The Sugar Quill
Author: ilene  Story: The Proxy  Chapter: Part One
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

The Proxy

Written by ilene

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

Part One

Andromeda Tonks thinks she's finally come to terms with her losses and her new role as Teddy's caretaker -- until an unlikely visitor appears on her doorstep.



Round One

Andromeda heard the chime and reached for her wand by force of habit. Not that the Death Eaters were known to bother with ringing a doorbell, but she was still used to undoing all the protective charms on the houses; she had only recently changed to one that locked the door, but could be undone by a merely tapping on a certain knot in the wood from the inside. She shushed Teddy, and smiled as his hair turned from aqua blue to lime green, before leaving his crib.

She opened the door, and as soon as she saw that familiar shade of blond hair, she tightened her grip on her wand.

"So, come to finish the job?" she hissed as she pointed her wand at the chest of the pale boy standing in front of her.

"Finish the job?" The boy stared at her, wide-eyed, and took a step back.

"Don't play dumb with me, Draco Malfoy." Andromeda gave Draco the haughtiest glare she could muster. "You know what I'm talking about. What my sister started."

"Your sister? You mean...Aunt Be..." Draco looked down at the ground, as if he expected Bella's hand to rise up out of it and grab him.

"Yes, her." It occurred to Andromeda that her nephew must be eighteen now, well past the age of majority, technically a man. So why did he look like a lost little boy?

"I know, I..." Draco's voice trailed off. Then he looked up at her again, and there was now a resolute set to his pointed chin that sent chills down Andromeda's spine. Just like Cissy...

"I intend no harm, Aunt Andromeda," he said.

"Give me one good reason I should trust you," Andromeda said. She noted, with some satisfaction, that there were sparks coming from her wand. He would certainly interpret that as a threat. It would certainly serve to hide the strange, almost-warm feeling that had come over her when he had called her Aunt.

She was surprised when Draco held out his hands to her, especially when she noticed the ragged stubs of his fingernails. Cissy never bit her nails...

"Look, I don't have my wand," he said. "Is that enough?"

"Of course you wouldn't," Andromeda said. "Important historical artifact, isn't it?"

"The wand that destroyed the Dark Lord," Draco said. A smirk appeared on his face for a moment before he quickly suppressed it.

Some say it was actually the Elder Wand that destroyed him," Andromeda said. "But as it seems to have mysteriously disappeared, I suppose the Ministry will have to make do with your wand."

"I suppose, yes," Draco said. He looked at her again, a determined gaze, so like Cissy. "Listen...”

"Hold on," Andromeda said, suspicious again. "If you don't have a wand, how did you get here?"

"Knight Cab," said Draco. "A...friend hailed it for me."

"Knight Bus, you mean," said Andromeda.

"Er, right," said Draco.

"Really?" Andromeda said. "Well, I happen to know that the Knight Bus has yet to resume operations – they're still looking for a conductor. So why don't you tell me the truth, before I use this wand? Perhaps a Disarming Charm, to check your story? Or...”

"Fine," Draco sighed, and looked down at the ground again. "Mother brought me," he muttered. "Took me through the Floo."

"She what?" Andromeda started to pull the door closed, as much to hide her surprised face as anything else.

"No, wait!" Draco said. "I swear, I'm telling the truth. Look, she didn't come all the way here, just to the closest fireplace, so I could walk. I couldn't have come by myself, anyway, I didn't know where you lived."

But Cissy did.

Andromeda wasn't sure if she wanted to laugh or cry. Cissy knew. Had she found out from the Death Eaters who had come here, so many months ago, to attack them, her and Ted? Or...had she told them? Did the fireplace Draco had mentioned, belong to some Death Eater hideout nearby?

"Why don't you tell me what you're here for?" Andromeda was surprised by the harshness in her voice. Her wand shot out sparks again.

She could sense a smidgen of fear, or at least anxiety, in Draco as he took a deep breath.

"The reason I came here," Draco said, "Is to offer my...to offer to...babysit the cub."

"Cub?" The sparks coming from Andromeda's wand changed to acrid smoke as she realized what Draco meant. Teddy.

"CUB?"

"Your grandson. I mean, my cou --"

Before Draco could finish the word, Andromeda slammed the door in his face.


Round Two

Andromeda was not too surprised to find Draco Malfoy on her doorstep again a week later.

"Hello, Draco," Andromeda said, as contemptuously as possible, as she let the door shut behind her. She already had her wand in her hand.

"Hello, Aunt Andromeda," said Draco.

"What do you want now? Tell me, and be quick with it," Andromeda said.

"Well, Mother..."

"Why don't you tell your mother this. First, tell her that I got her letter."

Andromeda reached into her pocket, pulled out a small bag made of fine silk, and pressed it into Draco's hand.

"Second, tell her that when the day comes that Galleons can buy back the lives of my husband and daughter, then I will take her gold...but not a moment before."

Andromeda held back a laugh at Draco's bewildered expression. She supposed this was the first time he'd seen someone refuse the Malfoy gold. Even the new, improved Ministry had deemed it more prudent to extract a large fine from the Malfoy clan than to imprison any of its members. Though granted, the funds had been placed in a special Gringotts account dedicated to the rebuilding effort, guarded by various spells to prevent corrupt usage.

"She was just trying to hel--"

"Help? Why?" Why now?

"She just wanted to send you something to help with the baby," Draco said.

"Oh, so you're calling him a baby, now," said Andromeda. "You do realize that Teddy is not the first baby I've taken care of?"

"What?"

"What, you thought I became a grandmother without being a mother first? Teddy's mother was even more of a handful. No one in my family sent me any gold for her."

Draco seemed not to know how to reply. Andromeda went on.

"Teddy's mother was my daughter, Nymphadora. Who was also your cousin. Your first cousin, murdered by your aunt, who was her aunt, too."

"I know, I was there --"

"You were there? You saw her kill Dora?" Andromeda thought she might throw up. She knew Draco had been with the Death Eaters for much of his last year, but she had never thought he could have seen...

"No!" Draco looked almost as if he was going to cry. "I didn't mean that, I'm sorry."

"Then what did you mean?"

"I meant that I was there, when -- well, when the Dark Lord told her -- to prune the tree. The family tree. He...he ordered her to do it."

Andromeda laughed. "And do you honestly think that's the only reason she did it?"

"No, I -- I didn't say that." Draco looked quite miserable. Andromeda felt a strange mixture of pity and pleasure at the sight.

"Have you got anything else to say?"

"Well, I -- I'd still like to, you know, help out."

"You would? Like to babysit the cub?"

"I'm sorry I said that. It's just that...well..."

"Force of habit?"

Draco gave a small nod. "You probably don't want me to, anyway, I'm not exactly experienced with them. Babies, I mean. But maybe I can work in your garden?"

Andromeda found herself looking at Draco's hands again. Not quite as slim and dainty as Cissy's, but still quite delicate for a boy. She couldn't imagine Draco Malfoy doing yard work, or ever having used his hands for much more than holding a quill or wand. Of course, the same could have been said of her at that age.

"Perhaps," she said. "But not today. I'm expecting company, and somehow I don't think Harry would be too pleased to see you here."

"Harry? Harry Potter?"

"Yes, Harry Potter." Andromeda allowed herself a smile. "I suppose you didn't know, that Harry is Teddy's godfather?”

No," said Draco. He did not, however, look surprised. "I'll be back later, Aunt Andromeda."

He reached in his robes, then paused.

"I have a wand now," he said, "Not the best, but it works. Got it from France, by Owl Post."

Then he Disapparated.

Andromeda looked for some time at the spot where Draco had been. It occurred to her that he probably didn't know Teddy wasn't actually a werewolf.

As she pondered if, and how, to tell Draco of this, Harry Potter Apparated in front of her.

"Mrs. Tonks," he said, "You didn't have to wait outside for me."

"I wasn't," she said.

Harry didn't pursue the matter further, much to her relief. Instead, he looked inquiringly toward the house, and asked,

"How's Teddy?

"Quite well," she said, "And please, call me Andromeda." It seemed only fair, after all, if she was going to let Draco call her Aunt Andromeda...


Round Three

A month had passed, and Andromeda doubted she would ever see Draco again. She actually felt comfortable letting Teddy outside into the backyard now, albeit confined in a magical barrier. She Conjured up a ball, red like a Quaffle and charmed to roll back to her even if Teddy missed it, and began rolling it back and forth between them. Teddy gleefully turned his hair the same shade of red as the ball, and quickly got the hang of the game; it wasn't long before he laughingly threw the ball past her.

It was as she turned to chase the ball, that she saw Draco, leaning against the backyard fence. She had not heard him Apparate there, and her first reaction was to silently swear at herself for not having noticed.

"Draco. How long have you been there?" she said. She tried to make her voice cold, but found she did not quite succeed.

"A few minutes," Draco said.

"Not very polite, to Apparate up behind people," she said, as he took a few steps toward her.

"I didn't mean to, Aunt Andromeda" he said. "I missed my target. Guess it worked out well, though, you being here with him." Draco took a few more steps forward, and looked toward Teddy; stared, really. Andromeda wondered if he was looking for fangs or claws; she had to admit she had done the same once, that first full moon...

"He has a name, Draco," Andromeda said. "Didn't your mother tell you?" The birth announcement had been delayed -- the Daily Prophet had at first refused to devote space to a werewolf's child -- but after the fall of the Dark Lord, she had insisted on it. Cissy always read the Announcements section.

"Edward Remus Lupin," Draco said. "An interesting name."

"So is Draco Abraxas Malfoy," Andromeda countered. "And we call him Teddy."

"Teddy," Draco crouched down, and called over to him.

"He's in a barrier," Andromeda said, "and it doesn't extend that far." Even as she said this, though, she quickly stepped over to Teddy and scooped him up in her arms.

"You still don't trust me, then," Draco said. "Shall I drop my wand?"

"Actually, I put this barrier up even before I saw you," Andromeda said.

"So, if it's not me you're trying to keep out," Draco said, "Who?"

Good question, Andromeda thought. Bella was dead, as was Antonin Dolohov, who had killed Remus. The Lestrange brothers, who she had most feared after Bella, had been captured, as had most of the Death Eaters, though not all. Lucius Malfoy had been spared Azkaban, but was currently under house arrest. However, the proscription did not apply to the rest of his family, mostly due to the testimony of Harry Potter.

Let's just say that some of your associates have yet to be captured,” Andromeda said, “and I don't think your mother ever got around to teaching them manners while they stayed at your house.”

"She wants to visit, you know," Draco said quickly. He was now at the very edge of the barrier.

"Then what's stopping her?" Andromeda said.

"She's been waiting," Draco said, "for you to answer her letter."

"Well, I gave her an answer, didn't I?" Andromeda said. "Or did you keep my message to yourself? Perhaps the gold, too? I'd think you'd be getting enough pocket-money, even as it is."

"No, I didn't keep the gold, " said Draco, now looking rather offended. "I told her what you said, too. But she says you didn't answer everything."

"Well, if she..." Andromeda stopped, as Teddy let out a wail; not a real cry, but enough to let her know he was displeased.

"Oh, I'm sorry, Teddy," she said. "Did that nasty boy scare you?" Even as she said this, Andromeda knew she was being unfair to Draco; it had likely been her prickly mood that Teddy had picked up on.

Then something happened that surprised Andromeda very much. As if he was defending Draco from this accusation, Teddy's hair turned from red to blonde, the shade matching Draco's -- Cissy's -- perfectly.

Draco, too, looked shocked. "How'd he do that?"

"He's a Metamorphmagus," Andromeda said, "same as his mother. And he's not a werewolf, in case you were wondering."

"He's not?"

"Six full moons have passed since he was born, and I haven't heard him howl, or seen any whiskers on him," Andromeda said. "Of course, if he wanted to grow whiskers he probably could."

"So she was wrong, then," Draco said.

"She?"

"Aunt Bellatrix."

Andromeda felt fortunate that Draco's eyes were focused on Teddy. It had been some months since she had heard Bella mentioned by name, but her reaction was still the same; a sudden urge to either cry, or throw up, or both. She had not exactly mourned Bella's death when she had first heard of it, at least not the Bella she had become at the end, but she still remembered...a long, long time ago when she had loved, even idolized her, although even then the respect had been tinged with fear. Any sadness she had felt, though, had evaporated when she had learned that it was Bella who had killed Dora.

"See, she said..." Draco stopped, as he looked toward Andromeda again. "It doesn't matter, I guess," he said. "She was wrong, anyway."

"What matters is that she was wrong," Andromeda said. "What matters even more than that, Draco Malfoy, is that you know she was."

Draco nodded, but Andromeda wasn't sure if he understood the deeper meaning behind the words. Perhaps it was too late for him, raised as he was. Cissy had never been as fanatical about being pureblood as Bella, but that wasn't saying much.

Yet...as Andromeda watched Teddy reach his hands out to Draco, she wondered if she was being too harsh on him. And even if she wasn't, even if he...and Cissy...deserved all the scorn she could heap on them...

"Draco," Andromeda said, "Tell your mother to expect an Owl from me within the week."

She could never forgive Bella. But Cissy...she doubted they could ever be close again, but...she had to let go of some of the bitterness, for her own sake. Hers, and Teddy's.



Round Four

It took three months before the inevitable happened, that Harry and his friends found out about Draco's visits. It was Teddy himself who gave it away. Not just by adding Draco's blonde hair to his repertoire of hairstyles, nor by imitating his pointed chin; those could be explained away as mere coincidence, not that the thought even occurred to Harry that Teddy would have any cause to imitate Draco.

But one day...

"Da! Da!"

Harry looked at Teddy, and a strange, sad expression appeared on his face.

"What's wrong, Harry?" Hermione asked.

"Nothing's wrong, just...it's strange. How he said Da-Da, even though..."

"...he doesn't have a Dad," Ginny chimed in.

"That's not that unusual," Hermione said, "When babies first learn to speak, they say things like ma-ma and da-da, but they're just trying out the sounds, it doesn't mean they're thinking about their parents when they say them."

Teddy laughed.

"Da! Da-co! Da-co!"

"See?" Hermione said. "He's just putting the sounds together, that's all."

At that moment, Ron entered the room.

"Da-co!"

"Teddy!" Ron gave Teddy a look of mock horror. "How could you possibly confuse me with Draco Malfoy, of all people?"

"Draco Malfoy? Are you mad, Ron?" Ginny laughed. "I bet he's never heard of Malfoy in his life."

"Hold on," said Harry. "Maybe he has. Well, maybe not heard of him, but maybe he's seen him. I mean..."
As if he were reading Harry's mind, Teddy chose that moment to turn his hair and face into a near-perfect imitation of Draco's.

"No way!"



To be continued...



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