Title: A Face I Almost Knew
Disclaimer: JK owns them, can I help it if I treat them a bit better?
Spoilers: OotP, AU Books 6 & 7 - two years after book 7
Summary: Facing up to the reality.
A/N: Supremely pissed off as I write this. Someone over at ff.net plagiarized
my short story this was based on (‘Live Another Lie’) and then tried to pass it off as a Dudley/Millicent fic - or ‘a Draco Malfoy and Millicent Bulstrode slash’ fic. I’ve never had this happen before and it is thoroughly disgusting. And she didn’t even remove my spelling errors! Just copied & pasted. It’s one thing to take the basic concept - secret baby, angst issues and hurt feelings - it’s another to entirely steal
someone’s fic word for misspelled word. A Face I Almost Knew
Poppy Pomfrey finished collecting the Bellisles’ belongings for their adopted daughter, placing them lovingly into the box for Holly. The child had taken exceptionally well to Millicent, clinging to her birth mother as if they’d not been separated since the moment Holly had been born. But one day, the child would be old enough to put two and two together to figure out she hadn’t been raised by her mother alone. Holly would one day ask about those people who had taken her in and cared for her in her mother‘s stead.
And it was Poppy’s task to prepare something for the child. It was what she had done in reverse for Millicent. That was another reason Holly took so exceptionally well to her birth mother. Poppy had painstakingly gathered wizarding photos and memorabilia from Millicent’s school days in hopes of one day reuniting mother and child. She just hadn’t planned on doing it before Holly’s second birthday.
She’d tentatively gathered bits and pieces of Draco’s past and present as well. But with Millicent never claiming Holly’s paternity out right for obvious reasons, it had been considerably less than what Poppy had gathered on Millicent. Now, here she was again, collecting precious memories for the child to see one day when the truth came out yet again. ~*~
“I’m not talking about this in front of her,” Millicent’s eyes closed, not able to process his words.
“You don’t want to talk about the fact that you let some damned Scotsman carry on as her father or you don’t want to talk about the night my mother died?”
“I don’t want to talk about a lot of things Draco,” Millicent snapped. “I realize I have to, but I’m not doing it in front of her! Not after what happened to her -”
“What? What happened to her?” His face went completely blank and she realized belatedly that she’d said exactly
the wrong thing.
“Mab, my love, did you want me to put the - oh,” Marta stopped mid-stride in the doorway, looking between the two of them. “Am I interrupting?”
“Marta, could you take Holly to the nursery while I speak to Draco?” Millicent turned away from him, still shielding Holly from him as well as her own distraught look that Marta caught.
“Yes. Come to Gran Marta, little Holly-love. What’s that you’ve got there? What a fierce little familiar for such a pretty witchling!” Marta scooped Holly from her arms, leaving Millicent feeling cold.
Draco’s eyes never left the infant, and he only turned back to face her when the door to the parlor clicked shut.
“Does the Scot know she’s not his?”
- does he know that the child is not his?”
“He’s not real. I made up the name last night when you pressed me for it,” Millicent stood still, not understanding why this
- of all things - was so important to him.
“Then where was she coming from?” Draco frowned.
“From wherever the Madame had her,” Millicent shrugged.
“I swear to Merlin, I know you’re not stupid, but you are beginning to drive me mad with this idiocy, woman!” Draco growled, shoving his hair back ruthlessly.
“I don’t know where the Madame had her, because I’ve never seen
our daughter until today. Hell, I didn’t even know that we’d had a daughter
until last night!” Millicent spat at him, angered by his comments. With everything that had happened in the last twenty-four hours, her temper had already severely frayed by the time he started to question her intelligence. “And I’d stop doing that to your hair unless you want to go bald like Lucius did at the end.”
There were quite a few ways he could take both of her comments. He had more than one snippy or snide remark to them, but angering the mother of his child even more than he already had didn’t seem to be the best of plans. Both remained quiet for several long moments.
“You gave her away?”
“I was seventeen, Draco. I was in no position to be a mother, and I was doing it all on my own in the middle of a war. Of course I gave her away!” Millicent’s voice shook as she thought back to that dangerous and uncertain time.
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“You were gone before I even knew! And what good would it have done? You yourself didn’t even remember the night she was conceived!” she shook her head.
“I did,” Draco hissed. “I - with everything that happened that night - “
“You didn’t want to remember drunkenly shagging me. I get it.”
“I -” Draco took a deep breath. “How did you get her back?”
“Her Muggleborn parents were killed in the attacks last week.”
“Merlin!” He’d heard about those - heard how vicious the last free Death Eaters had been to those Muggleborns. Hours of torture and then - bile rose in his throat at the thought of his child being in the middle of a scene like that.
“Madame came to me last night, told me what had happened. She’s got nobody, and I’m a far cry from seventeen. I’ve got Marta, the business is doing well, and I can protect her better because of my halfblood heritage.”
The recited facts stung. She might be better off than she’d been two years ago, but she was still not prepared for this. Nor was she prepared for the conversation that would be coming.
“But she is mine as well. Had you ever planned on telling me?”
“No,” Millicent caught his hard, angry eyes. “I’d never imagined I’d
see her. Why would I have told you?”
“Not before, but now
. After you’d gotten her back?”
“Doesn’t really matter, now does it?”
“It does when I’ve got Madame coming into my pub and giving me subtle hints about my damned daughter!” Draco erupted.
“She didn’t know you were the father. I never told anyone
who her father was!” Millicent cried. “It would have put her in more danger! I gave up our child because we lived in damned uncertain times and my grandfather couldn’t be trusted with information Voldemort might
need against the opposition. Best case scenario if she’d fallen into the hands of the Death Eaters? You could have denied paternity and he’d have executed her for my grandfather’s tattling. Worst case, he’d have tortured her in front of you and then killed you both.”
Draco’s face paled as he slumped back into his chair. Everything she said made perfect sense. And if Voldemort hadn’t cared about the bastard child of the Malfoy heir, then his father certainly would have.
“I had seven months to consider just what could have happened if I’d kept it. If I’d kept Holly,” her voice shook with emotion.
“What do we do now?” he asked quietly, long minutes after her confession of fear.
“I’m raising her. I don’t know what your plan is, but I’ve got to focus on her.”
And just like that, she was cutting him out again. The useless, dangerous element to the equation that made their ‘family’. He’d done his bit, and she’d been left to pick up the pieces. Anger, stupid, idiotic anger flooded him. It was irrational, yes, but he was angry nonetheless.
“She’s my daughter as well.”
“What’s your point, Draco?” Millicent frowned.
“I deserve to be a part of her life.”
“I didn’t say you couldn’t -”
“No, that whole ‘I’m raising her, I don’t care about your plans’ line did.” He snapped.
“What is it that I’m supposed to say then, hmm?” Millicent crossed her arms in front of her. “How am I supposed to bow and scrape to the Slytherin Prince now? Am I supposed to simper and coo and ask the big strong wizard in the room how to take care of my daughter? I’m not a bloody doll that’s propped up in the corner and told what to do by anyone anymore. Now, I’d like you to leave my home.”
Draco stared hard at her for several seconds, trying to cool his temper and knowing damn well that he couldn’t calm hers. Not when he’d riled her up so nicely. He rose to his feet, not drawing his eyes from her face. He was damned if he was going to be the first to look away, or be left looking up at her. Since he had a slight height advantage over her, he used it.
“This conversation is far from over, Mill,” Draco said quietly, watching her jaw tighten.
“I never expected it to be,” she bit out, nodding to the door.
Striding quickly to the foyer, he summoned his coat and quickly slipped into it. Marta stood in the doorway to a small gray bedroom, Holly in her arms. The little thing had her head on the woman’s shoulder, her thumb in her mouth and her snake in the crook of her elbow. He couldn’t stop himself for reaching out to his child, his hand ghosting over her head.
Marta watched him, a concerned and torn look on her face. Her loyalty, first and foremost, went to Millicent. But the child had already lost one set of parents, and she wasn’t about to let them do any more damage to Holly.
“Don’t you be so rash, young Malfoy,” Marta said quietly, noticing her Mab coming up to stand in the doorway behind him. “She’s just as shattered by it all as you are.”
“Yes, and she’s had over two years to adjust to the feeling -”
“No, she hasn’t
.” Marta had known, all along since the day she’d scooped up the broken child off the battlefield that she had been wounded. But Millicent was stubborn and wouldn’t let anyone see to healing her injuries. “She’s just learned to hide it better.”
Draco shook his head as Holly reached out to bat at his hand that still hovered over her head. A large smile on her face, bigger than any smile he or Millicent had ever worn before. ~*~
Pansy was waiting in the main room of the Stone Dragi when he returned, Flint looking over at him as he hit on a girl Draco barely recognized from Hogwarts. She was blonde, and younger than they’d been, but all Draco could see was an image of Holly in front of him. His daughter
“What the hell has gotten into you, Malfoy? You took off ages ago and -”
“Two fingers of the Blunderbuss,” Draco ignored her, and ordered what a Muggleborn had once told him was the Wizarding equivalent of two Muggle Jagerbombs.
“Bloody hell, Draco, you planning’ on walking
any time soon?” Marcus’s head whipped around and away from the big-eyed blonde.
“They’ve never agreed with you before, Draco,” the blonde said dreamily.
“Lovegood, come for a good story?” Draco sneered at the ex-Ravenclaw, as he proceeded to toss back the alcohol
“Yes. For the Quibbler’s Quidditch special,” Luna smiled at him, ignoring his sarcasm as she always did. “Flint’s return is quite newsworthy.”
“And here I thought you were coming to interview the proud Mum,” Draco, having never been able to hold Firewhiskey much less one
finger of Blunderbuss, ordered another anyway.
“Draco, I don’t think Mils would -” Pansy started to caution him.
“Ah, and we all must do as Mils
wants,” Draco sneered again.
“Flint,” Pansy looked helplessly over at Luna and Marcus, torn as to what the hell was going on with him.
“Draco, why don’t you, Pans, and I go discuss this up in your flat?” Marcus gently pushed the ex-Ravenclaw witch away from Pansy and Draco. Something had crawled up Draco’s arse and it was better to pull it out in private, so to speak.
“Nope,” Draco shook his head. “Gonna wait here for Zabini to find me a solicitor.”
“Whatever do you need a solicitor for, Draco?” Luna peered around Marcus’s shoulder.
“No bleedin’ comment, Lovegood,” Pansy snapped, trying to keep Draco from revealing whatever it was that was bothering him enough to get drunk before noon on a weekday.
Draco, however, was beyond caring. He’d lived with Lovegood for six months his seventh year, after all, and to the best of his knowledge, she’d never told a soul of his previous drunken confessions. That and he was already half-way pissed beyond common sense.
“For the paternity suit,” Draco slammed the second one down his gullet.
” Pansy slapped a hand over his mouth a fraction of a second too late to stop his words.
Marcus’s mind started reeling, and Pansy glanced around to see if anyone besides Lovegood had overheard him. Lovegood was the junior editor in Chief
for the Quibbler, as Draco damn well knew. He’d fought for three years to keep his name out of the Prophet
, and now he was just going to drop a bomb like this in front of a journalist?
“Oh, Salazar’s saggy left testicle!” Marcus hissed between his teeth.
“It’s far past time that we take him upstairs,” Luna said quietly, looking actually concerned for Malfoy.
With a decisive nod, Marcus hoisted him up off the bar stool by the scruff of his robes, while Pansy raced ahead to open their private stairway up to Marcus’s flat. Luna gathered up their few belongings - Draco’s hat, her own scarf, quill and pad, and Marcus’s paper.
The two Slytherins barely noticed she’d followed them before hearing the click of Marcus’s door behind her. Luna calmly set her items down and perched on the back of Marcus’s sofa. Pansy and Marcus exchanged a confused look. Pansy shrugged as if she imagined Marcus would have a better way to rid them of Luna’s presence, because Malfoy would be cursing himself blue for his slip in front of the reporter once he was in his right mind. Marcus tossed Draco in his guest room, grateful that he’d thought to put the anti-aparrating wards on the room and locked it from the outside. Then he stalked over to Lovegood, who was merely looking up at knickknacks on his wall.
“I was not expecting your front parlor to be teal and lavender, Marcus,” Luna blinked up at him.
“That’s what happens when you let Pans do the decorating,” Marcus bit out. “Now, I don’t imagine -”
“That’s very sad that you don’t imagine. I can’t imagine not imagining things,” Luna patted his hand, trying to comfort him.
“Er, that’s not what I meant -”
“What do you want, Lovegood?” Pansy huffed, kicking Marcus in the back of the knee. Not too roughly, but enough to get him out of her way.
“Oh, there’s so many things I want
. A night full of stars and crickets chirping, owls circling overhead in the infinity symbol, a moment’s conversation with my mother, a night to fully explore the Room of Requirements, and a dust bunny circus. To name a few,” Luna sighed wistfully. “However, I rather suspect that was not what you were asking me, Pansy.”
“My God, how did that man not strangle you for six months
?” Pansy gaped at her.
“Harry and Ginny annoyed him more,” Luna shrugged.
“What do you want for keeping Draco and the words ‘paternity suit’ out of your father’s bedamned rag?” Pansy snapped.
“Nothing. I consider Draco Malfoy a friend, and would not to something to intentionally hurt him,” Luna paused. “Are things so irreconcilable between the two of them? To result in a paternity suit?”
“Didn’t even know
a thing between them,” Marcus snorted. “Though, yesterday should have been a big bloody clue.”
“Should have been, yes,” Pansy glared at him. “You idiot boys were too busy wrapped up in the fact that she’d had the first of a new generation that you couldn’t even think about the smell of the story!”
“This will certainly make things difficult between you and Millicent,” Luna’s voice drifted back over to them as she stood at the doorway to the room Draco was in.
“What did you say, Lovegood?” Pansy stalked back over to her, wand at the ready to cast a memory charm if need be.
“Draco’s room was next to mine when we were in hiding,” Luna blinked calmly at the sight of Pansy’s wand. “He had many nightmares, and I could always hear him calling out to his mother and to Millicent. A paternity suit would complicate things if he ever decided to act on his feelings for her.”
Marcus couldn’t help but laugh at Luna’s comments. If she only knew that the paternity suit would most likely involve the secret child of Draco and Millicent’s making, she’d be laughing too. ~*~
Millicent had taken Holly from Marta’s arms the moment Draco had left. She was in so much damned trouble. This wouldn’t just go away, as much as she wished it would. But then, when in the hell had anything ever gone right in her life? Bloody everlasting hell!
“Don’t I have to feed her something?” Millicent said shakily as Holly ‘spoke’ to her, trying to calm herself for her daughter’s sake.
“I fed her while you were talking to the Malfoy boy,” Marta frowned. “Have you eaten yet, Mab?”
“I can’t think on eating now, Marta,” Millicent’s jaw clenched, and Holly automatically put her hand on Millicent‘s face, dropping her new toy. “He’s gonna try and take her. I can feel it.”
“He lost everything
the night his mother died. And Holly reminds him of Narcissa,” Millicent bent to pick up the toy snake. “What the hell am I going to do?” ~*~
“What the hell am I going to do?” Draco slammed his fist against the door Flint had shut on his face. “She’s got my child -” It’s her child too, you silly little brat
“Yes, but I put it in her!” Even Draco realized the stupidity in that statement. “And she very nearly got the child killed
. Honestly, who thinks of placing a pureblood infant in a family of Muuggleborns?” Don’t be asinine, Draco. Poppy placed her with a family far removed from the war. The child was in the Shetlands.
“Huh?” Draco frowned, lifting his head from the door. Honestly, son. You know that there is only
one course of action for you to take in this matter.
The spirit of Narcissa Malfoy shook her head at him. You have to marry the girl and save your family
“Anyone care to tell me why Lovegood is in Marcus’s flat staring at the door to his guest room?” Blaise asked lightly as he stared at Luna sitting crosslegged on the floor.
“Draco’s pissed and ranting incoherently in there,” Pansy shrugged. “Said he needs you to look into a paternity suit issue for him.”
“I’m not a solicitor,” Blaise’s eyebrow ticked up.
“No, but you know the mother fairly well,” Pansy stepped away from Luna. “You know, the mother
Flint and Malfoy spoke to just last evening.
, how very - coincidental,” Blaise’s jaw tightened.
“I don’t believe in coincedences,” Luna added suddenly, rising seamlessly from the floor to stand next to Pansy. “Everything happens for a reason.”