A Marriage Most Convenient

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Chapter 15: The Relatives from Heaven and some from Hell and Back


"I do not want people to be very agreeable, as it saves me the trouble of liking them a great deal." – Jane Austen


I’m glad people view me as a smarmy bastard. That way, they aren’t terribly surprised when I hate their guts.” – Draco Malfoy


When people are hateful to me, I merely ignore them. It’s easier to do that, than to hex them and find yourself in Azkaban.” - Hermione Granger.


Mummy says it’s wrong to hate people, but Draco said it’s a requirement. What’s a requirement?” – Alice Granger (really Malfoy)


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Draco knocked on his mother’s bedroom door and opened it before she could answer. “Mother, I brought you a visitor.” His mother was sitting on a silk loveseat, reading a book, by a large bay window. Alice hid behind Draco’s legs. She peeked around them even as the beautiful older woman placed her book on the table beside her.


“Who is it, Son?” she asked, smiling, trying to pretend that she didn’t see the small hand clutching at Draco’s trouser leg.


Draco pulled Alice to the front of him and said, “Miss Alice, this is my mother, Narcissa Black Malfoy. Mother, this is Alice Granger, soon to be my stepdaughter.”


Narcissa held out her long, manicured hand toward the little girl. A smile graced her features. Alice looked up at Draco and then walked forward and placed her small hand in the woman’s hand. Narcissa looked up at Draco and smiled before she looked back at the little girl. “How nice to meet you, Alice. How was your train ride today?”


“Long and boring,” she answered honestly. Mrs. Malfoy pulled her closer and placed her arm around her shoulders. “What are you reading?” Alice asked, pointing toward the book.


Narcissa smiled again and said, “A romantic love story. Do you like books?”


“I like books about bugs and dinosaurs. I love books about dragons. Draco is Latin for dragon. Did you know that?”


Narcissa picked the little girl up, which surprised Draco, and placed her on the seat beside her. “Yes, I knew, and it’s also the name of a constellation. Do you know what a constellation is?”


“No, is it a type of dragon?” she asked back. She stroked the woman’s royal blue, silk gown. “This is pretty. You’re pretty and this is a pretty colour. You’re nice, too. Draco said you’re sweet, but that your face wasn’t sweet.”


Draco laughed as his mother gave him a scornful look and he leaned against the back of a chair and said, “Don’t get me in trouble with my mother, Alice. I said she was sweet, but that no one would SAY THAT TO HER FACE.”


“Go, Draco. You may leave Alice here with me.” His mother was all but dismissing him. He was happy that his mother and father were being so kind and accepting of Alice.


He started toward the door, but Alice said, “I want to go with Mr. Draco.”


“I thought we could get to know each other for a few moments. Draco will come back and get you in a moment, if you’d like,” the older woman said to placate the little girl.


Alice looked up at Draco and then said, “Come back for me in ten minutes.”


Draco wanted to laugh again, but instead, he looked at his watch and said, “Ten minutes exactly, Miss Alice, and I shall return for you.” He left his mother with the little girl and went to find his future wife.


Alice looked around the beautiful bedchamber, went over to the side table, picked up the book the older woman placed there earlier, placed it back, then walked back toward the older woman, and said, “Mummy’s reading me Alice in Wonderland. I’m named after the little girl from that book. I like to read, too, but I’m not very good at it yet. I’m only four years old.”

“I know,” she smiled back. “You just had a birthday, I understand.” Alice nodded. “May I give you a present?” She nodded again.


Narcissa stood and walked over to her dresser. She opened a box, took out something, and then walked back to the loveseat. She placed a heart pendant over the little girls head. Alice picked the heart off her chest and stared at it. “Do you like it?” Narcissa asked.


“Yes, very much. It’s very pretty. It’s green.” Alice fingered the heart some more before she placed it back on her chest.


“It’s an emerald. It was given to me when I was twelve. I know you’re a bit younger than that, but I want you to have it. Do you think perhaps I could read some of your book to you tonight?”


“If Mummy wants you to, okay,” Alice said climbing back up on the loveseat. She still seemed more interested in the green heart around her neck.


Narcissa took the little girl’s hand to gain her attention and said, “Draco’s father tells me you call him Grandfather, is that right, Alice?”


Alice nodded and said, “He has pretty hair, just like yours. He won’t let me brush it, though. Mummy lets me brush her hair, sometimes.”


“You can brush my hair sometime,” Narcissa promised. She kept the little girl’s hand and said, “Darling, what do you think you would like to call me? It’s up to you, but I would be honoured and happy if you would call me Grandmother.”


“Alright then.” Apparently it was all decided. “Can I look around your room?”


“Look away.” Narcissa moved her hand to the side with a gesture that denoted her agreement, and then smiled again. She actually felt like crying. Alice slipped off the loveseat and started to walk around the large room. She stopped before a curio cabinet, and began to look at the contents.


Just then, Lucius walked into the room from an adjoining room. He sat beside his ex-wife and reached for her hand. She was silently crying. She dabbed at her face with her hand. He handed her a handkerchief. She whispered, “Lucius, you were right. That’s our granddaughter.”


“I told you so,” he said with a sigh. He had been waiting for Draco to bring Alice to Narcissa’s room, and was listening from the adjacent room. He had already told her everything that Hermione had told him.


She glared at him and said, “The moment that man came to you, claiming that Draco had a child, you should have track her down! And to think, we had a chance to know her all along and you ruined it for us! ”


“No, I would say Ms. Granger being married to another man when she slept with our son, then not telling him that she was pregnant with his child, and then moving to another continent ruined it for us, but I for one shall not lay blame with her. Who am I to do so? We all do things we regret, besides, there’s more to that story than what meets the eyes. I’m beginning to think that the bastard of an ex-husband has a tenuous hold on her still.”


“Of which you will break, of course,” Narcissa stated. “Now that we found her, we won’t let her go, agreed?”


“Draco is going to marry her mother, and be a real father to her, if it’s the last thing I do, which by the way, I’m sure it won’t be the last thing I do,” he said with a smile. He turned to his ex and said, “Alice was right. You do look very pretty today. Blue suits you, my dear.”


“And she was right about you, too. You do have pretty hair,” Narcissa answered, while trying hard not to smile. She stood, walked over to where Alice sat on the floor playing with two little china figurines. She gave her a cautionary look and said, “Alice, those are nineteenth century antiques, not toys. They are very valuable, and one of a kind. Do you know what that means?”


Alice was busy making the two little figurines bounce up and down on her leg. She looked up at the older woman and said, “Does that mean that you want me to put them back, Grandmother?”


The sound of the word ‘Grandmother’ coming out of the little girl’s mouth melted the older woman’s resolve. Draco stood in the doorway, saw the look on his mother’s face, and said, “No, I think that means you can take them up to your room and play with them while your Nanny gets you bathed.” He reached down to help her up. As she stood, she picked up the two little figurines, a little shepherd boy and a little girl with a milking pail, and she handed them to Narcissa.


“No, Draco was right, you may have them, Alice,” Narcissa agreed. Alice smiled and skipped out of the room, the two figurines tightly in her grasp. Draco looked at his mother and shook his head. She said, “What? It’s the least I could do. Lucius destroyed her stuffed animal today.”

“Right mother.” Draco leaned over, kissed her cheek and said, “I should go follow her. She could be halfway to Ireland by now.” He rushed out of the room.


Narcissa looked back at Lucius and said, “No matter what, Lucius, promise me, you’ll protect both Alice and Hermione, for the sake of our only son.”


“Of course, I’ll do anything for you, Cissy.” He walked out of the room with a large smile on his face.


Meanwhile…on the road to Whitehall:


“Talbert, for this to work perfectly, you have to let me do the talking, do you understand?”


“Yes, Mother,” the man said from his corner of the large car. He leaned over and looked out the window and added, “It looks like we’ll be there soon.”


“Someday, when you inherit everything, I think I’ll take Whitehall as my home,” Phillipa said with a grin.


Talbert’s wife, a thin, homely woman with mousey brown hair said, “You can have it dear mother-in-law.”


The older woman sat back in her seat and smiled. She had not waited this long for her son to inherit everything to have it all taken away at the last moment! Her nephew couldn’t just decide two months before his thirtieth birthday suddenly to marry! She wouldn’t stand for it. Especially not marriage to a Mudblood.


She touched her son’s arm to gain his attention and said, “I still think the key is to use the information that Malfoy may have a child out there somewhere. If he thinks he has a child, he might hold off marriage to this woman. I told the Mudblood about it, but I don’t know if she told him. I’m certain Lucius and Cissy have never told him. I might accidentally have to tell him. If that doesn’t work, we might have to find the Mudblood’s ex-husband, and try that angle. For a price, he might help us stop the marriage. A custody dispute might work nicely.”


Her son giggled like a little girl at that remark.


She had an evil grin on her face as she calculated her next move. “Yes, we’ll wait and see what happens.” She turned back to her daughter-in-law and added, “Constance, are you sure that Marcus Flint said that he thinks Draco had a liaison back at that masked ball years ago?”


“Yes, dear mother-in-law,” she answered. “As you requested, I gave Flint tea with Veritaserum before we left the resort this morning. I asked him if Draco had any girlfriends over the last five years and he said no one of consequence that he knew of. Then I asked if there was anyone special over the last few years, anyone who stood out among all the one-night stands and many dates, and he said there was only one. He said that Draco told him there was a sexual encounter with a woman at that masked ball for purebloods five years ago.”


The younger woman turned to her husband and said, “You know the one, Talbert. The one Aunt Cissy and Marcus’ mother threw and the one we attended.” She turned back to her husband’s mother and said, “And he said that Malfoy slept with a woman that night, in the billiard’s room of all places, but that he never got her name, or saw her face.”


The older woman squirmed in her seat in delight. “Yes, yes, this is going to work to our advantage!”

“But how mother?” Talbert asked as they pulled into the drive.


“I told you to let me worry about this,” she scolded. “Don’t either of you say a word. Act charming and nonchalant. We’re here.”


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Draco stood outside Hermione’s bedroom door and held up his hand to knock. Before he could, she opened it immediately. “Were you waiting on the other side?” he asked, surprised.


“As a matter of fact, yes,” she grinned. “My, you look handsome.”


“I do cut a dashing figure. All the women say so,” he countered. He looked at her closely. He started at her hair, which she had long and soft. She had on a dress of deep burgundy. She was lovelier than she had a right to be, and he was at a loss for words to tell her how he felt. Instead, he took one hand, leaned forward, and kissed her cheek, lightly. “That’s how I feel about how you look.”


“Thank-you,” she said. “Alice will be eating upstairs with Ingrid. I didn’t want to subject her to your family tonight. I hope you don’t mind.”

“I prefer it,” he said. “I don’t want to subject myself to my family,” he continued, leaning lightly against the open door, “but I doubt my mother would allow me to eat up in the nursery. She probably doesn’t love me as much as you love Alice.”


She reached out and brushed an imaginary piece of lint from his jacket. She really just wanted to touch him. “Alice loved your mother. She said, and I quote, ‘She’s so beautiful, Mummy, that she looks like a painting,’ end of quote.” They both laughed.


He placed a hand on her waist and gently gathered the material of her dress in his fingers, bringing her closer as he did so. He placed his cheek against hers and said, “You’re so beautiful that it hurts to look at you. I have to close my eyes, or I’m blinded by the beauty.”

Hermione wanted to laugh at the silliness of his words, but actually, no one had ever said anything so romantic to her before, so instead of laughing she found that she felt suddenly shy. She bit the corner of her lip, and when he lifted his head, he placed his thumb on her lip and said, “You shouldn’t bite anyone but me.” Then he kissed that corner of her lip, and after he kissed it, he bit it gently. She placed her hands on his shoulders. One of his arms was against the doorframe, and the other was still resting lightly at her waist.


Hermione kissed his neck and said, “I don’t usually bite, but for you, I’ll make an exception.” She was surprised at her own brazenness, but it felt right. It was reminiscent of the night they shared at the masked ball, five years ago, when she took the initiative. She continued to kiss his neck, and then she bit his earlobe lightly. When she did that, both his arms went around her waist.


“Merlin, what’s going on with us?” he asked her. She looked up at him and shrugged. When she shrugged he said, “If you don’t know, then how could I possibly know?”


“Draco,” she said seriously, “we do have to have our talk tonight. Promise me.”


“I promise. I will promise you anything.” He let her go and said, “We should go down. The relatives from hell have arrived, and dinner will be ready in about an hour. Give me your hand.”


“You want to hold my hand?” she asked, smiling.


“No,” he stated plainly. He took her hand, reached into his pocket with his other hand, and pulled out a beautiful ring. It was a square cut diamond, surrounded by emeralds. He placed it on her finger. “We are engaged, so I thought you should have a ring.”


She looked at her finger and she felt overwhelmed with emotion. “It’s lovely. It’s too much, though. It’s too expensive, Draco.” She wanted to cry. “No one has ever given me anything nicer.”


He kept her hand in his the entire time. He brought it to his face, kissed the ring, then her skin, her palm, and then her wrist. He placed her arm around his neck, pulled her flush against his body and kissed her mouth softly, but firmly. After the kiss he said, “Hermione, if no one ever gave you anything nicer, then that’s a shame. I intend to rectify that matter. From now on, only nice things will be bestowed upon you. I promise that, too.”


He took her hand again, the feel of her ring against his palm bringing him joy, and they walked down the hallway toward the stairs, to meet his family, together.

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