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Chapter 5 : Poisoned
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“Draco, get your arse to bed.”
He spared me a disparaging look and said dryly, “With a bedfellow as charming as yourself, how could I resist?” I rolled my eyes at him as he carefully placed the comb on the wardrobe shelf and then crawled into the bed beside me.
There was a short silence as he settled himself next to me, sighing loudly as he relaxed completely. I waited until his eyes were closed before –
“She’s a bitch.”
A groan escaped him. “Circe, Astoria, can’t we go for one night without your incessant whining? I just want to sleep.”
“Honestly, how could she even think she’s worthy of him? It’s quite clear from one look that’s she not his type. How many people actually like gingers?”
“As valid as your points may be,” Draco snapped, shuffling around with a rustle of sheets so he was facing away from me, “keep them to yourself, please. I’m tired, I’ve had a bad day full of bloody Weasleys and I just want to be comatose before hell sets in again tomorrow.”
I stared at him for a moment.
“I put an Incendio charm on her doorway so she can’t try to sneak out. Stupid little sneaky cow, it would probably be exactly what she’d try to do.” I ignored the inconsequential fact that I knew nothing about this girl. I knew her type – the slaggy, son-stealing type. No doubt she was planning to get get pregnant and snatch a hefty chunk of the Malfoy fortune. Bitch. “I won’t allow her to deflower my son, I won’t!”
My husband sat up abruptly, and when he turned to face me, his nose was wrinkled in distaste. “Thank you for that mental image, dear,” he bit out the words with venom, looking completely disgusted at the thought.
“You’re welcome,” I said absent-mindedly. “Anyway – ”
“Hang on – you put an incendio charm on her doorway?!”
I gave him a confused glance. “Of course I did, dear. Keep up.”
His expression as he gazed at me was a mixture of wonder, fear and lust. “You’re a homicidal bitch,” he breathed. Judging by the suggestive smirk he then gave me, this was no bad thing.
I could feel my eyebrows furrowing as I ignored him completely, still deep in thought. “The charm I put on the door should hold, right? Maybe I should strengthen it too, yes – and put it on the windows, too – oh, Circe, the windows!” I sat bolt upright, my mouth popping open. I scrambled for the edge of the bed, mind already on the various ways I would gut Dominic, when I was pulled back with a jerk. I turned around to give Draco a scowl, and detached his hand from my silky nightdress with a frown. “Get off me, you prat. I need to protect my son’s innocence.”
He had that facial expression – that one where his eyes were puffing outwards like his face was being squashed because he was struggling not to roll his eyes. He always looked like a prat when he made that face. No, scratch that – he looked like more of a prat.
“I’m sure that is a very virtuous mission and no doubt he would be very pleased if you were to save him from possibly losing his ‘innocence’.” Draco’s voice was dripping with sarcasm, and his sketched air quotation marks added fuel to my growing temper. “However, I don’t think I’m going to let you.” His voice lowered into a darkly amused, clearly-meant-to-be-seductive tone as he tugged me back towards him.
I raised an eyebrow at him and moved away again. “We’re not having sex tonight.”
Had he completely forgotten that our son’s innocence was on the line, or was he just stupid enough to believe I could forget about it?
“If Scorpius isn’t, someone’s got to,” he muttered angrily, shooting me a murderous glare.
“If you wanted sex with no strings attached, then you shouldn’t have gotten married,” I informed him. His scowl grew as I continued, “Trust me, we’d all have been a lot happier.”
He looked mutinous for a moment before his expression suddenly brightened up and he settled back on his pillows with a contented grin on his lips. “Yeah, and Scorpius wouldn’t exist.”
“Don’t be a bitch,” I scolded him. Without waiting for him to reply, I shuffled to the edge of the bed and picked up my wand, summoning my comfy, battered old slippers and tugging them on. “Where’s my mohair dressing gown?”
“I don’t know,” he said sullenly.
“You’re such a grump.” I summoned it as well; it flew from the bathroom and I caught it neatly, tugging my arms through the sleeves.
When I stood up, I heard a rustle of bedsheets; I turned around to see Draco shrugging on his ‘business-man sleep-suit’ (his dressing gown) and standing up as well. When I tilted my head at him in curiosity, he blinked stupidly for a moment before shaking his own head firmly. “No – no, I’m not helping you. I’m actually trying to stop you.”
“Still no sex.”
He scowled at me for a moment, that sulky pout he wore so often settling into its familiar place. “I’m trying to do the right thing.”
It was like someone had poured me an overdose of Essence of Euphoria; I could feel the tears beading up in my eyes and threatening to overflow. I tried several times to speak, but my words were too choked up on giggles. His folded arms and irritated huffiness just added to my hysteria.
After an eternity, I managed to pull myself together. “You’re not scared about Scorpius’ innocence, are you? You’re worried about what Bill Weasley will do to you if our son knocks up his daughter.” His lack of response (besides tying his dressing gown shut with unnecessary force) just confirmed my suspicions, and I couldn’t stop the huge grin from spreading over my face.
“Shut up,” he snapped, and his obvious touchiness was just confirmation. Deciding that his mind would torment him better with the torture Bill Weasley would put him through than I ever could, I actually obeyed him and stayed silent as I linked my arm through his and Disapparated.
“What – no. Astoria, for fuck’s sake – ” He gave a girlish shriek as I flicked my wand at him and he was dragged into the air by his ankle. Always came in useful, that charm. “Put me down!” he ordered, glaring at me.
“Shut up and put the damn charm on her window already,” I hissed at him. “You’ll wake her up.”
At those last few words, any anger in his expression dissolved and a triumphant sneer slid into place. I knew what he was planning almost before he did, and with a jerk of my wand, dropped him to the floor in a crumpled heap and then silenced him.
I watched him, sadistically amused by his slow and painful movements to his feet. We were in the winter courtyard of the manor, a fairly large expanse of various winter plants (both magical and muggle) currently hibernating through the summer around us. Just Draco’s luck, really, that I’d been levitating him above one of the marble paths leading around the courtyard.
Dominic’s window was two floors above us; Lily’s was on the right and Rose to the left. On the opposite side of the courtyard, Albus and those two freakishly similar worms, the Scamanders, had their own bedrooms. I, of course, had been forced to stop Draco from rubbing the size of our home in their faces when we showed them to their rooms for the next fortnight. I hadn’t been able to resist, however, pointing out that Dominic’s room was probably big enough to house the whole Weasley harem.
I was still unsure as to how clear I was being about my blatant dislike for her. She was a stupid cow after all; how long would it take for the message to sink in? I made up my mind to be a bitch at breakfast as well.
Maybe I’d slip some comments in about how my bitchiness genes would almost certainly show up in Scorpius’ offspring. Or mention Scorpius’ penchant for knitting magazines.
Not that that last one was true. Trust me, considering how often I searched my son’s room (and I mean searched – not just rifled through. Top to bottom, side to side, inside out), there was no way he could hide anything from me.
I made a mental note to make sure Scorpius never found out about those searches. He’d be embarrassed if he knew I’d found his Playwizard magazines and those incriminating pink boxers he found so comfortable.
Draco’s muttered cursewords ripped me from my musings on the oddness that was my son, and I turned to face the wincing, messy-haired, bruised husband of mine with a small smile. “Changed your mind on levitating me yet?”
How could I trust him to levitate me? Easily. I knew Draco valued his broomstick (take that as an innuendo if you feel so inclined – it makes sense either way) too much to risk letting me fall.
“Fine,” he groaned, and swished and flicked his wand as he non-verbally levitated me.
As I rose into the air, I grabbed the skirt of my nightdress and inwardly cursed. “Draco, don’t you dare – ”
“Too late,” he said, and without looking, I could tell he was smirking. Git. If I wasn’t worried it would distract him from levitating me, he’d have been covered all over (all over) with purple boils by now.
He moved me slightly closer to the wall, and as I reached the white windowframe, I gripped it tightly in my fingers. My husband wasn’t known for his brilliant attention span and fabulous spell-casting.
The room was dark; the bed in the centre of the room contained one sleeping figure, and I nodded to myself with satisfaction as I recognised Dominic’s disgustingly common red hair. It wouldn’t be too upsetting if she did try to sneak out of her room now, actually; it might burn that hideous ginger mop off her head. A great service to the world.
I slashed my wand in an X and murmured “Incendio” under my breath. A red-tinted sheen floated in front of the glass for a moment before fading from sight at a few muttered incantations.
Barely a second after I’d done this, I was suddenly falling through the air. Unable to help myself, I let out a scream which stopped abruptly as I landed in the Flutterby bush under the window. The leaves were as soft as the salesman had told me when I’d bought it, but that didn’t diminish my anger.
“Draco fucking Malfoy,” I hissed, struggling to roll out of the bush – part of my nightdress was caught on a branch. “I hope you enjoy celibacy, you stupid git.”
He was stood on the marble path, one pale eyebrow arched at me and possibly the widest smirk I’d ever seen stretched across his thin lips (he looked like a complete idiot. I say this as an impartial bystander, of course). If it hadn’t been beneath him, he would probably have laughed.
With a flick of his wand and the mutter of a counter-curse, my painstakingly-applied Incendio charms were gone.
“I hate you.”
He ignored me, wearing a disdainful expression as he surveyed me. I pulled a Flutterby leaf out of my hair and threw it at him – it floated pathetically in the air before whirring to life and flying upwards and out of sight. Making a mental note to throw stones at him next time, I hissed again, “I hate you, you slimy bastard.”
“And I hate you,” he drawled easily, crossing the gap between us and plucking another twig out of my mess of hair, looking disgusted as he did so, “for putting me in the situation where I have to save a Weasley.”
At his words, I could feel myself brightening up and I pecked him quickly on the cheek – his disgusted expression didn’t fade – before saying cheerily, “Maybe this evening hasn’t been a complete waste of my time after all.”
“Sort out breakfast, please, Tokie – selection of the best we’ve got, Scorpius has his friends over for the fortnight.” The little elf bobbed her head up and down before vanishing into thin air with a sharp crack which I barely noticed – I was too busy surveying the large breakfast room with a critical eye.
The honey-coloured table was neatly set with gleaming silver crockery and the best teapot we owned was hidden underneath a clean tea cosy with the Slytherin emblem emblazoned on it (the Christmas present I’d received from Scorpius this year). Even as I watched, the centre of the table began filling up with dishes of various breakfast foods.
Not quite satisfied, I turned to the windows along the left hand side of the room, which overlooked the large ornamental gardens. In the distance, I could see the small Quidditch pitch. With a muttered “Scourgify” the windows were glistening and a few of them opened to let the scent of my prized honeysuckle drift in.
The sound of footsteps alerted me to my husband’s presence and without bothering to turn around, I snapped, “For Merlin’s sake, Draco, put some bloody clothes on.”
“I have clothes on.”
I spun around and was greeted with the sight of a scowling, sleepy-looking Draco Malfoy wearing a pair of boxers and nothing else. “No, Draco,” I said sweetly and slowly, as if talking to a small child (which, in everything but physical appearance, he was), “that’s what goes under your clothes.”
He shrugged, sliding into his usual chair at the head of the table, apparently impervious to my baleful glare, and didn’t bother to give me a retort.
“You know,” I said casually, “I heard Albus was plotting to poison you at breakfast.” The toast he’d just picked up dropped onto the table cloth and my imagination was overwhelmed with the horrifying images of the greasy mark it would leave.
There was a moment’s silence where he looked at me, eyes narrowed as he tried to work out if I was messing with him.
He ignored the dropped toast and reached out for the teapot.
“Wouldn’t touch that if I were you,” I said helpfully, struggling to hide my smirk as he glanced back at me with confused, sleep-filled eyes.
Suspicion clouded his voice as he asked, “And why not?”
“Heard Albus was going to put dragon blood in your tea.”
Draco’s hand dropped back to his side and his attempt to glower at me as if it was my fault that Albus was planning to poison him (which, technically, it was – seeing as I’d made the whole thing up) was ruined by another yawn.
“Tell you what,” I said kindly, moving across the room to kiss the top of his head and subtly smooth his hair into something ressembling neat, “I’ll summon you some clothes, get you some non-poisoned tea and toast, then we can really shock Albus when you’re still alive and kicking, alright?” He seemed dubious, but his sleep-addled brain seemed to see the sense in what I was saying, and he nodded.
If only he was this stupid all the time.
A blue shirt flew through the doorway and began tugging itself onto his arms, shortly followed by a pair of grey trousers which also helped him put them on. By the time he was dressed fairly respectably, I’d made up a plate of toast and marmalade and handed it to him with a cup of steaming hot tea (lots of milk, no sugar – no matter how many times I tell him he’s bitter enough as it is).
He grunted something through his mouthful of toast. In my optimistic mindset, I liked to think it was a thank-you.
By the time I’d vanished the dropped toast and fretted anxiously for several minutes, the sound of teenagers trooping their way up the corridor could be heard.
“Brace yourself,” I muttered to Draco, who looked far more awake and like his bastard self after that cup of tea.
Lily Potter was the first through the door, smiling airily as she plopped herself into the seat next to Draco – who was so surprised that someone was sitting next to him willingly that his scowl actually faltered. Those identical worms, Lorcan and Lysander (ridiculous names, if you ask me. ‘Scorpius’ is so much classier) trailed in her wake, looking decidedly less awake than her.
A moment later and Albus stumbled in, hair resembling a lightning-struck Niffler and wearing scarlet pyjamas. Draco’s head snapped up and he shot the middle Potter child the filthiest glare he was capable of. I couldn’t keep the smirk off my face as Albus carefully avoided getting within a five metre radius of my husband, a bewildered look on his face.
“Sleep well?” I asked Lily as I sat down on the other side of Draco, opposite her. She paused in sipping her tea – which, I noticed, was extremely milky and the sugar hadn’t been touched – to smile at me politely.
“Oh, yes, Mrs. Malfoy” – Draco sent me a smug look at that, like he always did, knowing how much I regretted taking his name when we married (after all, who’d actually want to be linked to him?) – “it was lovely.”
“Good, good. Do you have any plans for today?”
Lily elbowed the twin next to her, who jumped about a mile into the air before scowling at her. “Oi, Lysander – ”
“...yeah, yeah. What are we doing today?”
He lapsed into thought, staying quiet for so long that I believed he might have fallen asleep with his eyes wide open. Lily sat there patiently, twirling a dark red curl around her fingers idly.
Finally, he replied with a shrug of his shoulders and a curt, “Dunno.”
Lily made a face at him, then turned back to me. “I don’t know what we’re doing today.”
Draco snorted with derisive laughter to himself, something I felt inclined to join in with. A grin was twitching at Lily’s lips as well as Lorcan eyed us all with vague interest before turning back to his twin and engrossing himself in a conversation about the best location to fish for freshwater plimpies.
I found myself wondering for the first time if I was actually lucky to have Scorpius.
“So I found out you bought shares in some Romanian dragon sanctuary,” Lily said conversationally, turning to Draco, who seemed positively aghast at being addressed by someone in a friendly way. His gaze slid from me to Lily as if asking if this was some kind of wind-up. I grinned at him and turned my attention to the mug of tea in front of me.
“Yes,” he said coolly, running a hand through his hair and slicking it back a little. “I heard from an insider at Gringotts that the Norwegian Ridgeback is on the verge of extinction, so prices are rocketing up.”
“Yeah, my Uncle Charlie works at that sanctuary, actually.” I could see Draco rethinking his business plan almost before she’d finished her sentence. “But I heard it was the Chinese Fireball which was endangered. And that one is a hell of a lot more valuable – you know, its scales are used in – ”
“- most Blood Replenishing Potions,” Draco cut her off with a slightly smug grin, although his eyes were critically examining the teenage girl in front of him.
“Yeah. Anyway, Charlie’s never wrong about this kind of thing, so you might want to rethink your plans,” Lily said carelessly as she helped herself to a pile of fried mushrooms. Draco’s expression was priceless – mouth wide enough to fit a bludger in and eyes rounder than gobstones – as he watched her.
In that second, it didn’t matter what Lily’s surname was – he’d have happily exchanged her for Scorpius any day.
There was a bustle in the corridor and the final three teenagers burst through the door into the breakfast room. Rose was the first in, brushing her frizzy ginger mess behind her ears and wearing what looked like one of her cousin’s shirts and boxers. She gave me a polite smile as she dropped into the seat beside Albus a little down the table, reaching immediately for the pot of chocolate spread and toast.
Scorpius met my gaze with a smug grin which was eerily reminiscent of his father’s, then deliberately reached out and took Dominic’s hand. I could feel my eyes narrowing and instinctively, my hand twitched towards my wand pocket. Anything to get that bloody harpy off my baby.
“Morning, Mum,” he said in an annoyingly chirpy voice, daring to kiss my cheek whilst still touching that little cow beside him.
I gritted my teeth and forced out a, “Morning, dear.”
“Good morning, Mrs. Malfoy,” Dominic said nervously, tugging at the end of her ridiculously casual t-shirt and generally looking the opposite of the bitchy heartbreaker I already knew she was.
“Is it?” I said sharply, looking pointedly at their joined hands. Dominic jumped and disentangled herself from my son with a slightly fearful expression on her face.
No backbone whatsoever. Judging by her pathetic need to please and attempts to be friendly, she was a Hufflepuff. This irked me further. At least if she was a Gryffindor, Draco would be even more eager than me to get rid of her.
“I think we’re going to go into town for the day,” Scorpius said to me. His previously smug expression had completely disappeared and he was glowering at me. “That okay with you?”
“That’s fine with me.” I bit off each word sharply. “I’ll get the house elves to make you some lunch. How many sandwiches – ” I began to count the teenagers clustering around the breakfast table.
“Actually, Mum,” Scorpius interrupted me, “it’s just me and Dom.”
The table was suddenly quiet except for the discussion between Draco and Lily behind me.
“That sounds just lovely,” I managed to lie through my teeth, although the lie was so big even I couldn’t make it sound convincing. Scorpius gave me a hard stare whilst Dominic just winced. Wuss. Scorpius was braver than her, and he’d long since nursed a fear of butterflies (Draco’s fault, obviously).
The exclamation came from none other than Rose Weasley, who had suddenly and inexplicably gone bright red.
“I’d love to see the village!” she said with a tad too much excitement. From what I knew of her, it seemed wildly out of character. What happened to the blunt, serious bookworm I’d met at the barbeque yesterday? “I’ve read all about, uh – um, this village!”
“Salazar’s Creek,” Albus said quietly. Rose glared at him for a long moment before he sighed and said with a distinct lack of enthusiasm, “Yes. I’d love to see the village too. Yeah.”
I clapped my hands together briskly and smiled widely and triumphantly at a disappointed Dominic and a weirdly red-faced Scorpius, who was now staring at the floor and refusing to meet Rose’s penetrating glare, Dominic’s consoling smile and my gloating smirk. “That’s settled, then! I’ll just tell Tokie to pack you up some lunch!”
Not even the sight of Dominic and Scorpius once again linking hands could tarnish my good mood.
The girls eventually trailed off back to their rooms to get dressed for the day. Albus and the twins stayed at the table a little longer, chatting with Scorpius, but after several heavy hints from my son, they got the message and cleared out, leaving Draco, Scorpius and I.
There was a long silence where I stared at my empty teacup to avoid meeting Scorpius’ annoyed stare.
“Mum,” he said finally. I debated looking up before sighing inwardly and meeting his gaze. “Please, just leave Dominique alone.”
I arched a soon-to-be-plucked-perfectly eyebrow at him. “And why would I do that?”
“Because you love me.”
Draco snorted derisively, then broke into laughter at our son’s words. I haughtily pretended he didn’t exist (oh, if only).
“Scorpius, I did not bring you forth from my womb” – he cringed visibly – “so that you would date such a – a – a banshee. Really, Scorpius, you might have had more class than to date a girl who talks with her mouth full.”
“She’s nervous!” he protested, looking righteously indignant. “You don’t even know her!”
“And a good thing too,” I said decisively, giving him that look that said simply this subject is closed. When he ignored the look, opening his mouth to no doubt spout some more rubbish about Dominic's 'nervousness', I spoke again. “Draco, back me up here.”
My husband looked up from where he was studying his newspaper and glanced between me and Scorpius, coolly assessing the situation. “Your mother might be a raving lunatic, Scorpius, but she is your mother – no matter how regrettable that circumstance is.” His attention returned to his newspaper for a few seconds; then he glanced up again and said to Scorpius, “Date Lily. I like her.”
“You like someone?”
My exclamation was loud but completely justified. The unsocial bastard hated everyone we came into contact with, so this was the equivalent of Ronald Weasley declaring the Malfoys to be ‘super-duper’. Completely unlikely, even with the threat of prolonged torture.
Draco gave me a dirty look. “Close your mouth, Astoria, you look gormless.”
I snapped my agape jaw shut and glowered back at him. Scorpius shifted uncomfortably and coughed to alert us to his presence. “You can bicker when me, Dom and the other five go on our date,” he said loudly, brushing a piece of his blond hair out of his eyes. It fell straight back into them a second later. “I’m just asking for you to please give her a chance.”
Scorpius and I stared at each other coolly for a moment.
“I think you should date Rose.”
My son’s mouth dropped open whilst Draco made a show of folding up the Prophet before simply saying, “Rose? No, no. Lily is clearly much more suitable.”
“Lily is two years younger,” I pointed out somewhat reasonably, although the annoyed, high-pitched tone of my voice might have detracted from the general rationality of the statement. “Rose is his own age, it would work out.”
“Dom is my age too,” Scorpius chipped in helpfully. We ignored him.
“Age means nothing.” Draco smirked at me in that annoyingly familiar way as he added, “I stick with you despite how old you look.”
“To a teenager, age is important,” I argued, tactfully ignoring his latest jibe. “Besides, Rose is clearly intelligent, if her glasses are anything to go by – ”
“Glasses mean nothing!” At this outburst, I vaguely remembered how touchy Draco got about anyone who wore them – particularly if a lightning-shaped scar accompanied the glasses in question. His annoyed expression only deepened as he said in a calmer tone, “Besides, Lily is prettier.”
“Looks aren’t everything! I mean, I married you, didn’t I?”
“Dom is pretty.”
“Shut up, Scorpius.” Draco and I both snapped it at the same time. Our son looked highly offended and huffed to signify his exasperation. Not that Draco or I were even paying that much attention to him.
My dear husband shot me a filthy scowl. “What, personality is more important to you?” he jeered. There was a red flush slowly running up his neck and his easy-going smirk was replaced with infuriated sneers and glares.
“Rose has a nice personality!” I half-shrieked back at him. “Which is more than I can say for you!”
“Lily is clearly much nicer, prettier and far more superior in every way to your silly little Rose,” Draco hissed back at me, sounding like a bragging child. I rolled my eyes at him.
“Dom’s beautiful, inside and out,” Scorpius proclaimed to whoever was listening.
If he wasn’t talking about that bloody harpy of his, I’d have almost been proud of my little boy. Instead, I greeted his statement with “Oh, shut up with your stupid soppy crap and date Rose already.”
“I gave your mother roses on the day she got pregnant with you,” Draco said to our son with a lewd wink and that manly waggle of the eyebrows to add a filthy undertone to the sentence.
Scorpius seemed to struggle to swallow for a few moments before forcing out in a croaky voice, “I’m never going to look at roses the same way again, Dad.”
Which was exactly what Draco had intended, I didn’t doubt. Sneaky, devious prat.
“That’s not true, Draco,” I reminded him with a sweet smirk. “They were lilies.” Actually, they were carnations. And they weren’t for me, they were from me to his mother as a ‘get well soon’ present. Draco was simply bringing them back after his mother refused to even touch the card I’d attached.
At that moment, it occurred to me that Narcissa acted towards me the way I acted towards Dominic. She’d even called me Asterix for several months before a muggle-born acquaintance enlightened us both.
Men really do marry women like their mothers.
honestly? i'm not too pleased with this chapter, but i figured it's been waaay too long since my last chapter, so here you are! hopefully you enjoyed it! (:
thank you so much to Snitchsista and Strings on the forums for looking this over for me! and thank you to all of you for all the amaaazing feedback! <3
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