Chapter 1 : Taking a Stand
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What's done is done.
Macbeth, Act III, scene ii
Astoria had a flair for combining rare species with everyday garden plants; the double-bloomed white narcissi and purple crocuses showed very well together. Draco's gaze travelled from spring flowers to the young couple drinking tea. In appearance and observed temperament, Scorpius and Rose were another complementary pairing.
Scorpius set his teacup on the patio table. "You're wondering what happened with Grandfather."
Draco smiled faintly. "I assume you told him you'll never join the Knights of Walpurgis, and when reason didn't work Petrificus Totalus did. Temporarily, at least."
"Like father, like son," Astoria murmured.
Scorpius' eyes were questioning.
Draco reluctantly answered, "I asked Lucius not go to Hogsmeade, to respect your decision to stay at school. He wouldn't listen."
"So you used Petrificus Totalus."
"And then a Memory Charm." Draco heard Rose's gasp and said, "We didn't receive Scorpius' letter that he was spending Easter holiday with you until hours later. Although the danger seemed worth the risk at the time, I don't want to cast another Memory Charm if I can help it." He reached for his wife's hand.
Astoria said, "I'll use a Cheering Charm and Incarcerous, too, if needed."
"Thank you." If they had been alone, Draco would have kissed her. He brought her hand to his lips.
Scorpius cleared his throat. "I'll give Rose a tour of the garden."
"Excellent idea." Draco stood and pulled out Astoria's chair. She tucked her hand into the crook of his arm, her touch warmly reassuring.
In unspoken accord, they strolled through their private quarters, up a staircase, and down a corridor instead of Apparating. When they neared the library, Astoria kissed his cheeks and then his mouth.
"For extra luck?" Draco asked.
"We don't need it." Eyes finer than Burmese jade became smouldering. "But screw your courage to the sticking place and we'll not fail." Astoria grinned sheepishly. "Sorry, my love, I couldn't resist. I've always thought the Macbeths were sexy."
"Aside from the murder and insanity."
She laughed softly at his dry tone. "Aside from that."
They shared a smile that bolstered Draco's resolve. He would stand up to his father.
Inside the room filled with memories of numerous reprimands and the pain of curses dealt by an aunt infuriated by his slowness to grasp Occlumency, Draco saw Lucius standing frozen, caught by surprise. It made him look less intimidating. More human. Fallible.
Astoria lifted her wand.
Draco took a deep breath and cast a counter spell.
"Finally," Lucius said. "I was beginning to think you forgot about me and sat down to tea." His mild tone was due to Astoria's Cheering Charm.
If only she could cast one every day.
"Where is Scorpius? You didn't let him leave?" Lucius wagged a finger. "If you did, I'll be very put out."
"We're here to talk to you about Scorpius," Draco said, clasping the hand that slipped into his. Just touching Astoria gave him comfort and strength.
"You've spoiled him terribly," Lucius said. "We all have, really. He's such a delightful, gifted boy it's hard not to indulge him, but it has to stop. Scorpius must do his duty—"
"That's what I need to do," Draco said. "My duty as husband and father."
Lucius waved his hand as though brushing away the interruption. "We'll get to that. We're discussing Scorpius now. He cannot be allowed—"
"He's of age," Draco said. "You will respect his decisions."
"Not when they hinder his future."
The argument was eerily similar to the one that ended with a Memory Charm. Part of Draco was ready to risk scrambling his father's brain with another spell. The rest of him was determined not to take the easy way out. "Yes," Draco said. "Even then."
Lucius' good humour visibly eroded. "I am the head of this family. Mine is the final say."
"No, sir," Draco said, holding Astoria's hand like a lifeline. "Scorpius is our son, not yours, and he has the final say when it comes to his life."
"Not while he lives under my roof."
"Then we'll move."
Lucius' icy gaze transferred to Astoria. "You put my son up to this. He would never think of such defiance on his own."
"You don't give him enough credit," she said. "You never have."
"I don't regret raising Scorpius here," Draco said. He fought to keep his voice level. "I wanted him to have a sense of heritage—Malfoy family heritage, not the Knights of Walpurgis. As far I'm concerned, their supremacist philosophy should have died with Voldemort."
"I hold to those beliefs," Lucius said. "Should I have died?"
"Of course not. You're my father."
"We've taught Scorpius that you can still love someone even when you don't agree with them," Astoria said.
Lucius sneered. "How kind. You poisoned him against the collective traditions of his ancestors and Slytherin House, not against me or his grandmother. The distinction offers little consolation at this moment." He walked over to a shelf and ran his hand across the leather spines. "If only there was a spell to undo years of parental brainwashing."
"That's where we differ," Draco said. "I wouldn't alter the influence you've had on Scorpius."
"Yet you plan to move out."
"If you leave us no choice," Astoria said.
Draco felt the gentle squeeze of her fingers and maintained his cool demeanour. He couldn't allow his father to sense his anxiety. He had to be strong. Things had to change.
"Very well," Lucius said after a pause. "I will cease encouraging Scorpius to join the Knights if you do not speak against them further."
"Agreed," Draco said. The Knights condemned themselves.
Lucius pursed his lips. "Inform Scorpius . . . and his guest . . . that as far as anyone else is concerned, I remained in London and missed this visit." He Disapparated.
Draco stared at the empty spot on the Turkish carpet. "Father actually compromised."
"I didn't think he'd do it, either."
Was she disappointed? Draco said, "We can always purchase a flat to entertain clients and new social connections."
"Like the Weasleys?"
The thought was enough to make him eye the drinks cabinet. Draco tried to mask the hope in voice when he said, "They're likely to decline an invitation even in London."
"We'll send one anyway."
His wife had sacrificed for him. Draco could face the entire Weasley/Potter clan if she wanted. "All right." He cradled Astoria's face in his hands and kissed her with passionate tenderness. "Name the day and I'll owl Tracey and Theo to show us their finest listings."
Astoria's smile was so radiant, his stomach only twisted in a half-knot when she said, "Today.”
A/N: This fic is a sequel to my other Draco/Astoria Macbeth-titled one shot Screw Your Courage to the Sticking Place (Astoria’s quote was from Act 1, scene 7), and proof that reviews inspire. Readers of Our Little Secret who wondered what happened when Draco and Astoria left to confront Lucius in ch 20: now you know. ^_^
If this story has made a positive impact on its readers, I hope to learn it from reviews. Inspiration, like love, is a many splendored thing, and ever appreciated. ;)
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