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Chapter 3 : Parent-teacher relationships
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Rosalind. Rosalind. Rosalind. Rosalind. Rosalind. Rosalind. Rosalind.
Her name was Rosalind.
Malfoy’s wife’s name was Rosalind. Rosalind what? Hermione racked her mind, trying to think of a Slytherin named Rosalind. She couldn’t. Perhaps she was from another house? Unlikely. Beauxbatons? More likely.
Hermione sighed in frustration as she sat in the Teacher’s Lounge, sipping her coffee. She couldn’t get it out of her head. She had been up all night thinking about it. Why couldn’t she get Malfoy and his stupid wife out of her head?
She glanced up quickly. She saw Jodie, the secretary, standing in front of her.
“Hmmm?” she asked grouchily.
“Uh… well, Mrs. Perivale would like to see you in her office… if you don’t mind…” she stuttered.
Hermione rolled her eyes. She had sensed all the other teachers were a bit wary of her, but Jodie was downright scared.
But she immediately froze as her mind registered what Jodie had just said.
“Mrs. Perivale? The Headmistress?”
Jodie nodded timidly.
“But I haven’t done anything!” she defended herself hotly.
“No… but… well…” Jodie trailed off.
Hermione sighed again.
“Okay. I’ll be there in a second.”
Jodie scrambled away as Hermione got up slowly. What had she done? She hadn’t murdered any of the kids.
She walked deliberately slowly into the Headmistress’ office.
“Eleanor,” she greeted.
The Headmistress smiled at her.
“Hermione, sit down, sit down,”
Hermione sat down cautiously. Eleanor studied her intently.
“So, how are you finding Reception class?”
Hermione let out a sigh of relief.
“Fine. Actually, better than I expected, really. Little kids aren’t quite that bad.”
Eleanor chuckled. “No. Well, I’m glad I placed you in that position. But…well, there’s something else I need to talk to you about.”
Hermione’s heart stopped. She knew this was coming. She could probably take over from flippin’ Trelawney !
“Yes… You see, I heard about your little encounter with one… Mr. Draco Malfoy was it? Do you two know each other?”
Hermione stood in shock. “Yeah. We, uh, we knew each other from school. And we… well, we never got along.”
Eleanor surveyed her for a while. “Is that so? Well, no matter how you know each other, and no matter how you feel about each other, you simply cannot treat parents that way, Hermione. W have a reputation to uphold.”
She said it gently, but sternly. Hermione felt her face heating up. She could only nod.
“And, Hermione? I would just like to remind you that parent-teacher relationships are most definitely not permitted at Kensworth.”
Hermione looked up sharply. She gaped at the Headmistress in shock.
“W-w-what?! Me and Malfoy?! You have got to be kidding.” She laughed out loud at the sheer absurdity of the idea. “No no no. That is something you will never have to worry about. No. Never. I mean, he’s goddamn married! And I would never get linked with him! He’s Malfoy!”
She saw Eleanor’s eyes widen in surprise, as if shocked that Hermione didn’t know something.
She laughed again, and the made her way to the door.
“I’m really sorry, Eleanor, about what happened with Malfoy- ”
“Mr. Malfoy, dear.”
“Yeah, him, but it won’t happen again, and about the other thing, you will not have to worry about that!”
With that being said, Hermione left, still chuckling to herself.
Eleanor Perivale was left sitting at her desk, shaking her head. She had been in this world for far too long. She stared blankly at the door Hermione Granger had just left through, and sighed. She knew it would only be a matter of time until she would have to find herself a new Reception teacher. Perhaps blonde this time…
Draco closed his eyes and sank into the softness of the armchair. Careen was at school, so it was completely silent, except for the sweet sounds of nature. He took a deep breath. He tried to think about something, anything at all, but the face of one Hermione Granger kept flitting into his mind. Finally, he succumbed and let her image just remain there.
She hadn’t changed very much, that was for sure. Same bushy hair, same chocolate coloured eyes. But the more he thought about it, she wasn’t actually ugly. She was actually quite pretty, but… in a bookish way he supposed. Pretty in a different way to Rosalind, but still quite pretty. No one was pretty like Rosalind.
Because Rosalind was beautiful.
He had no idea what had attracted him to her. She was delicate, fragile, almost breakable. She held herself with the charm and grace that would have delighted Narcissa if only Narcissa had bothered to look past her parentage. She was waif-like, even. Tiny. Tiny waist, tiny hands, tiny feet.
Her hair was straight and sleek, and as dark as his hair was pale. And as tiny as she was, her mere presence seemed to command respect and obedience. Her eyes, her azure eyes, seemed to pierce through you, seemed to burn holes through your skin. And everytime Draco looked into them, he knew he would go to the ends of the Earth just to see those eyes one last time.
He found it ironic that the only thing that could drive Hermione Granger’s face out of his head was the face of his dearly beloved.
He groaned and sat up straight. There were a few things he needed to do before the day was out. And then… then he needed to go speak with Granger.
He battled with himself until he realised that no, he did not hold any contempt against her. All of that hatred, that disgust had vanished when… well, when he met Rosalind. Strange how much Granger seemed to relate back to Rosalind.
Would he ever be able to fall in love again? He doubted. But perhaps… maybe… if the right person came along…
He stood up slowly and made his way over to the mantel and lost himself in the photo of their little family.
Yes, he thought to himself. He would be able to fall in love again, but only with the woman who would fit that perfectly with his family.
Hermione sat at her desk. It was lunch time, and so she sat alone in her classroom, mildly staring out the window. She hardly ever went to the staffroom for lunch. Instead, she preferred to watch the children playing from the comfort of her desk.
The school playground was something she had missed. She remembered being in Muggle school, how beautiful the playground looked. She never joined in any of the games herself, but she loved to observe. Even now, that hadn’t changed.
There was something magical about the happiness and cheerfulness of the children running around, laughing, without a care in the world. Sometimes a small incident would break the peace, like a child skinning his knees, but still, it seemed to her that those mundane, childhood problems just made everything more innocent, and somehow added more to the chaotic serenity of the playground. What she wouldn’t give to go back to the days where the only thing she had to worry about was whether or not her mother had remembered to pack her lunch.
Then, something caught her eye. A small figure, huddled up by the oak tree, eating her lunch quietly. Careen. Hermione stood up, and walked out, cautiously approaching the girl.
Careen looked up and smiled as she approached.
“Can I sit down?” Hermione asked.
Careen nodded, still smiling. She crouched next to her, and observed her.
She was an exceptionally pretty little girl. Malfoy had obviously married well. There was something in her gentle face that reminded her of the aristocratic Black looks, except her features were way too soft. Probably Narcissa’s genes seeping through. Her eyes were Malfoy’s eyes, sharp grey. But they had a gentle look in them, a look she somehow knew could be duplicated in Malfoy if he really tried. Or if he were looking at the right person.
She gently sat down against the tree.
“Why are you here all by yourself?”
Careen didn’t answer for a while, so Hermione gently prompted her.
“Won’t the other children let you play?”
It was either that, or Malfoy had instructed her not to hang around ‘filth’, which she wouldn’t exactly put against him.
Careen shook her head. “It’s not that. They ask me to play with them, but I don’t really want to.” She looked up at Hermione with wide doe eyes. “I just want to go home.”
Hermione was puzzled. She didn’t think that Careen had a problem with school.
“Don’t you like school? Is there something wrong with it?”
Careen shook her head.
“I love school. It’s very fun, I get to learn, and everyone is very nice.”
“Then what’s the matter, honey?”
Hermione was confused.
“I’m worried about my daddy.”
Hermione was shocked. How on Earth did Malfoy ever get such an amazing daughter?
“I’m sure he’ll be fine, dear.”
“I’m scared he’ll be lonely without me.”
Hermione was even more confused.
“Lonely? Oh, I’m sure your mother will keep him company.”
Careen stared intently at her.
Hermione couldn’t breathe. She froze, not able to move. She willed herself to do something, say anything, but nothing was working.
Draco waited out on the steps of Kensworth Preparatory school for the bell to ring. He wondered what it was like to go to Muggle school. He had been home-schooled when he was younger. Narcissa had taught him everything. That was probably one of the reasons he wasn’t as… socialised maybe. He never felt any pleasure in having friends, preferring to stick closer to his family. But still, he was family- oriented per se. It was odd.
Ah. Okay. There goes the bell. Sure enough, the distant sound of talking and laughing filtered it’s way through the halls. He made his way up the steps, trying not to get crushed by the steady stream of students.
His eyes darted quickly through the crowd, looking for a small dark-haired figure. He spotted his daughter skipping cheerfully towards him, and smiled. He waited patiently for her to reach him, and then leaned down to ruffle her hair.
She smiled up at him.
“Do you mind waiting for a bit while I speak to Miss Granger?” Miss Granger. The words felt strange on his lips.
“Of course not.”
He led her inside so she could wait in the hallway, and cautiously opened the door to her classroom. Sure enough, Granger was siting at her desk, her head in her hands.
He walked in silently, so silently that she didn’t appear to notice him, and he was about to say something when she spoke.
“Malfoy.” Still, she didn’t look up.
He didn’t say anything, choosing to quietly sit in the seat he had occupied yesterday.
“I must say, I didn’t expect to see you back so soon. Not after yesterday.”
He sighed. “Yeah. Well, about that. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have lost my temper like that…” Her eyebrows raised slightly at the apology. “It’s just that… you know.”
It suddenly occurred to him that in actual fact, she did not know.
“Yeah, well, I do know.”
He looked up in alarm, and she raised her head. He looked at her and searched for meaning in her eyes. She knew.
He sighed again. He seemed to be doing a lot of that lately.
“How?” he asked in a defeated tone.
“Careen.” She didn’t elaborate, nor did she need to. “It seems it’s been upsetting her at school a little.”
He looked at her, startled. This was news to him.
“Well, I don’t know if it’s her mother’s death really affecting her. She seems to be more worried about you, to be honest. She seems to think you’re a bit… lonely?” She said this in a slight questioning tone, but he did not answer.
“How, in the name of Merlin, or Salazar or whoever you want, did you get such an amazing daughter?!” Hermione burst out. She looked at him for a reply.
He didn’t give her one for a while. They both sat there in silence.
“I had an amazing wife,” he said simply.
She looked at him. “Well, yeah. I don’t really know what you did to deserve her either. I really have no idea what you could have done.”
He laughed bitterly. “I guess that makes two of us.”
She didn’t speak. She probably didn’t know what to say.
“If you ever want to talk… I hope you know you can talk to me.”
He rolled his eyes. “You don’t mean that. Us? Talk? We hate each other. You despise me. I despise you.”
“Perhaps so. But I understand.”
What was it with these awkward silences?
“Umm… yeah. I heard about Potter and Weasley. I’m sorry.”
She shook her head. “I don’t need your sympathy, Malfoy. I get enough from other people.”
“I’m not offering it.”
He stood up to go. He offered no farewell, and she did not initiate one.
“Are you sure you don’t want to talk about Rosalind?”
She had used her name.
He considered it for a moment, and then laughed again, but this time, it was not quite so bitter.
“Granger, the day I confide in you about Rosalind is the day I fall in love with you.”
A/N: I think Careen is the child we hope we'll have, and the child we wish we were. There's something about her quiet innocence, and the almost saint-like quality about her. Well, I'm rambling. ^_^ Hope you enjoyed it! Please review!
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