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15 June 2010 @ 01:54 pm
Fathers, part 3bii  
Bloody LJ word limits ...

part 3bi


The door of Abercrombie's Astronomy Market jingles merrily as it opens, thanks to a string of bells looped across its back. Scorpius is standing in the middle of the shop comparing two telescopes, and explaining to Hugo why bigger is not always better and how that joke wasn't even accurately smutty, let alone funny. Draco assumes Albus is somewhere among the shelves.

"Can I help you Mr Malfoy?"

The owner, Euan Abercrombie, appears from the back of the shop, books in hand.

"Just here to pick up the boys," Draco says. "We're off to St Mungo's to see Hugo's father."

Abercrombie nods. "Please pass on my best wishes to Mr Weasley."

"I will," Draco says with a polite smile. He knows that Abercrombie does not really like him, hasn't since school, but the man has been polite to him in recent years. Whether because of Draco's position at the Ministry or because of the amount of money Malfoys have spent in his shop, it may never be clear. Since the feeling is mutual, Draco does not care.

"Dad, can we come back next week?" Scorpius asks. "I want to talk with Grandmother before I make up my mind."

"Yes, of course we can. Hugo, pleased to see you haven't done anything appalling. Where's your cousin hiding?"

Hugo looks about vaguely. "He was right here a minute ago …"

Scorpius wanders through the maze of shelving that lines the back half of the shop. Draco pops his head into the storeroom at the back, and Abercrombie, showing willing, goes through into the private parts of the shop. After a minute, they begin to call out Albus's name. There is no answer.

Draco is not panicking. At least, he is not letting Scorpius and Hugo see that he is panicking. Let alone Big Ears Abercrombie.

Scorpius, on the other hand, is looking decidedly worried. "I wasn't paying attention, I was focussed on the telescopes …"

"Deep breaths," Draco tells him. "It's Albus, he probably saw something fantastically interesting, went off in pursuit, and is even now rushing back to tell us about it."

"I'll keep an eye out here," Abercrombie says. "Which way are you headed if he shows up?"

"Back to Fortescue's," says Draco. "We're meeting the others there, he's probably just gone on ahead, grew tired of waiting."

"Very probably," Abercrombie agrees. "My daughter Cressida gave me a heart attack last week, just like the one you're having, I found her having a nap under the blackout curtains after a quarter-hour of looking. I'm sure he'll turn up."

"Thank you, Euan," says Draco, not disliking the man in that instant.

Hugo and Scorpius run ahead as they make their way back up Diagon Alley. Draco looks about with more care, into every shop, every corner and every shadow. He is beginning to fear that he has lied earlier, and that someone is targetting them, or at least targetting Harry, through the cruellest method possible. He forces himself to take deep breaths.

"Albus!" Scorpius shouts ahead of him. And, thank you Merlin, the lad appears, bright-cheeked and bubbling with news.

"I was just coming to get you! I saw Aurors, so I followed them. There's been a break-in at Uncle George's!"

"Mr Malfoy thought you'd been kidnapped," Hugo tells him.

Before Draco can say anything, Scorpius has punched his boyfriend in the arm. "I thought you'd wandered off without saying a word to me like an inconsiderate bastard."

"Sorry." Albus takes Scorpius's arm. "But Uncle George is furious and the place is crawling with MLE. Come and see!"

Draco nods his assent, and the two boys run off. Hugo looks after them, then back to Draco, who waves him off in pursuit. Alone for a moment, Draco leans against a streetlamp and sighs with relief. He rummages in his pockets and pulls out a notebook and pencil. There was a time, not long ago, when he carried nothing in his pockets out of respect for the lines of his clothes. Now they are authentically cluttered. He cannot remember if he picked this habit up from Harry or Ron. Both, probably.

He scrawls two quick notes, then calls over a passing boy he vaguely recognises as the son of some Ministry employee or other. "What's your name?" he asks the child.

"Bradley. Why?"

"Can I hire you for five minutes to run a couple of errands?"

The boy smiles. "If it's only five minutes, I can help you out for free."

Draco smiles back at him and hands over the notes. "Can you deliver this one to Mr Abercrombie at Abercrombie's Astronomy Market, and do you know James Potter?"

"Of course I do."

"Excellent. He should be at Fortescue's. Can you give this note to him? And do take a few Galleons, not as payment but just to make my pockets lighter."

"There's no need, really."

"I insist."

"Cheers. One for Abercrombie and one for James, yeah?"

"That's right, James first if you don't mind."

"You're right!" The boy has already run off in the direction of the ice-creamery. And if he delays there to spend some of the money Draco has just given him, it will not cause a problem as the note to Abercrombie merely sends thanks, and news that Albus has been found.

In fact, the lad is so fast that James, Rose and Lily are running into view just as Draco arrives at Weasley's. Albus has not exaggerated, the premises are filled with MLE personnel. George himself is standing out the front, in a fury, a dark bruise covering one side of his forehead and a red flush of anger working its way up his cheeks.

His look turns to relief when he sees Draco. "Thank Merlin you're here!" he shouts. "Come and take some samples before these numbskulls wipe away all traces of the thieves."

Draco hurries down the street. "What happened? Are you all right?"

"I was in the labs out the back when I was jumped. They didn't hear a thing in the shop. When I came to, thousands of Galleons worth of new products were missing." George closes the remaining distance between them and lowers his voice to a whisper. "Including some on order from the Ministry. Your designs, I'm afraid."

"Bloody hell," Draco mutters. "All right." He raises his voice so he can be heard above the officials and the crowd who have gathered for the show. "If everyone could leave the premises immediately, that includes all MLE personnel. We'll need to run a few tests and see if we can find any traces left behind by the perpetrators. Won't be long. Give you a chance to interview this lot and see if there are any witnesses. And if someone could run up to the Leaky and order a few urns of tea and trays of pies, I'll settle the bill later."

George mutters some words of thanks and Draco pats his shoulder gently. "Have someone look at that bump on your head. Radford's over there, he's good at Healing."

Scorpius and Albus are up near the window, talking to the two young wizards who work in the shop. No one, it seems, heard or saw a thing. Draco apologises and pulls Albus aside. "I think we need your father here," he says. "Some of the things that have been taken are highly classified. If you could ask him to pick up Speke, Peters and Stansersley from my department, too, and tell them to bring testing kits with them."

Albus looks at him questioningly. Too much like his father, this one.

"It's a crime, Albus," says Draco. "That's all I know at the moment. Don't make it into a conspiracy before you have to."

"I'll be quick," says Albus.

"Thank you." Draco watches the boy Disapparate then turns to look at the shopfront. So much for being on holiday.


Part 3c
Flannery: HP | Draco & closetmerely_anger on June 15th, 2010 06:52 am (UTC)
I highly enjoy your subtle humor. Can't wait for the next part. :) And for our sake, I hope there ends up being a part E.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 15th, 2010 02:46 pm (UTC)
Oh bless you for the suggestion I am capable of subtlety ;-) Thanks very much, next part is well along the path to completion. I hope I can wrap it all up before E, but who knows at this rate?
auntpurl: Draco Potter your arse is mineauntpurl on June 15th, 2010 12:21 pm (UTC)
Hurrah! I do so adore Helene - she's wonderfully bossy and always right. :)

Very curious about what will happen with the mystery! Have you got the whole thing plotted out in your mind already? (Is it impertinent to ask that?)

(Weensy typo in the first part of 3Bi - near the beginning, a "form" for a "from".)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 15th, 2010 12:30 pm (UTC)
Oh my typos, they are LEGION! And thanks! As it happens, I DO know the entirety of the mystery. Now. As of about four days ago.

I have this terrible thing that I do when I start a story and more or less know where it is going, then it takes on a life of its own spiralling off into exciting new worlds that are all tangentially related to the original but often bear no resemblance to it. Which is why I have a notebook beside me telling me what I have written so I can maintain some degree of consistency rather than planning what I will ;-)
mahaliemmahaliem on June 15th, 2010 06:37 pm (UTC)
This is so marvelous! Also - I love Helene. Love her so very, very much.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 16th, 2010 10:51 am (UTC)
She is a tiny bit based on one of my great-aunts, who was equal parts glamour, general, genius gift-giver and complete lunatic ;-)

And thanks!
Alexisjapanimecrazed on June 15th, 2010 07:29 pm (UTC)
Helene is awesome, and so is this fic! :)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 16th, 2010 10:52 am (UTC)
Cheers dear! (More soon! This whole two-year delay thing is so last decade ...)
(Deleted comment)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 16th, 2010 10:57 am (UTC)
'mature reasonable stubborn prats' is EXACTLY what I was going for! Cheers dear!
goddessrissgoddessriss on June 15th, 2010 07:41 pm (UTC)
Hello, you, again!
Oh, what a lovely birthday surprise! I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the story very much. Loved Helene and Draco together. Off to re-read it now ♥
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 16th, 2010 10:58 am (UTC)
Re: Hello, you, again!
ARGH! I FAILED TO SEND BIRTHDAY WISHES! Happy slightly late Birthday, dear!
Rainien: hp psychorainien on June 15th, 2010 08:41 pm (UTC)
Love, love, love this story. All of the characters are so wonderful. Today's icon is for Lily because she seems just a wee bit wonderfully psycho to me!

Can't wait for moar!!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 16th, 2010 12:33 pm (UTC)
I suspect that you may not be inaccurate in your assessment of her character ;-)

More soon!
pioniepionie on June 15th, 2010 09:14 pm (UTC)
Ooh, another cracking installment. I''m so intrigued by the mystery, and I love them all, especially Harry and Draco.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 16th, 2010 12:53 pm (UTC)
Thanks, dear! Hopefully some big strides in actual plot in the next installment (characters keep hijacking things with chatting, the bastards!)
Azure Jane Lunaticazurelunatic on June 15th, 2010 10:22 pm (UTC)
Ooo, I bet it is a conspiracy though! :D
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 16th, 2010 12:34 pm (UTC)
Shhhh! Don't give it away ;-) (You're ever so smart!)
Jocelyn Lavingroolover on June 15th, 2010 11:46 pm (UTC)
Yay, more of this! Loving it. Can't wait for more.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 16th, 2010 01:01 pm (UTC)
The next bit is well underway, but has decided to be more complex than it was originally going to be. Probably about a week. And yay! Thank you!
Meredyth: AlbusScorpiusmeredyth_13 on June 16th, 2010 02:57 am (UTC)
*pops head out of arse*

I had to say something - aside from loving this bloody wip like mad. I hadn't really spotted it before (head in arse most of time would account for lack of vision) but suddenly I realised it ... Hermione is you!

No, there is not an iota of mary-sue about it, but it's true anyway. When she made that comment about being theoretically interested in fashion etc, I just heard your voice in my head and realised it was also Hermione's voice. You share a voice. And brilliant minds. And indomitable spirits.

So apparently you are now my mental grown-up!Hermione avatar.

Did I mention that I love this story? And that two updates within a matter of weeks explains the geological shift that registered across seismic labs internationally this week.

*crawls back into dark place*
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 16th, 2010 01:00 pm (UTC)
It's the hopelessly messy hair and nose perpetually in a book, isn't it?

And I am so glad to hear from you! I need to give you a call, but life is psycho for me and I feel you will be having early nights. Also, I need to find your number as I have the phone from hell which has lost almost all of my contacts and my real paper version is somewhere very safe. But it will happen! As will the end of this tale!
(no subject) - ladyjaneva on June 16th, 2010 06:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - blamebrampton on August 26th, 2010 07:27 am (UTC) (Expand)
wemyss: CofETorywemyss on June 16th, 2010 03:53 pm (UTC)
Simply brill.
But, then, when are you not?
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 16th, 2010 05:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Simply brill.
Almost every morning before splashing cold water over my face. Even then, nothing is guaranteed until a hot beverage is poured down throat ...
jolinar_rosha: prettiest one herejolinar_rosha on June 16th, 2010 09:49 pm (UTC)
I lied. I saw it was short and read it.

the plot thickens. me likes.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on August 26th, 2010 07:28 am (UTC)
Hee! And Yippee! (Sorry for the late reply, I am crap!)
suttonwritersuttonwriter on June 17th, 2010 12:48 am (UTC)
Another great chapter
I apologize in advance for the randomness. I'm not teaching this summer, so my ability to create coherent comments has gone on vacation. :)

Helene is a lot of fun in this part, especially when she challenges the Weasleys. I can sort of understand why she and Draco couldn't stay married; they're a little too similar. They make great friends, though.

My other favorite scene here is when Fotherington talks about testing the explosives. I could visualize Draco's facial expression as somewhere between aristocratic disdain and mild panic. The whole Mysteries part is fun.

There's a lot of threads here, and I'm still trying to work out how they'll weave together. That's keeping me wishing for more.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on August 26th, 2010 07:32 am (UTC)
Re: Another great chapter
If there is one person on this earth who need never be apologised to for randomness ...

And I am sorry for the appallingly tardy reply! I was on this great writing jag and thought 'I'll just leave that window up and get to it in a bit and ... oh, HUGE ATTACK OF EVERYTHING ELSE!!'

You have absolutely put your finger on what I think happened with Helene and Draco. All those things that attracted them to each other would have become rather annoying in close quarters after 15 years, while being highly amusing and totally appealing in a dear friend, so they were happily sensible enough to recast each other's roles in their lives.

And that is EXACTLY what I saw on Draco's face. Oh hurrah! Thank you! I am reading back over recent parts to check I haven't forgotten any important side issues as I wrap things up. One day I will learn to make more comprehensive notes as I write, if only to save time later!
MomoInsanegrangrangran on June 17th, 2010 08:17 pm (UTC)
I've been lurking in these parts for nigh on two years now, so commenting is starting to seem appropriate. And also, after letting it drop off my radar for a while ('twas self defence), I am so happy to see this story back! I am now back to fidgeting and compulsively checking for updates - and it just keeps getting better.
Helene is so, so wonderful - and it is probably just because she's YOURS, but it feels so much more reasonable liking a character whose name doesn't sound like a derivative of hysteria. (which is maybe only true of Astoria in my clumsy danish-english internal pronunciation, but bad connotations either way)

I am hungering for more (distractions from work).

Cheers! :D And thank you so much for keeping on after so long. I really admire that!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 18th, 2010 04:13 pm (UTC)
Very sane self defence! My tardiness is EPIC. If it were an Olympic sport, England and Australia would be fighting for me! I do feel very badly about it ...

The next chapter is rollicking along. Alas, I have been kidnapped today and will be again tomorrow, which reduces this week's writing time to Sunday, but fingers crossed it will not be long after that. And thank you very much, for both your encouragement and patience!