and if anyone knew that, it was Draco), but it didn't encompass her as it had in school. Back then—when she was just a magical girl in a magical world, it was like a second skin for her—protecting her against the world and its horrors; keeping her and her beliefs safe from a reality which would only serve to break her spirit and crush her dreams.
It'd happened though, and now she just seemed resigned to the fact that life, generally, sucked. She still thought there were glimmers of hope to be found in the world—in your job and your mates and your lover and your children—however her central belief that all people were essentially good had been shattered.
The war had different effects on everyone. This was what it'd done to that banshee formerly known as Hermione Granger.
This was why he liked when she cooked.
Draco liked to see that passion—that hope—shining in here eyes as much as he could. And if it was there when she was cooking then by all means, she could cook as much as she damn well pleased. He tried to be around as much as he could when she was, sitting at the table and pretending to work or read the Evening Prophet when he was really just watching her. He figured she knew he wasn't really doing anything, too, because she talked to him while he was sitting there pretending. She questioned him about inane things (his day at work, and if he'd been checking out his new secretary's breasts; she heard from Pansy—who'd popped in for a quick chat the other day when she'd gone to "visit" Potter—that they were huge), told him the new female gossip (what Pansy had done to Harry now and how Ginny had just redecorated the sitting room in she and Blaise's flat and oh, could they redecorate too? Just the guestroom though—she promised) and made plans to go out together the following week (to the opera, Draco, please. Samson et Delila by Camille Saint-Saëns is being performed at the Royal Opera House in London and she knew he didn't like Muggle London too much but he just had to take her to see it because he just knew how much she adored that one, didn't he?)
And Draco loved it. He loved the playful side that cooking brought out of her. Because of his job and her job and the loads of other shit in their lives, Draco didn't see Hermione half as much as he would've liked. When they did see each other, they were too needy for sex and the soothing balm each other's presences to keep their hands off each other for long. Sitting in the kitchen with Hermione while she cooked gave him a chance to be with her when work and sex were no longer a part of the equation.
Besides, she told him loads of things he didn't know when he sat there. Like how he had to shout at Pansy for telling Hermione about Big-Boobed Bethany (which he was planning on keeping a secret from her for as long as possible), he had to pay Blaise a visit to remind the smarmy git of their bet (he knew Pansy's inner dominatrix would show itself before long), and how he had to get tickets to Samson et Delila as soon as he possibly could. Because he did know how much she loved that one, and he'd do anything (say, venture out into Muggle London to get tickets and take her to a Muggle theater just filled with them) to see that awed smile on her lips as she watched the show. And he'd ask her if she'd like to invite her parents, too, because Granger women just had a thing for Samson and Delilah and Draco knew how happy she'd be when he asked.
It was these things—little things—that made him not give a damn about why Hermione had started cooking, or how much some of her dishes made his stomach ache after he'd eaten them. The lists and the mirrors and the girl-dates didn't matter, either. Because he loved her, damnet, and if all these new things made her happy then he wouldn't say a thing about them ever again.
Because they made her happy and made her smile and honestly, that's all Draco wanted. Plus, whenever Hermione cooked, she was a down right minx in bed later on that night. It was as if her addled brains found her own poorly made dinners to be some sort some sort of aphrodisiac.
Not that he was complaining.
The whole thing served to bring Whoopy's opinion of himself to a new level of worthless, too. But to Draco, that was merely an added bonus of the situation.
It was still weird.
If he were to be frank, it was because Hermione simply wasn't the cooking kind of woman. She'd been far too preoccupied with her books and numbers and work to make a smooth landing into that blissful (ha!) land of domesticity that people called marriage. To be honest, Draco didn't think that Hermione had gotten there until about three weeks later, when they'd returned from their honeymoon in Tibet. She'd looked around their new flat (which only contained the bed, table, couch, and other table it'd have four months later when the Weasley twins made that obscene comment to their mother), then at him, surprised, and had simply said, "oh."
She never became that housewife or a homemaker (or whatever else they called women nowadays) that Mrs. Weasley thought she should be. Hermione didn't have enough time for that. She was a professional, a career woman; filled to the brim with opinions and righteous ideas about life and love and feminism and equality for all creatures (especially house-elves) that she would use to change the world with—to make it a better place. Because she felt that was her job, you know: to help make the world better. Just because of those small glimmers of hope she still saw, because of the things that still made her happy and smile.
Draco loved her for that. Mostly because it proved what a beautiful person she was, but just a little bit because she was too busy saving the world that she couldn't be what Mrs. Weasley wanted.
Hermione didn't cook. Everyone knew that. No one expected her to cook (or would want her to, had they ever tasted anything she'd made). She'd made it clear long ago that she would never be that wholesome image of June Cleaver, starching her husbands shirts and having dinner on the table when he came home every evening at six. (It was a Muggle reference which Draco was still a bit iffy on, so he didn't comment when she brought it up.)
She didn't feel that marriage should change anything about a couple other than the fact that they were now moving in together and had to learn how to deal with each other's shit. She read far too much to know how marriage could change people into something completely different from what they'd been before, and she had no intention on letting that happen to herself or even to Draco for the matter. Being married shouldn't change how a person (she) felt about certain things issues, either. Cooking included.
The only thing marriage should change about a woman, she told him once, is the way she signs her name.
In this case, she began signing her name as "Malfoy" on papers instead of "Granger." But that didn't count.
Fours years after they'd said "I do" and she was still the same neurotic person she'd always been; she still worked too much, slept too little, and had that same stick shoved so impossibly far up her bum that made her the anal-retentive bitch that everyone knew her to be. And Draco was happy that she hadn't changed as a person. He loved the person she'd been before—the same bitch she was now.
Still, it was because of all of these things—everything that she'd said and done in the past, and the type of person she still was today—that made the fact that she'd started to cook all the more strange. This was too out of character for her to be some bizarre personality trait that had taken four years of marriage to make itself known. It'd happened far too quickly to just be some odd quirk, anyway. One morning, she was fine, waking him up for an early morning shag before work and telling him that she wouldn't be able to make it home in time for dinner. And the next, she was completely out of her mind, hanging out with a bunch of girls to go shopping and then coming home to cook dinner for her man.
He only wished she could cook. Then it wouldn't be so painful.
It was official. He'd had enough.
It'd been going on for four months now—four freaking months!—and he hadn't said a thing. But it was getting out of hand now. Something had to be done.
It'd started when he came home from the office last Tuesday. Lavender and Parvati and Ginny and Luna were over (apparently, it was Pansy's turn to be chained to the bed and she was too busy too attend this little soiree); there to help Hermione decide on a new color for the guest room. Because they were redoing it, she said. Remember?
Draco had nodded. Vague as his memory was of the conversation, he knew better than to say no and have her go off on one of her tirades—be called an insensitive wanker who never listened to anything she had to say. Lately, she'd been testy like that, and Draco tried to avoid that side of her at all costs. He didn't think it'd be so easy to do, though, seeing as the only colors the five seemed to like were variations of pink, purple, and yellow.
He remembered his theories on Hermione being girl-ified, and all but ran out the door, calling over his shoulder that he was going to visit Blaise. The dark Italian man merely gave him a sympathetic look and a glass of firewhiskey when Draco told him the story. Ginny had bought this really comfortable sofa when they were redecorating, he told him. If he ever needed to disappear for awhile, it was all his.
Draco had scowled at him for the rest of the night, telling him to watch out, because now that they had Hermione—who had to be the toughest to convert—Ginny would undoubtedly be next. The git had laughed and said he could see him losing it already. And Draco had scowled some more, because he believed him.
Three days later, they were back. Apparently, paint was overrated and wallpaper gave a girl much more options. So there in his sitting room sat his wife and her friends (the girlfriends of his mates), looking through four heavy books filled with wallpaper schemes—this time Pansy included. He hadn't said much to them this time. He was feeling a bit queasy. Every page he saw was not only pink, purple, or yellow, but they were full of flowers and dolls and hearts and rainbows as well.
They couldn't be serious, could they?
Luna asked him what he thought of one. It was an alternating yellow and purple stripe design, disgustingly cute little pink butterflies drawn mid-flutter every two to three feet on every column.
Wasn't it pretty, she said.
All eyes turned to him. He nodded.
Though it was barely even eight, he'd gone to bed. He didn't take off his clothes or his shoes; he was in too much shock to do so. He just laid there on the bed, in his suit and his shoes, staring at the ceiling.
Hermione came into the room a few minutes later. She asked him if he was feeling well, and if he were up for some of the vegetable soup she had left over from last night. He said no.
It was the first time he'd said no to her food. They both noticed.
There was an awkward silence, and Draco had mumbled something about having a long day. Hermione brushed it off, told him it was okay. Get some rest, she said. They were to spend the day together tomorrow—go see Samson et Delila with her parents—and she didn't want him to be tired or worse, sick. She swept some hair from his forehead, kissed his cool skin, and left him to his thoughts to discuss yellow and purple wallpaper with her evil friends.
Draco couldn't believe this. He couldn't bloody believe this.
What the hell had just happened in there?
God, what the hell had happened to his wife?
And Draco decided, then, that this had to end. She wasn't hanging out alone with Lavender or Parvati or going out and just looking at clothes or making stupid lists that she wouldn't let him see or buying all these God damn mirrors any longer. Not anymore. He was putting an end to it all.
Even the cooking.
He tried to remind himself that her cooking sucked and he was better off without it, however it didn't work. Despite the stomachaches and food poisoning and yuck, diarrhea, Draco was going to miss her cooking. He was going to miss talking to her while she mixed and poured and watching her watch him as he tried not to wince at the taste of her macaroni pie. But this—whatever this was—had to end.
As much as he hated to say this, Whoopy would become a permanent fixture in their home. If Whoopy didn't make it, then it wasn't going to be eaten in his house. He knew she would fight him on this—she fought him on everything—but he was serious. And he'd curse the pots and pans so they grew wings and flew away whenever she touched one.
He would not allow his guestroom turn into a pedophile's wet dream.
He would not allow his wife to be girl-ified or whatever the hell it was that was happening to her now.
This had to stop.
That night, as Draco slept, he dreamed of pink butterflies. They were all around him, fluttering on a background of yellow and purple stripes. One landed on the tip of his nose, its beady black eyes staring into his. Then, out of nowhere, Hermione appeared, her apron on her hips and flour on her cheek as she pressed her lips to his in a kiss.
It was too late.
The next morning, despite the early hour at which he'd turned in, Hermione rose before him. She was always up first, though, so Draco didn't pay it much mind. She usually spent her early-morning alone time on the window seat in their bedroom, a cup of tea in her hands and a book on her lap, reading. Today, though, she wasn't there.
Instinctively, Draco seemed to know that she wasn't in the loo or making a quick trip to the kitchen for another spot of tea. Or maybe not so instinctively. There was no book anywhere near the window seat.
Draco rose from the bed, his face grim and his hair a mess, now only in boxers and a tee. Despite everything, he mentally thanked his wife for her thoughtfulness.
Then, without further ado, he left the bedroom and stomped down the hall to the guestroom, determined to make her stop with this madness and get things back to they way they'd been before.
He stopped dead in his tracks when he reached the open door, his jaw going slack as he looked into the room. It was completely empty, all the furniture having been moved out for the redecorating. That didn't bother him, though. It'd been empty for days. It was the walls.
They were wallpapered with purple and yellow vertical stripes, pink butterflies separated by two to three feet on every column.
Dear God, they'd done it already!
Draco released a choked breath through his lips, his eyes wide and heart pounding furiously in his chest as he asked himself how the hell this had happened. Especially after he said that it absolutely positively wouldn't. That he wouldn't let Lavender and Parvati girl-ify his wife—that he wouldn't let them do this to his guestroom.
And yet they had. It had happened.
It was too late.
She was standing across the room from him, her body half-turned towards his, a curious look on her face when she spotted him standing at the door.
He asked her what in the bloody hell was going on here. What the hell had been up with her for the past four freaking months?
She told him to lower his voice (he'd been yelling), and that she didn't know what he was talking about. He had to be specific.
Draco told her about the girl-dates and the mirrors and lists and the shopping that wasn't really shopping but just looking. He told her about the floo calls to him at work, and about her horrible cooking which they both knew was horrible but she continued to inflict upon them anyone. He pointed to the purple and yellow walls; those girly pink butterfly bugs.
She was quiet for a moment. She asked him if her cooking was really that bad.
He told her, honestly, that it was. She knew it was. It made her sick, too. She'd been vomiting all last week—all last month, for the matter.
She smiled at him then, and told him that she couldn't tell.
He was confused. He asked her why.
She said the nausea could be caused by other things, so honestly, she couldn't tell.
What other things, he asked her.
She looked at him expectantly.
He looked at her right back.
She told him she was pregnant.
He sat down on the floor.
And Draco thought about the girl-dates and mirrors and the lists and shopping and the cooking. He thought about her constant calls, and wanting to redecorate the guest room with purple and yellow wallpaper with the pink butterflies.
She was pregnant.
He said, oh.
Because it suddenly made sense.
She was hanging out with Lavender and Parvati because they were both mothers two times over. And the mirrors—their odd positions around the house—were for she could look at herself when her tummy started to show. The lists were undoubtedly of things she had to do and buy; lists with separate columns for boy names and names for girls. She called him at work because she was hormonally imbalanced (Neville said it was hell); snipped at him for the same reason. And she wasn't just looking at anything. She was looking at clothes. Baby clothes.
Oh, he said again.
Because it made sense. And he was so stupid for not seeing it before.
Hermione sat down next to him, watching his face closely for some reaction beyond shock.
He turned and looked at her. He asked her why she hadn't told him before.
She said she was waiting for him to notice.
He told her he had noticed form the very beginning. He told her he thought she was losing her mind.
She laughed then. Afterwards, they were quiet, thinking.
Realizing something, he asked what the hell cooking had to do with being pregnant.
She laughed again, and said Molly Weasley told her an old wives tale about how you'd have a girl if you put an extra dab of the main spice into whatever you were cooking for your husband.
Draco thought about her meticulousness, and how odd it'd been that everything tasted bad. He thought about the cinnamon in the apple pie, and the oregano in the sauce for the spaghetti.
Oh, he said. He asked her if it worked.
She pointed to the walls—to the girly pink butterflies he'd seen in his dreams—and smiled. Gin wasn't completely sure about it yet, but chances were, there weren't going to be changing the wallpaper to blue and green with cauldrons and broomsticks anytime in the near future.
She climbed onto his lap then wrapped her arms around his neck. She kissed him, whispering that he was going to be a dad against his lips.
Oh, he said, and she laughed, burying her face in his neck as she pulled himself closer to him. Draco stared at the purple and yellow walls. At the pink butterflies he'd seen in his dreams.
A dad, he thought, thinking. He thought about his wife in his arms, her soft, warm body a comforting weight against his. He thought about the life growing in her womb, the protruding shape her stomach would take as it—she; it was a girl, remember?—continued to develop.
And he thought about all the odd, little things he'd been noticing over the past four months, and how each of them fit together into this. It was all interrelated, he supposed, jagged pieces of a puzzle that looked nothing alike yet interlocked together to form a whole picture.
And this—this was Draco's picture.
He wrapped his arms tighter around his wife, burying his face in her hair as the he thought about babies and puzzles and the pink butterflies on the walls of his daughter's room.
- - - - - - -
This started out as something completely different, however it took a life of it's own and suddenly became this huge thing. I will admit that I'm proud of it, though, despite all the bad things I've said about it over the past few days.
As always, comments are appreciated. This is only getting posted because I was threatened, and I really don't expect anything from anyone. But if you guys are kind enough to review, please tell me if you see any of the marks my beta made in there--I want to be sure I got them all out.
Hope it was fun.