Disclaimer: Not mine.
Just as Draco Malfoy apparated into the foyer of his home he heard a loud racket from his left. Suddenly a door opened with a bang and a blur of brown and blond darted to the other side. The blur stopped halfway and it morphed into two children, a boy with curly brown hair and a girl whose blond hair tied into a ponytail.
The girl smiled widely at him. "Hi Daddy."
The boy was about to greet his father also, but his eyes turned to Draco's left and he hurriedly dragged his little sister. "Bye, Daddy!" Then they left with another bang of the door.
Draco turned and saw his house elf ready to go after the children. He stared at her. "What's happening?"
The house elf was ready to bang her head to the nearest wall but Draco stopped her. "I've told you not to do that. Do you not remember?"
"Yes master. Tito is sorry, master. Tito is bad elf!"
"Just answer my question."
"Tito is going to give little master and miss a bath, but they escaped."
"Where's Hermione? Usually she's the one giving their baths."
"The missus is in bed. The missus is ill. Tito tried to give potion, but the missus said no."
Draco was worried. He didn't know that his wife was ill. He left for business only for three days and he had made Hermione promised to send a message if there was an emergency. He shook his head. Apparently the stubborn woman didn't think that her illness was an emergency.
"Thank you, Tito. Find the children."
"Yes, master." Tito left her master alone in the foyer.
At a time like this Draco wished they had had more than one house elf. Originally Hermione didn't want a house elf, but Draco managed to persuade her. The house, although not as grand as the Malfoy Manor, was still a large mansion. With two very active children and both parents working, they needed all the help they could get.
Hermione insisted that the elf who worked in her house was free and got paid. It was so difficult to find a house elf willing to fulfill those criteria, they were lucky to find Tito. Apparently she had been friends with Dobby and shared the same views, but she still had the annoying tendency to punish herself.
Draco turned and went up the stairs to the main bedroom. He opened the door slowly and peered into the room. He saw his wife in bed, reading a book. She turned her head up and smiled at her husband.
"Hey, you. I thought you won't be coming home until tomorrow." Her voice was a little hoarse.
"Yeah, good thing I came home early. My wife didn't tell me that she was ill."
He sat at the edge of the bed and brought a bouquet of roses up to her.
"Oh, Draco, they're beautiful." She took the flowers from his hand. "I'm sure they smell nice too, but I have stuffy nose, I can't smell anything."
He pouted. "Does this mean I can't kiss you?"
She smiled and patted his hand. "I miss you too, dear. Damn this cold."
"Have you seen a healer? Tito told me you refused to drink any potion."
She smirked. "Do you not remember, dear husband, that I'm a healer too?"
"Yes, but isn't that healers are the worst patients?"
"I won't argue with you. For your information, I already have my own medications. I don't need Tito's potion. This is just a cold. With rest, it will pass in a few days."
He raised his hands as a sign of surrender. "If you say so. But if anything happens, I'll take you to St. Mungo's immediately."
Hermione nodded. She was still holding the roses. "I have to call Tito to put these in water."
He chuckled. "I think she's a little preoccupied right now."
"What do you mean?"
"Apparently our children invented a new game of escaping the elf. They were supposed to take a bath but right now they are running all over the house, evading poor Tito."
Draco's face turned serious. "Hermione, do you know whether or not the children took a bath yesterday?"
Hermione frowned. "Now that you're asking, I think I don't know. For the last few days I didn't tuck them in at night. I only said good night from their bedroom doors and every morning they stood by the door to ask how I was feeling. I have explained to them that they cannot go near me because my illness is contagious. I counted on Tito to take care of them."
"That explains it."
"Earlier, when I was at the same room with them, for only a moment, I thought I smelled stench. I'm wondering, when was the last time they took a bath?"
Hermione's face was full of horror. "Three days ago?"
Draco stood up. "I think I need to speak with those stinky children."
In the library, Draco put his wand on his throat, muttered "sonorus" and bellowed. "Caelum Alexander Malfoy! Terra Elizabeth Malfoy! Come to the library now!"
Soon enough, his two little angels, albeit stinky ones, barged in. They stood near the door, fidgeting. They seemed to be too fascinated with the carpet under their feet that none dared to look at Draco.
The father sighed. He decided to go straight to the point. "Do you care to tell me why you haven't taken a bath in the last few days?"
Two heads snapped up. Terra's eyes widened. "You know? But we always wash our hands before we eat, Daddy."
Her brother nudged her with his elbow. "Shh."
"Ciel, answer the question."
The boy relaxed a little. His father only called him Caelum when he was angry or serious. Caelum is a constellation, but it could also mean "sky" and sky in French is "ciel", hence his nickname.
"It's because of Aunt Mouffette."
"What about Aunt Mouffette?"
"She's coming tomorrow." Terra said it as if it was the obvious answer.
Clearly, her father didn't agree. "So?"
Ciel raised both arms to the air, obviously exasperated. "So, she always hugs and kisses us. It's very very very yucky."
Terra nodded vigorously.
Draco was amused. "But Mommy and Daddy always hug and kiss you. Are we yucky too?"
Both children shook their heads. "No! You're different!" they answered simultaneously.
Draco chuckled. He understood his children's feelings because he felt the same about Aunt Mouffette when he had been their age.
"But I still don't understand why you refuse to take a bath."
"So that we will be smelly and Aunt Mouffette will not want to hug and kiss us, Daddy."
"I see. You're lucky that Mommy didn't find out about this before because she has a cold. What would you have done if she found out?" Draco knew his children well. Although they were only 7 and 5 years old, they always had plan B.
The children looked at each other. They understood that they better came clean before their father found out about their secret, otherwise they would be in a lot of trouble.
Ciel reached into his pants pocket and took out a vial. Draco took it and read the label. "Foetore essentia. The essence of malodor. Just one drop in your bath water and everybody will leave you alone for a week."
Draco turned to the children again. "Where did you get this?"
Ciel hesitated before he answered. "At the Christmas party I told Uncle George about Aunt Mouffette and he gave me that bottle. He said it was an extra Christmas present."
Draco took a mental note to have a serious talk with George Weasley at the next Weasley Sunday brunch. The Malfoys always went to The Burrow on the last Sunday of the month.
He then knelt in front of his children so that he was at the same eye-level. "You know what, kids? Aunt Mouffette has mysophobia. You know what that is?"
Both children shook their heads.
"It means she is afraid of germs and she doesn't want to be near sick people. Because your mother has a cold, I don't think Aunt Mouffette want to come here. I'll owl her about it tonight."
The children's eyes were wide with excitement.
"Is it true, Dad?" Ciel was the first to speak.
Draco nodded and Terra was jumping with joy. "Yay!"
"Yay, indeed. Now, can I help you two take a bath? How can I tuck you in tonight if I can't stand your smell?"
"Yes, Daddy." Both children answered in unison.
A/N: in French, mouffette means skunk.
A/N: When I got the idea, I tried it with various pairings, but I think DM/HG is the most suitable. BTW this fic is not beta-ed. I counted on the spell checker and I reread it many times. Feel free to let me know the grammar or spelling mistakes.