Title: The Magic Position
Disclaimer: I do not own the Harry Potter universe. All that rightfully belongs to JK Rowling. And Magic Position belongs to Patrick Wolf. The lyrics in bold do not belong to me. :)
Warnings: Language, then?
Summary: A lot of things can change when you meet the right person.
Notes: Written for 57mannequins for this year's dmhgficexchange at LJ. Beta'd by jwalamukhie. I haven't written in a long while, but while I know this isn't my best work, I'm quite proud of how it turned out. I'm telling you all now that this is full of fluff and that most of the characters featured here are in the danger of being quite out of character. But oh, well. This is fanfiction. XD Florean Fortescue's ice cream place is still existing, despite the death of its owner, btw.
PART I – but c'mon, get back up, it's the time to live.
They're a strange thing, dreams.
Sometimes, they came true; most of the time, they didn't. Sometimes, they made sense. Most of the time, they were as bizarre as, as… Potter turning evil.
Sometimes, I dream of the future. Far-flung, unexpected, not-quite-like-my-personality dreams, where I'm old and weary, but very much content; where I live in a small house with whitewashed walls, alone and not minding the solitude at all. No sign of a wife, of a grandchild, a son. I dream of a long stretch of sunsets and polyester robes and the Weird Sisters playing their first debut song on an old radio. And sad as it is, I find it makes sense.
I gather I feel the same way about love.
And I don't mind. I don't mind at all.
"Darling, have you heard? Your old friend Theodore recently got engaged."
I look up from buttering my toast and raise a brow in disinterest. "Oh, really? That's nice."
"Yes, to that Brocklehurst girl…" My mother skims through the Society pages of The Daily Prophet and holds up a picture of my old schoolmate, a familiar girl latched on her arm, their faces sourer than they should be on their engagement. Happy couple, I daresay."Says here the ceremony'll take place in Wales. Hmmm. Wales, I wonder why…"
"Hideous couple, if I may say so – they positively clash and look at the—"
My mother begins to lash her vicious opinions at the soon-to-be couple, but I couldn't care any less. After all, I haven't seen Theo in the last five years, never really was a close friend of his during Hogwarts, thought that Mandy Brocklehurst was quite the bint, and never really thought much of weddings, lovely as they were.
My mother, on the other hand, adores them, or rather, adores attending them, along with the string of charity events, balls, luxurious and excessive birthday bashes of Ministry officials, and the Sunday tea parties the old rich still manage to hold even now. I like to think it gives her a sense of peace—of familiarity—after everything that had happened after the Dark Lord's fall.
We were the Malfoys, after all, who were absolutely peachy with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, the cocky clan who liked blood and evil. It had taken the great Harry bloody Potter's testimony and a lot of bribery to be where we were now: a hundred thousand or so Galleons poorer, but still quite happily wealthier than a fifth of London's middle class wizarding population.
Father had been detained in Azkaban for two years since the war ended, and quite frankly, didn't last… which left Mother and I alone in a frightfully judgmental world that still thought of us as a potential threat to the fragile peace that had been achieved only five years ago.
Social pariah, that's what we were, even though Father had already died and all, and Mother and I were living quietly at home. I couldn't find any peace in any of the fields of work I pursued, and Mother was still on about her grief with Father's passing. You could say it was a time for change, and any form of escape was only a Portkey away. In our case, it was France.
And so there we were, two years in recovery. Eventually, I took a job in some French wizarding bank firm, and Mother gradually stopped crying every day and took the time to go around the country. You could say we were settled, and for the first time content since everything had been messed up. New life and all, and for the first time, unafraid, because I—we—were on our own. It was a different time, a glorious two years away from everything.
But now we were back—for work reasons, and for Mother who grew tired of the Riviera and missed Wiltshire. A month had passed since we'd arrived, and still, everyday, I see faces suspicious of our motives for coming back, as if we were here to start a bloody revolt of revenge or something.
But it's a stupid idea, really, because even Malfoys liked their peace, and I'm definitely not complaining that I no longer had to run secret missions of murder. While that part of my life may have been a little bit more thrilling than the present, I think I prefer these Wednesday brunches with Mother, my laid back job that takes no more than six hours a day, and my Friday lunch break trips for ice cream at Florean Fortescue's.
But the world doesn't get that, and I'd be damned if I said I cared even a little bit of what everyone thinks, because I had to get on with life, thank you very much. Even prats like me get the chance to change; five years was a long time, and even we learned a bit of a lesson.
"So, Draco, how are you?"
Trick question, that.
My mother's voice jolts me out of my thoughts and I look up from my breakfast plate to see her calmly sipping her tea. I inwardly roll my eyes. I know where this is going, and I know what she's getting at. How are you?s that follow talks about weddings and engagements are always the same, because How are you? actually means, Have you met anyone new?
And when I reply, No, I haven't, Mother, then it would be followed by the usual, If you wanted, I could introduce you to yada-yada, she's the daughter of yada-yada, or the I have a gala coming this weekend, someone's eager to meet you, or something of the sort, to which I would respond with a No, thank you, Mother. I'm busy enough as it is.
But today, I'm not quite in the mood, and instead, I cut to the chase. "No mother, it's only been two months that we've been back, and I'd appreciate it if you stopped setting me up."
"Oh, but there's this girl you have to meet, Draco," she chimes, and when she does, her gray eyes are positively alight with excitement. These days, there are, after all, only three things that could excite her: parties, shopping, and my love life. "She's wonderful—"
I raise an elegant brow. "Aren't they all?" Because they really all were, at least in her opinion. Wonderful could mean a lot of things.
She ignores my comment and prattles on about her latest discovery. "—and intelligent, and quite the charmer. Pretty, too, but that's to be expected, and her name's Astoria. Astoria Greengrass—"
I stab my fork into my toast, cringing at the clink of the silverware. Greengrass. I remember someone from school who had that name, and I can vaguely recall her being distasteful. Then again, all the Slytherin girls were either that or worse, Pansy Parkinson being the worst of the lot, much as I love her as a friend now. But I've had my share of those sodding girls my whole adolescence, and it seemed only right to draw the line at my twenties.
Victoria, or whoever this girl was, was definitely not going to meet me. From the sound of her name, she already seems like a lot of work."I don't think so, Mother."
"Oh, but darling, you haven't said yes to any of the prospects I've been mentioning to you!"
"I think I'd rather handle my love life—"
"A lack of one, more like."
I sneer at her and she sneers back.
She always did think that my lack of a partner drove a bitter nail through my heart. Which, unfortunately for her, it didn't. Ha ha. Thank you, Mother. I'm a bloody handsome man, and just by the turn of my charm, millions would fall in love with my perfection. Only I didn't, because that would disturb the general quiet, and love? I didn't think much of it.
"—yes, well, I think I'll handle that myself. Thank you for the concern, though, and when I do meet someone, I'll make sure to tell you."
"And when will you, darling? When I'm dead? I'd like to be alive to see my first grandchild, Draco."
I grin at that. She always did like children, which was kind of an irony, because I was an only child.
But it's never easy to just pick anyone, is it?
"What do you want me to do? Pick out the first girl that I bump into in the next ten minutes and fall in love?"
Because if it were just that easy, then I and the rest of humankind would breathe more easily. And if it were that easy, then, I don't know - Cupid really must exist then. Only sodding gits, after all, would believe in something irrational as love at first sight.
My mother stares at me, gray eyes contemplating something, as if she's figuring me out. And then she goes, "So you really are waiting, then? For the right one?"
I have to admit that her question flusters me. It sounds like a whole lot of bollocks, but it's sort of, kind of, a little bit true. It was, in a way that makes me almost puke at all this sappy business, true love or nothing. I've always had the best of things while growing up. I'm spoiled like that; I would never just settle.
Although now that her question resounds in my head, the thought of true love in this age sounds bloody stupid. It sounded easier to resurrect Lord Voldemort than to find the right one and all. And to date, it wasn't much at the top of my priorities. Love? It could wait, or it could never happen at all. Far be it from me to proclaim that I of all people would want it, when I already have so many other things to deal with. I could live the rest of my life as a bachelor. I'm a selfish bastard anyway, and I didn't mind having more money for myself.
So I don't give her an answer.
I simply give her a grin and finish off my coffee. When I do, I wipe at my mouth, stand up and give my mother a peck on the cheek. "See you soon, Mum."
As I walk away from our table, she doesn't forget to remind me of the Greengrass girl. I give her a nonchalant wave, taking a mental note to take her mind off my heart and on to shoes or something.
It takes two minutes to pay the tab by the counter, another minute to grab my cloak and put it on. When I walk to the door, searching my pockets for my wand, I don't realize someone's come in, walking the opposite direction, towards me. It takes a few seconds for me to find my wand, but when I do, we've already crashed against each other—I take a step back, and the other person does too, and I'm ready to call that person a bloody idiot and say a bit or two about watching where you're going, when I properly get a look at the person I've bumped into.
And my heart almost stops.
It takes a minute for me to take in the wild, brown hair and the bright brown eyes. Her scarf is strangely a familiar shade of red, and there is something about the way her eyes light up that sends a little shudder through me.
And then there is something that feels like regret and a whole lot of blood rushes to the head, and I'm wondering what it was that I missed all those years, and before I know it—
"Granger?" I blurt out, quite aware of the surprise that drips from my voice.
She blinks, confusion written all over her face as she tries, in the next few seconds, to place who I am. It doesn't take long, because slowly, cautiously, she opens her mouth and says, "Malfoy?"
And there is something about the way she says Malfoy that just gets to me. In a surprisingly warm, good way that, in two seconds, I realize I like.
And then I remember ten minutes and Cupid and a girl and idiots falling in love.
Because in that little moment, everything begins.
A/N: Was that all right? Oh, I did enjoy writing the last few bits of this part.