A/N: This fic is old as the hills and was previously archived on my LJ account. I've cleaned it up enough to post here. The first two chapters of the sequel (Tempting the Fates) will follow. I'm resurrecting the story, after some really encouraging comments from old readers.
My father is a little weird.
Okay, he's a lot weird, but I love him and I think it's funny when my girlfriends-- who have risen 'group giggling' to an art form--go completely silent when he picks me up from the train station at the end of term.
You can hear a pin drop.
My best friend, Sarah-Anne Weasley, actually went through old newspaper cuttings that her father had kept over the years to see what my dad looked like when he was at school.
The general consensus was that my father was, and still is, a complete dish.
I've known that since I was ah, about six, I think. Ever since the morning Mrs. Mullins from the village bakery came over to deliver our weekly bread basket and dropped two French loaves and a dozen Roggenbrot rolls on the ground when Papa opened the door dressed in the bottom half of his pajamas and head full of mussed hair.
At the time I didn't get what all the fuss was about. To me, he was Dad. He's blond, yes. Lots of people are blond. He's tall. So what? He's got funny-coloured eyes and was strong enough to pick me up with one arm to put me on his shoulders.
It didn't occur to me that if you took a step back, and put all these things together, you get dishy-ness. He's my dad and I just don't see him that way.
Poor Dad. He enjoys his bread and I didn't hear a word of complaint at dinner that evening as I watched him pick grit and God knows what else out of his buttered roll.
I don't look much like him, despite the fact that we're two peas in a pod. This doesn't mean I'm ugly. Far from it. I've been told by various sources that I'm the kind of pretty that grows on you.
"Like fungus," William Merrit-Zabini said, in our second year. But only because I tore up the substandard Valentines card he gave me.
I've inherited my father's eye colour, which is nice, but somehow it's not quite the same. Dad's got all manner of baggage and history behind his eyes. They're not just silver, they're silver plus tragedy.
If you've seen that kind of colour you'll understand that it makes you stop what you're doing to stare for a bit longer, until he either catches you doing it or you suddenly remember that you do have manners.
Dad says his eyes are that way because of what he's seen and done and that I should thank my lucky stars that my own eyes are history-free. These assurances are usually followed by a long sermon that begins with 'back in my day'.
I'm of the opinion that no one under forty should ever start a sentence with those four words, but you know my Dad. He's stubborn. It takes some effort not to roll my eyes when he gets into one of his moods, but I love him dearly and he can do no wrong.
The Malfoy family is not short on history, let me tell you. You don't get to my age without realizing that. I get two sorts of looks when someone asks for my name and I tell them it ends with Malfoy. People either give me the cold shoulder, become nervous or if they're really, really rude, they start listing names.
Names of dead people, I assume. Dead because of my father.
I'm top of the class in History of Magic and I know all about the war. I know that both sides did some heinous things, but the past is the past.
We take what we need, learn from our mistakes and get on with life. That's my motto. I realize it's harder for the older folk to accept and adapt, but that's really not my problem, is it?
I guess that's the other thing I owe to my dad, my ability to not give a toss what anyone else thinks. Of course this suits him fine seeing as he's a bloody hermit who hardly ever leaves our house. I, on the other hand, am a normal sixteen year old girl with friends, male admirers aplenty, a pony named Dapples, and long, brown hair that looks brilliant in an up-style.
I have social needs and Dad seriously has to understand that his self-imposed seclusion from the rest of the community is not healthy for his teen-aged daughter.
I'm working on it, though. There hasn't been a problem we haven't been able to solve when we put our heads together. I get that from my mum.
My mum died when I was about three. Dad will not, under any circumstances, talk about her. The subject is taboo. Mentioning her name results in badly disguised melancholy that only cajoling or some really good pastry can alleviate.
My Dad adores pastries. I've got a pronounced sweet tooth as well. His nickname for me when I was younger was 'Lolly'. Mum used to call me that, apparently.
I've forbidden him from ever calling me that name in the presence of company. He's only done it the one time and I forgave him because it was in front of Uncle Snape.
And the world knows that that guy can keep a secret.
Dad enjoys visits from Uncle Snape (who always brings me the most wonderful books), but he gets a bit down after Snape leaves. Every so often, when my father's tired after a hard day of making another gazillion Galleons to add to my inheritance, I catch him going up the stairs to his bedroom with a look that reeks of memories. Outwardly, Dad does not get sad, or cry. He doesn't get angry either, which is amazing considering I can be very, very trying.
Seriously, there is nothing I can do to make him mad. I've stopped trying.
Don't believe me?
This one time, Sarah-Anne and I decided that we were old enough to attempt unlicensed Apparition, despite the fact that we were fourteen and our only source of practical information about the spell was what we got from books and from Saffron Godfreys in Seventh Year who we later discovered, had failed the test eight times.
I nearly got myself fatally splinched. As it was, both Sarah-Anne and I found ourselves in a corn field some three hundred miles from Hogwarts missing a set of arms (me) and six toes (Sarah-Anne). Her father was not pleased. He even had words with my Dad, but it's not like that's anything out of the ordinary.
So Papa came to collect me from St Mungos, cool as ice. He inquired as to the whereabouts of my missing arms and when they were re-attached by the Mediwizards without incident; Papa took me home without a word.
He did say one thing to me on the carriage ride home, though.
"Your mother would have been very disappointed."
That was awful. I felt like a terrible human being for making him distressed enough to mention her. But still, technically, he wasn't even angry, which was the whole point of the exercise.
See? I told you he was weird.
I don't remember all that much about my mum. I remember her presence more than her face. The feel of her holding me or whispering to me, that sort of thing. Of course, I'm aware that she was a war hero, a good friend of Harry 'Bespectacled Git' Potter (my dad's name for him, not mine), and the fact that she and my dad hated each others' guts. They honestly loathed each other.
You're probably asking how I came about. How did two people who flung hexes, cutlery, insults and school furniture at each other get along long enough to bring a child into the world?
It's a question I don't think even my Dad can answer.
I heard that one time my mum even slapped him, though I think this might be more myth than reality. I'll have to ask Sarah-Anne. Her father, Ronald, is a bit of a drip, but he knows things.
They never married, my parents, but I get the feeling that Dad had been about to ask her when mum died suddenly. What a volatile marriage that would have been! They would have paid a hefty premium on their home contents insurance.
I've looked all over the Manor for evidence that Dad bought an engagement ring, but I couldn't find anything. Our re-claimed house elf, Dobby, won't say anything either. He's been sworn to secrecy, silly creature.
I got my looks from my mum.
I've got the same curly brown hair, the same chin, skin tone and build. I'm rather thankful I'm not as pale as my dad. I enjoy the sun and I don't fancy burning to a crisp every time I walk down to the shops to get a fizzy drink.
Dad's paleness suits him, however. He's like one of those gothic, tragic, romantic types you read about in Muggle Regency novels; who brood in palatial manors and get all surly and duel-y after a few brandies.
I wouldn't say Dad's romantic, though. He's a complete wet noodle when it comes to women. I think mum spoiled him for all other females. He's only had the one 'lady friend' come to visit in all the years I've been alive and Gods, she was a complete troll.
Parkinson was her name. Came through the doors that day, simpering and carrying on about destiny, broken betrothals, fate and similar shite. I was twelve years old at the time and I think the loneliness had got to Papa. I hadn't been interested in boys yet and spent most of my time that summer reading in the library or in Dad's study. My father would walk in, rumple my hair and occasionally he'd look at me like he'd been punched in the stomach.
I knew I looked like my mum, but I guess that point really got driven home that year.
We could have just talked about it. Merlin knew I was a chatterbox. My godmother, Millicent Bulstrode, likes to joke that I was born in the middle of a sentence.
But no. Dad apparently decided all by himself that the only way to fix whatever was bothering him was to give that Parkinson woman a booty call.
She lasted three days. The expediency of her visit was no doubt aided by my mentioning the prettiness, cleverness, braveness and infamy of my late mother no less than sixty seven times in those horrid three days.
Dobby and I did a jig in the hallway after she shut the door behind her.
It was a Death Eater that did it, that killed my mum. You don't hear that name very often these days--Death Eater--and Dad won't say who it was that spoke the spell. I know that Harry Potter was there on the day she died, but there's something in me that won't ask him about it. I think it's respect for my dad.
Actually, I'll remind Dad of that the next he accuses me of not having any.
Did I mention that Harry 'Bespectacled Git' Potter is my godfather? Dad was against it from the start, but apparently my mum threatened him into it.
Unlike most wizarding folk, I'm not impressed by Potter. I suppose that's another thing I've inherited off my father, an uncanny ability to find my godfather irritating.
He's alright, I suppose, but the whole savior of the world business gets very tedious after a while. The only thing I can say about Potter is that he's got a rather nice looking oldest son. Potter married into the Weasley family, which can go either way when it comes to looks.
The boy's name is Gabriel James and he's eighteen with black hair and light, brown eyes that sparkle when he laughs. Cleverer that his dad by half, too, which frankly isn't that hard to be. He probably owes his brains to his mother, Sarah-Anne's Auntie, Ginny.
We're an interconnected bunch, aren't we? It's not that unusual when you consider how small the wizarding population is.
I've often said to Papa that it's a good idea if we at least attempted to get along with everyone else. You know, just in case something happened to either one of us and we needed some support. This is a lot like trying to convince a Weasley garden gnome to drop a stolen potato.
Dad would usually respond with, "getting along is overrated" or "if all wizards were meant to be friends then God would have made Harry Potter less of an imbecile."
I think my Papa is hysterical sometimes. He's just really funny. I don't think he consciously tries to be funny, he just is.
We have this thing on the first Sunday of every summer vacation where we'll pick a complex potion and try to make it at home. It does wonders for my Potions grades, but more importantly, it's him-and-me time. I could name Draught of Death and Dad would just raise an eyebrow, and arrange for the necessary ingredients to be delivered.
No questions asked. No potion too dangerous.
I suppose I should also add 'impossible to shock', along with 'impossible to infuriate' to the list of oddities about my father.
He's completely brilliant, of course; got the second highest potion score in a century, second only to my mum.
The most recent Potions Sunday, I think I nearly gave my dear old Dad a heart attack when I requested that we brew a simple Contraceptive Potion.
It was a calculated tactic on my part.
I've tried to have the birds and the bees discussion with him for years now. If only for a lark. He's managed to wriggle his way out of it each time.
It was Sarah-Anne and one of her older cousins, Sabine (daughter of Fleur Delacour, gorgeous woman, mind like a steel trap) and a pop-up version of the Kamasutra that finally sorted things out for me when I was ten and three quarters.
"You don't need to know how to make that," my father told me.
The hell I didn't. Gabe Potter was hot property and he wouldn't stay single forever. I had to broach the topic of dating sooner or later. I was sixteen for Merlin's sake. It was way past time we had that talk.
Just to get out in the open, you know.
And we did, in fact. It took about four hours and Dobby was sent to the kitchens for six refills of iced tea.
Tea is a diuretic; I was reminded of that, that day.
So we've had the Big Sex Talk.
"Only for your theoretical knowledge," Dad warned. And because he said there is no such thing as useless knowledge. Only useless-right-this-moment knowledge.
I should have known that Dad wouldn't blush or stammer or do any of the other things that Sarah-Anne's dad does when she brings up boys at the always packed, Weasley dinner table.
My father ended the talk by specifically stating that he would murder any boy who treated me badly. I had to take this seriously and nodded with due solemnity where appropriate. My dad doesn't make idle threats, most especially when it comes to killing people.
I hoped, for Gabe's sake, that he wasn't going to be a complete arse when I asked him out.
I have a curfew – ten o'clock, would you believe? One minute over and Dad has threatened to deduct it from my date in fingers.
If it works out with Gabriel, then I suppose the next big discussion will have to be about love. Somehow I think that's going to be a more difficult talk because I'm going to force my father to talk about my mother.
It's high time.
But that's a discussion for another day.