Chapter 2   Sweet  Clove

“Now that the old school music is finished, let me play some more modern tunes.  I think the music sets some of the story’s mood.  So, back to my story.”  Brandon’s companions looked at the tiny MP3 player in amazement.


Shortly thereafter, Narcissa knocked on my door.  “Brandon, I heard the fight.  Are you alright?”

“I’m leaving tomorrow, but I want my cigarettes and vodka back.”

Then she sat on the bed next to me.  “We don’t want you to leave.  Maybe we’re not your family by blood, but we are your family now, and there are certain rules.  For two years now, you haven’t had any rules other than school rules.  Currently you have more rules that are strictly enforced.  I know it takes a little getting used to.  I never figured you for a smoker and a drinker.”

“I’m not an addict, if that’s what you’re thinking.  I have a shot of vodka at night before a tournament, and I have a clove only on very special occasions, perhaps half a dozen a year.  Both are very expensive.  The cloves are imported, and not made any more.  I don’t know why he got so angry, since I can have a glass of wine with dinner if I want.”

“His rules are just that, rules.  Privately, however, you may ask.  Now, how did you acquire such unusual tastes?”

“My grandfather liked those same brands, and had that same philosophy.”  Then Narcissa gave me the mum hug.  The one that says “even though you bollixed it up, we love you and everything will be fine.”  Until then, I hadn’t realized how much I needed mum hugs.  Soon, my curiosity about something got the best of me.  “Why are the children, and even Draco, so formal?  I mean they always say Father, never dad or pop?”

“That is because within the Malfoy family’s many traditions, Father is a term showing recognition and veneration for the paternal protector and provider of the family.  I know Lucius is difficult sometimes, but he is trying.  He truly wants to be a good father, but he will always be a bit aloof and strict.  However, he does care.  If you need anything, talk to him.  As head of the family, our welfare is his priority.”

“But he’s so daunting,” I replied.  “Besides, I really don’t need much paternal guidance.  I only have a few more years until I’m an adult.”

“We can all use guidance from time to time, and certainly a family.  Maybe you don’t need a father, but maybe he needs a son who isn’t already an adult, so he can prove he is a good father.  Think about it.  Now, I’m going to talk to him and make sure that he doesn’t destroy your cigarettes or vodka.”  She smiled at me very warmly.  “Tomorrow, he wants to discuss your career path, or rather, lack of one.  Talk to him.  He will help.”

“Thanks,” I replied.  “By the way, what does Mother mean?”

“The same, but substitute maternal.  Unofficially, we add to it:  To make Father bearable.”  Lovingly, she brushed back my hair.  “When you feel better, I need to tell you some things you may not know about your biological family.”

“Lucius already gave me the file.”

“Do you want to talk about it?”  Her eyes showed genuine concern.  I shook my head.  “Character isn’t determined by birthright or lineage.  Ten years ago, the Malfoy's learned that.  Don’t fret over the circumstances of your birth.  Just remember that the Malfoy family wants to adopt you.  That doesn’t happen to just anyone.”


The next morning, I approached the cobra in his study.  “Good morning, Brandon.  Narcissa explained everything to me.  The items are in my desk where they will remain until you reach adulthood.  Now, sit down and we’ll discuss your future.”  I sat down and awaited his plans for me.  “So what do you want to do for your career?”

“Many reference books on obscure subjects are collections of information, based on hearsay and ambiguous research from other books.  Using my gifts, I would like to write on those subjects based on my own research.  Also, I want to travel to various libraries around the world and translate researched books for use in our own libraries.  Unfortunately, I have no idea how to start a career like that.”

“That is where I can help you.  I will work on it.  In the meantime, in two weeks on Tuesday, you and I will be spending the day together.  Do you have any ideas where you would like to go?”

“Why are we spending the day together?”

“Because we’re family now,” he replied.  “We should have a father-son bonding day.”

“I think The Louvre has a Persian sword collection on display along with its normal collection, which I have never seen.  However, it’s Muggle.” 

“Very well,” he replied.  “I have some Muggle clothes.  Lester will make arrangements.”


Lucius showed exactly what being the head of the Malfoy family meant.   True to his word, a couple of days later, we met again.  “Brandon, for the writing portion of your career, you will apprentice with Hermione for several hours during the week.  When you begin your next semester, you will take an extra class or two, which will help your career.  Narcissa has designed a program for you.  After you turn sixteen, Draco has arranged for you to have a part-time position in the Ministry library.  I’m sure you’ll do an excellent job, so you can have references from both Hogwarts and the Ministry.  Afterwards, we’ll take it from there.”

“Thank you,” I said.  “I have a small inheritance but I don’t know how to maintain it.  Would you look at it and see how I should invest it?”

“Once I became your legal guardian, I did just that.  Your net worth has increased by twenty percent, and will increase more in the future.  Since you no longer need to withdraw funds for any reason, the interest will accumulate as well.”  Lucius beamed with his accomplishment.  “I’ll bring you with me to the office tomorrow morning and show you a bit about financial management.”


The next day, I saw a new side to Lucius: humorous.  Astrum and I accompanied Lucius to his governor’s office.  The moment we arrived, Astrum ran in and hugged Lucius’ assistant, a thin graying man named Lester.  “Lester, this is Brandon, my new son.”

“Nice to meet you,” he said as he shook my hand.  “So, did Narcissa come to her senses during one of your prison stays?”  The chalk struck one for Lester on the board behind him.

“Well Lester, I see you haven’t started those comedy classes yet.”  The chalk struck one for Lucius.  “By the way, how’s the new office search going?”  Lucius looked at me then.  “I’m appointing Narcissa to the governorship since she has assumed most of the duties.  It is a surprise.”

“I found one near the international embassies, since you are coordinating more autograph tours for your daughter, as well as handling your international business dealings.  The office is bigger than both of our current offices combined.  Not to mention, I negotiated fifteen percent off the purchase price, even though it’s prime real estate.  Five percent you’re kicking back to me as a bonus.”  Then he closed the door so Astrum couldn’t hear.  “I also got a tiny office next door to it for Astrum.  They’re installing French doors so you can keep an eye on her.”

“Brilliant, Lester,” Lucius replied.  “Since Astrum likes lavender, can you have them decorate her office appropriately?”

“I already have it underway.  It will be ready next week.”

“Good, I’ll be sure to drop in when they are decorating my office,” Lucius added.

“I’m perfectly capable of supervising the work myself,” Lester replied.

“While I realize that, I don’t want my office to be painted pink or chartreuse.”  The chalk struck one for Lucius as we went into his office.

For a few hours, Lucius taught me financial management, not enough to be a millionaire, but enough to make me successful.   


At a luncheon with the Board of Governors, Lucius proudly boasted about his entire family.  Because of my memory, I made one heck of a party favor, as Lucius introduced his new son who had a very unique gift.  At the end of the meal, he surprised Narcissa.  “As many of you know, Narcissa has done a tremendous amount of work within the Governor’s Office.  No one realizes more than I.  For that reason, I am appointing her to the office.”  Everyone clapped, cheered and breathed sighs of relief.


Not long after, the two of them battled for custody of Lester.  “Lucius, I need his help, since he knows that office so well.”

“Mon ange, I have given you everything you have ever wanted but I will not give you Lester.  One time he and I fought so he resigned for a month.  Within that month, I went through four replacements.  You can easily find someone who will tolerate you, whereas I am not so fortunate.”

“Really Lucius, your loyalty to him amazes me, considering the way you two snip at each other.  You’re like an old married couple.”  She glared at him.

“Since you don’t nag at me enough, I needed someone who does.  Lester is my day wife.”  With that admission, Narcissa giggled.  “How about we hire you an assistant that Lester can train and supervise?  I can also have him pull duty with you on Mondays, since they are the busiest.”

“That sounds wonderful.”  Narcissa kissed his cheek.


Per Lucius’ orders, I spent time with my new sister Hermione to go over writing techniques.  While not a classic beauty like Narcissa, she had a unique splendor that one could call adorable, while retaining a warm innocence despite three children and the Malfoy influence.  During the day, she always wears that long honey colored wavy hair up, but always wears it down when her husband comes home. 

With her, I felt the most at ease since she shared my enthusiasm for books, so I broached something that peaked my curiosity.  “Hermione, I always thought you were liberated, so why do you let Draco and Lucius boss you around?”

“Oh Brandon, they don’t boss me around.  Draco and I are very independent.   So, as a team, we have this approach.  We each take a certain aspect, especially concerning our children, and make decisions accordingly.  For instance, I take all matters concerning their education, while he takes discipline and gifts.  By doing that, we each have more time for our careers and each other.  If we made every decision via committee, we would have twice as much work.  Further, we don’t nit-pick each other’s decisions.”

“But the boys are in Slytherin House,” I said.

“The only input Draco gave, was he asked that the boys not be separated, because his instincts said not to, with which I thoroughly agreed.   Otherwise, he said he would abide by my decision.  When it came to the boys, the sorting hat popped a few threads.  Scorpius would do slightly better in Ravenclaw while Sev would have done better in Hufflepuff but not vice versa.  However, they would both do well in Slytherin.  Family tradition, and the hope that maybe they could change a few attitudes in Slytherin, tipped the scales.”

“As far as Father, he’s more of a uniting force and guide for the family.  He acts in our best interests.  As my agent, he engineered it so I could have a career and be at home for my children.  Hasn’t he put you on the path towards your career?”  I nodded.  “When he approached me, he asked that I help you.”

From everything I observed, she had it all and seemed quite happy.


Now with Lucius adopting a new son, I wondered if Draco had truly accepted me as his little brother, or if he merely said that to appease his father.  One day, Draco surprised me.  In private, he held up two tickets to The Cramps concert.  “Sev told me you like this sort of music, so I checked it out.  I like these guys too.  I managed to get prime tickets for a concert tomorrow.  Want to go?”

“I’d love to but what about Sev?”

“Don’t brag in front of him, but I felt it might be too adult for him.  I’m taking him to see a more tame group.  You’ll need to be my guide in the Muggle world, since I’m not entirely comfortable there.”  Then he gave me a small box containing several vials of contraceptive potion.  Normally, such acquisitions get reported to the parents of a minor.  “I’m the best big brother ever.”

“You’re really not upset about your parents adopting me?”

“No, I’m not upset.  Let me explain.  Growing up, my father never told me he loved me, or how proud he was of any of my accomplishments.  On the other hand, my mother showered me with affection, and always told me how proud of me she was, but it wasn’t enough.  For a boy, his father’s pride and love is five percent more important than his mother’s, and vice versa for a girl.  I’m not undermining each parent’s role but I think it’s almost biological or a rite of passage.  Because I lacked this, it had a detrimental effect on me.”

“While in prison, my father realized his mistakes and made amends.  If I resented him now, I would waste the time that I have left with him.  My father and I are now closer than ever.  Often, my father will recollect one of my accomplishments and tell me how proud he was.  While it doesn’t erase the past, it does make me feel better.  Nowadays, he’ll tell me how proud he is of something I’ve done recently.  Many times it means more to me than any award.”   

“At first, when the family voted to adopt you, my wife and I would have acted as your parents even though we were a little young.  Without prompting, my father insisted that he and my mother adopt you.  In parenting you, he’s seeking his own form of redemption for the mistakes he made with me.  While he may not be perfect, you can rely on him; plus there’s mother.”

“You’re right.  I can tell he’s trying.  By the way, you do make a great big brother.”


“I know my story may seem to have unrelated events, but I assure you that everything I mentioned will have a final convergence.  Have some more wine.“   Brandon poured his guests more wine but not himself since his glass remained half-full. 

“The next part of my story involves the youngest member of the Malfoy family, as well as the oldest.  There are several reasons why I group them together, as you will see.”



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