Hermione rushed through the maze like hallways in the well-known wizards hospital, St. Mungo’s. She was running late for a meeting with the head of her department, Mrs. Humble. Mrs. Humble said she had an assignment for Hermione, and also a personal apprentice to train and teach while on the assignment. Hermione knew this was a chance of a lifetime, and here she was running late, typical morning for her.
Finally, she stopped in front of Mrs. Humble’s office. She straitened her hair and skirt to make sure she looked presentable. She took a deep breath to slow down her panted breathing. She put on her confident expression and entered the office.
The office wasn’t very big, but it wasn’t very small either. The word that would describe it best would be ‘comfortable’. Mrs. Humble was sitting at her desk, looking through some paper work over her red jewel rimmed glasses. Two red plump chairs sat in front of her desk. Mrs. Humble usually had enough chairs for the number of people she knew would be visiting her office. Hermione guessed that the second chair was for the new apprentice. The rest of the office was stereotypical of a nurse office. But the theme was mostly red and everything else made from pinewood.
Hermione politely cleared her throat to show that she had arrived. Mrs. Humble looked up from her paperwork and at Hermione with beady black eyes. She was a plump woman with brown curly hair that was always up in a bun supported by two chopsticks. She had a kind motherly sort of appearance to her. Hermione was always reminded of Mrs. Weasley whenever she saw Mrs. Humble.
“Ah, Ms. Granger, please sit down,” Mrs. Humble said sweetly, “We have much to talk about.”
Hermione politely sat down and waited for Mrs. Humble to continue.
“As you know, I have some great opportunities for you,” Mrs. Humble continued happily, “You will be sent to Countess Esmeralda Fleurmont to care for her will she is sick. But, I must tell you she has no ordinary disease. She has been diagnosed with it since her husband’s death 4 years ago. She has a daughter named Anastasia. And if we hadn’t volunteered to send a Healer to care for them both, they would have sent Anastasia and Countess Fleurmont to a mental healing clinic,”
“Oh, that’s terrible,” Said Hermione speaking for the first time. Hermione now realized how serious this job was going to be. At least she was going to get help in this.
“I know,” Mrs. Humble sighed sadly, “But lucky for you, you will be assisted by an apprentice. But you will also teach him the ways of becoming a certified Healer.”
“Speaking of which, who exactly is my apprentice?” Hermione asked curiously, “And when is he supposed to get here?”
As if on que, the office door opened and in came an all too familiar face. He stood tall next to the door, pale skin, light blonde hair, and his pale green/blue eyes showed surprise and disgust when he saw Hermione.
“Malfoy?” Hermione said in spite of herself.
“Granger,” he said his expression not changing.
“What are you doing here?” they both said in unison.
“Hello, Mr. Malfoy.” Mrs. Humble said politely, “I see you two already know each other.”
Malfoy and Hermione didn’t say anything as he sat down in front of Mrs. Humble’s desk. Hermione was puzzled to why he was there in the first place. Then a thought came to her, ’Oh crud, please don’t let him be…’
“Ms. Granger, meet your new apprentice,” Mrs. Humble said cheerfully, interrupting Hermione’s thoughts.
Hermione’s stomache sank and she swore her heart had stopped. Malfoy? Her apprentice? This was bad.
“Your joking right?” Hermione said trying hard to hold back the shock in her voice (and failed).
“No, of course not,” Said Mrs. Humble seriously giving Hermione a disapproving look. Mrs. Humble looked back at her paper work and began to shuffle through them as if looking for something.
Hermione, who had been gripping the armrests of the chair tightly and leaning forward the whole time since Malfoy had entered, now collapsed back in her chair with a defeated sigh.
Mrs. Humble pulled out some sheets of paper and neatly pat them together, and handed them to Hermione. “Here are the directions of how to get to the Fleurmont Mansion. We will pay for the expenses of the trip. You’ll both leave tomorrow at 10 o’ clock.”
Draco took the papers from Hermione to look at them. He pulled out what looked like two photographs.
“Are these our patients?” Draco asked curiously.
It was Hermione’s turn to snatch something from Draco. She quickly grabbed the photos from him to look at them. Both pictures were in black and white, but Hermione could tell that both the people in the photos had unmistakably blonde hair. One was a photo of a young girl of about 4 or 5 years old. The girl didn’t have the typical expression Hermione pictured a 5-year-old usually had. She always pictured little girls with happy, innocent, carefree sort of expressions. But this little girl looked nothing of the sort. She looked as if all the life had been drained out of the poor girl. She stared back at Hermione as if pleading her for help. Every so often the girl would look another direction and be off in her own little world, then turn back to Hermione looking deep and sorrowful.
In the other photo, was a woman that seemed likely to be the little girl’s mother. She had the same physical facial features and blonde hair. But she had a far more different expression. She wasn’t even looking at the camera. Every so often she would look down ward or look to the side of her. She looked in every direction but the camera. She didn’t seem very alert about it though. She looked just as dazed and distant as her daughter. Her head would rock slowly from side to side and her eyes would go in the opposite of her head.
“Yes, the woman is Countess Fleurmont,” said Mrs. Humble, “And the little girl is Anastasia Fleurmont. They are the ones you are going to care for.”
Now Hermione was driving her car on her way to the Fleurmont Mansion. Sitting next to her, to her dismay, Draco Malfoy. Luckily for her, Draco hadn’t said a word since this morning. Hermione found it odd that he had not said anything nasty or insulting to her yet. Not that she was complaining, but it just didn’t seem like Draco to just sit quietly. She just simply shrugged and sighed.
“How much longer?” Malfoy asked breaking the silence.
Hermione looked over at him to see if he was serious or not. Malfoy just stared back, waiting for an answer.
“We’ll be there in about ten minutes,” Hermione said flatly.
“How old is Anastasia exactly?” Malfoy asked seeming to be trying to make conversation.
Hermione found this, yet again, to be odd. But she hated awkward moments.
“Mrs. Humble said she’s about five years old,”
“That’s pretty young,” Malfoy said calmly.
“Why do you care?” Hermione asked unable to stop herself.
“Why wouldn’t I?” Malfoy demanded.
“You’re Draco Malfoy, your not supposed to care about other people’s problems,” Hermione stated, “Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if she was your cousin or something and you still didn’t care.”
“Still think I’m the spoiled brat, sniveling, ferret do you?” Malfoy asked impatiently.
“I don’t suppose you remember the battle after our graduating year,” Malfoy said testing.
“As a matter of fact, I do. What about it?”
“If you think I can’t change after losing my own father, the only person I’ve ever depended on, the person I’ve always wanted to grow up to be, think again Granger,” Malfoy said half angrily.
Hermione knew Malfoy, he may think he’s changed, but she could see right through him. She knew that inside; he was still the same old snotty bouncing ferret she had always hated. She would never make that mistake again.
Again they were sent into silence until they finally arrived at the magnificent Fleurmont Mansion. Actually, there was nothing magnificent about the Fleurmont Mansion at all. In a word, it looked more dead then magnificent.
The trees in the yard hung loosely as they swayed in the breeze like ribbons. One tree, that seemed the strongest one of them all, had an old swing hanging from its remaining branch. From what Hermione could see, the plank of wood, that was the swings seat, was rotted and coated in mud. The chains, that held the plank, were black with age and rusted. It looked as if there used to be a flowerbed that grew along the sides of the mansion, now dead wilted and dry. The lawn dead, brown and muddy and scattered with leafs. The mansion itself was no less depressing. Paint was peeling from the walls, there were broken windows, and all the windows that weren’t broken had the curtains tightly shut.
“Nice place,” Draco said after observing the sorrow filled sight.
Hermione ignored him and drove onto the driveway. When they came up to the front door, Hermione could see the large double doors were slightly tiled on their hinges. Hermione knocked the old fashioned knocker and waited.
After a moment or two, the old door creaked open and there was a little girl with a gray face and fading blonde hair.
“Hello, you must be here to take care of my mother,” The little girl said in a surprisingly mature voice, “My name is Anastasia nice to meet you,”
Hermione covered her mouth so as not to be rude by gasping or screaming. She looked over at Draco and he looked just as surprised as she did. What Hermione found surprising yet scary about Anastasia was she had one green eye, and the other was purple!
A/N: Finally finished that one. Hope you liked it! Please R/R
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