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[personal profile] stgulik
Well, promptfest reveals have finally posted at [ profile] dramionelove. There was some terrific work--art and fics. With some of them, it was hard to believe writers could pack so much of a wallop into the 1000-word max; I was blown away. Me? I was just happy to be there!

Here's the little fic I wrote for the fest. There's also a companion piece, which I will post next. Here we go!

Title: Second-best Single
Author/Artist: stgulik
Prompt #: #51 “Single father seeks kind witch”
Fic Word Count: 1000-ish
Rating: K
Warnings (if any): Fluff
Summary: Draco will find the witch of his dreams, even at the cost of his dignity.
Author's Notes: Hugs from afar to my lovely [ profile] teddyradiator for all her help and encouragement, and thanks to [ profile] rzzmg for hosting the [ profile] dramionelove minifest.
Disclaimer: "Harry Potter" is the property of J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. This work of fiction/art was created entirely for fun, not for profit, and no copyright infringement is intended.


Draco Malfoy, already in his drab Healer’s greens, walked into the lobby of St. Mungo’s with his friend, Theo Nott. “So, my son is learning to read from Witch Weekly,” said Draco.

Theo laughed. “Your mother taught us to read from the family grimoires.”

Draco quirked an eyebrow at Theo. “Times certainly have changed.” They entered the lift, and Draco pushed the button for the floor where they worked together. “Speaking of changes, I’m thinking about ... moving on,” he remarked diffidently.

Theo placed a hand on his shoulder. “That’s good news. It’s been almost two years since Astoria passed.”

“Scorpius and I have been alright.”

“Just alright?”

Draco shrugged off Theo’s hand as the lift opened. “Anyhow, it’s a moot point,” he grumbled. “I’ll never meet anyone while I work house-elf hours here in the ward.”

They threaded their way through a waiting room. Spying a copy of Witch Weekly on a chair, Draco impulsively picked it up and flipped to the Singles. Only that morning, his young son had been struggling to read from this particular page. The sight of it had struck a peculiar chord in Draco, and he had realized he might be ready to seek companionship again at last.

Perhaps a blind date was a good place to start.


After his shift ended, Draco sent an ad to the magazine. He had agonized over the wording all day. Finally, he had opted for simplicity. “Single father seeks kind witch.” He hated the indignity of revealing so much detail, but now was not the time to be circumspect.

“At least tell me you’re going to specify pureblood,” said Theo. Draco shook his head. He was at a loss to explain exactly when blood status had lost its cachet. Had it been since the war, or since becoming a Healer and an adult? Over the years, it had become clear to him that bloodline counted for little in this world, especially next to intelligence, warmth, self-respect and a thirst for knowledge.

At that moment, Hermione Granger walked by, her Healers robes swinging about her legs as she moved. And a nice figure wouldn’t hurt either, thought Draco, as long as he was wishing for the moon.


When the next issue of Witch Weeklycame out, Draco received numerous replies by owl. Clearly, there were single witches in abundance, but how to pick one? He made his first date with the witch whose letter had the least number of misspellings.

“What was wrong with her?” asked Theo the next morning.

“She was a boor. I need someone at least as well-read as I am.”

The next night, Draco went out with an older witch who wrote in acid-green ink.

“You like green,” Theo pointed out.

“It was Rita Skeeter,” replied Draco with a shudder. “Too much bad history there.”

On his day off, seeking to whittle down the list of increasingly dismal prospects, he took one witch out to lunch and another one to dinner. “Two dates in one day,” said Theo. “You’ll wear yourself out.”

“Miss Lunchtime smelled like cabbage, and the evening lady was, well, a lady of the evening.”

“Just admit it, you’ve already picked out the witch you want.” Theo nodded toward a gaggle of Healers heading for the works canteen. Draco’s eye honed in on the woman with the curly brown hair. There was no need to acknowledge the truth of it.

“I hear her divorce came through,” murmured Draco. Maybe he did know what, or who, he wanted, but Hermione Granger was the epitome of all bad history. She would never consider him; it was not worth pursuing. He would just have to settle for second best, if there was such a one.


Before Draco’s next day off, Scorpius informed his father of a sudden, consuming interest in boa constrictors. The boy breathlessly described the London Zoo, just the place to see such a snake. With a pang of guilt, Draco realized he rarely saw his son anymore, and offered to take him to see a boa in person.

The weather was unseasonably warm that day, just the thing for their new Muggle denims and vests, which Scorpius had insisted they wear to blend in.

The accident happened so fast. Scorpius had impulsively pulled Draco in the direction of the reptile house. The crowd had inhibited them dreadfully. He heard the squeak of a child’s voice, then felt his legs becoming entangled in something like long string. His arms pinwheeled comically as he struggled not to lose his balance, but he failed and he fell heavily against a passerby, a female, and they both went down in a heap.


“Oh, I’m so sorry, Miss--”

“Draco Malfoy?”

“Granger!” Draco wordlessly Vanished the offending string, then quickly stood and helped Hermione Granger to her feet. “I mean, Weasley. Mrs. Weasley, rather ... Are you alright?”

“I’m fine.” She took his hand and stood shakily, laughing a little. “What a surprise! I didn’t recognize you out of your Healer gown. I mean, erm...”

“I could say the same. You look just...” He gestured awkwardly, hoping it would convey the compliment he could not voice.

“Thank you. And it is Granger again ... or just Hermione...” Her lovely smile held a hint of hope, which mirrored the feeling in his heart. It was as if the accident had broken the ice between them. He hardly heard her introduce her daughter, the little vixen who had accidentally tripped him with the string of a toy. With all the niceties finally observed, Draco smiled down at Hermione, tucked her arm in his, and they set off, talking like the old friends they had never gotten the chance to be. Their children trailed behind, taking in the sights.

By the time they reached the penguins, Draco felt certain he would no longer have to settle for second best.

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