Disclaimer: Not mine.
Written for the Hogwarts Online Forum, the Gryffindor homework thread.
Prompt: Out of left field. This will be a chaptered story, one that will (hopefully) be updated every two days. I have no idea of where the story is going, because every two days a new prompt will be given which may take the story somewhere I do not expect. Ideas are welcome, as are your comments.
Anything and Everything Your Heart Desires
Out of Left Field
First, they had stopped at Twilfitt and Tatting's to collect the cloak Draco had ordered for her. It was nearly to the floor, a light fawn colour that he found set off her hair and made her skin appear even creamer than it already was. He draped it over her shoulders, declaring both it and her beautiful, before tossing her old one on the counter and telling the clerk to dispose of it. Opening the door, he stepped aside to let her leave in front of him, tisking her thanks away with a wave of his hand and pulling back, not accepting her offer to kiss his cheek.
Walking slowly, with her next to the buildings, him on her outside, they made their way to Wiseacre's Wizarding Equipment. He selected the perfect addition to her toiletries, a handcrafted mirror of the best elfin spun silver, as she stood to the side waiting for him to make the final decision.
"It is exquisite," she agreed with him once he had made his choice, not mentioning that she did not need or have a use for it. One mirror already laid out unused on her vanity as two more took up space in the drawer. "It comes rather…dear."
Draco handed the mirror to the shopkeeper without so much as looking at the price tag, as if in doing so he was admitting he was concerned about such things. Seeing the raised eyebrow of the clerk, he instructed her to order a matching set of brush and comb.
"You will have it delivered," he told the clerk.
"It is small, Draco," Asteria said, laying her hand on his arm. "Why not just take it."
"I am taking you to dinner," he returned, "it is after all your birthday."
She stepped back, refusing to look at the clerk who loudly cleared her throat and handed Draco the bill, a small smile playing on her face at the amount of the sale and the commission she would earn.
Once again, they were on the pavement. Once again, Draco walked next to her as they made their way to the end of the Alley. "I thought we would dine at the Cauldron."
"The Cauldron?" She looked back over her shoulder before tilting her head close to his, careful not to touch him in public. "Are you sure? We could run down to Le Gavroche. I am sure Michel can find us a table even without reservations."
"Hey…Malfoy…how's that father of yours like Azkaban? I hear the cell next to him is empty."
Asteria stopped and spun on her heel, levelling the dunk with an icy glare as her hand found its way into her pocket where she fiddled with her wand.
"Asteria, come," Draco said, keeping his voice calm and even, as he refused to acknowledge the drunken wizard.
"After he gives you an apology," she hissed loud enough for the man to hear.
"I meant nothing… against you Mrs. Malfoy," the wizard hiccupped as he slurred his words. "If'n I had known it was you I wouldn't 'av said anything."
"I see," she said, curling her lip in distaste. "And who else would be walking with my husband if it was not me?"
She saw the man's eyes flicker to her face before dropping to look at the pavement. "Sorry, Mrs. Didn't mean it like that."
"Asteria?" Draco said softly, close to pleading. "Please."
"Of course dear," she cooed, turning back to walk with him, then talking loud enough to be heard. "I just had to scrape some dung off my shoe."
The guests at the Leaky Cauldron became quiet as the couple walked in, watching silently as they were shown to a table. A table that was conspicuously located in the middle of the room. Draco tossed up a silencing spell, not wanting to share his conversation with the rest of the diners and too aware of his position to request a different place. Dropping the charm only when the waitress came to take their orders and later when she brought them their food he felt free to talk to his wife.
"We should have had friends in," Asteria said as she shifted in her chair, unable to get comfortable. "You knew what it would be like, so stop complaining."
"I am not complaining. I am stating a fact," he muttered shoving his spoon in his bowl of stew. "I merely mentioned that the bastards keep watching us."
"Of course they are." She sighed deeply and set down her cutlery, leaning back in her chair to study him. "Draco, look at me. Why did you want to come into town? And why here?"
He looked at her blankly, not understanding the question. Not really, not wanting to admit that he wanted to take his wife out in public to show her off, to show this damned world that they were normal and not hiding at the manor. He wanted her to be accepted for who she was not who her husband was. He wanted her greeted on the pavement by her old friends. He wanted her to enjoy her life. He wanted too much to put it in a simple sentence she would understand. Wanted so badly to have something he could not name and didn't know where to look.
"It's your birthday. I wanted to take you out."
"In Diagon? Since when do you come here for celebrations?"
"We came here….here…," He was at a loss to remember the last time he had sat over a bowl of stew at the Leaky Cauldron and felt like a fool with her sitting there waiting for an answer. "When I was young my mother brought me here at the beginning of each term for tea."
"I see." Asteria pushed her bowl away, a look of disgust on her face.
"Order something else if you don't care for it." Draco looked over his shoulder and waved a waitress to the table. Telling her to remove the dish and bring a menu, he turned back to see Asteria still watching him intently. "Something wrong?"
"I don't know. Why don't you tell me?"
Now it was his turn to shift uncomfortably in his seat and feign interest in his quickly cooling meal. "You're right. This really is terrible."
"I know, give me a minute." he sighed and waited until he could form the sentence in his own mind before spilling out what he had never said aloud before. "The business isn't doing well."
Malfoy Enterprises was to have been his contribution to the family vaults. It was his way of making a statement that he could do more than sit on his arse and verify the accumulation of interest on his monthly statements or cash dividend checks from the foreign corporations he had invested in. Malfoy Enterprises was his way of shedding the stigma of do nothing purebloods getting richer without lifting a finger.
Already he had hired a staff of twenty- five and once hoped to add more. However, he had been unable to convince the local shop owner's that his import-export business could supply what they needed. Rather, he could not get them to see beyond the Malfoy name. Even the promise of ancient carpets from Persia, scrolls from Alexandria's library or magicked household items had not swayed them.
He thought of Mira, his sales representative, who was supporting two children, of Hank whose wife was laid up in a private hospital still fighting the after effects of the war, of the house payments and rents that would go unpaid if he tossed it in and quit.
"I'm sorry," she whispered, reaching across the table and resting her hand on his. "Why didn't you say something?"
"You shouldn't concern your self with…"
"Stop that. I want to know about you, especially if it is something that bothers you. Can I help?"
"You do," he said automatically. "Just knowing you are taking care of the house and …."
"Draco, I said stop. I know it's important to you."
"It doesn't matter," he said lightly. "It was only something to fill in time anyway. I enjoy the hobby of it."
She began to gather up her handbag and robes as she grinned at him. "Take me home. I know a better way to celebrate my birthday and make you forget work."
"Will it get my head out of the office? I am afraid I have not been very good company as of late."
"Oh, I can think of someplace else I want your head," she whispered, her voice taking on a timbre that Draco recognised well.
Draco was still amazed that Asteria had not only married him but that she wanted him in a way no other woman ever had. Each morning he would lean over the bed and kiss her, careful not to wake her, in awe that this person, this perfect witch, loved him unconditionally. Never had he expected anything more that a subservient wife, not this…not this unrestricted and absolute perfection that he had the right to call his.
He still found himself holding his breath when she walked into the room, or looking at the clock and wondering where she was when she did not. The way she had sat at the vanity preparing for the night out, pulling her housedress closed over her nakedness, a shy bush crawling up her neck, had almost been his undoing today, as it did every time he watched her. He saw her now as he had the first time he had seen her, and had seen her this way every day of the last five years of his life.
"They have rooms here." Draco was glad that his words had their intended effect as he watched her throat heat red and her eyes lock on his. "Wait. Let me get one."
They didn't make it to the second floor before Draco had her pinned to the wall. His mouth sucked at the spot on her neck that he knew would spur her on even quicker, his hands rediscovering every curve and nuance of her body. As her hand slid down the front of his trousers, he choked something unintelligible and dragged her up the stairs and into the room in a rush of adrenalin and testosterone.
In the morning, she ordered a pot of tea sent up from the kitchen and requested that they send out for his favourite scones, knowing that he would not eat unless it was already in front of him. Once the tray with tea, scones, and eggs arrived, she climbed back in bed and woke him the way he always enjoyed.
"What did I do to deserve you?" he whispered later, still panting from his exertions.
"You loved me," she said simply, kissing him full on the mouth before she swung her legs off the edge of the bed. "Eat. Everything is ready and I have to shower. Someone got me all sweaty."
"Do you want company?"
"No," she laughed and swatted him with her pillow. "I have a tea I have to attend. You remember. It's that fund raiser for St. Mungo's?"
"There is a blank cheque in my trouser pocket." He waved his hand at the floor where his trousers still lay.
She stood and began gathering up her clothes from the floor, tossing Draco's to the foot of the bed. "I enjoyed my birthday."
"I didn't know what to get you. Sorry, but I thought if you came with me you could pick out what you wanted. I guess it is the lazy way out."
"It was fine, really it was. The cloak is gorgeous."
"Ah, I know that tone. Now spill, what did you really want?" He chuckled, thinking that a trip to the jewellers was on her list.
"A divorce," she said lightly as she disappeared into the shower.