Warning: date() [function.date]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /home/draco3/public_html/modules/displayword/displayword.php on line 77
Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home/draco3/public_html/modules/displayword/displayword.php:77) in /home/draco3/public_html/modules/displayword/displayword.php on line 77
A Fresh Start by Erica T
This is the first multi-chapter fic I've submitted to Fire and Ice, I've done some editing on it, so I hope I've caught any issues.
1. Chapter 1 by Erica T
2. Chapter 2 by Erica T
Harry Potter is not mine. I just like to take the characters out to play once in a while.
“Potter Marriage Busts!”
“From The Boy Who Lived to the Man who Philanders?”
“Weasley Family Outraged!”
Draco Malfoy smirked and tossed the latest edition of the Daily Prophet down onto the table.
“Extra, extra, read all about it.” He muttered to himself, and poured a glass of Firewhisky. In the years since they had all graduated from Hogwarts, he had found that his intense hatred of Harry Potter had diminished down to a mere annoyance at the spectacled git, at how easy everything was for him. Everyone knew that he had been handed a job as an Auror, practically before he’d even graduated. His wife should have been gift wrapped, again given to him the moment she graduated herself. Even his house had been given to him.
Everyone else had to work for everything they had, even Draco, himself. After the war, with Malfoy Manor practically in ruins, his parents had left the Wizarding world. They had left all of the Malfoy fortune for him to dispense or disperse as he saw fit. He hadn’t wanted any of it, for the same reasons that they didn’t. It was too much of a reminder of how wrong they had been. He donated several properties to the rebuilding effort, made into Healing Clinics, or Relief Centres. The rebuilt Manor was now home to the many children who had been orphaned in the war, an act that he was particularly proud of. The only house he retained was the townhouse in Wizarding London. He divided the fortune and dispensed it where it was most useful, keeping only what he felt he needed to survive until he was able to find employment.
That had been the real trial. Despite having the Malfoy name officially cleared, and all of the good he was doing in their world, nobody wanted to employ him. ‘Too risky’, they would murmur when they thought he wasn’t in earshot, ‘not worth the chance.’ In hindsight he didn’t really blame them, but at the time he had been angry enough to explode.
The only person who would give him a chance was Harry bloody Potter. The git had taken pity on him, after finding him in a bar one night getting pissed, and had gotten him a job as an Auror. It made a weird kind of sense. After all, he did have the grades, and he had the battle experience on his side. The only thing against him was his last name, and Potter had made a damned good case about how that shouldn’t matter. The Ministry, not wanting to seem like they were discriminating, eventually yielded. The worst thing about it all was that he had been Harry bloody Potter’s partner for the last four years.
He knew the man better than he had ever wanted to know him, because the first thing they taught you in Auror training was that you had to be able to trust your partner implicitly. To do that, you needed to know everything about your partner, and they in turn needed to know everything about you. Right down to whether you fastened or zipped your pants first when you got dressed in the morning. That had been an extremely unreal conversation late one night on a stake out, a conversation that he dearly wished he could erase from his brain.
What was more, he knew the man’s wife. Ginevra Weasley, all grown up, and just as talented as any Auror, had chosen instead to become a professor at Hogwarts. She split her time between teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts, and Potions, of all things, and was the best professor to have taken either position since her own time at Hogwarts. She also held the honour of being the first professor in many years to teach the DADA subject for longer than a year.
Truth be told, he was not surprised about the divorce announcement. He knew, from having spent several uncomfortable dinners at Grimmauld Place ignoring the fact that they’d just had a row in the kitchen and were not speaking to each other, that all was not well in the Potter household. He also knew that the Prophet was grasping for a story when they called him a philanderer. The girl in the very fuzzy photograph was not a potential mistress, but, in fact, an informant of theirs. The reason he knew that was because, had the photograph been printed in its entirety, he would have seen himself standing on the other side of Potter.
But he did wonder what had pushed the envelope, so to speak. They fought terribly all the time. What had happened that was monumental enough to warrant such a major development?
If the steady banging on his front door was any indication, he was about to find out.
He heard the only remaining Malfoy house elf speaking to the visitor. From the light tones of the voice, he gathered that it was not Potter who had come calling, but his soon to be ex wife. He frowned. Not what he expected.
He put his drink down, went to the door of his study and pulled it open to see into the hallway.
She was dripping wet, evidently it was raining. She was also politely arguing with the house elf, who was obviously trying to convince her that he wasn’t seeing any visitors. Which he wasn’t, but, given the circumstances, he would make an exception. His curiosity was piqued.
“It’s alright Mazie, Mrs. Potter is welcome to come in. Why don’t you see to some dinner?” he told her. The elf turned to him and nodded enthusiastically, she always fretted when he didn’t eat properly, and she missed having guests to look after.
“Mazie will take Ma’am’s cloak for her,” the elf said, manoeuvering Ginny out of the sopping cloak before she could protest. She shrugged when the elf disappeared with it and pulled out her wand to perform a drying charm. When she was finished, she eyed him from where she was standing.
“I suppose you’ve seen today’s Prophet.” Ginny averted her gaze to a portrait hanging on the wall next to her.
“I have.” Draco leaned back against the doorjamb.
“Did you read the articles, or just the shocker headlines?” she asked.
“Does it matter? Both seem to convey the same information. I’m confused though, as to why you’re turning up on my doorstep, and not spending the evening surrounded by your ever loving family,” he answered.
“As much as I love my family, I don’t want to be smothered in well-intended sympathy. I won’t get sympathetic noises from you,” she said.
“Too true. Why don’t you come in? I was just having a drink, can I get you something?” he asked, gesturing vaguely behind him.
“I’ll just have some water if you don’t mind,” she said.
He led her back into the room he had just vacated, added another log to the fire he was burning and then busied himself at his drinks tray, pouring her some water from a pitcher and adding a slice of lemon and some ice. She took it gratefully and then seated herself on one of his cushy chairs in front of the fire.
He watched her stare into her glass for a moment then sat down opposite her after he freshened his Firewhisky.
“So, Weasley,” he started, his curiosity refusing to be ignored. “What exactly did Potter do to warrant divorce proceedings? I know that the story the Prophet is spinning is grasping at straws.” She smiled faintly at his words. He still called her Weasley all the time. Most of the time he did it to annoy Harry, but he also knew that she preferred it. She had never officially taken Harry’s name. She was Mrs. Potter to many, but professionally she was Professor Weasley.
She looked up at him, but the distance in her eyes told him she was looking right through him.
“I think we started our marriage headed for divorce,” she said.
“But true. All we’ve done for the last four years is fight. If we’re not having an all out row over something big, we’re needling each other about something little. And that’s the way we started out. Neither of us wanted the wedding that we had, I’d wanted a small family gathering, he wanted to elope, and we ended up with over 200 people attending the thing. I wanted to make my wedding dress; he wanted to buy me some cake topper like thing that cost more than my year’s salary. Our cake was two different flavours because we couldn’t agree on just one. Did you know that I didn’t want to live at Grimmauld Place? I wanted to find a place that was our own. But Harry wouldn’t give up the drafty, dank old place. I think somewhere between being teenagers in love and getting married, we became two very different people, but neither of us was prepared to be the one to stand up and say it.” She took a deep breath after she stopped talking.
“It’s hard to stand up against expectations. If you don’t have support, you can cave far too easily,” he said.
She smiled at him then, a genuine smile that finally lit up her face.
“I knew you were the best person to talk to right now. My mother, as wonderful as she is, would be trying to convince me not to be making such rash decisions. She’d tell me that everything would blow over and we’d make up in no time,” she said.
He smiled back at her, but there wasn’t really anything he could say to that, so he said nothing. She sighed then, and looked away, back into her water.
“But I suppose the real kicker was that I’m pregnant.”
Thanks to all for the lovely reviews! Here is chapter two.
Again: Harry Potter is not mine.
Draco blinked at her.
And then he blinked again.
“Excuse me?” he said finally.
“You heard me,” she said.
“You’re pregnant?” he asked, still feeling more than a little stunned.
“Yes.” The exasperation in her voice was obvious.
“Please tell me you’re divorcing Potter because you had an affair.”
She glared at him and crossed her arms across her chest.
“Why on earth would you want me to tell you that?” she asked, at once angry and incredulous.
“Because the alternative is that Potter kicked you out when you told him you were carrying his baby, and if he’s that kind of a man, I’ll have to punch him in the face on Monday. I don’t relish the broken hand I’ll get out of it.”
She laughed then, a proper full blown belly laugh. He stared at her in disbelief, which only led her to laugh harder for a few moments, before she got a hold of herself and became serious again. Though the smile was still tugging at her lips.
“He didn’t kick me out, per se; I just didn’t want to spend another minute in that damned house with him. But if you want to punch him, I won’t tell you not to.”
“So what happened? I thought Perfect Potter wanted to have himself a perfect family.”
“Yeah, you and the rest of the world, it seems. I know better. The truth of it is he knows what it’s like to grow up without parents. And, given the fact that he chose one of the most dangerous professions that a wizard can choose, he knows the risks of him not coming back from a mission are very high. He doesn’t want to be responsible for putting a child through even a small bit of what he went through. And he was very emphatic about that,” she said.
“So how did…?” He floundered for words, trying to find a way to word the question without sounding like a buffoon. He needn’t have worried.
“This happen? We got horribly drunk one night a month or so ago. Drunk enough to remember that we used to love each other once, and since we hadn’t even slept in the same room in months, I’d stopped taking my potion.” As an afterthought, she added, “That was a thoroughly embarrassing morning; I should have taken that as a sign and started the paperwork then.”
“And…how do you feel about this development?” he asked, trying to phrase it delicately, but still sounding blunt to his ears. She raised her eyebrows and thought for a second.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I only confirmed it yesterday. I guess… As a teenager, when I pictured my future, children were always part of it. After all, with a family like mine, how could they not be? So when Harry actually got around to telling me that he didn’t want children, you can bet I was disappointed. But, we’d just gotten married; we were still young and getting started. So, in the back of my mind, I also thought that if we gave it a few years for our careers to be established and start carving out a life for ourselves, maybe he’d change his mind. Nothing is ever permanent, you know? Now, I think that I’m happy about it, just not happy about the way it all turned out. I certainly wasn’t expecting what I got.” She frowned down at her hands, clearly thinking about what was probably the last time she spoke to her husband.
“What happened?” he asked.
“The short answer is we fought. The long answer… well, I think if it weren’t for the wards and the fact that Harry is an Auror, someone might have called in a domestic disturbance. It was by far the loudest, most vicious fight we’ve ever had. He accused me of having an affair at first, but after I berated him for a while at the top of my lungs, I explained the math to him and he dropped that idea pretty quickly. Then he just started shouting at me that he specifically did not want children ever, and how could I do this to him, I should have been more careful, blah, blah, blah. I screamed something obscene that I won’t repeat, told him I was filing for divorce and that I was leaving. Which I did, and, of course, some clerk at the Ministry blabbed to the Prophet before I even left the building. I ended up spending some hours dodging a few other reporters in Diagon Alley, and now I’m here. Thank you, by the way, for letting me in.” She pulled her gaze up to his face again when she finished talking, smiling faintly.
“It’s hardly a problem. It’s not like I get many visitors. And besides, I suppose you’re a friend.”
She cracked another grin at him.
“Suppose? Well, coming from the great Draco Malfoy, I guess that’s something. I suppose you’re a friend too. Apparently you’re a good one, given what I’ve just unloaded on you this evening.”
“What are you going to do now?”
“I’m not sure. I’m keeping this baby, but I’m definitely not going back to Grimmauld. I don’t particularly want to go to the Burrow tonight, because I know what’s waiting for me there. I could Floo Luna and see if she can put me up, she keeps odd hours though, I don’t know if I’d get a hold of her. I do have quarters at Hogwarts I can go stay in, classes are out for the summer hols, but Minerva wouldn’t mind the company. But Harry will have sent all my things to the Burrow, of course, the rat.” She was musing out loud, of course, but the way she was speaking struck some chord in him, a chord that brought out the lessons in being a gentleman that he’d learned from his mother when he was much younger.
Hours spent at her knee learning about things like; pulling out chairs, opening doors and never striking a woman, just for starters.
It was the memory of his mother’s lessons spurring his next words, even though he was sure he would probably regret it at some later point.
“You could stay here. At least, you could stay for the night. I have the room. There are clothes here that I’m sure would fit you, my mother left most of her wardrobe when they left the country. Tomorrow if you’re up to it, I’ll go with you to get your things, wherever they are. You can decide what to do from there,” he said.
The look she gave him was unreadable, and she treated him to silence for a few beats.
“That’s being awfully nice, Malfoy. Even to someone that you ‘suppose’ is a friend. No offence meant, but being an Auror notwithstanding, you’re still a cunning Slytherin at heart. What’s in it for you?” she asked him bluntly.
“No offence taken. To tell the truth, I’m not even sure I know why I’m offering. The masses would probably assume I have some complicated ulterior motive involving some kind of revenge plot against Potter.” He grinned wickedly at her. “But that would involve too much effort on my part to plan. You need a place to stay, even if just for a night, and I happen to have space to spare. Call it convenience. I guess I could also use the company.”
She raised an eyebrow at him.
“I’m not exactly a social butterfly, Weasley. Amazingly, you and Potter are about the only people I can stand to talk to anymore.”
“I suppose that’s meant to be a compliment.” She did an admirable impression of his smirk.
“Not really, but you can take it that way if you like.”
The smirk turned into a grin for a moment, but then she considered him seriously for a few moments, evidently considering the available options.
“Well, if it’s not going to put you out, then I’d appreciate it. Just for the night. Tomorrow I’ll have a better idea of where things stand,” she said.
“Great, I’ll have Mazie make up one of the bedrooms for you and find something for you to sleep in. Dinner’s probably just about ready to be served; you’re welcome to join me if you’re hungry.”
She grinned again at the mention of dinner.
“I’m absolutely famished! Thank you!” she exclaimed, jumping from her seat.
His mouth twitched in amusement, and he rose as well, allowing her to precede him into his dining room.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.