The Little Sandbox

BY : Sasunarufan13
Category: Harry Potter > Slash - Male/Male > Harry/Draco
Dragon prints: 2872
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter nor do I make profit of it. J.K. Rowling owns it.

Author's note: This is not going to be a long story - two chapters only - but it's dedicated to a dear friend of mine, babyvfan, as a pick me up. I hope this can cheer you up somewhat!

Warnings: Narcissa's pov; set when the boys are eight years old; alternate timeline as in Potters survived the attack. That's all for this part

Dedicated to: babyvfan

I hope you'll like the first part!

Part 1

"Mother, can we go to the park today?"

The unexpected question made her pause in her perusal of the old charms tome she had recently purchased and she raised her head, closing the book carefully. The pages had become brittle with age and would easily tear if she wasn't cautious.

"The park, dragon? You mean the one three blocks down from the manor?" she asked, just to be certain as she gazed at her son.

He had turned eight years old last week, but never before had he expressed a desire to visit the park. He had enough toys to amuse himself with at the manor and aside from going out to fly he had always preferred to stay indoors; his fair skin not dealing well with the sun during the summer months.

He lingered in the doorway, his hands clasped together in front of him as he nodded. "That park, yes. Can we go there?"

"I suppose there's no harm in that," she murmured, watching how his face lit up at her permission. "Did you finish your homework?"

She and Lucius had had a lot of arguments about whether their son should follow lessons with several private tutors or share classes with other children. Her husband was stubborn, but she was more tenacious and she had won the argument, enrolling Draco in the school the next day. There was nothing wrong with private tutors – she herself had benefitted from their lessons – but it never hurt to build a rapport with other families.

"I did. I've finished all my readings and my assignments," he informed her.

"Good," she said approvingly and he flushed lightly, delighted at the praise. "When do you want to go?"

"Now. I want to go now," he replied determined and added hastily, "Please, mother. Can we please go to the park now?"

She looked at his clothes, the black and blue uniform that the school provided for their students – an ensemble not entirely suitable for a visit to the park. Especially if Draco was planning on playing there. "Go change into something else which is more suited for the playground," she said and he was gone so fast she barely had time to blink.

Bemused she returned the book to the shelf and left their library, deciding it would be better if she changed into something else as well. Robes with a length reaching until the floor weren't exactly suitable for walking through a park.

Oddly Draco insisted on bringing one of his jigsaw puzzles with him. It was one with a hundred and fifty pieces and when completed the drawing – a manticore in this case roaring in the middle of a clearing – would become animated for a few minutes.

Why her son would want to bring a puzzle with him to the park – a place which had a large playground – was a mystery to her. He refused to relent and leave the puzzle behind, though, and she let him carry it with him, not in the mood to get into an argument about a toy. Perhaps he was planning on meeting with a friend in the park and he wanted to put the puzzle together with them? He hadn't mentioned anything of that sort when arriving home, though, and neither the Parkinsons or the Zabinis had contacted the manor to arrange the playdate. There was a possibility that Draco was meeting up with either Gregory or Vincent, but those boys didn't seem the type to like putting jigsaw puzzles together.

"Where do you want to go, Draco?" she asked when they walked through the high arched entrance of the park. The iron gates had been pulled open, allowing people to enter and leave the place whenever they pleased.

Large oak and willow trees lining the sandy pathways provided some much needed shelter from the sweltering sun; the regular Cooling Charms not much of an opponent against the hot weather. Dark green benches could be found every nine feet; most of them were already occupied by tired parents, giggling young witches, or couples nestled against each other despite the heat.

Ice cold drinks and bowls of ice cream came floating out of a small stall, manned by people from Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour and the Blazing Dragon, the local wizard's pub. This park was only visible to people with magical blood and thus, magic was practiced freely. Heavy Muggle-Repellent wards assured that no Muggle would be able to even catch a glimpse of the park.

A pensive look crossed Draco's face as they made their way along the winding path to the centre of the park where a large playground had been built. There were swings in the colours of the rainbow; large and small slides; monkey bars; a small Quidditch field; a ball pit with balls floating in the air, dancing out of reach occasionally when hands grappled at them; a stretch of sand surrounding a pond; a sandbox of which the sand changed colours every hour … New things appeared once in a while, keeping children engaged when they had grown bored of the regular stuff.

In short, this playground was a heaven for children and at times a hell for parents when they had to pry their children away in order to go home.

She and Lucius had taken Draco to the park only a couple of times before, but her son had never been really interested in tackling any of the toys found here. It was with quite some interest, thus, that she watched her son gaze around, his grey eyes – ones he had inherited from his father - flitting back and forth, taking in the playground. She had applied Sunlight Reflector Cream liberally over every patch of bare skin on both her and him, so she wasn't worried about him getting a sunburn. She'd appreciate it if he picked a place with shade, though. Shade was always better than direct sunlight.

"There!" Draco exclaimed, pointing at a bench near the sandbox. At the moment the sand was a bright orange which clashed quite horribly with the dark green colour scheme of the bench.

"Lead the way, darling," Narcissa smiled and followed her son to the bench in question. It was set partly in the shade of a thick tree, its branches long enough to trail across the ground, and they sat down on that part.

Without further ado Draco plopped down his puzzle between them and removed the lid, revealing the pieces resting scrambled in the box. As he started spreading out the pieces in the box, flipping some of them to their picture side, Narcissa let her attention drift away for a moment, looking around her.

The sandbox was right in front of them, around sixteen feet away. A black haired child was sitting in the middle with his back to her, dressed in a bright red shirt and light brown shorts. Next to him sat a man with his half long black hair tied back into a low ponytail, wearing a blank tank top and Muggle jeans. They were building a castle together, while a slim, brown haired man sat on the child's other side, bent over something in his lap. A book perhaps, though she wouldn't consider the sandbox a good spot for reading.

On the right of the sandbox, a bit further in the distance, were the monkey bars and four children – one girl and three boys – were swinging back and forth, shouting incomprehensibly at each other. Three women were keeping an eye on them from a bench closest to the monkey bars while chattering quietly to each other.

Narcissa caught the sound of water splashing up somewhere behind her; the pond must be on the other side of this particular tree line. The air was filled with the shouting and laughing of children as they clambered all over the contraptions or begged their parents for one more bowl of ice cream, please!

Sliding her eyes back to her son, she watched how he shuffled through the pieces, connecting the ones which fit together. A look of concentration was etched onto his face and he seemed utterly oblivious to the other children.

"You don't want to play in the sandbox, Draco?" she asked curiously, having thought that was the reason why he had specifically gone to this bench.

He pursed his lips and shook his head decisively. "No, I want to play with my puzzle," he murmured, keeping his eyes fixed on the puzzle in front of him.

"All right," she said slowly, a bit bemused, but leant back, crossing her ankles. It was a nice day; perhaps Draco just wanted a change of scenery.

Nothing wrong with that.

Lucius was descending the staircase when they arrived home a couple of hours later. He quirked an eyebrow and went to his wife to give her a kiss.

"Back from the park?" he asked mildly. A house elf must have told him. "You were gone for quite some hours."

"It was fun," Draco declared before he scampered upstairs; his jigsaw puzzle pressed against his chest.

At her husband's curious look, Narcissa explained, "He wanted to go to the park. He had done all his assignments and I had the afternoon free, so I figured it wouldn't hurt."

"He went to the park with a puzzle?"

She couldn't blame him for sounding sceptical. She shrugged lightly and touched his right wrist. "Perhaps he just was in need of a change in scenery."

"Well, as long as he doesn't neglect his homework," he murmured and grasped her hand; his own pleasantly cool from having spend the day indoors. "I received a letter from Mathilda Lerouge today."

There was an amused glint deep in his eyes and she narrowed her own in response. "That Pureblood woman who's under the delusion that you're still an eligible bachelor?" she asked coolly, recalling the short and rather plump brunette they had had the unfortune of meeting during a ball organised by the Parkinsons.

Mathilda had spent the entire evening flirting with Lucius, ignoring all the signs – and Lucius' own clear introduction of Narcissa as his lovely wife – that he was married and no longer on the market so to speak. Since that ball two months ago, she had made a couple of other attempts to interact with Lucius and gain his attention.

"Hm." Grey deepened to silver as Lucius stole another kiss, wrapping his arm around her waist and drawing her with him upstairs, to his study room. "I figured you'd like to take a look at it. Perhaps even aid me in constructing a reply to her. You have always had a way with words that I simply can't hope to ever acquire, my love."

She pressed her lips together for a moment, railing in the burst of irritation which wanted to be unleashed. How much clearer did they have to be for that daft witch to understand she was barking at the wrong tree?

"Yes, I'd like to read it," she said and was already constructing their answer in her mind as they continued their way to the study room.

She'd make it clear once and for all that Mathilda Lerouge was best off keeping her greedy paws from her husband. Things might otherwise grow very ugly for the other woman.

She had honestly expected the trip to the park to be restricted to that one afternoon only. Draco hadn't been very interested in the park itself or the children playing there, but had occupied himself with his puzzle until he had decided it was time to go home.

Therefore she was quite surprised when Draco knocked on the doorframe of her bedroom the next day. She turned away from the window where she had been looking at some house elves puttering around, tending to the roses, and waved the young boy inside. "Yes, Draco?"

He had already changed out of his school uniform, she noticed idly, him having returned home an hour ago.

"Can we go to the park again?" he asked, scuffing his foot against the floor. At her raised eyebrow he stopped, his cheeks flushing slightly. He kept looking at her, though, not deterred by her chiding look. "I finished my homework," he added hopefully.

"Dinner's in two hours," she reminded him. Lucius was still at the Ministry, conducting some business, but he should be home on time.

"I know," he hastened to say and bit down on his lower lip briefly. "Just – just an hour. Please, mother?"

She gazed at him, at the way he stood there with a hopeful look on his face, his eyes wide and pleading. She released an inaudible sigh; how could she say no to that sweet face?

"All right, we can go to the park for an hour," she gave in and smiled when Draco's face brightened, a wide grin unfurling across his face as he clapped his hands and scampered off to his room to grab whatever he needed there.

One hour at the park wouldn't hurt – even if she thought it strange that Draco desired to go to the park a second time.

This time Draco had his book about dragons – one which Abraxas had gifted him a year ago and which had quickly become his favourite book to read – with him when they visited the park for the second time.

He chose a bench near the swings this time, plopping down there without deigning the young woman sitting there worthy of a glance.

For the second time he didn't interact with any children or played on the swings. Instead he sat there and read his book with his bright blond hair glinting like gold in the sunlight.

Narcissa sat next to him bemused, but didn't remark on her son's strange behaviour. Perhaps he was just feeling restless lately and needed to go somewhere else that wasn't the manor or the gardens?

Honestly, Draco's reasoning could be as puzzling as his father's at times.

Draco wanted to go to the park the next day again. During the weekend that followed he made no mention of wanting to visit the place again and Narcissa assumed he had got out of his system whatever had driven him to the park in the first place.

She was wrong.

Come Monday when Draco returned from his lessons, he requested to go to the park once more. The day after that as well and the day after that. And the days following, with the weekend being the exception.

As perplexing as Draco's behaviour was, Narcissa couldn't find a reason to refuse the visit to the park. Her son was well behaved during their visits, he kept up with his assignments and finished them before requesting to leave and he didn't try any shenanigans whilst there. On the other hand he also never made an attempt to play with the other children there and ignored the ones brave enough to approach him. He just chose a bench to sit – often a different one than before, though sometimes they sat on the same bench as the day before – and occupied himself with whatever he took with him from his bedroom.

His behaviour puzzled her, but he never gave an explanation as to why he so badly wanted to go to the park. "Because it's nice there, mother." was his explanation every time.

Days bled into weeks and at this point Narcissa had been at the park long enough to recognise the ones who also visited the place regularly. There were the blonde twin girls, who'd probably turn their mother prematurely grey with the many antics they pulled at the monkey bars and the swings. The grandparents with their two grandsons and one granddaughter who mostly remained around the swings and occasionally made their way to the ball pit.

The family of four – one boy and one girl – who spent their time splashing around in the water and trying to discover whether Merpeople were really living there. A single mother with her toddler, who mostly spent their time sitting on the stretch of sand in front of the pond, building primitive looking castles. A dark brown haired boy, looking a bit older than Draco, who accompanied his younger sister to the park for an hour every day, playing wherever the girl wanted.

A dark haired boy she had spotted the first time they were here, who looked to be around the same age as her son. She never got a good look at his face, but he was usually either accompanied by the two men she had seen the first time or by a dark haired man and a red haired woman. Sometimes the two dark haired men took the boy to the park, other times it was the brown haired man and the woman, or the brown haired man and the second black haired one. Who took the boy to the park changed from day to day with no discernible reason behind it, but without fail the boy would be there every day for several hours, playing with whatever attracted his attention that day.

Some adults had come to recognise her by now and would wave and smile at her, sometimes even sit down to chat, praising her son for being so well behaved. Narcissa definitely couldn't claim Draco was acting like a brat, but his reasoning for visiting the park every day continued to mystify her. It didn't look like she would get a real reason any time soon, though.

"Draco, can you please tell me why - " she sighed and cut herself off when Draco just stormed upstairs without glancing back. He nearly bowled over one of the house elves who squeaked and disappeared with a pop to a presumably safer place.

Clucking her tongue, she ran her hands through her hair, infusing a bit of magic in it to wrap it together in a loose braid. The sound of a door slamming shut echoed through the manor and she pursed her lips. She'd need to talk to her son about his behaviour just now, but that would have to wait. She'd let him rage out a bit first because she knew from experience Draco wouldn't listen until he had worked through whatever had made him upset.

Lucius appeared in the door opening of the living room and raised an eyebrow. "The park not to his liking?" he asked mildly. "You've barely been gone for half an hour."

"No, apparently it was not to his liking," she murmured and strode towards him, accepting the kiss he bestowed upon her lips. She followed him inside the room and sank down on the couch, accepting the glass of iced lemon tea when a house elf handed it over. "We walked around the entire park once and then he got upset all of a sudden and insisted we went back home. He didn't say a word to me at all."

"Did something happen when you walked around the park?" Lucius asked with a slight frown, settling next to her.

"As far as I'm aware of, no. We walked around, but I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary," she answered and took a sip from her tea, relishing the cold sensation seeping through her chest as she swallowed.

Whatever had made Draco suddenly so upset, it was not something she had noticed and that annoyed her a tad. She was always observant of her surroundings – she should have noticed whatever had upset her son immediately.

"You want me to talk to him?" He looked at her expectantly, playing absentmindedly with the end of her braid. He had always been fascinated by her long, blonde hair; a fact which never failed to amuse her.

She placed her glass on the small, wooden table next to the couch and shook her head, letting him draw her against his chest. "No, let him be for the moment. I'll talk to him when he has calmed down."

"If you say so, dear," he murmured and kissed the top of her head.

She snaked her fingers between his, resting their hands on her stomach and relaxed in his embrace. She would find out what had upset Draco later on; for now she was content to just sit with her husband and listen to him talk about his meeting with Severus.

AN2: This was supposed to be a oneshot, but I figured my friend had been waiting long enough already, so I decided to cut it into two parts. The next part will be posted soon!

Please leave your thoughts behind in a review; should you spot any mistakes, please point them out to me.

I hope to see you all back in the next part!



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