First, my debts:
"Loves tempers Wisdom" is taken from Dune, only I reversed it. My apologies to Frank Herbert.
To yourselves, dear readers.
A brief rant: I'm tired of the fanon portrayl of Lucius as an abusive psycho who keeps a shed of puppies for kicking and beats Draco unconcious when he breathes too loudly. I'm not arguing Lucius is nice, or good ( in fact, he's probably more or less a monster in a lot of ways), nor am I arguing his parenting methods would appeal to most people raised in modern society, but I think it's time to explore different characterizations.
I'd be happy to share my views via PM with interested parties, the bored or anyone else who will listen to my ranting.
When I mentioned the above to jimmy-barnes -13, she asked for a light, funny story involving little Draco and either Lucius or Snape. The relentless angst should return quickly enough, never fear.
For jimmy- barnes-13.
Draco Malfoy, newly sober, walked through the halls of his uncle's manor. He opened the door to the Yellow Room and carefully flicked his wand to brighten the room ever so slightly. He stripped off his clothes and shrugged into a white nightshirt, then steeled himself to climb into bed. His wife was lying on her side and he wiggled in beside her.
"Hermione? Love, are you awake?"
"Yes." She was very still, her flesh cold to the touch. After a moment he rather awkwardly pressed an arm to her midsection. Without rolling over she said " Not tonight, Draco. Please, not tonight."
He winced. "Of course not! What do you take me for?" She said nothing. He pulled her closer and pressed a kiss on the soft place where neck meets shoulder. She finally moved into him, very slightly.
"Do you want to…talk or…something?"
She finally looked at him. "Something?"
He sat up and threw his hands in the air. "I don't know, some woman thing! Dammit, Granger, do try to help me!" He crossed his arms over his chest and glared at her. She watched him for a moment and then said almost inaudibly " I'd like to cuddle."
"Cuddle?" Draco Malfoy did not cuddle. Occasionally, while wrapped in the comforting afterglow of…well, sometimes he did something that might, to the untrained eye, have seemed like cuddling, but he could have set the poor simpleton who made such a crass and baseless mistake straight, along with a dose of the rough edge of his tongue.
Unfortunately, his wife was looking at him expectantly, and since Draco rather liked the thing that led to the sessions of non-cuddling, he prudently decided to play along with the woman's twisted, mudblooded predilections. He lay on his back and opened his arms, and she draped herself over him, pressing her head to his chest.
Hermione breathed deeply, relaxing. Draco was almost painfully thin, but he smelt good. She could hear his heart pounding in his chest, and his hand was slowly rubbing a circle on her back. She sighed.
"Do you want to? Talk?"
She shook her head. "I'm all talked out. I wouldn't mind listening, if you wanted to talk."
"About Bellatrix? She hated my guts." He carefully neglected to mention his near pants-wetting fear of the woman, or the fact he'd gone into the study and danced a little jig when he got the news. He liked sleeping in bed almost as much as he liked the other thing; the separate room was fine, but the woman could be quite toasty on long, cold nights.
"Why don't you tell me about yourself?"
Draco started. "You mean like a story?" He chuckled softly.
"Not a story—maybe a funny memory or something. You know, something you did that was cute."
Her husband heaved a tormented sigh. "Granger, Malfoys are many things. Devestatingly witty. Stunningly attractive. Faultlessly polite. Articulate. Intelligent. But not cute. Malfoys are never cute."
" I can't believe you never did a single cute thing, Draco. To hear your mother tell it—there's an idea.' She gave him a look that could only be described as pure, unmitigated evil. " I'll ask Narcissa. She loves to show those pictures from your third birthday. Or maybe the ones from--"
He held up a hand. "Don't you dare, you manipulative shrew! If you must have a story I'll give you one. But then right to bed with no complaints. No fussing for another story, or a glass of water, or asking to stay up. Right to bed." He frowned at her and then smirked when she snorted.
" You seem to have me confused with Delphinia, Draco."
He shook his finger at her. "Best not get too stroppy, my girl. Otherwise it's right over my knee for you." He laughed at her indignant gasp and then laughed harder as she 'accidentally' ticked his ribs. It might have turned into—well, he was in good shape to sleep in the marital bed that night, to turn a phrase—except that Hermione suddenly stopped. She settled back into chest. "I'd like that story now, please."
Draco is six. He's a sturdy little fellow, and very precocious as well. He's pleased to be going to visit Godfather. Daddy explained to him that Godfather is a very important person for him to know, since he's head of Slytherin at Hogwarts. He also fought in the War, which Draco finds endlessly fascinating.
They Floo to Hogwarts castle, where Draco will someday attend school, though Father has lately begun making references to a place in the East called Durstorm or something like that. Draco adores Hogwarts, with it's towers and dungeons and paintings. He holds Daddy's hand while they go to Godfather's rooms. There are older children everywhere, which fascinates him almost as much as the castle.
Godfather is tall and scary looking but he's always nice to Draco. But he's not a Malfoy, which is very sad for him, because everyone knows that a Malfoy is almost the finest thing a person could be ( the finest is possibly a dragon, and since he can't be a dragon, Draco is quite content to settle for being a Malfoy). The nicest, smartest, most wonderful people he knows are Malfoys, after all. He hugs Godfather hello and then obediently sits on the divan. The grownups start talking about boring things like politics, instead of fun things like sweets or games, and Draco closes his eyes, content to doze.
Except that his leg itches. It's very rude to scratch, and the itch is on the top of his leg, where Daddy would see. Draco attempts to relieve the problem by wiggling slightly. No good. He tries again. This keeps up for some minutes, until Lucius, who's attempting to convince Snape that there's nothing inherently reprehensible about any number of serious crimes ( "It's all perspective, you know), finally decided to see why the boy is writhing about.
"Draco, have you been hexed without my knowledge?"
"Then sit still, like a good boy." Draco hears the 'or else' and sits still. Snape, realizing that six year olds are not interested in the morality of evading taxes on foreign imported unicorn hair, fire calls a Prefect.
"I want you to take Draco here and entertain him." He says to the moon faced Slytherin. The girl blinks nervously.
Snape sneers. " Surely you can do something with an infant for a few hours without requiring precise instruction, Miss Mallow?"
" Mallow? Is your father Polybus Mallow of the Department of Magical Transportation?" She starts and then half inclines her head.
"Yes, sir." Reaching out a fat hand, she leads Draco away without another word.
They wander the corridors in silence. Draco pulls his hand away after she almost runs them into a wall for the third time. She says nothing, leading him to the Common Room. " I have a chocolate frog in my trunk. Would you like it?"
While she goes to fetch the frog he eyes the room with great interest. Students filter in and out, mostly ignoring him or giving him looks. She returns, nearly getting smacked in the face by the heavy wooden door. She doesn't seem to mind, he notices with a certain amount of confusion. She's looking at a tall, dark haired boy sitting at the other end of the room, completely indifferent to her sheep eyed longing.
A huge lad makes his way over. "Oi' he rumbles in a voice that makes Draco interested and slightly scared at the same time ' are you a new firstie?"
Draco giggles. "No, I'm Draco. I'm six!" He puts out his hand to be shaken, much to the amusement of the giant. "I'm Goyle. Galten Goyle. I have a brother just about your age."
"Umm hmm. His name's Greg." In short order, Draco has attached himself to this boy, demanding to know all about him in detail. Mallow sits nearby, watching the dark haired boy. Draco is precocious enough to notice that Goyle is watching her with the same look.
Too soon, Godfather calls Mallow and tells her to bring Draco back. The Slytherins are leaving for dinner, so Draco finds himself riding the shoulders of his new friend as Mallow floats forlornly beside, still watching the other boy. For the life of him, Draco couldn't see why. He wasn't telling stories about Quidditch like Goyle, after all.
Ahead of them, the boy suddenly stops. Mallow is following too close and they collide with an audible crash. " Stupid cow! Why don't you watch where the hell you're going?"
Mallow jerks back as though burned, face briefly working before it returns to it's usual mask. Goyle stiffens with anger and swings Draco down. "Is that any way to talk to a lady, McNair?"
Draco watches, awed, as Goyle picks the smaller boy up and shakes the stuffing out of him. " I said—is that—any way—to speak—to a lady?" Someday, the boy decides, I shall have friends like him. Having big, angry people for friends strikes Draco as his best idea all day.
As the giant is shaking the babbling McNair, the boy's wand falls from his robe sleeve. Draco darts forward and grabs it, trying to help Goyle by holding it while he yells at the fool he's shaking like a toy.
Goyle sets the thinner boy on his feet, where he reels dizzily for a moment. Humiliated and ashamed, Wetherell McNair lashes out at the closest target, the six year old. "Give me that, you snot nosed little--!" He uses a shockingly profane word.
In a flash Mallow is on him. " Don't you call him that! He's just a little boy!"
Draco is unsure what he's been called but he knows it's bad. He screws up his face and starts to cry. Mallow picks him up and, after a hesitation, rocks him a little. He flings his little arms about her neck and sobs. The wand falls from his limp hand and clatters to the floor.
Goyle is forcefully reminded of his brother Greg when he sees Draco crying. He hates Wetherell McNair with a passion, not least because Mallow seems to like him for some unaccountable reason. He makes a decision and, raising a huge oxford clad foot, snaps the little ponce's wand clean in two.
The others crowd around the melee, cheering. Suddenly the hallway goes not still but dead. " Is there a problem?" Snape has materialized from nowhere, trailed by an unhappy looking Lucius Malfoy. Everyone is talking at once, and Snape, after thirty seconds, points at the little knot of malcontents and says simply "Follow me."
Ensconced in the office, the teens, plus the sniffling Draco, are swiftly questioned.
"Breaking a fellow student's wand is a serious offense, Goyle. Perhaps even a matter of expulsion."
Draco doesn't want to see his friend get in trouble, because if he gets expelled Draco is pretty sure Galten's Daddy and Mummy would be very cross, and take his pudding away for a long, long time, like a week. Maybe even early bedtime. Shivering, he put his head up from Mallow's pillowlike shoulder and says respectfully "Please, Godfather, I did it."
The adults look at him in shock. " You broke the wand, Draco?" Snape cannot help but sound skeptical. Draco nods. "Yes, sir. It was an accident."
Goyle starts to shake his head when Draco pipes up again. " He' pointing at McNair ' said a naughty word and made me cry. He's a very bad boy, Godfather." Draco glared fiercely at the youth, wishing he could tell McNair's Daddy right then and there. Draco bet he'd get his bottom smacked good and hard, which was very sad but no more than he deserved.
"Is this true?" Mallow nods and spells the word. Malfoy the Elder sits up very straight and eyes McNair with the air of a cat eyeing a juicy young sparrow.
" I believe, young man, your father works for the Ministry. I shall have a word with him." McNair goes very pale and says nothing. He's a dead man and to his credit he knows that.
"A very clean break for a six year old to have made, but if you all swear it, I suppose it will do. Mr. McNair, we will call your parents directly. The rest of you, dismissed."
Mallow handed Draco back to Lucius. Draco pecks her cheek lightly in thanks for having defended him and given him a hug when he needed one.( Not that he cuddled, even then. No, not even then. Stop smirking like that, damn it, Draco Malfoy does not cuddle).
"Mallow' Snape's voice rings out ' I seem to remember you wear glasses, is that correct?" The girl nods, ready to drop through the floor. Reaching into her robes, she pulls out a glasses case and, grimacing, pulls out a pair of specs and puts them on.
Snape looks at her levelly.
" I expect my Slytherins to use better judgment. Dentention tomorrow night in the Potions room. Mr. Goyle, your defense of Miss Mallow's honor was well intentioned, but violence is rarely the answer. You will serve the same."
The two walked out together. As the door closed, Lucius and Snape heard Goyle say shyly "I think they're nice…Antigone."
The girl, even more shyly, answered "Thank you… Galten." They went to the Great Hall together, wrapped in silence. The adults smiled at once another.
"And now, Draco, we will depart. Say goodbye to your Godfather."
When they got home, Lucius took Draco for a walk in the garden. "You had quite an adventure today, didn't you, Draco?"
"It was a brave thing you did, helping Goyle."
Draco blushed with pleasure. Lucius lifted his son up to ride on his shoulders on the way back. "We aren't going to mention it to Mummy, though. It might worry her."
And so all was well. Until dinner, when, over consumme, Draco says seriously
"What's a cunt, and why I am one?"
"See' Hermione said 'you were cute. And brave as well."
Draco preened slightly. "We can't all be as preternaturally gifted as I am, my darling."
She rolled her eyes. "Of course not. What did Lucius tell you?"
Her husband locked an arm about her waist and retrieved his wand from the bedside table. Silencing the room, he set the wand back on the table and dealt a firm whap to his wife's still pert backside.
"I warned you before we started, one story and then to bed." He grinned, feeling quite pleased. He could still ruffle her feathers, even after twenty odd years.
She shook her head. "You're quite impossible, you know."
"Another Malfoy trait."
" I would never have imagined that side to Lucius."
Draco nodded. "Father can be hard to get to know."
Understatement of the year, she thought but said nothing. She was remembering a day when the children were small…
Hermione sighed loudly as she crossed the corridor and entered the sitting room. "Lucius' she said to her father in law, who was working the Prophet's crossword puzzle 'have you seen the girls?"
"The girls? Why no, my dear, I believe they have vanished." He calmly inked in another little row of square. "The longest word with no vowels?"
She shrugged. "I'm sure I wouldn't know. Are you sure they didn't come this way?"
Lucius nodded. "Absolutely. Five vowels in a row?"
"Lucius, I am certain I saw the children come this way. Wold they be with Narcissa, do you think?"
"Narcissa's gone to petition to get that blood-traitor sister of hers out of Azkaban. Won't you sit?"
Hermione sat. "What about Draco? Could he have come home early?"
Her father in law ignored her. "Hmmm, five vowels... Of course. Queueing." He looked very satisfied as he wrote the answer in the boxes.
"I could have sworn I heard the front door open. But the wards keep the girls inside, so…"
"Really, darling, do calm down. They'll turn up. Children always do."
Since Lucius was clearly to be no help in this, she rose and stalked up the stairs. She wandered for some time, debating whether to summon an elf and opting against it. Just because she was married to a Malfoy didn't mean she had to become one, after all.
There were voices coming from a disused room on the third floor, near the guest suites. Hermione silently glided the door open and bit her lip to keep from laughing. Draco Malfoy, Grand Inquisitor and terror of rebels, was sitting on the floor. His expensive robes were carelessly flung over a chair back. Antlia was sitting on his lap, babbling and cooing as he lightly rubbed her back. Segitta was sitting next to him, holding a little china tea cup in hand. Pxyis was carefully setting a matching plate, quite empty, on the little cloth that served as table.
"More tea, Daddy?"
"Yes, darling, that would be wonderful."
The laugh finally escaped, but she managed to make it a cough. Draco's head turned and she thought she saw a flush of red creeping into his cheeks.
"Hullo, Hermione. Would you like to join us?"
"Mummy! We have cakes!" Pxyis gestured to the empty plate.
"That's wonderful, sweetheart. I'll certainly have one." Hermione's eyes were twinkling and he gave her a quick grimace, trying to convey that it wasn't his choice to play tea party.
" How lovely to see you again, Mummy. Have you been well?"
Both adults smothered a laugh. It was creepily like hearing Narcissa's voice from Segitta's mouth. "I'm well, Segitta. How are you?"
"Oh, as well as could be expected." Then they did laugh, and the girls laughed as well. Even Antlia giggled, flailing her little fists and kicking with pleasure at being surrounded by the people she loved the most.
The door again. Lucius, still holding the Daily Prophet, came in and sat down without a word. " I see you found the children, Hermione."
He pulled a self inking quill from the pocket of his robes. "Draco, what is the longest common word with no vowels?"
"Rhythms, Father." Draco nodded approval as Pxyis poured her sister more tea and Segitta took a dainty sip. Lucius, apparently nonplussed by all of this, frowned slightly and put on his new reading glasses, hmming a little.
"Year Britain adopted the new calendar?"
"1752. Segitta, darling, don't give Antlia your ring, she'll swallow it."
"You're Daddy's daddy?" Pxyis was still struggling slightly with the idea her parents had parents themselves and had not sprung, fully made, from some great ether when she was born.
" I am. Your Daddy and I used to play here sometimes, did he tell you that?"
Her eyes got very wide. Segitta stopped tickling Antlia to listen, and even Hermione discreetly lifted her head.
"Oh, yes. Soldiers, particularly, wasn't it, Draco?"
Draco nodded. " I loved the ones you gave me that looked like knights, do you remember?"
"Of course I do."
Lucius dropped his voice conspiratorially. "He used to hide here sometimes, too. He loved to scare the elves that way."
The girls giggled. "Daddy, you shouldn't scare the elves. They take good care of us and love us." Draco raised an eyebrow and gave Hermione a hard look. She shrugged as innocently as possible, not daring to look him in the eye.
"What would happen then, Grandfather?"
"I'd have to come and find him, wouldn't I? Under the table, usually. Then I'd bend down' Lucius stood ' and pick him up' he grabbed the giggling Pxyis tightly 'and tickle him until he promised to be good, you see?" With that, he began to tickle the laughing child.
Hermione smiled and looked at Draco, who was studiously ignoring the fuss while he nuzzled the baby's downy neck and murmured. ( But he was not cuddling her. Because Draco Malfoy. Does Not. Cuddle. Are we clear on that? Good.)
Segitta was frowning thoughtfully, a Grangerish look if there were ever one. "Daddy?"
Draco put his head up. "Yes, Segitta?"
"Wasn't it naughty of you to hide when Grandfather was looking for you?"
Lucius set the panting Pyxis down and sat next to his granddaughter. " I knew it was a game, Gittie. Although your father did hide sometimes when he'd been naughty."
To Hermione's great amusement, Draco squirmed a little. "Father, really…"
Lucius smiled. "Now, Draco, we were all young once." He was heartily enjoying watching his son while he writhed silently. Embarassing one's offspring in this manner, he thought, was one of the great pleasures of grandparenthood.
Gittie looked shocked. "But Daddy said he'd never been naughty!" Her eyes were huge as she contemplated what this might mean.
" Sometimes he was. Did I ever tell you about the time he borrowed my wand and tried to transfigure one of Grandmother's tea cups?" The girls goggled. Not only had Daddy taken a wand, he'd tried to do magic! Magic was only for big people. They crowded around, begging for the story, and Lucius obliged.
Draco caught his wife's amused glance and scowled fiercely. "Wouldn't be half so funny if it were you, Granger." He glared as much as he dared at his father, who was perfectly aware of his chagrin and smiling serenely at him.
"No pudding for a month?" The girls looked both shocked and vindicated. Harsh but fair, seemed to be the overall consensus. The girls both gave Draco a hug, to reassure him that they understood, and then turned their attention to Hermione.
"Did you ever do that, Mummy?"
"Borrow a wand? No, I never did. Grandmama wouldn't like that very much, would she?"
Draco decided a little pay-back was in order. " Ask Grandmama about Mummy when she young. She'll be glad to tell you about all the times she was naughty, I'm sure."
"You were naughty too, Mummy?"
"All children are sometimes, sweet." Hermione gave Draco her Death Glare ™, the one that could reduce a good 2/5 of the Weasley young to babbling idiocy. Draco grinned and stretched slightly.
" Oh, yes. Mummy was very naughty when was young. She once hid so well the whole house had to look for her, did you know that?"
The girls were looking at Hermione with a combination of awe and horror. Giving her smirking husband a look that promised many a long, cold night, she decided to step in for damage control.
"That did happen, but there were circumstances involved."
Segitta eyed her mother askance. "What's circumstances?"
"There was a very special reason."
"What was it?" Hermione smiled very widely, all while trying to cook Draco alive with her glare. He chuckled, unwisely fearless.
"I had to tell Uncle Harry something very important. Grandmama and Grandpapa wanted me to stay in bed because I didn't feel well but I hid instead."
The girls shifted uneasily. This wasn't at all the Mummy they knew. There must have been some other reason she'd be so flagrantly, outrageously bad. "Did they want you to take a potion, Mummy?"
"Something like that."
"Grandmama gave me a smacking with her hairbrush." Hermione felt her face heating slightly. She shook her head, trying not to remember the awful night. Greyback's screams from the garden, his foul smell encircling her and Bellatrix's demented laughter…
Draco had intended for the girls to be as amused by a tale of their mother's bad behavior as they were by his. The plan had backfired splendidly, because the girls leapt up to hug Hermione's neck, veritably oozing a sympathy more appropriate to a victim of some hideous accident than a (well earned) sore bum.
"It's all right, Mummy, don't be sad. Grandmama smacked you because she loves you and doesn't want you to get hurt." Hermione smiled and blinked tears.
Lucius decided to step in. Giving his son a look that showed his displeasure at the boy's recklessness, he called the girls.
"I'd like to go and watch Aulus fly on that broom your parents gave him, wouldn't you?"
The girls thought it prudent to agree. After all, if Grandfather could punish Daddy, what else could he do? They shivered slightly and turned to go. Bidding their parents goodbye, they also agreed that Grandmama bore careful watching…
Hermione jiggled the baby slightly, hoping she'd sleep. Draco cast about for something to say. " You won't tell anyone?"
"No, Draco. I won't tell anyone." She turned to take the baby downstairs to the nursery.
"I'm sorry. I'd forgotten the details of that incident."
"I understand." He put a hand on her shoulder. "Won't you… stay a bit?"
She watched him transfigure a stray cushion into a cradle for the drowsing baby. They sat on the loveseat, not talking. Draco felt a feeling that, in another man, might have been guilt. He wrapped his arm about his wife's shoulders, feeling as though he should make a gesture of some sort.
Hermione was too shocked to do anything, at first. Draco never touched her for the sake of it—she had the distinct impression the only reason he didn't leave right after intercourse was due to his fear that her foster mother would find out and hex him.
She didn't even realize she was crying until he said, half panicked "Please don't. Please don't cry." She tried to bite back her sniffle and failed, tried to move away to leave and find somewhere private only to find his arms wrapped about her waist.
"Shhh, there there, it's all right." He wriggled her into a better position and awkwardly patted her back. "No more tears now, hush."
"Draco, I'm not Segitta and I haven't scraped my knee."
Draco rolled his eyes. "Of course not, love, you haven't her fine Malfoy bone structure."
A chuckled bubbled up before she could stop it. "You're an ass, have I ever told you that?"
"I really am sorry."
She nodded. "It was an accident."
Something had changed. The fact he'd actually apologized, for one thing. The fact he'd touched her without asking anything, that was another. Hermione thought about it for a long time.
As for Draco, since he'd headed off the meltdown he was pleased. Because he had managed without any sentimental nonsense, you understand. A Malfoy does many things, but one thing he never, ever, ever does is cuddle.
She was finally asleep. Draco gently eased her onto her own side and pulled the covers up, careful not to jar her. She rolled on her side and he laid flat, determined to sleep. She rolled over and muttered something. "Hmmm?"
"Thank you. I like it when we cuddle."
Draco Malfoy, who never cuddles, moved to put a kiss on her forehead. "So do I, love. So do I."