Sequel to Tears. It's been ten years and all he can think about are his mistakes. One-shot.
Categories: Completed Short Stories Characters:
D/G Offspring, Draco Malfoy, Ginny Weasley
OotP and belowEra:
Sep 19, 2006 Updated:
Sep 19, 2006
1. Mistakes by idreamofdraco
Mistakes by idreamofdraco
Author's Notes: This is the second part of the Tears trilogy. The last one will be up eventually, though I'm not quite sure when. Review if you like it! Thanks to Lyndsie Fenele for beta-ing. Any mistakes are from my own fiddling after I got the story back.~*~*~*~
Disclaimer: All characters, settings, and terminology belong to J.K. Rowling. I am just using them for my own fun and without profit. The poem is mine.
My past is full of regrets
Mistakes I never should’ve made
I should not have let fear guide me
Instead I should have stayed
You trusted me with mind
With body and with soul
I took that trust and broke it
Now I have to pay the toll
Every day that passes
Is one day closer to my death
If there’s one thing I need to say
Before my dying breath
It’s that my heart is breaking
And I know I’m in the wrong
So much time has gone since then
I haven’t seen you in so long
I know you don’t forgive me
For what happened in the past
I know I shouldn’t have left you
You’ve grown up way too fast
But if I can be forgiven
You’ll be loved just like before
The only “I can’t” you would hear is
I can’t live without you anymore
“Daddy, can I go play?” the little blonde girl asked her father.
“Yes, Charlotte, go ahead,” he replied. As she bounded away to play at the Muggle playground, Draco sat at an unoccupied bench, feeling as if his body would break. The sigh that escaped his mouth spoke of an age filled with subtle suffering and unhappiness. His daughter was the only ray of light in his days—in his life.
It had been a long ten years.
“Daddy, Daddy! Look at me!”
Draco searched among all the carefree kids running around the playground for Charlotte, and found her hanging upside down on the monkey bars. He waved to let her know he had seen her.
“Be careful, Charlotte!” he called, not sure what he would do if something ever happened to her. She untangled herself from the bars and fell to the ground, running off to some other danger.
Never had he thought he would be the fatherly type. As much as he had loved Ginny Weasley all those years ago, he had been too afraid he would turn out like his own father to marry her and help raise their child.
Oh, who was he kidding? He still loved Ginny more than anyone in the world. His heart still ached every morning when he remembered the choice he had made—a choice that had made him and his wife miserable from the start.
Of course Pansy had been happy to marry Draco, but once she saw that he did not love her and never planned to, she had become bitter and hateful. Bearing a child had not made her any more mild. She had wanted nothing to do with Charlotte since she was born. Draco was the one to love and raise her and he refused to hire someone to help with her. He was sure that Pansy went to other men—or at least, another man—for what he would not give her.
If he knew Ginny would take him, he would have searched for her by now. But no, he had heard rumors that she had left the wizarding world and he had no idea how to find her in Muggle Britain—if she was even in Britain. Oh, yeah, and there was the fact that as long as he was married to Pansy, she’d have nothing to do with him.
It was the biggest, most cowardly mistake he had ever made, and now he had to live with the consequences forever.
His head was in his hands when the girl tapped him on the shoulder. As soon as he looked up, he was mesmerized by the fairy-child before him. The girl was older than Charlotte by a year or two, with freckles dotted across her face and short flaming-red hair. She was small and pale despite the freckles, and Draco was afraid to touch her for fear of breaking her.
“Excuse me, sir? Do you own that little girl with curly blonde hair?”
“What?” Draco looked into the girl’s eyes and stopped breathing. He knew those eyes. He looked at them every morning in his bathroom mirror. Piercing, shrewd, silver. They were his eyes—only, they lacked the mistrust Draco had learned to live with as a child. This girl’s eyes were open, bright, and trusting.
He wanted to believe with every fiber of his being that this was his daughter, but he knew it was too much of a coincidence to possibly be true. He was afraid of his hopes crashing around his oblivious head if she were not.
“Sir? The little girl?” Draco snapped out of his thoughts to focus on her words. “She’s about this tall and has brown eyes? Is she yours?”
“Yes, my daughter—wait, what’s happened?” he asked in a panic as he stood from the park bench.
“She was running and she tripped over there.” The girl pointed somewhere around a large piece of play equipment. Draco was already rushing in the direction indicated, wondering if Charlotte was seriously hurt or crying.
What kind of a father was he that he wasn’t even watching his daughter as she played in a strange environment? What if while he had been lost in his self-pity, someone had made off with her and he never saw her conniving smile again? What if something horrible had happened to her?
He didn’t realize that the little fairy was still with him until she grabbed his hand and pulled him to Charlotte. Her grip was strong for such a young girl, and he knew that it would take more than a simple touch to break her. They turned a corner around a slide and Draco stopped again—stopped moving, stopped breathing, he even stopped thinking.
There was Charlotte, sitting on the ground rubbing her eyes, and sitting beside her was a woman with flaming-red hair and bright chestnut-colored eyes. Freckles everywhere. Tan lines. Muggle clothes. There was a calming smile gracing her lips.
It was Ginny Weasley.
The girl that had been at his side let go of Draco’s hand to go crouch down next to Charlotte. Ginny looked up and the smile instantly left her face. She looked like she couldn’t believe what she was seeing any more than Draco could. She helped Charlotte off the ground then stood up to dust the dirt off of her jeans.
He saw that she had gained weight since he last saw her. Her body and face were plump, but she didn’t yet resemble her mother. Not that Draco had expected her to look like the nineteen year old she used to be. He knew she would have looked different after the pregnancy and a whole decade had passed. He knew this, and yet, seeing her look older—more womanly—shook him to his very core. The lines in her face told him that the last decade had not been kind to her, either.
She couldn’t meet his eyes but he couldn’t stop staring. Draco became aware that Charlotte was holding his hand and looking up at him.
“Are you alright?” he asked, but he didn’t see any cuts or bruises, and she had ceased her crying. She nodded. “I told you to be careful,” he admonished in a murmur, but then kissed her on the forehead.
But his attention came back to Ginny when she spoke up, her voice shaking.
“I never thought I’d see you in Muggle clothes, Draco Malfoy.” She laughed slightly, but both were aware of the awkwardness the confrontation created.
Draco bent down to talk to his daughter face-to-face.
“Do you see that bench right there?” he asked her as he pointed to a nearby park bench. She nodded, knowing that she was about to be dismissed for “adult talk”. “Why don’t you go sit down there? And don’t move from that spot or talk to anyone.”
“Not even the other kids?” she asked in a whine.
“Just go sit down, Charlotte. We won’t be long,” he said, anxious to be alone with Ginny for the first time in ten years.
She seemed to have the same idea as well.
“Why don’t you go sit with her, Holly?” Her daughter nodded and left without a word.
Even after the kids were gone, neither knew what to say. Ginny still couldn’t gather the courage to look at Draco, let alone speak to him again.
“Holly, right?” Draco asked finally. Ginny nodded. “Is she…”
“Yours? Of course.”
“She’s beautiful,” he said with complete sincerity.
Ginny finally looked him in the eye at that.
“But she wasn’t before she was born, was she?” The bitterness in her tone stung Draco more than he would ever admit.
“I was afraid!” he retaliated, but he instantly knew it was the wrong thing to say.
Taking a step closer, Ginny hissed, “And I wasn’t? I was nineteen, Draco, and unmarried! I was stuck with a pregnancy and a baby by the man my family and friends hated! I refused to tell anyone who the father was so that even though my parents already hated me, at least my friends would be there to support me. You don’t think I was scared? I was terrified. You left me broken!”
Her voice never rose above a whisper but her words made Draco flinch.
“Look, Ginny,” she immediately turned her face away from him but he continued to speak anyway, “I know I was wrong. I have known I was wrong since the last time I saw you. Yes, I was scared of disobeying my family and marrying a blood traitor. I was afraid of your parents’ hatred and, if it ever happened, their kindness.” He took a step closer and turned her chin to look him in the eyes. “I didn’t want to screw everything up, but I did it anyway. I was afraid of you and how you make me feel and of becoming my father to our child.”
“But you’re not your father, Draco. You never were, and you should have known that!”
Silence ensued for several moments as they both tried to calm their pounding hearts. Neither one could remember the last time they had talked about this era of their lives. Now everything that had been pent up before was being released from aching hearts.
“Do you even know what I’ve been through, Draco?”
“No,” he murmured after a pause of a few heartbeats.
“My parents kicked me out of the house; I was living with Hermione. After Holly was born, we spent Christmas at her parents’ house and they let me live with them for a while. They helped me find a place to live and a job—they even offered to baby-sit until I could get settled.
“Since Holly was four, she’s asked about her father: why I don’t talk about him, why there are no pictures of him. When she turned eight, I told her that he left me and asked her not to talk about him anymore. She hasn’t.
“It was Hermione, of course, who realized who the father was. Everyone else was oblivious—not that my parents have ever seen Holly—but Ron, Harry, my brothers, they don’t know. ‘It’s in the eyes,’ she said, and promised not to say a word. Harry was disgusted with me, I think, or heartbroken. No one knew why I was always turning him down until they found out about the pregnancy. Seeing the baby showed him that I had been involved—really involved—with someone and he hasn’t talked to me since, either.
“The only people I see on occasion are Ron and Hermione. My parents act like they never had a daughter, and I live amongst Muggles. But Holly, she seems to understand. For a ten-year-old, she’s precocious and mature. I bring her to the park and she lets loose and plays with the other kids—”
Ginny suddenly stopped, seeming to realize that she was going off on another tangent. She could talk about her daughter forever if she was given the chance.
“And I’ve had to go through this alone,” she finished.
“Oh, like my life has been a smooth happy ride?” he snapped. “Pansy has other men because she can’t get what she wants from me. As soon as Charlotte was born, she wanted to let one of the nurses take her home! I’ve raised her by myself too, and there is absolutely no one for me to talk to, except my parents, and it’s partly their fault that I’m in this mess! There’s only one girl I love and she won’t take me because of my fucking farce of a marriage!”
Ginny jumped at the use of such harsh language, but the tears were already running down her cheeks. She stared at the ground, letting her hair fall forwards to cover her face.
Draco took a chance and reached out to her, pulling her to his body and burying his face in her hair. Her hands grasped his shirt and her tears soaked his shoulder. He also allowed tears to fall, for their lost innocence, their lost life. He cried for the love of this girl and because he had not allowed himself such a freedom before.
“Do you love me, Ginny?” he whispered in her ear.
“What?” she asked as she jumped in surprise, then tensed.
“Do you love me?” he repeated softly.
She closed her eyes and stared at the slide somewhere behind Draco.
“Yes,” she breathed, her reply barely audible.
But Draco didn’t have to hear her quick exhalation of word to know what she said. He could feel it in the way she touched him, he could see it in her eyes. Their tears fell together as their mouths frantically searched out one another, and as they finally kissed for the first time in over a decade, his heart and hers beat with the truth of that simple question. Neither was in doubt about whether they loved each other, and they never could be in doubt again.
They didn’t notice, nor did they care, that they were kissing in the middle of a crowded playground and their children were probably watching a few feet away. The inappropriateness of their action did not register because this moment felt like the single most important moment of their life. The only thing they had was this kiss, and they refused to let anything get in the way of it.
The two full grown adults were drowning—in the tears they shared, the love, the despair, in each other. Two mouths molded together, two bodies entwined. Parting for air was as much of an agony as suffocating.
“Draco,” Ginny murmured her voice husky with desire and pain. Draco pulled away enough to look at her, but no more than that. “You’re married,” she said when she could see him properly.
“Yes,” he agreed, burying his face in the hollow of her neck.
She jerked away from him and out of his embrace. Draco stared at her, feeling his heart clench in a foreboding way.
“You’re married, Draco!” she cried a little bit louder, but the only thing he could see was her disheveled copper hair, puffy eyes, flushed cheeks, and kiss-bruised lips. Merlin, she had never looked more beautiful.
“I’m married,” he said once again, “but my marriage is just a contract with two names. Pansy doesn’t even live in the manor most of the time.” He thought he sounded rather reasonable, but he couldn’t understand why Ginny was still backing away.
“It doesn’t matter,” she whispered in anguish. “That contract does not have my name on it. I told you I would have nothing to do with you as long as you were married. I meant it.”
“No!” she yelled, raising her voice for the first time. A few kids playing in a sandbox nearby jumped at her exclamation, but they went ignored. “No, Draco. We have children to care for. We can’t be selfish—”
“After ten years, I think I deserve to be selfish,” he growled.
“Don’t look for me,” she continued as if he hadn’t spoken. With that, she called Holly, turned, and walked right back out of Draco’s life. He stood stunned, unable to believe that she had come into his life for half an hour and walked out again just like that—after everything they had been through and confessed to! Charlotte pulled on the hem of his shirt and he looked down into her sweet face.
“Who was that lady?”
Draco’s heart clenched painfully at trying to describe what Ginny was to him.
“She was someone very special to me,” he admitted.
“Are we ever going to see her again?” she asked.
“I don’t know, Charlotte.” His voice was monotone. He didn’t know if he would ever be able to feel again.
As she grabbed his hand and pulled him along, Charlotte continued, oblivious to her father’s pain, “She was very nice. She healed my boo boos real quick. And Holly said we could be friends. Do you think she means it?” She looked at her father expectantly.
He smiled at his daughter, admiring how it didn’t take too much to make her happy, even spoiled as she was.
“Yes, I think she meant it,” he said.
Holly. The little fairy girl was his and Ginny’s, the only thing he had to link him to a past and a life with her. Just as he mourned the loss of Ginny once again, he mourned not being in his daughter’s life. If Ginny ever told her that he was her father, she would probably hate him for leaving them and for starting a family with someone else. What about when Holly and Charlotte went to Hogwarts? What if she shunned Charlotte because she was the daughter Draco left her for?
“Daddy? I’m hungry,” Charlotte whined, pulling on his hand to bring his attention back to her.
Without a word, they headed back to The Leaky Cauldron to go back home. Ginny was still on his mind—his lips—his tongue. He knew the taste, feel, and smell of her would be hard to forget now that he knew the misery he was going back to. But this time, he hadn’t been the one to leave. Hopefully, she’d see what a big mistake she had made. He could only hope they wouldn’t have to live with it for another ten years.
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.