The Sugar Quill
Author: Aristyar  Story: Flying a Kite  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

A/N: A healthy load of thanks to Halcyon, who managed to help me greatly despite her thermo problems, and another healthy load

A/N: A healthy load of thanks to Halcyon, who managed to help me greatly despite her thermo problems, and another healthy load of thanks to Arianrhod, who managed to do an excellent official beta-read in a short amount of time.

 

Disclaimer: You thought I owned this? Very funny. If I did, there wouldn’t be a Sugarquill; I’d have hogged Hogwarts all away. Anyway, copyrights go to whomever they belong to. I claim none of this, besides the wish that Lucius and Draco may reconcile.

 

 

Flying a Kite

by Aristyar

 

 

 

            Lucius Malfoy glanced up and down at the image in his mirror, coolly taking in his expensive robes and ice-cold smile. He turned to the side and struck a disdainful poise. He turned to the other side and thrust out his chin, pretending to have Narcissa elegantly holding his right arm.

            “Lucius,” his wife called as she opened the door to his room and walked in. “Did you finish the card for Fudge?” She strode up to him like a minx and Lucius stretched out his arm automatically. She took it, and they stared at their images in the mirror.

            “Of course,” Lucius sneered at his reflection. That idiot Minister had decided to have a birthday celebration. Nothing wrong there, really, but instead of having a refined dinner at some horrendously expensive restaurant, he was having a picnic—yes, a picnic; the Minister had said so himself. Ghastly. Absolutely ghastly. So… so Muggle.

            “Good,” Narcissa purred. Lucius lifted his chin a bit more. They did look a good couple, he couldn’t deny that. The marriage had been planned before he was even born, and he had grown up knowing Narcissa would be his wife, had grown up watching her for flaws. He found none. The match was good. And, well, there was Draco too—though, he thought with an inward sigh, he wondered how Draco turned out the way he did. A difficult child. He hadn’t been like that when he was a child…

 

            The little field Fudge had chosen as the location of his birthday bash (so said the banner that swung gleefully in the breeze) was surrounded on three sides by a green forest glade, filled with cheerfully chirping birds. Daisies and wildflowers dotted the hillside, so green and perfect it looked like a cutout from a picture book.

            Lucius descended the carriage as puffs of purple smoke from photographers rose up all around him.

            “Ah, Lucius!” Lucius looked up, fixing his face into a passably amiable smile as Fudge descended on him, just as Narcissa alighted from the carriage. “And Narcissa!” The idiot Minister’s face was wreathed in smiles, and there was a wineglass in his hand.

            “How do you do, Minister,” Lucius said courteously.

            “How do you do,” Narcissa said in matching, clipped tones, but Lucius detected a slight strain, and string of tension in her voice. Was something wrong? Ice filled his insides as he glanced about quickly, looking for that old fox, Dumbledore…

            At that moment, he felt a solid, bony object thrust its way between the two of them— He nearly yelped as he twisted around, stumbling, one hand on his wand already, before he saw who had elbowed in between him and his wife.

            Draco glared up sulkily at the Minister, then tossed his head slightly while dusting a bit of imaginary dust off one sleeve. He bowed stiffly. “How do you do, Minister,” he murmured, and if Lucius had not been so annoyed, he would have been proud of his son’s poise and voice.

            Fudge clapped, the little wine that was in his wineglass splattering onto the grass. “Oh ho, Lucius, and is this the little tyke of yours? Draco, is it?” He leaned forward and pinched the little boy’s cheek. “Like father, like son, eh, little tyke?”

            Lucius found it very difficult not to strangle the Minister.

            “Aha!” Fudge exclaimed, standing up and sliding his attention off the Malfoys and onto his next victim. “Will you look at that? Miss Amelia Bones, what a pleasure…”

            Lucius grasped his wife’s hand and tried to draw her a bit closer so he could ask her a question, a very pressing question, namely, why was the little brat here?—but that same little brat was jostling in between them like an eager dog, tugging his stylish robe insistently—

            Narcissa finally got the message and leaned over to her husband.

            “What,” Lucius hissed, “exactly is he doing here?” He indicated the boy between them with a look of panic and horror.

            Narcissa stiffened. “Your son is nine, Lucius. It’s about time you presented him to the others of the Ministry.”

            “But”—Lucius was aware that Draco, the brat, was still tugging his robe—“But he isn’t prepared! And—and where’s his governess?”

            “Not prepared?” Narcissa answered coolly. “I think he replied to the—to the Minister quite well.”

            That idiot Fudge! Lucius seethed again as he remembered, with terribly clarity, how he had pinched and laughed ho-ho-ho at his son, his—Lucius Malfoy’s son—like some vulgar Muggle clown.

            “Do you think I am going to allow you to parade my son in front of the Ministry like some freak show?” He noticed with satisfaction that his voice had regained its icy edge. “And where’s his governess?”

            “I tricked her,” Draco piped up proudly. “I told her to go upstairs to the attic and look for my shoes, and I locked her in there.” He sniggered. “And all the time, Dobby had my shoes downstairs. She’s such an idiot.”

            Lucius looked at Narcissa, torn between irritation and pride at his son’s show of his Slytherin side. She avoided his glance. Clearly, she had not anticipated bringing Draco without his governess to look after him.

            Lucius was about to say something, but Narcissa interrupted. “I think this would be a good time for you to acquaint yourself with your son.” She flashed a smile and smoothly glided away from him and Draco, as though afraid that they would bite her. She scanned the crowd. “I must go pay my greetings to dear Mrs. McNair.” She looked back at her husband with a smug smile and left just as a reporter snapped a photo at them.

            Lucius grinded his teeth angrily. That dratted woman! Leaving him alone with this insufferable brat. What was he supposed to do now?

            “Father?”

            The stupid brat. Lucius turned to his son, feeling anger rise like boiling water, and snarled, “Do you know what it’s costing me for you to be here?” He quickly donned his mask of icy composure as several women he didn’t know began staring at him. “Draco,” he said stiffly, glancing around for someplace convenient to dump the little brat… What was that? In the distance, he saw a few sails of color flying through the air… He didn’t know what they were called, but he had a feeling that they were for children. “Draco, go there and play with those—things.”

            Draco sighed. “But Father, can’t I stay with y—”

            “Dare you question my order?” Lucius drew himself to his full height, glaring down at his son with a look that promised punishment once they got back.

            Draco lowered his gaze meekly. “No,” he muttered sulkily and made his way through the crowd, his silver-blond head sticking out like a globe of white gold.

            Finally! Children were such a bother. Why couldn’t they just shut up and behave with no mischief, like any normal person? When he was young, children were seen not heard, a golden maxim. Lucius scowled inwardly. No matter how many pureblood governesses he hired, how many times he punished that child, he was still the same—stubborn, whining, complaining, all the time! And he did make sure that Draco was well treated—whenever he pointed at something expensive, in a shop or otherwise, it would be bought. Insufferable little brats…

 

            Draco forced his way through the crowd, alternately shoving with childish temper and striding stiffly through the crowd, haughty as royalty. Pureblood was royalty, everyone knew that. His mother was from the noble house of Black, while his father was a Malfoy—he was a Malfoy.

But Father was so mean! He felt tears of anger and hurt welling up in his eyes. He didn’t even do anything wrong! Stupid Father—and that stupid Minister, with this stupid idea of having a picnic birthday bash. He’d overheard Father saying that they were only going to stay for a little while. The shorter the better! He hated this stupid little picnic thing. He couldn’t wait to get back home and brandish his newest toy broom in front of those two drooling dolts, Crabbe and Goyle.

            Thinking of all that made him feel better. Before he even noticed, he had gone through a little space of forest and had emerged on the other side. There were several children standing on a slight hill, looking upwards. He, too, looked upwards, and nearly jumped when he saw the tiny diamonds of color weaving through the flawless blue sky. At one end of the diamond, a little tail, studded with color, flicked about like a lithe dragon.

            Draco breathed in wonder. He had never seen anything like that. He’d tell father to get him one right away… But first, he’d just stand there and watch…

            After a few moments of awed observation, he noticed that several kids, around his own age, were standing there, holding small rolls of string and gazing up at the swirling diamonds of color. Most of them were wearing robes. Good. No stupid Muggles or Mudbloods around.

            He smoothed back his hair, lifted his chin, and strutted up to the nearest one, a rather plump boy who had his back facing him.

            “Ahem.” The boy squeaked and spun around. Draco sneered. Tears of frustration and fear were covering the boy’s face, and the strings of the colorful diamond were tangled all over his hands.

            “Hello,” said Draco coldly, extending his hand for a handshake.

            The boy tried to pull on his pudgy hands free, but managed only to entangle himself even more. “Ah—h-hello,” he mumbled, trying to untangle his hands from the string.

            Draco watched the boy struggle some more, sneering. “My name is Draco Malfoy. What’s yours?”

            The boy gasped and stumbled back a few steps, tripping and falling on his behind while staring at Draco with wide, horrified eyes. He gulped. “N-Neville Longb-b—bottom.”

            Longbottom, Longbottom… Draco frowned, sure that he had heard that name somewhere. “Ah,” he murmured to himself as he remembered, vaguely, Father mentioning how aunt Bellatrix had done something to the Longbottoms, something that sent them into St. Mungo’s… Whatever she had done, he was glad she did it. What a pathetic plop of snot this Longbottom was!

            He curled his lips in the epitome of a contemptuous sneer. Look at him tremble. He was sure Longbottom was going to wet his pants then and there. He took a step towards the huddled boy, looming up with a cold, cruel smirk on his face, the way Father did it…

            “Neville!”

            Draco jumped. Neville scrambled to his feet, desperately tearing the strings off his hands and fingers.

            “Neville!” Draco watched an old woman, wearing a stupid looking vulture hat, stomp up over the hill and survey all the children with sharp eyes. They settled onto him like a dueler’s wand.

            Draco backed away slightly, not liking the look in the old hag’s face. The way she fastened her gaze on him the way a mother lion would glare at a meddlesome fox.

            You’ve got nothing to afraid of! Draco thought to himself, angry for backing down to this old hag. He straightened himself and lifted his chin, half noticing that Neville was weeping with frustration.

            “G-Grandma,” Neville was whimpering, “I’m s-stuck—”

            The old woman’s whisper was like a knife sliding out of its sheath. “You’re Lucius’s son, aren’t you? And—her nephew, right?”

            Draco nodded proudly, though his heart was bouncing in his throat. He swiveled his gaze to an easier target—Neville, who had been glancing fearfully at his grandmother. Upon feeling Draco’s burning gaze, he squeaked and jumped backwards like a startled rat, and magically, the string around his hands came free and coiled itself neatly on the grass.

            Both Draco and Neville stared at the string in surprise.

            “Grandma…” Neville whispered, eyes wider than dinner plates. “Grandma, I think—I think I—”

            “Look at me boy!” the old woman snapped. Draco whipped his gaze back to Neville’s grandmother, and cringed at her fierce eyes. He tried to muster his courage, tried to stare her down, but… but he couldn’t… “You stay away from my grandson, you hear me?” She took a step forward, and Draco stumbled backwards. “He may not be as smart as Frank, but if you so much as touch him, your father is going to have hell to pay.”

            Draco froze, too horrified to move.

            Then she cleared her throat and turned to her grandson.

            “Grandma—” Neville began, timidly—

            “Why didn’t you tell me you were going to run off and play with kites?” She swung her bag and hit him smartly on the rear. Neville squeaked and hurried down the hill, followed by his grandmother. “And the next time Malfoy gets near you, fight for yourself, don’t be a coward…”

            Draco stared at them as they left, feeling his blood settle. Stupid old hag. Of course he wasn’t afraid of her, he was a Malfoy. He glanced around quickly, making sure Father wasn’t there.

            Sneering at where the grandson and grandmother had descended the hill, he noticed that, at his feet, lay the bright fabric diamond.

            “Hah,” Draco scoffed, picking up the kite and looking at it curiously. The tail of the… kite (Was that what it was called? He couldn’t trust anything that old hag had said.) was silver, very nice, but the actual kite itself was red. How distasteful.

            He felt the kite again, running his hands over the edges. It felt enchanted… He hesitated. What if he threw it and it fell back on his head? Glancing at the other children, he felt as though they were suddenly turning their heads away after staring critically at him. Well. He tossed his hair again. He was a Malfoy.

            Gripping the kite unsteadily, he held it high, feeling it stir slightly in his hands. Biting his lip, he let it go with a little push…

            He watched it soar high in the air, higher, higher, circling slowly, the silver tail trailing behind like a gliding snake…

            For a moment, he stared intently at the kite, watching with wonder. The silver glinted in the sun, the red soared like a phoenix through the blue sky. So intent was he that he forgot that he was at the Minister of Magic’s birthday party, that his father had ordered him away, that he was a Malfoy. Right now he was flying a kite, and loving it. He felt as though he were sitting atop the kite, surveying the small earth below…

            Then, he pulled the string as he walked back several paces, thinking to himself with an almost pitiful sneer, that those poor, stupid Muggles didn’t have anything like this to enjoy…

            He pulled harder at the string, and the kite soared in circles, making patterns across the sky. A sudden urge to yell with happiness surged in him, but squashed it quickly. He was a Malfoy, and Malfoys didn’t yell! But he couldn’t help himself as he skipped down the hill with the kite string in his hand, pulling the kite with him…

            “Vroom!” He shouted, jerking the string down. The kite obeyed like a broomstick and swooped down into his outstretched a—

            Into a tree.

            Draco stared at the kite as it struggled in the branches, wrestling the leaves, the silver tail slowly drifting down the tree trunk. Draco frowned, upset and annoyed. He pulled the kite string again, but the kite only got tangled deeper in the nest of leaves.

            “Stupid kite,” Draco growled between his teeth, pulling harder. He glanced around angrily, feeling his face flush. They were probably all looking at him trying to get the kite out, all laughing at him because here he was, a Malfoy, stuck with a little kite in the tree.

            “It’s because,” he shouted, “you’re all jealous!” He didn’t shout it too loudly, in case anyone heard him and thought he was crazy, but he shouted it loudly enough to vent some of the steamy anger. He pulled again. He pulled harder, leaning back with all his weight and might…

            “Draco!”

            Draco jumped at his father’s voice. His father was stalking through the glade of trees, striding through dapples of shade and pools of sunlight, making him look like a white tiger hunting in the forests.

            “What are you doing?” his father hissed furiously, looking around.

            Draco crossed his army sulkily, one hand still holding the kite string. “I was playing with the kite,” he explained in a small voice, trying to imbue his words with an icy cold sneer. It wasn’t working. “It got stuck in a tree,” he said, pointing upwards.

            “Put it down at once!” his father snapped. “What would people think if they saw you, a Malfoy, struggling like a—like a—”

            “I wouldn’t have struggled if it didn’t get stuck in a tree,” Draco snapped back.

            His father glanced up, and seemed to notice for the first time the immobilized kite. He frowned. “It’s the wrong color, Draco.”

            “Then change it! Please,” Draco added as his father redirected his glare. “Father, please?”

            His father hesitated. Then, he pulled out his wand, pointed it at the kite, and commanded, “Accio!” The kite stirred, then thrashed in the leaves. Draco yelped as the kite string whipped out of his hands. “Let go, stupid boy,” Lucius hissed. “Accio!” The kite swooped out the tree the way it had entered, and glided into the wizard’s hand.

            Draco watched in awe and envy. His father tapped the kite a few times, and a puddle of green spread across the scarlet kite. Soon, the entire kite was green except for the frame, which stayed an obstinate crimson.

            “This’ll do,” Lucius said stiffly, handing the kite to his son.

            Draco took it eagerly, and threw it into the air. “Vroom!” he shouted before he could stop himself. He pulled the string back and forth, directing the kite as it twirled circles through the air.

            Lucius sighed, rather annoyed. “Here,” he muttered, taking the string from his son. He concentrated, then jerked the string a few times.

            Draco gasped, watching the kite and its tail take the shape of a large ‘M’.

            “Father, let me try, let me try!”

            Lucius handed the kite to his son, feeling vaguely that he should be offended that his son was being so childish in public, but Draco had already grabbed the kite, and was jerking it around like a puppeteer.

            “No, no!” Lucius sighed. Children were so… so… “You have to have the picture of whatever you want the kite to form in your mind, before you jerk it around.”

            “Oh,” Draco said, a bit surprised. He closed his eyes and concentrated for a moment, before stabbing the air with the kite string in his hand. He snapped his eyes open, then pointed upwards, shouting, “Look! Look, Father!”

            Lucius looked, and felt a surge of pride when he saw the ‘A’ floating in the air.

            “Good,” he said, “Very good.” He paused, feeling a bit awkward. The compliment tasted so foreign to his tongue. But… but it felt rather good, like some exotic dish. He glanced surreptitiously at his son, but Draco didn’t seem to notice. He only screwed up his face in concentration before opening his eyes and smiling widely. Lucius looked up and watched the ‘L’ wave proudly as it soared through the air…

            “Let me guess—M-A-L-F-O-Y. Malfoy. Malfoy, isn’t it?”

            Father and son turned with sneers on their faces to face Bill Weasley.

            Stupid red-haired brat, Lucius thought, tilting his chin. I wonder why Fudge invited this pack of Muggle-loving peasants to his party

            Draco narrowed his eyes at the stranger. He had heard from his father about those pesky Weasleys, who had too many children for their own good. What a shame on all purebloods that they weren’t dead.

            “Why, isn’t it Weasley,” said Lucius, noticing with satisfaction that the teenager before him was already clenching his fists in anger. “Tell me, has your father finally sold that shack of yours?”

            Draco sniggered as the teenager shouted fiercely, “Get lost, Malfoy!”

            “Bill!”

            God, Lucius thought, sighing, seems like I stirred up a whole nest of them

            Arthur Weasley came running up to them, stopping abruptly as he saw the two Malfoys. His face instantly became as cold as stone, but he blinked a few times for some strange reason, as though he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

            “Hello, Arthur,” Lucius sneered. “I suggest you teach your son some manners.”

            “Wh—I mean, yes, Bill, don’t be—be rude,” Arthur said distractedly. He took a deep breath and struck up a cheerful face. “Er—hello, Lucius, are you—enjoying yourself? I—well, it’s a Muggle invention, but I—er—improved it… with the permission of the Ministry of course, you understand, it was really easy, just a few—”

            “What,” Lucius interrupted coldly, “are you talking about?”

            Arthur blinked. “The kite, of course. It’s—it’s a very—very amusing Muggle invention, isn’t it? I researched it, and added a few charms on it, I’m trying to introduce it to the magical community, it’s very good for Muggle-wizard relations…”

            Draco stared down, horrified, as comprehension swept over him like a wave of icy water. He was holding something Muggle and something soiled and stained by those priggish Weasleys!

            “Draco!” his father snapped, his voice like a bolt of lightning, but Draco felt paralyzed somehow, seized by a sudden reluctance— “Drop it, Draco! Drop. It!” Then he felt his father’s smack his shoulder, his father’s other hand in a fearfully strong grip on his wrist— “DRACO!”

            He dropped it and wished he had flung that filthy Muggle toy far away. What was wrong with him? His hands felt filthy and sordid, as though a thousand ants had scuttled over them. He barely comprehended the Weasleys’ rising protests, barely felt his father push him away…

            “Don’t think you can ever trick my son again, you—you filthy Muggle-loving—”

            “Now, Lucius, be reasonable!”

            “—you stupid beggars, you peasants…”

            Father was going to be mad at him when they got back, and Mother would ignore him, her lips thin and white as she swept past him. But he couldn’t help feel the splinter of regret as he watched the kite float down the hill and then away…

            “Shut up, Malfoy!”

            “Splendid range of vocabulary your son has, eh, Weasley?”

            “You’re hopeless, Malfoy—”

            Anger burned. Draco clenched his fists—it was all their fault, all the fault of Weasley and Longbottom! How he hated them, oh how he hated them!

            “Tell me how much your house has fetched you, Weasley. Not quite enough for a few days worth of bread, is it?”

            “Shut. Up. Malfoy—”

            “Let me extend my sincerest sympathies to your fiscal plight and compliments to your intimidating command of vocabulary. Now stop wasting my time. Good-bye.”

            Draco watched his father whirl around with apprehension. He had rarely seen his father look so mad, as though he wanted nothing more than to snap someone’s neck…

            “We’re going, Draco,” he said shortly. Draco hurried ahead, not daring to glance back once at the kite. They were barely within the fringe of trees when his father exploded.

            “You idiot! You stupid brat, you—how could you have let yourself get tricked so easily, and by Weasley! You are a humiliation to the line of Malfoys, you stupid little brat!” Lucius took a deep breath as his son ran ahead of him, head bowed. He felt tired, shaken, so much so that even the terrible rage and hatred at the Weasleys was sluggish and dim. But it didn’t matter. He would have plenty of time to punish Draco when they got home. Plenty of time. But… yet… he felt as though he had lost something, something that flashed and then was gone…

 

~finis~

//
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