Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, that right belongs to J. K. Rowling. I'm just playing with her characters. Please note that this is purely fiction and none of the contents are real. This fiction is created based solely on the imagination of the author and for non-profitable purpose. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED.
Title: Mending White Picket Fences
Gift For: Dani
Beta: Dec and Kay
Rating: R (for mild swearing and sexual innuendos)
Pairings: Draco/Harry and some mixed side pairings of Slytherin/Gryffindor couples
Warnings: slash: male/male, slight angst, fluff, mild swearing and sexual innuendos, AR/AU
Summary: Two years have passed since Molly Weasley and Lucius Malfoy died in the final battle. Arthur and Narcissa, due to the strength of the support group they joined shortly after their spouses died, have moved on, and have found love in each other. Their wedding is scheduled for next summer when Ginny, Draco and Ron graduate but they both realise that between now and then, some things will have to change. To help ease the two family's transition from friends to family they are spending the holiday together. Now Draco's forced to spend his Christmas with a bunch of redheads and an annoying flirt of a saviour who just won't let Draco out of his sight.
A/N: This is my first attempt at writing a HP fanfiction, please be gentle. Thanks to bootsy_mine from LiveJournal for letting me adopt and use this plunny. This is a gift written for Dani for the first Secret Santa Fic Exchange at Kamerreon's Yahoo group. Thanks to Dec and and Mistress Kay for your patience and for making this story coherent and presentable. Happy Holidays!
Draco Malfoy blinked. He knew he looked stupid, but he couldn't comprehend the image in front of him. He shook his head, trying to dispel his thoughts. Not that it would do him any good, but maybe, just maybe, if he denied it hard enough, the disturbing image of his mum locked in a passionate kiss with Arthur Weasley in their Floo chamber would hopefully disappear. He rubbed his eyes, until his eyelids protested under the strain he had subjected them to.
I'm sleepwalking, yeah, maybe that's it, Draco thought as he took three deep, calming breaths. I'm sleepwalking and when I open my eyes, I'll be back in bed and waking up from this nightmare.
But Draco had never been a sleepwalker, and the nightmare was still playing in front of him. Albeit the kissing had stopped — probably due to them noticing his presence — but the sheepish smile on the older Weasley's face and his mum's blush were enough to trigger his traumatised mind to replay the kiss, in full detail.
"Draco," his mum said, acknowledging him before turning her attention back to her companion. "I believe you've met Arthur before."
Draco cleared his throat. "Yes, I've met Mr. Weasley before. How are Ronald and Ginevra?"
Arthur Weasley's face lit up at his inquiry, relief evident in his reply. "They're fine. They're at the Burrow waiting for Harry and Hermione to arrive. It was nice of you to ask about them."
Draco nodded and looked at his mum, silently demanding an explanation.
She nodded. "There's something I need to tell you. I think it would be better if we move this to the sitting room."
"I'll join you in a minute," Draco replied as his mum and Arthur made their way to the door. She smiled at him before accompanying Arthur out of the chamber.
"Sully!" Draco yelled.
A house-elf wearing a green apron popped beside him. "Master Draco is needing something?"
"Firewhisky," he replied.
The house-elf popped out to get the drink and appeared a second later. Draco downed the liquid in two gulps and took a deep breath as the concoction calmed his stomach. He looked at the spot where his mum and Mr. Weasley had been kissing earlier, and ordered the house-elf to bring a bottle of Ogden to the sitting room. Something told him that the alcohol would help ease his reaction to whatever news his mother was about to announce.
Even after everything Draco had experienced during the war, nothing, and he meant nothing, could have prepared him for the news his mum had just announced. He blindly reached for the glass of Ogden his mum offered him and swallowed its contents in one gulp.
This is just a bad dream, a nightmare. It's not happening. It's not really happening
This is just a bad dream, a nightmare. It's not happening. It's not really happening. Draco glanced up from his empty glass, to find two faces peering at him with concern. Unfortunately, one belonged to Arthur Weasley. Great! This was just perfect! Draco groaned. So much for it being a nightmare. He'd never had much luck before, and after being shot down twice it had only strengthened his belief that Lady Luck would never favour him.
"Are you all right, Draco?" Narcissa asked; her voice was so low that Draco instantly knew she was anxious to know his reaction.
Serves her right. Draco snorted. He didn't want to answer her question but one look at her worried face was enough to melt his resolve. Draco let out a sigh. Whom was he kidding? He couldn't be angry with the only other remaining Malfoy.
Draco rose from his chair. "I'm fine. As fine as I can be after I've just learned my mum is dating my schoolyard nemesis's adopted father. Don't mind me, though. Go ahead with your holiday. I'm sure you'll enjoy it."
"Draco," his mum said, her voice laced with warning.
"Actually, we thought it would be better if we all spent the holidays together. Spend Christmas and New Year's at my house, or anywhere you children would prefer."
All pretences were forgotten as Draco's eyes widened in an 'are-you-fucking-kidding-me?' expression. Satisfaction rushed through him when Arthur's smile faltered. However, his victory was short lived as his mother, Slytherin that she was, answered for them.
"I think it's a wonderful idea, Arthur." Narcissa squeezed Mr. Weasley's left arm and stared at Draco, who glared back at his mother stubbornly. "Don't you think so, Draco?"
"Maybe." Draco shrugged; he knew that when his mum made up her mind there's no swaying her. She was, after all, the woman who betrayed the Dark Lord in order to save her only son. "I'll let you know if I can join you."
"Oh, I didn't realise you had other plans," Arthur said apologetically.
"I'm sure Draco can find the time to fit us into his schedule," his mum assured Arthur, which translated into, 'Cancel your plans, and join us. End of discussion.'
Draco turned around to hide his smile. He knew she'd won, but he'd be damned before he let the older Weasley know it. "I'll see what I can do."
Draco winced at Pansy Parkinson's excited greeting as she entered the Muggle restaurant where he'd been waiting for the rest of his friends to arrive. As usual, Theodore Nott had been the first to arrive after him. He rolled his eyes at Theo before turning to face Pansy and was surprised when she pulled him into a tight hug. He heard a snigger and rolled his eyes at Pansy's companion.
Ron Weasley smirked at Draco. "Hello, ferret. Theo."
"Weasel," he acknowledged and then yelped when Pansy pinched him.
"Play nice," Pansy warned. Ron sniggers were abruptly cut off when Pansy turned her glare on him. "That includes you, Ron."
"Wow! You've trained him really well, Pansy," Ginny Weasley remarked from behind them while her boyfriend, Blaise Zabini, looked at the three of them with amusement, the palm of his left hand resting on top of Ginny's right hip.
"I can say the same for you, Ginevra," Pansy replied while exchanging air kisses with Ginny. "Mentions of Blaise's name on the grapevine have lessened since his getting together with you."
"What can I say? Redheads have a certain charm, especially those whose name ends with Weasley. Right, Pansy?" Blaise winked at Draco. "You should snag one for your own, Draco; your life would be much better."
Draco snorted at Blaise. "No thank you. I have my own preference."
"Right," Theo agreed. "He prefers raven black hair that resembles a bird's nest."
"And myopic green eyes behind boring, circular glasses," Ginny continued, a huge smirk on her face.
"Sounds like Harry, don't you think?" Ron asked, eyes twinkling in mischief.
"What sounds like me?"
Draco jumped up from his chair when he recognised the familiar voice, and stared at Harry Potter, hoping that Potter hadn't heard anything that had been said a few moments before.
Draco's breath caught in his throat when he realised how close he was to the Boy-Who-Grew-Up-To-Be-A-Flirt, took a step back, and lost his footing. Potter's right hand automatically grabbed his arm to prevent him from falling backward.
"Easy there, I got you," Potter said as he helped Draco regain his balance. Draco's breath hitched from the touch.
"Are you all right?" Potter asked, his brow furrowing in concern. Someone clearing their throat reminded Draco that he hadn't answered Potter's question yet and that they had company.
"I'm fine," Draco replied. He diverted his attention to the people behind Potter and greeted them. "Granger, Longbottom, Lovegood."
Hermione Granger rolled her eyes in exasperation before sitting beside Theo. "Really, Draco! Would it kill you to call us by our first names?"
"Considering that my ego suffered a major backlash when I defected to your side, the answer is yes, Granger, it might," Draco retorted before turning to greet Neville and Luna. "So nice of you to join us."
"Hope you don't mind," Neville replied shyly. "Harry and Hermione were visiting Luna when Theo's invitation arrived. Hermione said Theo wouldn't mind us tagging along. We didn't realise everyone's here."
Draco silently cursed Theo and pointedly glared at his friend. Theo just flashed him a smug grin. "Of course Theo won't mind, since he's not the one who's paying for lunch."
Everyone stopped chattering, the non-Slytherin half of the group trading awkward and confused glances with their Slytherin counterparts. With the exception of Longbottom, Lovegood and Potter – who, for the lack of good sense, decided to divert a questioning glance at Draco.
"I was the one who extended the invitation for lunch. I should have known that Gryffindor traits were contagious and that they'd extend the invitation with their other halves making this an impromptu get together," Draco explained. "But don't mind me; I'm just the grouchy tagalong who'll be paying for lunch. So take a seat and get ready to order."
Potter laughed at Draco's monologue while everyone remained silent, making Draco roll his eyes. "I was joking, can't I make a joke without the Weasel, or anyone not from Slytherin thinking I'm serious? I'm disappointed in you, Pansy, Blaise, Theo. Those Slytherin traits of yours should have rubbed off by now."
"Unfortunately, Draco dear, you're humour is lost on everyone. Except for Potter that is," Pansy teased.
Draco's eyes narrowed in irritation at Pansy's remark. "Whatever." He beckoned a server to bring them menus.
While everyone was placing their orders, Draco looked at the mixed group of couples in front of him. He had never thought that a day would come when he'd be dining with two Weasleys, Longbottom, Lovegood, Granger, and Potter.
Though he would never admit it, even under the pain of death, this scenario had crossed his mind when he had defected to the light side, after the incident at the Manor when he decided not to give away Potter's identity to his father and Aunt Bellatrix. He should have known that it was a possibility.
Draco felt a corner of his lips curve up into a half smile as he remembered the surprise on Longbottom's face when he had healed him from the Carrows' punishment when they returned to the school after the Christmas holidays. Draco had helped Longbottom and the Weaselette, since Lovegood had still been hiding at Bill Weasley's residence, by giving them useful potions and healing them after their encounters with Crabbe and Goyle. And he had sometimes even acted as their guard when they had tried to break in to the Carrows' rooms.
Of course, his help had not been welcomed at first. The Weaselette had even wanted him to test all the spells and potions he had offered them for three weeks before she had started trusting him. So when Pansy, Theo, and Blaise found out, they had decided to help, trusting in Draco's decision and following him.
When Longbottom had decided to openly and fully rebel against the Carrows, Draco had been the one to feed them information about what was happening inside and outside the school. He had been there when Granger, Weasley, and Potter had arrived and explained the situation of the Horcruxes to Longbottom and the Weaselette, although he had been under a Disillusionment Spell. He had learned how he could finally help Potter rid the world of the psychopathic half-blood his father blindly followed.
Draco snorted when he remembered the expressions on Granger's, Weasley's, and Potter's faces when he had presented them with Helga Hufflepuff's cup. He had sworn that the Weasel had been torn between grabbing the cup from his hands and hexing him for giving them what they had almost died trying to steal from Gringotts.
Draco smirked. Who could forget the way that the Weasel had fainted when his sister and Longbottom had vouched for him?
"You okay, Draco?" Potter asked as he placed a hand on Draco's arm.
Draco subtly pulled his arm out from under Potter's hand. "I'm fine, just remembered something," Draco said, eyeing Potter warily.
"All right," Potter said, nodding and returning to his conversation with Ron, though Draco could tell by the timbre of his voice and the concern etched in his face that Potter did not believe him.
Draco frowned. Potter's behaviour after the war had puzzled him. He had expected Potter to ignore him after the trials. He had known that Potter would come to his defence because of his mother's help, and probably because Longbottom, Weaselette and Granger pressured him into doing it, but he had been proven wrong.
Potter had approached him after the trial and had asked — more like demanded — Draco's help in rebuilding Hogwarts, as payment for Draco's life debt when he had saved Draco from the Fiendfyre.
Draco still didn't know why he had agreed.
Rebuilding Hogwarts had taken a year. Two months into the building process, they had all come to an agreement to put the past behind them and mend the rift that had been caused by childhood follies.
A month after the truce, the Weasel and Granger broke up, stating they were better off as friends. And two weeks later, Longbottom and Lovegood had announced they were officially dating.
Potter and the Weaselette had never found the time to rekindle their relationship so Blaise had taken advantage of that. Blaise had pursued the Weaselette relentlessly and his hard work finally paid off when they had become a couple a few weeks later.
Of course, the shouting match and fight between Blaise and the Weasel after the announcement had been made would go down in Hogwarts: A History as the second best rumble the school had ever seen.
Ironically, the crown for best school rumble had gone to the Weasel and Potter, when the Weasel had found out that Granger had started dating Theo a month before the Christmas holidays. Weasel, being Weasel, hadn't understood, but Potter had showed an ounce of maturity for once and had taken Granger's side, telling the Weasel to fuck off and grow up.
The fight had landed them in the Hogwarts' infirmary for a week, where the Weasel had realised that Pansy looked good in a mediwitch assistant's uniform, and that being taken care of by a Slytherin, specifically Pansy, was not so bad. A month and a half later, the third Slytherin-Gryffindor couple had been formed. And the Weasel had had to bear a week's worth of teasing from the Weaselette and Granger.
Which had left Potter and Draco as the only single people in their group. Thus, making Draco uncomfortable because Potter had been flirting with him since the beginning of the term.
It's not that Draco wasn't interested. It's just that he thought that Potter was probably acting that way because he felt that he should, since almost all of his friends had already hooked up with someone. And since Draco was the only one left unattached, Potter had decided that he was the most logical choice. Not that Draco knew how Potter felt, because he sure as hell couldn't read minds, but Draco wasn't going to take any chances.
"So, Draco," Blaise started, catching Draco's attention, breaking him from his musings, "what's this meeting all about?"
Draco sighed. No use in prolonging the suspense. Although Draco had been hoping they'd talk about it after they had their lunch. When everyone's stuffed and wouldn't disagree since he had been gracious enough to pay for their lunch. But no! Blaise had to be a nosy prat and ruin his plans.
Draco subtly cast a Muffliato and a Notice-Me-Not Charm around them. Knowing the Weasel's temper, they would surely need it. "I need your help."
"We gathered as much," Theo piped in.
"As I was saying" — Draco glared at Theo —"I need your help. If you don't agree, or don't want to help, you're free to leave. Just promise me that whatever we talk about stays here."
Draco looked at his friends until he was satisfied that everyone understood the seriousness of the situation. "Arthur Weasley invited my mum and I to spend the Christmas holidays with his family. He and Mum are dating, and I want to use this as an opportunity to break them up. And I need your help."
"Are you fucking kidding me, ferret?" Ron shouted, his face red. "Please, tell me you're joking. You're joking, right?" Ron pleaded.
Draco knew he should feel smug that he had been able to reduce the Weasel to this state, but since he knew how painful it was — he felt a tiny bit of pity for Ron. "I'm afraid not. I saw them snogging in the Floor chamber last night."
The Weasel grimaced, as if he had eaten something rotten. "Ugh, thanks for the image, Malfoy. I didn't need that."
"From the sound of it, Arthur hasn't told you yet, and I know how you feel. That's why I want your help," Draco said before taking a sip of water.
"Why?" Ginny asked.
Draco looked at her in confusion. "Pardon?"
Ginny stared at Draco. "Why do you want to break them up?"
Draco's eyes widened in disbelief. "Because, Ginevra, it's preposterous! The idea of a Weasley and a Malfoy together is wrong! Our families have been feuding for as long as I can remember —"
"Really?" Ginny retorted. "I'm a Weasley and you're a Malfoy and we're getting along just fine. If we can be friends, why can't they date?"
"You don't understand —"
"Damn right, I don't!" Ginny yelled. "And I won't listen to your petty excuses, Draco, when I know you're going to destroy something beautiful."
"Wait!" Ron pointed an accusing finger at his sister. "You knew about this and you didn't tell me?"
"Yes I did," Ginny replied, glaring at Ron. "Because unlike some people, I do visit Dad."
Ron turned red with embarrassment. "That's not the issue here!"
"You're right, it's not." Ginny took a deep breath. "Look, you weren't there when Dad finally broke down after Mom died." Ginny closed her eyes as if remembering when her mum had stepped in front of their father to protect him from the Avada Kedavra Crabbe Sr. cast.
"I was there and I saw how lost and guilty he felt, even after he reluctantly gave in and joined the support group the Ministry had set up for those people who had lost loved ones during the war. He was part of Andromeda's group and it was good for him. He was starting to heal and smile again." Ginny smiled gratefully at Blaise when Blaise gave her right arm a gentle squeeze.
"At first I thought it was because of the support group. But when I saw Narcissa Malfoy sitting in the living room five months after Dad started his therapy, listening to Dad tell a story about the twins, I knew that the reason why Dad was finally healing was because of her."
She looked directly into Draco's eyes as if challenging him. "So yes, Draco, I don't understand why you want to destroy their relationship when it is so obvious you don't have a fucking clue how important this is for your mother."
Draco wanted to protest, but his voice caught in this throat. He understood what Ginny was saying, but his pureblood upbringing kept telling him it's wrong.
"I won't tell them what happened here, but I do hope you won't do anything drastic. Just... give them a chance." Ginny's fingers clenched on the table as she stared at him, as if trying to make him see her side and agree with her. When he didn't reply, she sighed. "I'm sorry, Draco, but I think you're wrong. I have to go." Ginny stood from the table and made a few hasty goodbyes, leaving the restaurant with Blaise's arm wrapped around her.
One by one, Draco's friends slowly said their farewells, leaving him alone with Potter. Draco put on his coat and shoved his hands in the pockets as he left the restaurant.
What Ginny had said earlier made sense, but his stubbornness failed to make him see reason.
"Draco." Draco ignored Potter. He wanted Potter to just leave him alone. Leave him to his own devices and shove the comfort that he was offering up his arrogant arse, since they weren't close friends. But when Potter opened his arms, Draco could not help the vulnerability and guilt that welled up inside of him.
Draco sighed and walked into Potter's embrace, letting Potter rub soothing circles on his back and whisper words of comfort in his ear. Draco couldn't understand why he was letting Potter comfort him, but nothing between him and Potter had ever made sense, so he dismissed the thoughts from his mind and burrowed farther into the comforting warmth — and maybe, hopefully — after today, everything would finally be all right.