|the love criminal (hecticity) wrote in hp_traditions,|
@ 2009-05-24 21:25:00
|Entry tags:||2009, draco/morag, harry/luna, neville/ginny, pg|
Happy traditions, hecticity!
Title: From Woodhenge We Say Goodbye
Gift For: hecticity
Pairing(s): Draco/Morag, Harry/Luna, Neville/Ginny
Summary: The Malfoys say good-bye to Lucius in an old pure-blood tradition and find others who have lost loved ones over the year.
Author's notes: While not as long as I thought it was going to be, this fic insisted on being told this way. Also, the tradition within is in fact an old Muggle tradition for those who build Woodhenge and Stonehenge. I do hope you like this, hecticity.
Mod note: You can also read this story on Livejournal. Please leave feedback for our talented authors!
The room was mostly dark, the only occupant happy to leave it so, enjoying the peace before the promised chaos the day would bring. Leaning against the window frame, Draco stared with silver eyes out the window onto the manicured lawn below. Two peacocks wandered around, picking at the grass. The barest glimmer of light played off their white feathers, reflecting orange-red with the first rays.
He bowed his head, closing his eyes against the rising sun. It was time to get Morag and Phineas up. Rather, it was time to get Morag up and Phineas ready for the day. The five year old Malfoy scion was likely playing in his room. Draco contemplated calling for Tallie, asking her to check in on his son, but changed his mind. He'd always thought his own father had relied on the services of the house elves far too often when he was young. It was one of the things he wanted to change for his own fatherhood.
Stepping out of his study, Draco was not surprised to see his mother already dressed and sipping tea while staring out the large picture window in the sitting room. While it wasn't common for Narcissa to be up and about at this hour usually, today was different.
The Malfoy family hadn't taken part in the Winter Solstice traditions since the year the war had ended. It was the last time a death had hit so close. That year, it had been his two aunts, though the ashes of only one were present. This year, it was his father.
Draco paused on his way to the rooms he shared with his wife, taking a slight detour toward his mother whom he saw in the parlour. She looked up at him, gilded ice eyes revealing none of the pain he knew she had to be feeling.
"Mum," he whispered.
Narcissa shook her head, "I'm fine, Draco. Really." Her voice shook so slightly it was barely noticeable.
He sighed, nodding. He didn't believe her, but he knew better than to argue the point. His mother was a force of nature, and if she needed to deny her own humanity to appear nothing less than the matriarch she was, he would not do anything to make things harder on her. When she was ready, she would accept his strength.
"We'll be ready to leave before the sun is fully up."
She set her tea down, standing smoothly. "I'll get Phineas ready."
"Mum, you don't have to."
"I want to," she touched his arm gently, "Draco, I need to."
That simple statement shifted everything for him. It confirmed both his assessment of her and his decision not to press further. Draco smiled at her, pretending with the movement that it was merely a grandmother wanting to spend time with her grandson. He nodded to her, leaned down and kissed her cheek.
"He'll probably behave for you better anyway," he offered softly. "He always does."
The grateful smile she gave was received with another nod as he left toward the hall where his rooms were located. It was the one fight with his mother he was still winning. He refused to demote her by moving her from the master bedroom. While she insisted that it wouldn't be demotion, that it was his right, the idea of his mother enjoying anything less than the best was anathema and the idea of her not keeping the position of mistress in the house more so.
The sun had nearly cleared the horizon by the time the Malfoy family was ready to Apparate. Morag was holding Phineas who was fidgeting and whining about being pulled from his toys. He was tugging on his cloak and pulling on the clasp, all the while being repeatedly reprimanded by his mother. Draco didn't strain his ears to hear the details. They weren't necessary and would only distract him from his duty.
Morag was nothing like the witches he had been attracted to in school. She wasn't lithe like the Greengrasses, nor was she tall like Pansy ended up being. Morag was compact, a petite powerhouse with dark brown hair and hazel eyes, the latter being the only attribute she managed to pass on to their son. Instead, she was smart and witty with a more hearty beauty. That he had no question as to her faithfulness in regards to his interests was definitely a plus. While his mother had been startled briefly when he'd announced it, she'd warmed to the witch quickly, giving her her full approval. His father had taken longer, but once relented, Lucius became quite the defender of his daughter-in-law.
He turned to his mother who was carrying an alabaster urn with gentle care. Her face was set, a plaster mask of strength and resignation. Offering his arm to his mother and ignoring his own plummeting stomach, Draco nodded to his wife, accepting the smile she gave gratefully.
The field around Woodhenge was already populated when they arrived. With the sun fully up, the procession would begin shortly, something for which Draco knew he was not alone in being thankful for as he pulled his cloak tighter. The faces were mostly familiar, though he noticed several faces he hadn't expected, Potter's first among them. Draco frowned, "What is he doing here?" the venom clearly noticeable.
Morag followed his gaze and snorted. "Gate crashing?"
He smiled in appreciation of the sentiment, though his face fell quickly when his mother began to pull him toward tacky red hair and a swollen belly. Belatedly, he realized that the Weaselette was with Neville Longbottom who was carrying an alabaster urn of his own. Both were dressed in warm cloaks, and it nearly caused Draco to stumble to see a Weasley in anything resembling pure-blood finery, even if it was mourning wear.
"Mum?" he asked quietly, features carefully schooled before anyone would be able to detect his disgust. Certainly, in her time, Augusta Longbottom had been respected by all. Draco wasn't certain, however, if that respect was transferable to the grandson. It never had been while they were in school, and his father had never had cause to discuss the matter.
Narcissa continued her journey to the young man and his very pregnant wife, remaining silent. Draco, for his part, remained the dutiful son and escort, burying his own distaste as they approached the couple. In the corner of his eye, he caught Potter hurriedly striding toward Longbottom as if to defend or interfere.
"Malfoy," Potter hissed, "What are you doing--" He stopped as a pale blond caught up with him and placed a soft restraining hand on his arm, pointedly looking at the urn Narcissa was carrying.
Draco had rarely been grateful for the bizarre air that Loony always seemed to bring, but in restraining her husband, it kept Draco from forgetting himself and disgracing his mother.
"Mr Longbottom," Narcissa began politely, easily ignoring the rest present. "My condolences on your grandmother. She was a formidable witch."
Potter and Weasley opened their mouths briefly, but closed them soon enough.
Neville, however, nodded with tears in his eyes and an attempt at a smile, holding the urn closer. "Thank you, Mrs Malfoy. She will be sorely missed." Draco noticed easily the hint of aloofness in the other wizard's voice, but was surprised when there was genuine feeling as a more prevalent note. After his mother's words, the group fell silent and Draco wondered if any of them would have the decency to offer their own condolences of they'd simply be content to accept hers. After a long moment of awkward silence, Narcissa nodded and turned with Draco to leave.
"My condolences on your husband, Mrs Malfoy," Neville said with only a slight quiver to his voice. "I cannot imagine what it would be to lose a spouse."
Draco felt his mother turn back, slipping her arm just slightly from his before he turned with her. "Thank you," she answered simply, warmth and pain evident her voice.
Draco was glad of his tutelage in stoicism and masking thoughts as his eyes scanned the group, jaded silver catching the shocked expressions of Potter and wife as well as the pursed disapproval of the redhead now glaring at her husband. He didn't catch what she said as he and his mother turned again to leave, but Neville's words caught his ear.
"It's the proper thing, Ginny. He loved her, and Gran would be upset if I was rude."
Despite his schooling, Draco couldn't keep all traces of satisfaction from his lips as they walked away. The girl Weasel was quite obviously unhappy, and he imagined Longbottom was going to have trouble explaining his rationale to Potter as well. Still, he admitted to himself with slight amusement that perhaps Gryffindor bravery wasn't always stupid. At least one of the four had had the decency to see his father as a man, even if it did take his death for it to happen.
"You should have paid your respects," his mother chided, bringing him out of his reverie.
"To Mr Longbottom on his grandmother," her tone expressing fully her displeasure at his slip in etiquette.
Draco nodded slowly feeling his stomach fall further and wondering if eating breakfast had been wise or if he simply hadn't eaten enough. "Yes, Mum, shall I do that currently?"
She shook her head, "No, it will be obvious. Wait until we reach Stonehenge. Then it will appear that you have spent the time in contemplation, and your apology will be more powerful."
He risked a glance up to her, realizing how much he still had to learn and wondering if she would ever teach him to be as subtle as she was. Even in the midst of her mourning, she was able to accurately evaluate social situations and come upon advantageous ways of approaching them.
It was something his father lacked as well, the ability to smoothly slide into any social situation. With the more obviously forceful personality, it was Lucius Draco had modeled himself after. This year, seeing the internal strength his mother possessed, Draco realized how much she'd offered to his father, how little credit she'd received. He frequently wondered how different his school years would have been had he accepted her influence more when he was younger.
"Good," she said obviously not adding the 'boy' she usually included in the tone. The smile that accompanied the comment warmed his heart against the Wiltshire winter wind.
Draco's mood improved as he spied the pale blond hair of his son. While today would be a day to honour the dead, it was through the living their traditions survived. The day made him more grateful for his son. With a nod from his mother, he stepped away and scooped up his son, a smile spreading over his face.
"Daddy? Why is everyone so sad?"
Draco sighed, glancing briefly at his mother and wife. He'd discussed the matter with his son at intervals, though he'd tried not to horrify the young boy. "If you'll excuse us, I think we have some wizards' business to discuss." At his mother's nod, he set Phineas down and took his hand.
They stopped a short distance from his mother, close enough to be able to rejoin her when the procession began. The distance took them closer to the Longbottoms and the beginning of the procession, so even if it started, it wouldn't be difficult for them to reunite with the witches.
Draco knelt down to be closer to his son. "We talked about this, Phineas. Remember when Grandfather died and I told you that later we would finish the good-byes?" The young blond nodded, his brown-green eyes never leaving his father's face. "Today is the day we finish the good-byes."
"But there weren't this many people at Grandfather's funeral."
Draco tensed, but nodded, trying to keep his temper under control if only for his mother's sake. There had been very few people at Lucius' funeral, creating a bitterness in Draco not easily countered. He took a deep breath, trying for the sake of his son not to continue certain useless animosities further. "No, but today isn't just for Grandfather. Today we say good-bye to everyone who left this year."
Draco pursed his lips briefly, "Everyone." It was another of his steps away from his own father. When he'd asked the same question when his own grandfather had died, the answer had been fraught with conditions and qualifications. While Draco would never be egalitarian, death was a great equalizer, and his own family had been shunned when they were here last. He could explain the exclusionary details to Phineas when he was older. Blood purity after all, was a far more delicate subject than he'd realized even ten years ago.
"Is that where you and Grandmother went before?" the small face scrunched into a pout Draco knew all too well.
Slightly taken aback at his son's awareness, he made a mental note to keep an eye out for more of his wife's intelligence, yet again thankful he'd chosen her over the vapid younger Greengrass.
Draco nodded, "Yes," silver orbs lit up as inspiration struck. "Grandmother and I went to offer our respects to the family of a very important witch." He glanced over to the front of the procession noting that it had begun the journey down the river. "We shall have to hurry, but would you like to do that now?"
Bolstered by his son's enthusiasm, he stood up and the two Malfoy men made their way up the procession to where the Longbottoms were waiting to begin. Draco gave a quick prayer of thanks to Circe that the Potters were nowhere to be found. He didn't want to discover if he was talented enough to control himself in front of his son without his mother's calming presence.
The small girl who looked very much like a younger version of her mother, turned toward them tugging on her mother's sleeve. Ginny turned and leveled brown eyes on the two wizards.
Coolly, taking his mother's lesson to heart, he bowed, "Mrs Longbottom."
"What do you want?" she asked, drawing the attention of her husband who turned around, pausing in his own journey.
"We came to give respect," Phineas offered, the boldness of it startling everyone present.
Draco was the first to regain composure. "Mr Longbottom, my sincerest condolences on your loss, and my apologies for not making my thoughts clear earlier."
Ginny hissed under her breath causing Draco to wonder if she expected lightning to strike him down.
Neville, however, was far more polite and nodded, "Thank you."
"Daddy says we say good-bye to everyone who left this year."
Draco beamed with pride at his son and nodded. Part of him cautioned that his son was likely smarter than he was, but the rest knew that family loyalty would be instilled in his son successfully.
Neville and Ginny blanched in unison before offering their condolences. "I am sorry for your loss," Neville offered first.
"Thank you," Draco responded graciously.
"Yes, we're sorry for your loss," Ginny offered stiffly.
Cherishing the difficulty in its own right, Draco nodded deeper to her, keeping in mind his mother's advice. "Thank you; your thoughts mean a lot to our family. He was a good father and a doting grandfather."
Before the couple could think to speak ill of his father, Draco tugged softly on his son's hand and bowed once more before leading them back toward his mother in the crowd.
He saw his mother's tense smile before his wife's disapproving arched eyebrow. Wordlessly, he ushered Phineas to Morag and took up his place on the other side of his mother.
"That wasn't precisely what I had in mind," she whispered to him as they joined in the moving procession.
He slipped her hand onto his arm with grace, "It was inspired by your grandson. Quite effective as well."
"It wasn't obvious?" she asked, the conversation an obvious comfort to her.
"Your grandson took care of that. Startled even me, when he mentioned that I'd told him it was a day to say good-bye to everyone who had left during the year." He allowed himself a chuckle, glancing at the river off to their left.
"Oh he did? Did he? Such a clever boy," maternal pride extending beyond the generations.
"Yes. The Longbottoms have extended their joint condolences to our family, Mum."
Narcissa nodded quietly, squeezing his arm gently. "Thank you. You're a good son, Draco."
Draco nodded, setting his jaw against the thoughts that plagued his mind as they continued on their journey down the Bath Avon toward the stone circle where they would give their final words before returning to the river to pour the ashes.