Summary: 'You know how you like to make up stories sometimes honey? Well this is going to be just like that. We're going to pretend for a little while.'
Based on the Christmas movie by the same name. Back again after a very long break!
Disclaimer: I own the rights to neither the Harry Potter books nor the movie Borrowed Hearts
Author's Note: Sorry for the delay of this chapter. One of my best friend's dad just died so I went to go visit her for a week and was without a computer to type this on. To compensate though I have a super long chapter for you. Hopefully this will satisfy some of your questions about Ron. The next chapter will be up soon… promise!
Chapter 15: Secret Truths
That night everyone went about the routine as usual. Hermione tucked Josie into bed while Draco stood at the doorway waiting. The display was for Del Campo's benefit. After all, what would he think if Josie's father didn't say goodnight to her.
"Did you have fun today?" Hermione asked Josie as she climbed into bed.
Josie nodded. "I taught Draco how to skate!" she declared proudly.
"I saw," Hermione replied with a laugh. She bent down to tuck Josie in and give her a kiss goodnight.
"Mommy wait." Josie leaned forward, to whisper something into her mother's ear.
Hermione smiled at her daughter's anxious face before turning around and crossing the room toward Draco who was watching them quizzically.
"Josie would like for you to tuck her in," Hermione said quietly. Draco stared at her in shock for a second before walking over towards Josie who was waiting patiently in bed.
"So… all ready for bed?" Draco asked, at a loss for what to say. He had never tucked a child in before. He couldn't even remember being tucked in himself as a child.
He glanced about the room looking for some sort of sign. His eyes fell upon a photo sitting on the dresser. It was of a young couple sitting together under a tree, their arms wrapped around each other lovingly. The girl had long, brown bushy hair while the boy's was obnoxiously red.
"Weasley…" Draco muttered. He picked up the photo to get a better look. Picture Ron turned toward Draco and glowered at him. Draco glowered right back.
"That's my dad," Josie said, breaking his train of thought. Draco said nothing, trying to keep the shock of this statement from showing across his face. He had never given much thought to Josie's father before, preferring to just assume she had spawned from the abyss.
"He went to be the new head of the Auror Department over in America," she continued. "That's why he and mommy got a divorce."
"I didn't know," Draco muttered, more to himself than to Josie. He placed the picture back on the dresser.
"Can I tell you a secret?" Josie asked him suddenly.
"Um… sure," Draco replied, moving to sit on the edge of the bed next to the small girl.
"Promise you won't tell mommy?" she prompted.
"Promise," Draco repeated. It was silly but Josie and her stories always managed to intrigue him.
Josie looked around to make sure no one else was listening before beginning. "My mommy gave me a card and present and told me if was from my dad, but I know it was really from her."
Draco stared at her for a moment, at a loss of what to say. "How do you know that?" he asked finally.
"I'm seven but I'm not stupid." Josie gave him a look that reminded Draco vaguely of how her mother had looked in school when someone didn't know the answer to a question.
"My mom said it was from him so I wouldn't think he forgot about me," Josie continued. "But don't tell her I know cause it would make her sad. Ok?"
"Ok," Draco's voice was barely above a whisper.
Josie looked away for a moment and Draco wondered if that was the end of the story.
"I don't care about presents, I just want him to come home for Christmas!" Josie turned back toward Draco, her big blue eyes even bigger than usual. "I don't know what I did that was so bad that he didn't want me anymore… I know I'm clumsy and I drop stuff. Daddy calls me butter fingers." She paused.
"Do you think if I wasn't so clumsy he wouldn't have left?" she asked Draco after a few moments.
Draco had remained quiet as she spoke, his face getting paler by the second at the young girls admission. "No Josie… of course not," he stumbled out at last. "Everybody drops stuff. It's not a big deal."
Josie looked down, taking one of her stuffed animals in her hands and holding it close. "Maybe I'm just not loveable," she replied sadly.
"Josie, of course you are!" Draco said softly. He made a move to reach out to her but stopped himself at the last second. "Josie… it's just… well… some people are good at loving other people and some people just don't know how. Nobody ever showed them."
"Like how I taught you how to skate?" Josie asked, looking up once more.
Draco lips twitched upwards at the memory. "Yeah… sort of."
"Did your daddy love you?" Josie asked him curiously.
The question caught Draco off guard, any trace of a smile quickly vanished from his face. His father was not a subject he discussed often or with fond memories. "It didn't always seem like he did," he said simply.
"Why not?" Josie prompted. "Were you bad?"
Draco paused, contemplating the question for a moment before responding. "I was never… good enough," he replied at last. Usually this would be the end of the conversation but something in Josie's face made him continue. "My father… well winning was everything to him. He was always the best at what he did and when I wasn't… well let's just say I disappointed him a lot."
He paused, looking over a Josie once more. "Can I tell you a secret?" he asked her.
Josie nodded her head eagerly.
"When I was about your age, my father and I would go outside every night when he got home from work and practice quidditch. He would throw a group of balls in the air and I would fly around and try to catch them… he always wanted me to be the best seeker I could be, even at that age."
He paused, his lost in his own thoughts. "I was never very good…" he continued. "The gloves he got me to grip my broom were too big and I kept slipping. And with every miss he would get more and more frustrated."
"What happened?" Josie asked.
Draco looked over at her, having forgotten for a moment she was there. "It started getting dark. My father threw one last ball high into the air and as I flew to catch it I remember thinking, 'Please… just let me catch one… just one'"
Draco shook his head. "The ball hit my hand… and slipped out. My father just walked away without saying a word, he wouldn't even look at me. And that was the end of our father, son practices."
"It wasn't your fault!" Josie cried defensively, sitting upright in bed once more. "It was the stupid gloves! He should have got you a pair that fit!"
Draco smiled slightly as he looked at Josie, her face red with anger for him. "You know Josie… I've never told anyone that story before."
"Oh don't worry! I won't tell," Josie declared solemnly. "Cross my heart and hope to die…"
"Stick a thousand needles in my eye," Draco finished with her. Josie giggled and Draco couldn't help but chuckle along with her.
"You better get some sleep now," Draco said finally after the laughter had settled down.
"Ok," she said simply. She leaned over and wrapped her arms around him in a hug. Draco froze for a moment before wrapping his arms around her as well.
"Goodnight Josie," he whispered in her ear.
Draco stepped into his suite and looked around for a sign of Hermione. She was nowhere to be found but the door to the balcony was ajar. He stepped out into the cold, closing the door behind him with a click.
Hermione turned around at the sound of the door. Her eyes were moist and slightly red as if she had just finished crying. It didn't take long for Draco to figure out she had been just outside the door during his and Josie's conversation.
"You heard," he said simply.
She nodded, wiping the few remaining tears away. "I didn't mean to."
She shivered slightly in the cold night air. Draco waved his wand, conjuring up a blanket. He stepped forward, wrapping it around her shoulders.
"Thanks," she said, smiling faintly.
He nodded and moved away toward the edge of the balcony, looking out into the night.
"She's a bright kid," he commented.
Hermione snorted slightly. "A little too bright sometimes."
"Kind of like her mother," Draco said with a chuckle. They stood outside in silence for a few moments, both staring off into space.
"Where is Weasley?" Draco asked breaking the silence finally.
"Who knows. Ron is… something of a drifter these days. He left six months ago without saying goodbye to Josie. She keeps thinking he'll come back."
Draco turned back toward Hermione. Her face was hard, her jaw set firmly as she spoke. He was surprised, however, to see that there was no further signs of tears in her eyes. Just anger… and a little regret.
"Does he ever see her?" Draco asked softly.
"He owls… now and then," Hermione shrugged. "Last time was a few months ago. He said he would be passing through and would stop by."
"He never showed up. Josie fell asleep waiting by the fireplace." Hermione looked away back out into the night. "After that she started having some problems… making up stories about his whereabouts and such."
She hugged the blanket tighter to her as she spoke and Draco found that, despite their differences back in school, he actually felt sorry for her… for Josie.
"Well I think you should make him see her," he declared.
Hermione sighed. "You can't make someone be a parent Draco. You of all people should know that."
"Don't you dare compare me to that… that Weasel!" Draco growled. "He and I are nothing alike!"
Hermione nodded saying nothing else. It was late and she was too tired to argue with him, not now. She turned to leave but paused at the door, turning back to him once more.
"Look Draco, I don't know if you realize this but Josie… she's becoming rather fond of you. I wouldn't encourage it."
Draco stared at her, shocked. His eyes darkened. "You really still think that little of me?"
Hermione shook her head. "It's not that… I can see you've changed."
"Because you're just passing through her life too." Hermione smiled sadly. "I feel bad enough about putting her through this as it is. Just let us do our job and leave when this is over with no hard feelings."
Draco stared at her unblinking. For a second she almost wondered if he was going to object. "Ok," Draco said softly.
Hermione nodded and turned to go back inside once more.
"You're going to make a great father someday Draco…" she said over her shoulder as she reached for the door handle. And then she was gone and the door clicked closed behind her.
Author's Note #2: Press the review button please!