written for the Secret Santa exchange over on The Golden Snitch forums! This giftfic is for one whitetiger91; I hope you enjoy :)
Draco Malfoy looked at the box labeled with his mother's name with some apprehension. He knew what it was. Oh, he knew. In the last few years, Narcissa Malfoy had taken up a few new hobbies and Draco was not entirely okay with them all.
Her volunteer work was okay, perfectly reasonable, perfectly respectable for a woman of her stature. Draco supported her fully.
Business investments were fine too. Narcissa had never been particularly interested in the stock market or startup businesses, but if she could increase the value of their vaults, if she could return their accounts to their previously phenomenal standing, then Draco would let her.
Narcissa wanted to take up baking? Draco quirked his eyebrows at the thought, but it had been good for her, and entertaining to watch the house elves argue the practicality of it. And Draco had to admit that there was somehow a difference in the taste of the dessert when he knew that his mother had put her effort into baking it rather than the elves.
What Draco was not okay with was Narcissa's newest addition to her list of hobbies.
Draco had to admit, he probably should have seen it coming. She had started taking interest in handicrafts, but he had thought it was because she found them charming and wanted to understand how they were made so that she could appreciate the value of them. Narcissa fell into moods where she would browse handmade crafts, glass-spun trinkets, cake makers, enchanters, wood carvers, wood builders, clothing designers, engravers… she would spend days going through the shops, make special trips all across Europe… at first, Draco had thought that maybe his mother needed a bit of inspiration for her needlepoint, or was looking for a new business to invest in… until she began trying the crafts herself.
Draco sat through several glassblowing classes before Narcissa decided that it wasn't for her. Then he spent a few more days in a few more shops carrying rolls of fabric so that his mother could try her hand at clothing design. Draco had to admit that his mother was good at it. He thought it suited her, and it kept her busy for about half a year. During that time, Narcissa managed to design all manner of gorgeous gowns, delicate robes, and classy casual wear. She launched a showing and sold each piece for good prices that saw a demand rise for her to release more. Draco had been so proud of his mother… and then she turned each request down, tore down her design studio and gave all of her leftover supplies to charity.
"It was a fun run," Narcissa explained when Draco asked why, "but it was becoming too much like work."
So instead, Draco accompanied his mother to the shops once again, where he assisted her in choosing trousers so that she could begin a hobby in carpentry of all things. And he tried to stop her. He tried to talk her out of it for so long that eventually, Narcissa simply silenced him. So Draco stopped complaining and obediently held the trousers and tested fabrics and came out of the deal with a few new robes for himself.
Carpentry lasted for maybe a month. Maybe. Narcissa's workroom lay littered with half-completed projects and broken boards. Draco hired a few men to finish them for her. Narcissa then spent another week experimenting with wood stains before she gave up altogether. Those pieces were donated to a furniture refinishing shop in France.
Still, Narcissa was not quite finished. She tried carving next, which lasted for maybe another half year, before she grew tired of the splinters, and Draco even more tired of casting the spell to remove them. Narcissa got better with the wood staining spell. An orphanage received quite a few wooden toys and trinkets for Christmas that year.
The engraving hobby lasted for about three days. Long enough for Narcissa to grow frustrated with how difficult the spell was to learn, learn it, then grow even more frustrated at how difficult it was to control, control it, then grow more frustrated still because she could hardly see to use it. Draco tried suggesting a few spells to help, but as soon as he so much as thought about corrective eyewear, Narcissa glared at him and set her son to cleaning the wood shavings and dust from her workroom. Without magic.
When Narcissa settled down into cake decorating, Draco thought he would be about okay with that as he was with her fashion design. Narcissa was already fond of baking, she would just be doing a little extra with the icing, is all. And sure enough, it did begin simply. Cakes decorated with white icing and fruits. Rosettes and fleur-de-lys. Fondant and gum paste and royal icing. But then Narcissa began to bake cakes in tiers. And in shapes. Cakes that needed magic to hold parts in place and decorations that moved and… While the cakes were gorgeous, Draco had the honor of taste-testing them all. He had stomach aches for weeks. Draco was probably the most pleased when this particular hobby came to its inevitable end.
The pottery hobby was… interesting. Draco could have lived with it. Narcissa seemed to enjoy it enough that she stuck with it for a year. She made vases and bowls and plates and she put so much care into her work. For a year, Draco admired his mother as she worked the clay into the shapes in her mind and made beautiful art with it. She had even begun selling her pieces and sets at a boutique somewhere in Italy, by an old acquaintance, if Draco remembered correctly. Some of the pieces Narcissa yet again donated to one charity or another.
And then came the day when Draco returned home to find all of his mother's clay working materials put away in a corner of her workroom. The opposite corner was occupied by a plush armchair and an assortment of yarn. A pair of knitting needles clicked a slow rhythm in Narcissa's hands.
"Oh, darling, welcome home," Narcissa glanced up at her son with a smile. "How was your day?"
"It was fine… mum?"
"You're knitting now?"
"What happened to pottery?"
"Oh, it's sitting over there. I decided to take a bit of a break."
"So you're knitting instead?"
"I've always been fascinated by the idea," Narcissa agreed. "It's rather simple, actually… I figured if Molly Weasley could do it, so too could I."
"You're knitting… because Molly Weasley knits?"
"Oh, no, darling. Why would I be that petty?" Draco nodded. She was right, she was Narcissa Malfoy. She had no need to compete with someone of Molly Weasley's standing, even if she is a pureblood.
"I'm knitting because I can do it better than Molly Weasley."
On his way out of his mother's workroom, Draco rolled his eyes. That sounded more like his mother.
Under the Christmas tree lay a box wrapped in silver striped paper. It was about the size of a parcel of clothing, something Draco had grown up looking forward to. However, Draco wasn't so certain that he was going to like what he received. He hadn't seen his mother knitting often since that first day, but he knew, Draco just knew what was inside. And sure enough, once he'd removed the paper and lifted the box's lid, tucked inside was a sweater. An assumably hand-knit sweater.
It was pale gray in color, what could almost be described as silver, with deep, burnt orange, wrists, collar, and a letter D over the right breast. It was kind of… nice. Not quite as hideous as Draco imagined. Certainly not as hideous as the ones Molly Weasley sent to her children every year.
"Well, my love?" his mother was fishing for praise, Draco knew. And for all that he just knew he would have to fake a smile and grit out a "good job," through his teeth, he didn't. Instead, Draco pulled the soft wool of the sweater over his head and grinned as he shoved his arms through the sleeves. The fabric seemed to adjust itself as he did, so that the sleeves that hung over his knuckles shrunk to sit comfortably over his wrists, and the tight neckline stretched so something that felt less like a choke. Of course, Narcissa Malfoy would add a self-tailoring charm to the sweater she made her son.
"I love it."