Daddy's Little Girl
When his daughter's biological father returns, wanting a place in her life, Draco Malfoy begins to question his own place in her heart.
He misses her first smile. Her first laugh. Her first steps and her first words.
He misses her first birthday and her first Christmas.
He misses the growth of her first tooth and her first haircut.
He misses her first story time.
He misses a lot of things, things he will never get to experience with her ever again – and he will always feel bad about that, so he makes a vow to always be there for her no matter what.
He falls in love with her at first sight when she's 3 years old; it's hard not to, considering she is her mother's daughter through-and-through.
She calls him "Daddy" on her 4th birthday, seven months after he meets her.
He buys her her first "real" book. (And on her 9th birthday, he buys her her first broom.)
On their first Christmas together, he kisses her mother under the mistletoe and then he kisses her too.
He fixes her first skinned-knee and she cries until he kisses it better.
He is the horse to her princess and he goes to her tea parties and he carries her on his shoulders when they go for walks so she can she can see what he sees. (And little does she know that he only wishes he could see things the way she does.)
He gets down on one knee and proposes to her and her mother – and they both say yes.
When she's six, they tell her she's going to have a little brother or sister and he holds her for four hours while she cries – because he isn't her real daddy and the new baby will be his real one. (He tells her that having another child will never change anything because he'll love her just the same.)
He goes to every one of her football games – even though he doesn't understand the rules – and he practices with her in the front yard after work.
He bakes with her every Sunday and once a month they go to the ice cream parlor down the street.
He tells her she isn't allowed to date until she's 35 and is overjoyed when she agrees.
He's spent hours with her in the safe confines of her blanket fortresses, telling stories, listening to stories and wishing she could stay like this forever.
He's there when she receives her Hogwarts Letter on her 11th birthday and the four of them go to Diagon Alley that afternoon. (And he spoils her rotten despite her mother's modest protests.)
He nearly cries when she blows him kisses out the window of the Hogwarts Express. (And he frames her first letter home and hangs it in the bedroom.)
He nearly has a heart attack when she comes home for Christmas during second year, announcing she has a crush on a boy – and an older one at that.
When she suffers her first heartbreak at the age of 15, at the hands of the boy of her 12-year-old dreams, he brushes back her messy hair, wipes away her tears and calls for her mother to find him his wand. (And he's the proudest father in the world when she suffers another heartbreak two years later and she tells him all the ways she hexed her ex-boyfriend.)
He's even prouder when she graduates from Hogwarts with top marks – just like her mother.
She isn't his biological daughter, but she's still his little girl. His angel. His Rose Weasley-Malfoy.
Draco Malfoy stares down the man before him, his fists clenched at his sides, with a new found hatred, ignoring the fact that his eyes are the same shade of blue as his daughter's. Ronald Weasley. He feels sick. And angry. And confused. But most of all he feels protective – fiercely-so. Protective of his little girl – who isn't so little, at the age of 18 now – who's world is about to be turned upside down.
He takes a step forward and raises his fist, blinded by pure rage as it courses through his veins – but a small, delicate hand on his chest stops him. He glances down at his wife standing before him, still wearing her work clothes. She shakes her head, silently telling him to control himself, though he can see the conflict in her wide, brown eyes. He looks back at the man across the room, standing by the fireplace like he can't decide whether or not he wants to bolt – again. "What are you doing here?" he growls.
"I came to speak to Hermione," Ron says. "I've already told her-"
"You are in no position to play games with me, Weasley. What do you want?"
"Draco," Hermione whispers.
Ron sighs. "I was hoping I could see Rose."
"She isn't here."
"I can see that."
"Ron, perhaps now isn't a good time," Hermione says softly.
"Then when is a good time, Hermione?"
"I just...I'm not sure springing this on her is a good idea. I think maybe I should talk to her about it first, let her think about it."
Draco looks between his wife and his former – and current – enemy, his brow furrowed. "Talk to her about what – think about what?"
Hermione looks up at him, her eyes soft and already apologetic. "Ron wants to see her-"
"Yeah, I gathered that," he mutters impatiently.
"-and then he hopes to become a part of her life."
Draco blinks and falls back. It feels like she's just punched him in the chest. This is the moment he's been dreading for years, ever since Rose had claimed him as her Daddy. This is the moment he's feared more than anything else. "No," he says instinctively. "No, it's not gonna happen."
"It isn't up to you, Malfoy," Ron says.
"The hell it isn't up to me," Draco growls, taking another step forward only to be held back by Hermione's small frame.
"I'm her father-"
"I'm her father!" the blond bellows angrily. "You lost your claim on her the second you walked out on her."
"Draco," Hermione calls to him softly, soothingly.
"You can't be seriously thinking about this, Hermione," he scoffs, looking down at her disbelievingly. "He abandoned you – he left you alone with a two month old baby. He abandoned his only child-"
"I know that, but-"
"Then but what? How can you-"
"Because it isn't our decision, Draco," she says softly. "She's 18 now... She has the right to make her own decisions and if we make this decision for her, without talking to her about it – without, at least, telling her about it she would never forgive us."
He blinks, looking down at her silently, letting her words soak in. She's right. He knows she's right. And he hates that she's right.
[One week later]
He's always loved the fact that Rose had inherited her mother's heart as well her brains. The way she cares for all living things, from the ants that used to find their way into her sandbox to the homeless person she buys food for every Friday outside the library. The way she's always there when you need her or if you just want to talk about your day. The way she cares more about other people's feelings than of her own. The way she's adopted her mother's views on S.P.E.W.
Today, however, he wishes she weren't so forgiving.
He looks at his daughter – all grown up and beautiful, a mirror image of her gorgeous mother – and he can't look away. She's standing in front of the mirror in the front hallway, checking her reflection for perfection. Just last week she did the exact same thing before going out in a date – and suddenly he wishes she were going on a date, which is something he never thought he'd think.
"Mum, have you seen my white ballet flats?"
"They're in your room, sweets," Hermione tells her.
Without another word, Rose disappears up the stairs and, as if on cue, the doorbell rings.
"I'll get it," Hermione says before he can react. She moves towards the front door and pulls it open, greeting Weasley with a warm, decent smile. "Hi Ron."
"Morning. Is she ready?"
"Ready!" Rose announces, bounding down the stairs.
The only thing, he swears, that gets him through the rest of the day is the fact that she throws herself into his arms and kisses him goodbye before she leaves for lunch. "Bye Daddy."
[Two weeks later]
"You're not going to lose her."
Draco whirls around in the doorway to face his wife. "How long have you been standing there?"
"Long enough to know what's going through your head," she says softly, crossing the small kitchen to curl her arm around his waist as they both turn back to look out the door.
The Weasleys, Potters and Malfoys have all gathered at the Burrow for lunch this Sunday afternoon; including Ronald Weasley. Everyone is outside, enjoying the warm weather and the bright sun in the yard. Many of the older children are playing pick-up Quidditch, while some of the younger children are running around doing their own things. But it's only one child who has his attention, currently, and one adult. Rose and Weasley.
More specifically it's their interactions that have captured his attention. Over the last couple of weeks, the two have become quite close and Draco's been on edge – and incredibly moody ever since.
He watches through the old, rickety screen door as Rose laughs at something the Weasel says. And perhaps if he weren't so bloody put off by it he'd be able to relish in the beautiful sound.
"I'll say it again, then. You're not going to lose her," Hermione murmurs.
"You don't know that."
"Wha-yes, I do," she insists, looking up at him as she rests her chin on his shoulder. "You're her father, Draco-"
"So is he," he mutters. "Hell, he's actually related to her."
"But you raised her," she whispers. "You were there for her when she was growing up. You were there for her when she needed you the most. She's never going to forget that. You will always be her daddy."
"So will he."
Hermione sighs. "Draco-"
"You know it's true, Hermione," he says, turning away from the sight of his precious girl getting along so well with her real father. "He's her real father – her biological father."
"Just because he's her biological father, it doesn't mean he's any more real than you are."
"They have a bond, Granger. One that I'll never have with her," he mutters.
"Yes, well, there's that. But you and Rose also have a connection that Ron with never with her," she points out.
"And what's that?" he asks skeptically, looking down at her with a sort of confused, hopeful glint in his eyes.
"You have her entire childhood, Draco," she explains. "You were her whole world, once upon a time, just like every father is their little girl's world until she discovers the rest of it. You are the first man she loved; you're the one she compares all of her boyfriends to, just like every little girl who loves her daddy." She pauses, pushing herself up onto the tips of her toes to plant a chaste kiss on his firm, thin lips. "You won't lose her, Luv. I promise."
Draco looks over in the direction of where her voice is coming from and he smiles. She's standing with her younger brother, waving him over. Her eyes are twinkling and her smile is sparkling – and she looks so...happy. "Yes, daughter?"
"Stop being a party-pooper and come outside," she demands sweetly.
He chuckles, shaking his head as Hermione takes his hand and pulls him along. "Yes, daughter."
[Three days later]
He hears his office door open and close and then the sound of soft footsteps before her voice breaks the silence in the room. "Dad. Daddy."
"What, Rose-pose?" he asks gently without looking up from his desk.
She laughs, sitting down in one of the chairs – her chair, she'd claimed when she was five years old. "Have I ever told you how much I love that you're the only one who calls me Rose-pose?"
He smirks. "Nope, never."
"Put your quill down and pay attention," she demands softly. They both laugh, remembering the first time she'd made that very first demand. (She was 4 years old and had told him that when she came into his office to talk she wanted him to listen; he had told her that any time she sat in that chair, he'd give her his undivided attention. Sometimes he'd even let her sit on his lap, give her a quill of her own, dye an extra ink pot pink and give her some scrap pieces of parchment so she could "help him work.")
He does as he's told, looking up at her as he places his quill on the desk. She looks so much like the little
girl who used to come find him when she was bored – and yet she's all grown up, isn't she? "What's wrong?"
"It's not what's wrong with me, it's what's wrong with you."
"Me? Nothing's wrong with me."
"Daddy, I know you better than that," she tells him, giving him a pointed look. "You know that...just because Ronald is back in my life...it doesn't make you any less of my father, right?"
He blinks, taken aback. "I... Yeah, I know," he replies, albeit not very convincingly.
She smiles, leaning forward. "You know what makes you the best daddy in the world?"
"No...what?" he asks, leaning back as he folds his arms over his chest.
"The fact that you chose me," she whispers. "You chose me, Daddy. You didn't have to love me, but you did-"
"I do, Rosie. I do love you."
"I know you do. And I love you, you know that right?"
"Yeah..." he murmurs, smiling tenderly. "Yeah, baby girl, I know."
"That's why you're the best dad in the world, Daddy," she says, reaching her arm across the top of his desk, silently asking for his hand. He takes her smaller hand into his larger one and rubs the pad of his thumb over her soft, smooth skin. "Not everybody gets to say that their father chose to love them, but I do. I wasn't your responsibility and I wasn't your child but that had never mattered to you; you treated me like I was your own. I was never your step daughter or your wife's daughter, I was just your daughter."
He smiles, looking down at their clasped hands.
"Ron is my father by blood. He gave me life, but that's all he's given me – until now. But you gave me the whole world. You gave me everything and you loved me."
He sighs. "Rosie, he loved you too...I just don't think he was ready. He had to have loved you, otherwise he wouldn't have come back for you."
She smiles softly, squeezing his hand. "That must have been hard for you to say."
"You have no idea," he chuckles, shaking his head.
"Giving Ron a second chance is just...something I have to do."
"Well, you are your mother's daughter and second chances is her specialty. I should know," he smirks.
She giggles. "I'm also your daughter. You won't lose me, Daddy."
She slips her free hand across the desk and offers him her pinky. He curls his own pinky around hers and brings both their hands up to his lips, kissing his hand. She laughs and does the same.
"I love you, Daddy."
"I love you more, Rose-pose."