Happy traditions, silveredaccents! Title: Uncharmable Women Author: ??? Gift For:silveredaccents Pairing(s): Draco/Ginny, with past Lucius/Molly, Lucius/Narcissa, and Arthur/Molly Summary: Draco needs to restore the Malfoy name, so Lucius send his future in an enexpected direction. Rating: PG-13 Word Count: ~3600 Warnings: EWE (Epilogue, What Epilogue?), language. Author's notes:silveredaccents asked for traditions of pureblood life, strong generational influences, and showing the different sides of things, the grey areas. I hope I haven't disappointed!
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It took Molly almost an hour to get through all of the new Azkaban security, even once she’d made it to the island, which now required a Ministry-issued portkey and a half-hour boat ride with the unlucky Auror-in-training on duty.
Arthur had tried his hardest for the better part of a week to convince her not to go. “For Merlin’s sake, Molly,” he’d said, “It’s Lucius Malfoy! Whatever he has to say, it’s not worth the trouble of going all the way to Azkaban.” Of course, she knew he had other reasons for objecting that he’d never mention aloud for fear of being hexed beyond recognition. The last time had been in the second year of their marriage, and he still winced if he sat down too quickly.
But, if she was being completely honest with herself, she wasn’t sure why she was going through all of this trouble to see him. True, he’d sent her letters, begging on his figurative hands and knees. A package of flowers had even been delivered to the house: Daisies in a multitude of colors and, just as she would never admit to anyone that the purple daisy that had accidentally fallen out of the arrangement as she carried it to the waste bin was now hidden in between pages 154 and 155 of her favorite book, she would never admit to herself that, even after all these years and all the things he’d done, she still found him the least bit endearing.
When the expressionless guard finally led her onto the hall that held Lucius’ cell, she was already frustrated. She understood the confiscation of her wand, she truly did, but forcing her to remove her hair pins just seemed unnecessary.
Molly shivered, though she wasn’t sure if it was from the cold, as they kept most of Azkaban far below normally acceptable temperatures even now, when all of the Dementors were gone, or from the eerie silence that filled the wide corridor. From what she’d heard, each of the most heavily-charged former Death Eaters had been put in individual wings of the prison to discourage possible uprisings, and she saw now that it was true.
They reached the end of the hall and Molly, looking up from the concrete floor, saw that they’d stopped about five feet from the bars at the front of Lucius Malfoy’s small piece of hell. The guard, having pulled out his wand and turned a small stone from his pocket into a folding chair, turned to her. “Would you like for me to stay, Mrs. Weasley?”
Molly frowned at him. He was young; Bill’s age at the most, she figured. “As I’m sure you’ll be watching us from behind the door anyway, I’m going to decline. Given this extremely cosy arrangement, I’m sure I can handle myself.”
He nodded briskly and quickly disappeared through the door from which they’d entered. Sure enough, a moment later she saw his face through the small window built into it. When she turned back to Lucius, he appeared to be studying her with interest, a small smile on his lips. “What?” The question caused his smile to turn sad.
“I was simply realizing that your hair alone is more color than I’ve seen in almost two months.” She closed her eyes and sighed. He was still charming, but she was a woman who refused to be charmed; not by him, not anymore.
“Why am I here, Lucius?” She opened her eyes again and saw that he’d looked away, no longer smiling at all. Taking this chance to get a real look at him, she regretted it almost instantly. Even without the Dementors, Azkaban still did cruel things to the people imprisoned there. His long blond hair, though still pulled into a ponytail at the back of his neck, was stringy and matted. The black circles under his eyes were even darker than her husband’s had been during the last months of the war.
His answer was one word: “Draco.”
She’d been afraid of that. “Lucius.” She sighed, her eyes falling to the floor. “I’m almost positive you know that your wife already owled me about this, and since you know that, I’m sure you also know that I already refused.”
His voice was quiet when he responded. “Yes, I do know that. That’s why I asked you here; I hoped that, maybe, you’d hear me out.”
“And why would I do that,” she demanded angrily. “If you’ll remember, this thing you’re trying to get me to impose upon my daughter, my only daughter, is something I have no reason to approve of. If you’ll remember, you have no reason to think that I owe you anything.”
Suddenly, Lucius was at the bars, one gripped in each hand, peering out at her from between them. “I would never insinuate that you owe me something, Molly.” Hearing her name fall from his lips caused most of her anger to dissipate. He sounded almost as sad as he had the day he had come to her doorstep to apologize, to tell her that he had officially been promised to Narcissa Black by his parents. Only now, there was also a hint of desperation. “I only meant that, maybe, you’ll understand what it’s like to want to protect your child.”
With that comment, Molly wanted to slap him. He’d always been brilliant at pushing her buttons.
“The old customs are his only chance, Molly. As much as I don’t want to admit it, I’ve ruined the Malfoy name. I took my son down with me, and I hate myself for it. There’s only one chance for him to retain any amount of respect in this world of ours, and that’s to follow the old traditions as closely as he can. That means he has to marry a witch from a respected pureblood family before his twentieth birthday.”
She almost laughed. She was fully aware that her family had become one of the most respected pureblood Wizarding families since the war’s end, but hearing it from a man whose wife’s ancestors had disowned the last family member to marry a Weasley was very nearly hilarious.
“And how does Draco feel about all of this?”
“He doesn’t object.” Molly scoffed in disbelief and Lucius amended. “His only fear seemed to be your daughter’s inevitable reluctance. He admitted to me that their previous interaction has been less than favorable for him, and he’s afraid that her opinions of him are too deeply rooted to change now.”
“If my children are reluctant when it comes to yours, it’s not as though you’re entirely blameless. If you and Arthur had set aside your idiotic feuding, things may not have been so tense from the beginning.” She glared pointedly at him, and he just smirked infuriatingly.
“I stand by my opinion that you deserved, and still deserve, better than Arthur Weasley.”
“Yet you want him to be your son’s father-in-law? Where’s the logic in that?” She was scowling, thinking about the many arguments Arthur and Lucius had gotten into over the years. She was only glad that her children didn’t know the true reason behind them.
“I don’t. I want Molly Prewett, the first girl I loved, to be his mother-in-law.” Even with his hair stringy and his features almost ten years too old, the grin he wore was mightily handsome.
Damn him, Molly screamed in her mind. Outwardly, however, she only sighed. When she spoke, it was direct and her expression was hard, determined. “I won’t force her into anything. I refuse to let what happened to me happen to her, do you understand? I can convince her to give your son a chance, but that’s all I can do. It’s all I’m willing to do.”
He nodded solemnly. “Completely understood. I’ll owl Narcissa with the good news.” His expression was relieved, though the grin was gone. “I only hope your daughter will give my son half the chance you gave me.”
“Hopefully it’ll turn out better for her than it did for me.” She didn’t look at him again, choosing to look at the floor as she followed the guard back down the hall to begin exit security measures. At least she’d have a chance to think of what she’d say to Ginny when she got home. She didn’t even want to think about what she’d eventually tell Arthur.
When Ginny walked into the Burrow that afternoon, it was quieter than she figured she’d ever heard it. A quick look around made it obvious that she and her mother were the only ones in the house. She wasn’t sure what to make of that, nor the fact that her mother didn’t appear to be taking this rare opportunity to scrub the place from top to bottom. In fact, she was just sitting at the kitchen table, and Ginny had a sneaking suspicion that her mother had been waiting for her.
“Where is everyone?” Even though all of her brothers except Ron now had places of their own, Percy was the only one that hadn’t been staying at the Burrow for the last two weeks or that wasn’t planning to stay until Ginny, Ron, Harry, and Hermione left for Hogwarts the next week.
Molly motioned for Ginny to take the seat across from her and waited until she had before answering. “I sent them out. Errands and such things. Don’t worry, I had them take your Hogwarts list too.”
Ginny watched as she poured out a second cup of tea and placed it in front of her, then went back to holding her own. It was obvious she hadn’t drunk even a sip of it, and seemed to only be twisting it around and around with her fingers. Ginny didn’t reach for hers. “What’s going on, Mum? What’s this about?”
Molly frowned a bit. She should have known. Her daughter was too much like a younger version of Molly sometimes: she always wanted to know, and if someone seemed reluctant to tell her, it made her want to know all the more. She put down her tea cup and placed her hands, where the anxiety of the moment seemed to have pooled, in her lap underneath the table. “I needed to talk to you.”
“Does it have anything to do with the mysterious trip you took this morning that Dad’s been so upset about all week?”
Molly glared at her. “If you must know, yes it does, but if you don’t let me talk, you may never know anything at all.” Ginny scowled, but nodded, and Molly couldn’t help feeling disappointed that she hadn’t put up more of a fight. Despite having all day to mull it over, she was still uncertain just how she was going to broach this particular subject with her daughter.
They’d had very few conversations in the past about Ginny’s dating life. What was the point, Molly had wondered, of worrying about sex and dating when you’re daughter’s in love with the Saviour of the Wizarding World?
But of course, that relationship was over, and if Molly was being honest with herself, rightly so. However, in that moment, as she desperately wished herself out of this predicament she’d agreed to put herself in, she couldn’t help thinking they could have stuck it out a bit longer.
“The trip I took this morning,” she began slowly, unsure, “was to Azkaban. I was visiting Lucius Malfoy.”
Ginny’s eyes narrowed. “Mum, he hates us. Why would you waste your time with a visit to him?”
Molly sighed and rubbed her hands nervously against her dress, but Ginny took the sigh for annoyance and apologized. Molly simply nodded, in that moment deciding against her initial instinct to deny Lucius’ hatred.
“Ginny, darling, the point of this conversation…well, I know we’ve never really had a conversation about the old pureblood traditions. Mainly because your father and I have never seen it as particularly prudent to follow them or force you children to follow them. However, my visit this morning has convinced me that maybe it’s time I share them with you.”
She glanced up at her daughter’s face, and was sickly relieved to see curiosity mixed in with the confusion and concernment in her expression. She leveled herself then, looking directly in Ginny’s face. This was the important part. “One of the most important facets of a pureblood’s traditions is family. Family, and marriage.”
Ginny’s expression became wary and, as she put the pieces of her mother’s words together, incredulous. Molly almost laughed from the relief that flooded through her. She knew that she probably would have crumbled if she’d had to spell the entire thing out; in that moment she loved her brilliant only daughter more than ever.
Ginny pushed her chair back from the table. “Oh Merlin. Mum, you don’t-, I mean you can’t seriously be saying-…Malfoy?”
Molly reached out and caught her hand before it left the table. “Ginny, please. Listen to me. I’m trying to explain.” She took a deep breath as Ginny settled back into her chair with a frown. “Traditionally, two pureblood families arrange for their children to have a mutually…advantageous relationship.”
“So I’ve been sold off to the highest bidder, then? I’m socially advantageous for the rich former Death Eater?” Her daughter practically spat the words, and Molly felt tears, both angry and sad, prick at her eyes.
“I would never do that to you, do you understand me, Ginevra Molly Weasley? You should never believe that someone in this family would take advantage of you like that.” Realizing that the grip on her daughter’s hand had tightened, Molly released her and folded her hands back in her lap. “All I’m asking, all they’re asking, is that you give Draco a chance. More of a chance than you may have been willing to give before, that is.”
Ginny sighed then and placed her face into her hands wearily. She stayed there a moment before nodded almost imperceptibly and looking up at her mother. “Just explain one thing to me. Why did you ever even agree to the meeting? What has Lucius Malfoy ever done for us to make you go all the way to Azkaban for him?”
Surprising even herself, Molly smiled. She had already decided that this may finally be the time to let one of her children in on the secret that she and Arthur had indeed had lives before Bill was born. “Darling, did you ever really believe that your father was the first man in my life?”
Ginny groaned, the implications of that statement weighing upon her mind. Molly just shook her head. “Honestly, I owe those old traditions a lot in the grand scheme of things. If the Blacks and the Malfoys hadn’t promised Lucius and Narcissa to one another, you and your brothers might not even exist.”
Draco glared at his mother, but softened his expression before she could see.
“Yes, I’m aware that I wouldn’t exist if these traditions weren’t in place, but that doesn’t explain why you wish me to marry a Weasley.”
Narcissa pursed her lips. They’d had this conversation before, long before Molly Weasley had gone to visit Lucius in Azkaban. She’d been confused at first as well, when her husband had suggested the youngest Weasley as a viable match for their son, but the more she thought about it, the more viable a match it truly seemed. “You’re also aware that your father and I have done no favors for the Malfoy name. Your father believes, and I agree, that having a Weasley in the family, and in your life, will put you on a better path than we ever encountered.”
Draco resisted the urge to point out that it had been his mother’s family who physically burned someone from the family tree for marrying a Weasley. Instead he threw one of his arms up in exasperation. “That’s the part I truly don’t understand! This was Father’s idea? He was the one who always told me that we weren’t supposed to cavort with Weasleys, that they were lower than me.”
Narcissa fought a grimace. “If you want to know, you can feel free to ask your father next time we visit about his jealously of Arthur Weasley and his past with Molly Prewett.” Draco blanched. “But for now, the point is that we believe your best chance for a good life and actual happiness lies within Ginevra Weasley. All we ask is that you trust us, despite all the reasons we’ve given you not to.” She looked at her son sadly, and as he saw the hurt in his mother’s eyes, Draco found himself nodding.
He sighed and sunk into a chair across from where his mother was seated on her most comfortable couch. “Where do I even start, Mother? I have no idea how to convince her I’ve changed.”
“Use your strengths, Draco darling. If you’re anything like your father, you should have no trouble charming her.”
Ten months later.
Draco stood in his room, inspecting himself in the mirror for the millionth time. Even though it would be six hours still until his mother called him down to finish the wedding preparations and greet their guests, he had been checking his immaculate dress robes for imperfections every ten minutes in between paces.
He wasn’t nervous about the wedding. That much he knew for sure. He’d never been as sure about anything as he was about Ginny Weasley. What worried him was what he would say.
Many times, he’d been tempted to get a time-turner and go back and smack himself for ever suggesting that they write their own vows. Ever since Ginny had agreed to it, the idea of fumbling over his words or saying the wrong thing taunted him constantly.
Stepping back and turning to the side, he began to pace the length of the room again and he forced himself to remember the words he’d written down the night before.
“You’ve always known I was a bastard,” he began, having long passed the stage where he worried what effect his language might have on the guests. “One of Europe’s worst. And yet, standing here across from you, I can only figure I’m the luckiest bastard in the entire fucking world.” He grinned, remembering when she’d called him that. It was just after she’d agreed to marry him.
“Even when I look at the ring on your finger and you grin at me, it’s hard to believe that I ever got you to be mine. I remember every time you told me to fuck off, and I remember realizing that I was in love with you even as you pointed your wand at my head.” Of course, he’d deserved it. He’d been the one threatening to turn Ron into a weasel the next time the word ‘ferret’ crossed his lips.
It had taken him all of two seconds after sitting across from Ginny on the Hogwarts Express to realize that his mother’s advice was fairly useless. While he may have been able to get pretty far with Pansy using only his Slytherin charms, this was going to be something else entirely.
Ginny Weasley was, in essence, the Uncharmable Woman.
Almost a month passed before he got even a smile from her. The morning he had sat down at the Gryffindor table and declared that he was going to have breakfast with her that day, she had grinned at him and he’d grinned back in triumph. That was the same day she finally agreed to spend the Hogsmeade weekend trip with him.
It was December, the last Hogsmeade trip before the Christmas holiday, the first time she kissed him. It was after he’d helped Harry, Ron, and Hermione avoid an oncoming Prophet reporter by showing them an invisible shortcut into an alleyway. Once the reporter had passed, looking around in confusion, Ginny had pushed him against the wall and pulled his face down to hers, gripping his green-striped scarf in her gloved hand.
Draco shook his head, clearing the fog his memories had created and trying to remember where he’d been. “I’ve made hundreds of mistakes since I met you, and many more since you accepted me for the foolish prat I am. I can only hope that, as I continue to fuck up after this day is over, you’ll remember that, for whatever reason, you love me, and I love you, my beautiful, uncharmable woman.”
He frowned and shook his head, sure the words sounded wrong, before making his way back over to the mirror.
A small knock on the door interrupted his scrutinizing. Ginny’s voice floated under the door and made him smile. “Don’t worry so much, love. If you don’t stop pacing, you’ll wear a hole in the floor, and your mother says if you knock out a guest with a piece of ceiling, she’ll be forced to kill you.” She paused for a moment, and Draco imagined her leaning against the doorframe outside. “Just remember that I love you, and that this will all be over in a few hours.”
He heard footsteps as she started to walk away, then turned around and walked back. “And sit downfor Merlin’s sake. You aren’t going to wrinkle your robes beyond repair by just resting for a while.”