When I returned to the Manor today, I was most definitely not in the best of moods. Recently, I had completed my training to become a lawyer in the Magical Law Enforcement department. Having that part of training out of the way took a weight off of my shoulders. It had been hard enough for me to get into the training due to the fact I was the son of a well-known death eater, and then they made all of us go through rigorous background and psychological checks.
Today was my first day as a fully qualified lawyer, and it was immediately made clear to me that I would still be held on a tight leash. I knew I would be required to do the least appealing tasks until I earned my place in the office, so no tense court cases for me just yet.
To make matters worse, the person that I worked under just so happened to be the most pompous person I knew, that Hufflepuff, Ernie Macmillian. Just brilliant. Macmillian despised me. I couldn’t really blame him. I would despise myself too after the way I treated him and his friends at Hogwarts. Then again, they were Hufflepuffs so they almost brought it onto themselves.
So when I returned home from work today being accosted by my mother as soon as I entered the entrance hall, did nothing to brighten my already darkened mood.
“Draco, darling, how was work?” Obviously this wasn’t the main part of her agenda as she didn’t even wait to hear my reply before continuing. “Now, I’ve invited the Greengrass’ over for dinner tonight under guise of congratulating Atticus and Eugenie on their thirtieth wedding anniversary. Of course the real reason is that Astoria has now been graduated for about nine months. She has had enough time experiencing the real world and this would be an excellent time to begin courting her Draco.”
“Mother, I’ve voiced my views on me marrying Astoria, and I don’t want to have to do it again. I told you I don’t want who I have to marry dictated to me. Look at how your marriage to Father turned out. If you had free reign over who you married, you could have chosen someone who actually valued you for yourself, not your name. Besides, I’m only nineteen, and that’s far too young to marry,” I replied angrily.
I had had enough of this constant discussion with Mother, over whom I should and shouldn't marry. Our house elf, Mimsy, appeared in the hallway and I pulled my cloak off and handed it to her.
“There’s no shame in marrying young. I was engaged to your father when I was sixteen and married at eighteen. Astoria is completely different to your father anyway. She’s a lovely girl, and I hear from Eugenie that she always speaks very highly of you at home. Now all you need to do is learn how to reciprocate those feelings and you will be happy,” Mother said sternly. “Enough of this arguing and go and get changed. I’ve already laid out your best dress robes and they’ll be here in an hour. Oh yes, I forget to mention, Andromeda and Teddy are coming as well. I hate to think of her being lonely.”
I gave Mother one last look before walking up the stairs. At least her last announcement would make the evening somewhat more bearable for me. Mother and Aunt Andromeda had quickly reconciled after the war, finally fed up about not talking over a dispute which happened nearly thirty years ago. Both of them finally realised how precious family and how much it meant to them after losing so many loved ones during the war. I knew they deliberately didn’t bring up the past for fear of starting another argument.
The event which caused Andromeda to leave the family was left unspoken about. Besides, if the conversation ever skirted near to that someone quickly changed the subject to Teddy. He was so adorable one could dote on him for hours and forget any past grievances in a second.
As I walked into my room, which was still decorated in the Slytherin green and silver, I saw Mother had a note beside my robes. I picked it up and read it quickly. “Be nice this evening, Draco. You don’t know how much is riding on this proposal.” There she goes again. I quickly screwed it up into a ball and threw it into the ball. I would heed her advice to certain people such as Teddy and Andromeda, but if others, specifically Astoria, annoyed me I didn’t think the note could prevent any possible actions.
Though it was considered rude, I decided to re-enact my teenage days and rebel against my mother’s calls to come down and greet the Greengrass’. I didn’t see why I should. My mother didn’t even consult me about them coming, and I would come downstairs eventually. She could make up some excuse for now.
I had to decided to also rebel against her not inviting the Zabinis and Parkinsons. They usually always attended evenings like this one, but I suppose Mother wanted a more intimate setting so my feelings for Astoria would turn that way too.
Blaise and I had become great friends since the end of the war. Ever since Crabbe’s death I rarely saw Goyle. The last time being when I passed him briefly while walking down Diagon Alley, the only sign of recognition we gave to the other was a brief nod while keeping our eyes averted from the other. Talking to Goyle would bring back the memories, and I didn’t particularly want to relive them.
Pansy and I had actually become great friends too. I think the fact the Malfoy family briefly fell from the graces of the pureblood society after the war, meant that I lost some of my appeal, and she decided to set her sights on other pureblood princes who weren’t as tainted as I was. I didn’t mind. In fact, I was pleased by this, as I meant I no longer had to put up with her throwing herself at me constantly.
Blaise had even plucked up the courage to ask her out. He had decided to give up on admiring her from afar, and was ecstatic when she said yes. I glanced over to my bookcase and saw a photo of the Slytherin quidditch team in fifth year. Oh how times had changed.
I heard a small pitter patter of feet and immediately broke out into a smile. It must be Teddy. It was strange to think how much this boy means to so many. He was like a little cousin and grandson to my mother and me, a chance to have another family for Andromeda and I guess for Potter, a connection to his parents past as he was Teddy’s godfather. I got up from chair and was about to open the door for him, before he came charging in at the speed of light.
“Hi Dwaco,” Teddy greeted me while he proceeded to climb onto my bed and beginning jumping up and down. Today he seemed to be mimicking my colouring and had platinum blonde hair and grey eyes. He now resembled the three year old version of me as well as acting like it.
How on earth did he manage to escape the dragon like grasps of Andromeda, I wondered? She was especially protective over her grandson, considering the way her daughter always leapt into danger and died as a result of doing so. His jumping up and down meant the bed sheets had become screwed up. I didn't care. I didn't care about a lot of things these days.
There was sudden pop in my room which announced the arrival of our family house elf, Mimsy. Ever since Granger had joined the Department for Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, she had revolutionised the house elf welfare laws.
Now we were prohibited from having more than one house elf per household and we had to provide food and clothing for it. The most significant change to the law was that wizards and witches were no longer allowed to abuse their house elf. The house elf was forbidden from punishing themselves if they could not carry out their master’s deed. If this had been around when Dobby was alive he probably would have had a much more enjoyable life.
“Master Teddy, Mrs Andromeda bids you never to walk off without her permission again, and asks you to come back downstairs. Master Draco, Mistress also requires your presence downstairs, and she says if you do not come, do not expect to continue to receive an allowance.” Mother resorted to using the elf then; I mused in my head, and brought in the allowance threat as well. Wow she must be getting desperate.
I guess I should go downstairs as Teddy was not meant to go down them unaccompanied, and I wanted to calm mother while she could still be tamed.
“Come on then, Teddy, you heard Mimsy. Let’s go and endure this awful dinner then.” I said miserably, and lifted Teddy up and carried him down the stairs.
When we got downstairs, we were greeted by Mother looking absolutely furious, as expected. Her normally pale face had blemishes of red in it, and she had begun tapping her long nails against the wall.
“Draco, what did I tell you? Be on your best behaviour, and what do you do? Come waltzing in here twenty minutes after the guests have arrived! How many times have I told you about the importance of your betrothal to Astoria? And what has happened to your hair? It looks as if you just woke up!” Mother hissed at me, while trying not to attract the attention of our guests who were currently politely conversing about menial matters.
“Sorry Mother, but you know my views on Astoria already. It would be impolite to repeat them with her in such a close proximity. As for my hair, that was entirely Teddy’s fault as he decided he didn’t want to be carried and tried to climb down my back instead,” I hissed back.
“Hmm, enough of these excuses Draco,” Mother said, ending our dispute. “Now then, if you all want to follow me into the drawing room and dinner will be served.” Mother announced her voice changing from one of venom, to one of a polite hostess.
I placed Teddy on the floor, and allowed him to toddle off to the dining room as it was only next door, so I was sure that he couldn’t land himself into much trouble. The instant I did so I immediately regretted the action, as Astoria Greengrass made a bee line for me. As charming and as beautiful as she may be, I did not want to be tied down to her for the rest of my life. I could see her brown curls bobbing up and down a she headed towards me, and her face was plastered in the weirdest coloured makeup I had seen.
Whenever I did see her anyway, she always made sure I was tied to her for the entire evening, always linking her arm with mine, asking me to get things for or being forced to talk about things like, the latest winner of Miss Witch of the Year or Britain’s Next Top Witch.
If I didn’t agree to this Mother would have a strong say in the matter and cut off my allowance. Even though I had now finished my training to become a lawyer it still didn't pay that much. Malfoys are used to a life of luxury, so taking it away could be considered cruel.
“Draco, it’s been forever since I last saw you. It must have been back at Blaise’s birthday in November. We must make more of an effort to see each other more regularly, especially as your mother says how fond you are of me,” Astoria shrieked. Merlin that woman had a high pitched voice. I didn’t know how any could bear to listen to her for more than five minutes, it was simply unbearable.
“Yes, it is a shame isn’t it,” I said trying to be diplomatic. Noticing that the room had now been emptied, I made use of that fact as a way to get rid of Astoria. “Do you want me to escort you to the next room Astoria? I would love to say and chat, but you know how Mother gets if anyone’s late to dinner, so it’s probably best if we headed through now.”
“Aw, Draco, you’re such a gentlemen, I would be so grateful if you could,” Astoria simpered; I seriously hoped that I would not end up next to her for dinner. I wouldn’t mind having a meaningful conversation for once.
When I walked into the dining room with Astoria firmly attached to me with her death like grip, to say Mother looked pleased was putting it moderately. The problem with her was whenever she saw something like this she immediately thought something more was happening.
I glanced around the table, and luckily saw a free seat in between Andromeda and Daphne, Astoria’s sister. Those two were probably the ones I liked most given their outcast status. I was glad that I would have an enjoyable seating arrangement for once. I could also use the opportunity to ask Andromeda how she dared to go against her parents’ wishes.
“Hello Andromeda, Daphne.” I greeted the two cordially. I was reciprocated with a dreamy nod by Daphne and a warm hug by Andromeda.
Daphne was considered a disappointment by her parents, as she went against the pureblood expectations of a single woman. She considered herself a free spirit and preferred to spend days wondering across deserted moors and writing poetry rather than attending dinner parties like the one she was currently at. Of course, given how she and her sister were polar opposites, one couldn’t really call them the best of friends.
“I see that young Astoria seems very attached to you, Draco, is the feeling mutual?” Andromeda asked with a twinkle in her eye.
“I’m glad someone has finally asked about my opinion on that matter," I replied. "No, it is certainly not mutual. It’s just Mother never seems to think that I can my make own choice for my wife."
“Yes, I do know how you are feeling, given that I went through the same thing with Ted. If you ever need any help in preventing your mother from taking this any further, you know where to ask. I’ve already been through this once, so I think I know how to handle determined parents by now,” Andromeda said kindly. At this moment in time, I couldn’t have been more glad that her and Mother had become friends again. I didn’t know how I would have solved this dilemma by myself.
“I don’t think you would make a good match, Draco. You’re thoughts are too deep and complex that Astoria would never understand them, so you would have a very unhappy marriage,” Daphne voice piped up.
“Er, thanks Daphne. I guess you could say that the conversation in our hypothetical marriage would be pretty stagnant.” I replied bemused. As much as I liked Daphne, she was a hard conversationalist, like her sister. Unlike her sister, the reason was because she provided such thought provoking statements they were hard to respond to at times.
Andromeda, noticing my lack of response to Daphne changed the subject, “Draco, I was wondering whether you could look after Teddy next Saturday. I have to go and visit a friend who’s got dragon pox, and I don’t want to take Teddy in case he catches it. It would only be in the morning, as someone else is taking care of him in the afternoon.” Andromeda asked.
“Yes of course, I always love spending time with Teddy, so that would be great.” I replied enthusiastically. That was the day of Blaise and Pansy’s long awaited date, so I wpuldn't have anything else to do anyway. At least I would have something to occupy myself with now.
I cast my eyes around the room in attempt to find Teddy and saw him sitting in the corner of the room with Mimsy, while she entertained him by making mini fireworks appear. I could hear his gleeful laughter echo around the room. For once, I was having just as an enjoyable time as Teddy was.
The rest of the dinner past with no major events occurring, other than Astoria attempting to join in with Teddy and Mimsy but was politely ignored. It was only when the guests were departing that something unpleasant happened.
“Did you hear, there’s a ball being thrown by the Ministry for the most influential people in society and young Draco’s been invited,” Mother announced happily. Drat. I had forgotten about that. I didn’t really know why I had been invited, as I hadn’t really done anything which had affected anyone. I agreed to go though, as the Malfoy name still hadn’t been completely rehabilitated.
“Isn’t that wonderful, it’s such a shame Astoria didn’t receive an invitation though,” Eugenie, Astoria’s mother put in. These matriarchs were up to something, I thought. I could almost feel their happiness as their scheme unfolded before them.
“It is, isn’t it? Well, Draco hasn’t got a date yet, and it’s only in two weeks, so he could take Astoria, and then the problem would be solved,” Mother said gleefully and her face lit up. “Doesn’t that sound great Draco?”
“Certainly Mother, I couldn't think of anything better,” I replied with sarcasm layered on thickly.
“Thank you Draco, I can’t wait! It’s simply going to be a fantastic evening. I’d better start looking for a new set of robes right away.” Astoria said, shrieking away. She began to walk towards me as if to hug me, but I managed to skirt away from her. Her lack of intelligence was apparent here. The sarcasm was so obvious, Teddy probably even got it. Andromeda sent me a comforting look; I knew who I was going to be complaining about this to.
I had better come up with a solution to Astoria quickly; otherwise I dread to think how this could continue. I’d probably end up in an unhappy marriage like Mother had been. It was just finding someone or something which could prevent me from marrying her, was almost impossible.
Author Note: Sorry it took me nearly a month to update, I’ll try and be quicker next time :) I would love it if you left a review, as I love knowing what people think of the story so far, and it only takes a minute! Kiana :)