Adventures in Babysitting - the Lucius Way

Two days later, Draco's normally slow Tuesday, one of his two days to bring his children to work for his share of parenthood, mushroomed into disaster when he had to attend an emergency meeting. His assistant Boyd rushed about with readying notes for a review board the next day so he barely had time to watch Draco's sons. Thankfully, his sons were old enough to not need too watchful of an eye. On the other hand, Astrum needed more supervision but only for the fact of her age. Tapping his fingers, Draco weighed his options: Hermione - busy, Mother - busy, only one conclusion, Father. Bollucks! For a fleeting moment, Draco looked at Scorpius and Severus: Too young to babysit.

"Alright, you boys stay in my office and play quietly. Boyd will check in on you from time to time." Draco grabbed Astrum's bag. "Astrum, how would you like to spend a few hours with your grandfather?"

"Ok," she replied. Before she left, she kissed each of her brothers on the cheek.

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Within the Governor's Office, Lucius' day took a turn for the worse the moment Lester delivered terrible tidings. "The Everards never supported Voldemort, since they have several Muggle-borns in their heritage and in their current family. When they found out you gained controlling interest in Quackenboss, they decided not to renew their contract. However, they accepted an invitation for lunch at Petrus, today at one. They know how exclusive the restaurant is and with a more relaxed atmosphere, maybe something can be done." Lester rolled his eyes and shook his head.

At that moment, Draco bounded in carrying Astrum and a lavender bag. "Father, I need your help. I have an emergency meeting and no one to watch Astrum. At 2:30 she gets a two hour nap. There are some grapes and cheese for her to snack on. Other than that, she's very self sufficient. Would you mind?" Before Lucius could answer, Draco placed Astrum on the couch and kissed her forehead. "I love you Baby Star."

"I love you too, Father. Kiss. Kiss." Astrum puckered her lips so Draco leaned over for her to kiss his cheek.

"Thanks for your help," Draco muttered to his father as he vaulted out of the office.

My son didn't give me a chance to say no. I taught him too well. "This should be interesting," Lucius muttered as he watched Astrum dig through her bag for her toys. "Lester, you're good with children; I'm sure. Would you mind?"

"No, I'm reviewing that stack of contracts on my desk for potential problems like today. Besides, if you're trying to charm them, you should take her along. Between you and your granddaughter, she's much more charming." On the chalkboard in Lester's office, the chalk struck one for Lester.

"Then you'll need to make that reservation for three and a half now." As Lucius prepared for the meeting, he looked over at Astrum who wore a red jumper with diagnal white stripes and a matching headband with red tinsel which cascaded red tinsel through her silver curls. Joy, I'm babysitting a three year old candy cane during an important business lunch.

"Astrum, I want you to be on your best behavior. We're having a business luncheon with some very important clients. They are from France so they speak French like I've been teaching you." Astrum looked at him with a furrowed brow. "We're trying to make a deal so we can have more gold galleons."

Upon the mention of gold, Astrum's eyes widened with merriment. "We can have more of the pretty gold?"

"Yes, we can but we don't want to mention the gold or money. We want the Everards to like us. Do you understand?" Astrum nodded. "Very well then, come along."

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Astrum ran along behind him until they reached a Floo. Taking Astrum's hand, they used the Floo network to arrive near the restaurant. Amongst the shops, folks bustled about. By observing clients before a meeting, Lucius gleamed insights that facts on paper couldn't reveal. As he searched for his quarry, a small voice pleaded with him. "Grandfather, you have to carry me. I can't walk as fast as you. I'll get mushed here." Sighing, Lucius picked her up, ensuring that he could draw his wand if needed.

Much to Lucius' surprise, moments later a couple of younger witches gathered next to him. "You have such an adorable daughter."

With anonymity in his favor, Lucius nodded graciously. While he never did nor would consider cheating on Narcissa, the witches' comments inflated his ego.

"Why didn't you tell them I was your granddaughter?"

"Because I wanted them to think I was younger than I am," he replied.

"Why?"

"Because it makes me feel better," he replied.

"Why?"

From Lucius' observations, sometimes the why game became endless. "No more questions for now." Now he strutted through the crowds, proudly displaying his granddaughter but having no luck spotting his quarry so he went to the restaurant.

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Petrus featured private enclaves in an almost Muggle feeling castle atmosphere. Waiters wearing monk robes took orders from patrons at candle lit tables. Behind him he heard a couple speaking French which Astrum heard as well. "Bonjour, comment allez-vous?"

Lucius turned to find a couple slightly older than him: Laurent and Miette Everard. Slightly shocked, the couple looked at each other before Miette responded. "Nous sommes bons. Comment t'appelles-tu?"

Fluttering her eyelashes, Astrum beamed at them. "Je m'appelle Astrum Malfoy."

In that moment, shock followed by utter bemusement crossed the couple's faces, ensuring Lucius had a chance with the Everards. Together all four enjoyed lunch and discussed business.

While her grandfather talked to the Everards, Astrum looked at the plate of food and glass of juice in front of her. Though hungry, she couldn't eat or drink. "Grandfather, I need my sippy cup or I spill."

"Since we don't have your glass, how about I hold the glass and put a straw in it for you?"

Now Astrum sipped her juice until she wasn't thirsty so her grandfather went back to talking. "Grandfather, I can't eat."

"Why not?"

"I'm not allowed to use a knife." Her grandfather cut her chicken for her but in big chunks. "Grandfather, my mouth isn't that big." Then he cut them into smaller pieces for her. Frequently, her grandfather would hold her juice so she could drink and help her with her food until she finished.

After lunch, the Everards talked to her grandfather more before they excused themselves for a moment. Then Astrum realized she drank too much juice. "Grandfather," she whispered.

"Speak up, no need to be shy."

Astrum shook her head so her grandfather leaned in to hear her whisper. "I have to tinkle."

In horror, Lucius heard those words, but this dark wizard wouldn't step foot in a witch's restroom. "Astrum, come along." Outside the restroom, Lucius set Astrum down but he had to ensure her safety against a kidnapping. "Now I want you to hum very loudly for the entire time you're in there. If you stop, I'll know it's an emergency and come get you."

"Yes, Grandfather," she replied. Per her grandfather's instructions, Astrum hummed. After she tinkled, she dressed but she kept humming until she ran into trouble.

Outside the witch's restroom, Lucius listened to his Astrum's humming until she stopped. Withdrawing his wand, Lucius stormed into the restroom ready to torture then kill the fiends who dare to harm his grandchild. Instead he found Astrum alone stretching to reach the unattainable faucet. "Grandfather, I have to wash up."

After Lucius inserted his wand back into his cane, he picked her up and held her so she could wash her hands. Witches have their own lounge in here and everything smells of perfume. Fancy soaps and lotions sat in neat rows behind the sinks. No wonder the witches doddle about in here. As he held Astrum so she could wash her hands, two witches entered the restroom. Must they always travel in pairs! Of all the deeds I haven't been caught doing: ransacking, demolishing and casting curses; why do I get caught loitering in the witches' restroom? How humiliating! The moment Astrum finished drying her hands; Lucius darted out, carrying her by the waist. For a moment, Lucius thought only the two witches from the bathroom would see his disgrace but such was not the case.

Her grandfather whisked her out of the bathroom so fast, Astrum felt like she was flying. As the door flew open in front of the, she giggled with glee. "Wheeee," she yelled. Everyone in the restaurant turned to watch much to the embarassment of her grandfather.

Once Laurent finished his cigar outside, the Everards sipped wine in the restaurant's lounge so Lucius and Astrum joined them to discuss business matters further. For a little while, Astrum sat quietly until she yawned. "Grandfather, it's time for my nap."

"You can sleep on the couch here." He patted to a spot next to him but Astrum shook her head. "Why not?"

"Because I don't have my teddy-bear," she replied. "He protects me from nightmares."

With a deal nearly in his grasp, Lucius couldn't let it slip through his fingers. Thinking about stormy nights which scared Astrum, he remembered that Draco would carry her as he paced rubbing her back. "Grandfather is here to protect you." Lucius picked her up and then turned to the Everards. "If you'll excuse me," he said. Rubbing Astrum's back, Lucius paced the lounge. A few minutes later, he felt her completely relax against him.

The Everards watched and whispered amongst themselves. "Lucius, we are quite convinced that you have truly reformed because of your actions today. You will see even more business from us." While Astrum slept, he closed more deals.

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Later that day as Lucius carried Astrum back towards his office, she woke up. "Astrum, you helped me get the deal so we're going to get a lot of gold."

"Can I have some?"

"Of course, you've earned it. Did you like helping me at lunch today?"

"Yes, can I help you again?"

"I would love that." As they walked amongst the Christmas cheer, many wizards and witches passed and smiled at his granddaughter but one wizard snarled and seemed to mutter something under his breath.

"Grandfather, that wizard said I was filthy." Astrum pursed her lips into a pout. "I'm not filthy. Mum gives me baths in her bathtub."

Because of her veela inheritance, Lucius knew Astrum could hear quite well but she didn't realize the wizard had referred to her as being a Half-Blood. How dare he insult my grandchild! Using wandless magic, Lucius tripped the wizard so he fell flat on his face and appeared to break his nose. "No one will say mean things to you or about you, ever, or I will make sure they regret it. That is revenge."

Watching the entire incident, Astrum giggled. "I like revenge."

"You know Astrum, since you learn languages quickly and you love gold, winning and revenge, we are kindred spirits." That term confused his grandchild so Lucius explained. "We have a lot in common."

"Yes, we do. Grandfather?" Astrum kissed her grandfather's cheek. "Please tell me a scary story tonight?"

"It's near Christmas. Don't you want to want to hear stories about Santa, enchanted sleighs and flying reindeer?"

"Everybody tells me those stories. I like your stories better. Dark wizards and monsters are fun." Since it worked before, Astrum fluttered her eyelashes at him. "Please tell me a scary story."

"Very well then, tonight I will tell you the story of Nackles*; sort of Santa's nemesis who eats bad children on Christmas Eve." Astrum gasped. "Don't worry. You're a good girl so he won't eat you. Plus, the manor's normal defenses are more than adequate to stop him. In addition, on Christmas Eve, I boost them more."

"To keep my brothers safe," she remarked.

"Indeed," Lucius replied.

*Cited from Donald E. Westlake's 1964 story "Nackles."