Title: Sorting News
Chapter Title: 1/1
Characters: Draco Malfoy, Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Lucius Malfoy, Narcissa Malfoy
Summary: Draco and Hermione await news of which house their oldest child is sorted into.
The tension at the Malfoy breakfast table was palpable. The only sound in the room was the clicking of the silverware on the fine china.
Draco Malfoy sat at the head of the table, his arms crossed and his eyes narrowed. He had stopped pushing his food around his plate five minutes ago and was eager for everyone else to finish eating so that this interminable meal would finally come to an end. It appeared, however, that his family was determined to draw out breakfast until an owl arrived with news from Hogwarts.
Draco glared at his wife who sat at the other end of the table. It was her fault that everyone was so anxious and uncomfortable. His eyes narrowed further as he gave her his patented "I hold you completely responsible for this mess" glare that caused normal women to swoon and reduced ministry officials to tears. He assumed his wife would go into hysterics at the sight of his glare should she ever bother to look up from her plate. He choose to forget how over the last 15 years, she had become quite adept at laughing at his most frightful expressions or rolling her eyes at his she called his "pitiful intimidation tactics."
The thought of how fearlessly she stood up to him, even when he was being his most obnoxious, did bring a half smile to Draco's face. He thanked fate, his natural charisma, and his dashing good looks for the umpteenth time that he had managed to snag the bravest, most intelligent and most desirable woman in all of Wizarding England for his wife.
"Well it is out of our hands now," Draco's mother, Narcissa Malfoy, spoke breaking the silence. "Where ever the sorting hat puts Dominic is where he'll be and no amount of worrying is going to change that."
Hermione Malfoy smiled faintly at her mother-in-law, before letting her gaze slide sadly to the empty seat on her left where her oldest child, Dominic, had sat just yesterday morning before he'd left for his first year at Hogwarts.
"Of course, you are right my dear," Lucius Malfoy said staidly from his seat to the right of Draco. "Still this is the first time in family history where it wasn't a forgone conclusion that a Malfoy would end up in Slytherin."
"Some traditions are better broken," Hermione responded pointedly to her father-in-law. While she had Lucius had reached a comfortable understanding during the almost two decades she'd been involved with Draco, they still viewed the world from completely different positions.
Wanting to head off what could easily turn into a royal battle between his father and Hermione, Draco quickly entered the conversation. "No matter what house Dominic is sorted into, the boy will prosper. He's outgoing, clever, brave, reliable, shrewd, and almost as good-looking as I was at that age. I have no doubt that he will do the family proud whether he is a Gryffindor, Slytherin, or Ravenclaw."
Hermione flashed her husband a stunning smile grateful that he, unlike Lucius, was at least trying to be neutral in stating his opinion about which house their son would be placed.
"I hope Dom does get placed in Slytherin," commented Draco and Hermione's second oldest child, Cissy Malfoy. Cissy was a precocious ten year old, who had inherited her father's white blond hair, fair coloring, and silver eyes. She was also her grandfather's pet. Cissy had charmed her way into Lucius' heart and managed to wring smiles out of him that the rest of the family had believed gone forever after his incarceration in Azkaban. Although Hermione at times worried that the close relationship between the two would result in Cissy learning every sly and cunning trick Lucius could teach her, Draco knew that the girl had too much of her mother's backbone to just blindly accept whatever her grandfather told her. "It will be most advantageous next year to have my older brother in Slytherin with me."
"You don't know you'll get sorted into Slytherin!" Daniel, the third of Draco and Hermione's children, told his sister.
"Of course she will," Lucius, Narcissa, and Draco replied in unison.
Not at all disturbed by the forcefulness of the three Slithering alumni at the table, Daniel squared his shoulders and stated boldly, "Well, I want to be in Gryffindor."
Draco smiled at the boy, who not only had Hermione's brown curly hair and eyes, but also her strong will. There was no denying that even at seven-years-old, he was the most determined and self-assured Malfoy in the room.
"I wanna be a Giff-en-do too, mama," stated five year old Chelsea, the Malfoy's youngest child.
Hermione reached over and gave the little girl's hand a squeeze. "It is much too early for you to be worried about such matters. Besides, what house you are in is not nearly as important as the principles you choose to live by, the talents you develop and your loyalty to friends."
Draco gazed fondly down the table at his wife, impressed for the millionth time at her goodness and fairness. What he could not understand, however, was her continued naivety about the realities of life and the importance of making the right type of connections - connections that started while one was in school. Before he could impressed upon Chelsea that houses DID matter and that it would be unacceptable for a Malfoy to end up in Hufflepuff, an owl arrived at the dining room window.
Crossing the room, Draco opened the window and allowed the bird to sit on the inside ledge. He removed a small parchment from the owl's leg and raised one eyebrow at Hermione, silently inquiring if she wanted to open the letter.
Hermione shook her head and said softly, "You read it."
As Draco returned to his seat, the eyes of every member of the family followed him. He calmly unrolled the parchment and scanned its first few lines. He looked down the length of the table at his wife, made a little grimace and then stated firmly, "Slytherin."
While Lucius and Cissy shared a smile and wink at the news, the rest of the table turned to look at how Hermione was taking the announcement. She and Dominic were exceptionally close, sharing many of the same interests and inclinations. Draco watched her give a shaky little smile to the family and mummer something incoherent that was meant to pass for satisfaction. He knew that Hermione had been hoping that Dominic would get sorted into Gryffindor, rather than into the house that had made so many of her school years difficult.
Narcissa, who also knew Hermione was deeply disappointed, rounded up the children to give her daughter-in-law some private time. "Cissy, Daniel, Chelsea, let us go to the library so you can each write your brother a note of congratulations. Lucius, you come too," she demanded of her husband, who had settled back in his chair, ready to launch into a soliloquy about the benefits of Dominic being in Slytherin. "Chelsea will need help with her letter," she replied to his inquiring gaze.
Lucius looked like he wanted to protest, but a forceful stare from Narcissa, accompanied by a tip of her head toward Hermione, led him to push his chair back and follow the children out of the room. He did manage, however, to give Draco's shoulder a congratulatory squeeze before he left.
Alone in the dining room with Hermione, Draco watched as her bottom lip trembled and tears began to slide down her cheeks. "Baby..." he soothed, getting up from his chair and going to her end of the table. When Hermione let out a big hiccupping sob, Draco gathered her into his arms, sat down in her chair, and pulled her onto his lap.
"I was so sure," Hermione cried, burying her face in Draco's neck, "that Dom would end up in Gryffindor."
"Shush, sweetheart," Draco whispered into his distraught wife's ear, "everything is going to be all right. This won't change anything about your relationship with Dominic."
As Draco stroked Hermione's hair, a crackling sound came from the fireplace and all at once Harry Potter's head appeared in the flames. Catching sight of the crying Hermione, he gave Draco a knowing looked and asked quickly, "Bad news then?"
"Dominic was sorted into Slithering," Draco replied, causing Hermione to release another soft sob.
"Oi Hermione," Harry commented, "it isn't that bad. Slytherin is much different now than it was when we were at Hogwarts."
Hermione sniffed loudly, and then turned in her husband's arms to look at her best friend. "That is easy for you to say Harry. I suspect Abby was sorted into Gryffindor."
Harry had the good sense to look a little abashed. "Sure she was. But with Gin and I both being in Gryffindor and her older brother already in that house, it only makes sense. Dominic had that whole divided house loyalty factor working against him."
At these words, Hermione's eyes once again filled with tears. She buried her face in Draco's robes with a cry that sounded something like, "My poor baby."
"Thank you so much for that insightful analysis, Potter," Draco growled. While Draco and Harry had reached a truce years ago and now shared something that passed for friendship because of Hermione, Draco still found the "Hero of the Wizarding World" unbelievably dense at times.
"Sorry mate," Harry blushed. "I'll leave you be now."
"Potter," Draco stopped him before he could pull his head out of the fire. "Where did Weasley's brat get put?"
A look of amusement crossed Harry's face as he told Draco, "Hufflepuff."
Draco let go a bark of laughter. "You owe me 10 galleons!"
"I'll pay you at the poker game Thursday night," Harry said with a grin, before ending the floo call.
Draco rocked his wife until she stopped sniffling. "I'm sorry for being so silly," Hermione blushed sheepishly.
Although Draco would tuck the memory of this morning away to tease his wife with in later years, right now he just wanted to make sure she was feeling better. "He wrote you a note."
Draco nodded. "Yes, it is at the bottom of the announcement parchment. Would you like me to leave you alone to read it?"
Hermione gave him her first real smile of the morning and nodded silently.
As Draco left the room, Hermione spread the parchment out on the breakfast table.
Please don't be upset that I got sorted into Slytherin. I must have sat on the stool for over 30 seconds as the hat debated back and forth with itself whether to put me in Gryffindor or Slytherin. As I sat there listening to it, I remembered your stories of being picked on by Slytherins and how unfairly you were treated by them just because of your parentage. I never want anyone else to go through a similar experience, so I asked the hat to put me in Slytherin. If Slytherin House is going to really change for the better, it has to be done from the inside, and I want to be part of that change. I hope you understand my reasoning. Lots of love to you and the rest of the family, Dom
Please don't be upset that I got sorted into Slytherin. I must have sat on the stool for over 30 seconds as the hat debated back and forth with itself whether to put me in Gryffindor or Slytherin. As I sat there listening to it, I remembered your stories of being picked on by Slytherins and how unfairly you were treated by them just because of your parentage. I never want anyone else to go through a similar experience, so I asked the hat to put me in Slytherin. If Slytherin House is going to really change for the better, it has to be done from the inside, and I want to be part of that change.
I hope you understand my reasoning. Lots of love to you and the rest of the family,
When Hermione finished reading the letter, she pressed her hands to heart, leaned back in her chair and closed her eyes. Smiling broadly, she determined to never again be disappointed that Dominic was not a Gryffindor.