The characters and canon situations in the following story belong solely to JK Rowling, Scholastic and WB. I am not making any money from the publishing or writing of this story.
In which (literal) Daddy Draco navigates the perilous waters of explosive potions, bad language, secret negotiations, chocolate, and wrinkly socks — and all with the help of a precocious two year old. A BW companion piece in the Bespoke AU . . .
The pitter-patter of tiny feet across the stone floor was the first warning of a breach in the sanctity of Draco’s dungeon sanctuary. The second was the exclamation of the world’s most powerful word by a sweet, familiar voice.
Distracted, he looked away from his latest experiment just as it bubbled up and splattered over the hand with which he held the cauldron at a precise thirty-six degree angle.
“Fuck’s sake!” he gasped, trying to ignore the burn. First aid would have to wait until the next step of the process was complete and his daughter out of harm’s way. Where the hell was the House elf on duty — or Lucius, for that matter? “Fuck fuck fuck,” he chanted quietly.
“I can help?”
He held up a finger in warning as he counted down the last counterclockwise stirs of the potion and tried to ignore the compelling tug on his trouser leg.
“Can I, Daddy?” Little arms wrapped around his calf, and a small head leaned against his knee.
Six, five, four. At two and a half years old, Selene was precocious in more ways than one. Her magic, for instance, had begun manifesting itself regularly in remarkably controlled Apparition. She came and went without warning, flitting about as she kept tabs on her favorite people with an attention span as powerful as it was short.
And it was all very delightful and safe just so long as everyone else kept her out of his lab on Tuesday afternoons. That was his time to himself — his sacred time with toxic ingredients and experimental potions!
Three, two, one. “Selene Amynomene Molly Jean Minerva Malfoy,” he set the stirring rod on the table before turning his attention downward, kneeling before his daughter with what he hoped was a stern expression, “what has Daddy told you about the dungeon?”
Brown eyes peeked up at him through riotous blonde curls, and a round little chin quavered. And then those beautiful eyes — the exact shade of Hermione’s — welled up with tears.
Oh, for- He’d gone and made his little girl cry. Remorse welled up in the form of a lump in his throat, which he swallowed with difficulty as he gathered her into a one-armed embrace. “I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings, sweetheart.” She rubbed her chubby face into his collar and gave an aggrieved sob that tugged directly at his heart. If there was a defense against such a sound, Draco hadn’t yet discovered it.
Selene, known to those who knew and loved her best as Glory, sniffled. “You used my naughty name.”
“I didn’t mean it in that way, Glory; I just wanted you to know how serious I was. That potion could have hurt you very badly.”
She directed her still-watery gaze to the blistered hand he held at arm’s length. “Did it hurt you?”
Until that point he’d been able to block out the pain, which was spreading as the potion continued to ooze over his skin, but now it returned to the forefront of his consciousness with a vengeance. He grimaced and flapped his hand in a vain attempt to cool the burn. “It most certainly did.”
“I can kiss it all better!”
He scooped her up awkwardly, spinning abruptly when she leaned in curiosity toward the sputtering cauldron. A small part of him cheered her interest in this, his most passionate hobby even as he panicked at the thought of her being hurt.
“You can’t until Daddy washes this stuff off.” In his haste, he whacked his injured hand against the edge of the table. “Shit shit SHIT! UH.” He looked guiltily into his daughter’s face. “What I mean is ‘Sit!’ He plopped her down on the extreme end of the long table and secured her with a Sticking Charm. ‘Because you need to sit right there while I scrub.”
Pleased as he was with his lingual catch, Draco made a mental note to clean up his language, even down in the lab. Its time as his sanctum sanctorum was clearly at an end, and there was no telling what Glory might pick up if he didn’t watch himself.
He cleaned off the caustic goop at the tap and performed a quiet Healing charm while his back was still turned and then, when she’d pressed her lips to the once-injured skin, he proclaimed it miraculously ‘all better’ and thanked her profusely.
She waved it off with an imperious gesture that could only have come from Lucius. “Papa says I’m the best at kissing things better.”
“Well, of course you are!” He kissed the top of her head. “But I wonder where Papa is, Glory,” he mused. Because he was supposed to have put you down for a nap right after lunch. “Do you know?”
“Papa went in the Floo.”
Of course he did, the bastard. Draco rolled his eyes. “And Mama?”
Glory picked at a button of his shirt in a manner eerily similar to that of her mother. “Mama’s sleeping,” she said in a plaintive tone. “On the couch.”
As any witch who was nine months along should. “That’s good. Mama needs her sleep.” He fished out his handkerchief and gave her runny nose a tender dab. “Who was watching you?”
“Beetle.” A faint shadow of cunning crossed the face of the First Daughter to the House of Malfoy. “I put on the music box, and she fell asleep.”
Draco remembered doing something similar to the ancient elf when he’d been about the same age; at the last second he managed to stifle an appreciative smirk. “That wasn’t nice at all. She was supposed to be keeping you away from here — you know you’re not allowed in the dungeon; it’s not safe for little girls.”
“But,” she looked up at him with a pleading expression as she tugged his lapels, “I miss you, Daddy.”
Even as his annoyance at his brother flared — surely Lucius had put her up to this! — his heart contracted in pure joy. “I missed you, too, sweetheart.”
She pushed her hair out of her face and regarded him hopefully even as she gave one last sniffle. “Pleeease can I help in your dungeon?”
He very nearly almost held her accountable for her actions and took her back to Beetle, but then she mooshed up her little rosebud mouth in an unmistakable invitation for a kiss, and his resolve melted to goo right there on the floor of his lab. Had there ever been such an enchanting child in the history of the world? And she loved him! Draco sighed in happy defeat and gave her a loud, comical smooch that sent her into a gale of giggles.
“Very well, but you must do exactly as I say, or I’ll have no choice but to turn you into one of Auntie Luna’s red-trembled umbloots!” He released her from the Sticking charm and tossed her high into the air without warning, catching her in large, steady hands at the last possible moment.
She screeched in delight. “Again! Do it again!”
He’d have done it as many times as she wanted, but there was a cauldron of potential disaster cooling nearby. “First I need to finish my project, sweetheart, before it explodes.”
“I can help you, Daddy,” she said without a moment’s hesitation. “I’m very good at helping!”
Just then, the potion gave an ominous splutter. “Oh, for fuck’s sake . . . ” He realized he’d said that aloud. “What I mean to say is, that muck’s raked.” He glanced at his daughter, but she seemed to be preoccupied by a wayward curl that was stuck to her lip. “Just . . . just sit right there, sweetheart, while Daddy thinks what to do,” he finally managed as he reaffixed her with that handiest of charms to the tabletop.
Fortunately, she was easily entertained for short amounts of time, and for the next minute or so the lab was quiet save for the sound of her tuneless singing about Papa and a baby dragon as Draco scrambled to salvage his project. Unfortunately, the potion was past saving — much like his afternoon alone. He briefly considered making a new batch, but the likelihood of being able to finish it with the requisite level of concentration seemed bleak. It was time to call it a loss and spend the time in other, more toddler-friendly ways. Just as soon as he restored his lab to its usual pristine condition . . .
“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” he breathed as he realized the magnitude of the mess he’d created. He turned to Glory. “Daddy has to clean up. Would you be my helper and color while I do that?” He Summoned a sheet of parchment from a cupboard on the far side of the room and dug a few color crayons from his trouser pocket. “Look! I have pink!”
Glory looked doubtfully at his offering. “I need purple.”
Draco patted down his trousers, cursing his inability to keep her ever-changing favorite color straight. “Erm . . .” No luck. Were the three he’d absently pocketed at the breakfast table really the only ones he had on his person? “Hang on . . .” He began the process again on his lab robes.
She gave a heavy sigh and flopped onto her back. “Fux. Ake.”
He froze mid-pat and swiveled his eyes to where Glory lay sprawled. Shit, shit, shit. “What was that, sweetheart?”
She fought against the Sticking Charm as she tried to sit up once more. “I need a purple one. . . ” here she gave a grunt of effort, “Fux. Ake.” and finally gave up. “I’m stuck, Daddy.”
“You mustn’t say that, Glory,” he admonished, thinking more quickly than he ever had before. Damnitall to hell, Hermione was going to hex him into next week! “It’s a very bad thing to say unless you’re . . . erm . . . as tall as Daddy.” He freed her from the Charm and stood her on the tabletop, smoothing down her dress and pushing her wild curls from her face. “Where on earth is your hair bow?”
“As old as Mama,” Glory corrected, swatting at his fussing hands. “Do you have chocolate?”
“No chocolate for little girls except on special days,” he responded automatically. Hermione was unyielding on that point, and it wasn’t a battle he fancied waging. He paused, hands tangled deep in her thick blonde hair, as he realized what else she’d said. “What do you mean, sweetheart, ‘as old as Mama’?”
But Glory’s attention was in the process of flitting in several other directions. “Can we fly on the carpet, Daddy? I want to touch the river. Pleeease?” She patted his cheeks. “Oh! Your face isn’t scratchy like Papa’s. It’s very smooth.”
Draco noted her linguistic aptitude with a ridiculous amount of pride. This had everything to do with their daily storytime together . . . the current state of his lab faded in comparison to such proof of his parenting skill. “A ride on the carpet sounds like an excellent idea for a Tuesday afternoon, but we can’t go flying without a hair bow, sweetheart. You’d be all ouchy knots.” Maybe just this once he could soak the cauldron overnight and-
“To say Fux. Ake.” As she had both times before, Glory paused between the two words, enunciating them carefully. She looked up at him with a proud grin that stretched from ear to ear.
He grinned back automatically. Had there ever been such a charming child? “Erm, what?”
“Oh!” She gave an excited hop paired with a shriek and would have fallen off the table had he not caught her. “Thank you, Daddy! I was falling, and then you catched- and then you caught me.” She wrestled with a pocket in her dress and extricated a crumpled ribbon. “Here’s my bow. Now can we fly on the carpet?”
“Daddy will always catch you, Glory. But what do you mean?” He gathered her hair back into a clumsy bunch and knotted it in place with a satisfied smirk. Papa can just deal with that when he decides to come home, the scratchy-faced arse.
“Mama says . . . ” She looked around and wrinkled her little nose. “It smells funny in your dungeon.”
Trying to wrestle information from a two and a half year old was always exhausting and often impossible. He blew a raspberry on one plump cheek and then the other as he waited patiently for his daughter to pick up her narrative.
“STOP!” she shrilled directly into his ear. “That tickles me!”
He pursed his lips and leaned toward her cheek again, stopping less than an inch from that delectable skin. She pushed him away, one tiny hand clamped over his nose for leverage. “Mama says the bad words come out and then they can’t go back in.”
Draco freed his face from her hold as he imagined that particular discussion. Of course Hermione would know just how to explain something like bad language choices to a toddler, the clever witch! Just as quickly, however, he wondered why there’d been a need for such a talk in the first place. Good lord — had he been dropping unconscious F-bombs in front of their daughter? He shook that very real possibility off for the moment. “That’s right, sweetheart. So please don’t tell Mama what Daddy said today. It was a mistake, and I’m very sorry for it.”
“Ok.” She wrapped her arms around his neck. “Now you can give me just a little chocolate.” She raised a hand and pinched her fingers together to demonstrate exactly how small.
He studied Glory intently. From where in hell had this new fixation come? Was Hermione aware of it? “No chocolate, sweetheart.”
She pulled back, confusion etched into her features. “But Mama-” She squirmed. “My sock is wrinkly in my shoe, Daddy.”
Draco unbuckled her shoe and righted the offending sock using muscle memory alone as he tried to make sense of the current conversation. Bad words, flying carpets, chocolate, wrinkly socks — at this point, he’d lost at least part of the plot. But clearly it all made sense to Glory . . . and somewhere in it all was a lesson she’d learned from Hermione that he should really reinforce. He tried again.
“What does Mama do, then, when you say those bad words? Does she make you sit in your time out chair?”
“No!” Glory looked affronted. “That’s for naughty little girls.” She shook her head. “I do not say bad words.”
“Of course you don’t.” Draco hid his amusement and persevered. “What. Does. Mama. Do?”
She blinked. “Mama is busy. She does writing, and grows a baby, and has tea with Uncle Aberf- Aberforf, and plays with me. Now can we fly on the carpet and touch the river, Daddy?”
He draped her over his shoulder, holding her by her feet and chuckling at her happy wriggling. “First we need to close up Daddy’s lab so little girls stay safe.” He snuffed out the torches with a flick of his wand and closed the heavy door behind them, sealing it with a series of complicated charms before he righted his daughter in his arms and snuggled her close. “Let’s go see if we can find that carpet.”
“I’m a big girl,” mused Glory, tucked under his chin in a fragrant ball of toddler limbs and torso. “Because I don’t tell about bad words.”
Draco blew a stray golden curl away from his mouth and hummed in agreement. “That’s right, sweetheart. And so you mustn’t tell that Daddy said them today. Can you do that like a big girl?”
At the top of the dungeon steps, Glory poked her head up. “That’s what Mama says,” she whispered, and the tickle of her warm breath was almost as sweet as the words she sighed against his cheek. “And then she gives me chocolate.”
Ha! It hadn’t been him who’d used vulgar language in front of her- Wellllll. Not entirely him. But Hermione had another thing coming if she thought he could be so easily duped! Draco was very close to crowing in triumphant relief when a tiny, dulcet voice voice piped the world’s most powerful phrase, thereby distracting him.
“I love you, Daddy.”
He hugged her tight, heart contracting once more in a love that bordered on painful, and willed her to feel the depth of his response. “And I love you, Glory.”
Her little head fell against his shoulder, and she peered up at him with eyes of the most beautiful shade of brown. “Now call me the special name.”
Only when they were alone, just the two of them, with no one else to steal it, did he use it: the nickname he’d given her that first night he’d woken to her soft cries and realized his entire world had shifted on its axis. It was theirs and theirs alone, for fu- Huh. Perhaps he needed to clean up his internal language as well. He kissed her little nose. “Glorious.”
She bared both rows of miniature, even teeth in a smile meant just for him. “That’s my favorite and my best.”
Draco beamed. Oh, hell. Let Hermione keep her little chocolate-for-swears secret; let Lucius continue to sabotage Tuesday afternoons like the smug bastard he was — He and Glory had carpets to fly and cushion forts to build. “Mine, too, sweetheart.”
 In any other household, such a proclivity would have been curbed, but here at the Manor, where the ley lines converged and the Malfoy covenant abided, it was welcomed as a portent of things to come.
 Which was actually more about the forts they built from sofa cushions than the quality of literature they read. Hell — Draco usually made up the stories he told to suit Glory’s current obsessions!
 The little chair, which sat in the Lady’s reading room by Hermione’s writing desk, had never actually been used, but since it had been a gift from Minerva — who visited often and tended to notice things — it remained in that very visible spot. It was, however, sometimes brought up in regular chats with the Malfoy daughter about what might happen if Certain Rules weren’t followed.