A/N: AN UPDATE! OMGOSH! It's been AGES, I know. Thankfully, I only have 5 more days of english and I can write much more. I'm sorry its taking so long to update. Don't be too mad at me. =]
Draco sat on his balcony sipping on his coffee. He squinted as the first hint of sunlight shown through the trees. He loved the mornings. New Beginnings. After all he’d had to endure in his life, a fresh start was exactly what he had needed.
When he had first wanted to join the Order, he wasn’t sure if they would accept him considering his past life, but oddly enough, they seemed to take him without arguments. Either they were desperate for a lead on Voldemort or someone within the Order had vouched for him. But considering whom the members of the Order were, he highly doubted the latter.
He sighed over his cup and looked out into the sky. He fumbled with the handle on his mug and sat it down shakily. He didn’t want to leave his apartment.
If he did, he knew something would happen.
After all, it wasn’t often that he got that feeling.
Or it didn’t use to be anyway.
Hermione yawned lazily as she sat up in her bed and rubbed her eyes. The sun shone through her window and she smiled slightly.
“This place is perfect.” She thought to herself. She sluggishly sat up and wiggled her toes before sliding out from beneath the comforter and walking over to her balcony door. She opened the curtains hanging over it and reached her hand to the handle and pushed it down, but before she could open it, a knock sounded on her door from the living room and she quickly walked to see who it was.
“I’m coming!” she called to the unknown person standing on the other side of the door. She reached the threshold and leaned forward pulling the door open. To her shock, there stood a very distressed-looking Luna Lovegood.
“Luna?” she asked in a shocked tone.
“’Mione! I’m so sorry! I know today is your day off to move and what not but we’re swamped! The temps you hired for the holidays have all but demolished the store! Toppled bookcases, mismarked prices, mixed up coffee orders…” Hermione cut her off.
“Don’t worry Luna! Just let me freshen up a bit I’ll be right there!” Luna smiled gratefully and hugged Hermione before rushing off to tend to the store once more.
“Oh Great” Hermione thought to herself as she stepped inside her shower and turned on the faucet. “Just what I need.” She pooled the lavender shampoo in her hand and let the intoxicating scent fill the air before she started to scrub it into her hair.
After she rinsed off, she stepped out and stepped over to her mirror. She took her wand and passed it in front of her face whispering a spell. Instantly, her hair dried and formed long loose curls. She sighed contently and quickly threw on her clothes. She opened the door and quickly ran to the front of the building to the apparating point and was soon standing in the midst of the holiday bustle of the streets of Diagon Alley.
Draco ran his fingers through his hair and dried it with his towel. He threw it down and stared in the mirror. He sighed and quickly dried it and pulled on his clothes and headed out the door.
He couldn’t help but go out of his way to pass in front of her door and he studied it with interest. He kept going down the central staircase where he saw that bloody owner’s car circling in front of the front desk. It stopped as Draco walked past and stared at him with interest, but Draco ignored it and kept moving.
He walked briskly towards the apparition point and raised his wand as he prepared to leave, but before he could, he stopped and looked around.
No one was there.
But he knew he wasn’t mistaking it. The scent that seemed to haunt him.
“Luna!” Hermione called over the crowd of people standing in front of the door. “I’m here!” she shouted as she made her way through saying “excuse me” to everyone in front of her.
“Oh Hermione, thank GOD!” Luna said loudly and she exhaled a breath of relief.
“What in the bloody hell has got such a crowd in here?” Hermione asked incredulously.
“You know the new Gilderoy Lockhart book, right?” Luna asked.
“The one he wrote after he got out of the hospital? Troublesome Times in the Life of Gilderoy Lockhart: The Place Without a Decent Toothbrush. I ordered some last week. Are they in?” Hermione replied.
“Oh they’re in alright. It seems that his fans still haven’t abandoned him even with the whole fake stories, memory-erasing, and trapped in a loony bin thing.” Luna said giggling.
Hermione took a moment to look at Luna and how being with Neville had certainly changed her. Sure she was still shy and reserved and odd, but she was so much happier. Personally, Hermione couldn’t blame her. Neville was a great guy, but, then again, what did Hermione know about great guys?
She sighed and shook her head at the women clawing at each other and climbing over backs to try and get one of the books.
She heard the tingle of the bell at the front of her shop and decided that she better get back to work. Picking up her pocket book and sitting it in the back of the store behind the counter, she began to help receive payments.
“Mum!” Draco called as he walked into the manor. He looked around and didn’t see her. The manor had really gotten brighter since Lucious disappeared. Somehow he had a feeling that would change with these new rumors, but Draco vowed to protect his mother. His father would not win.
Draco continued walking through the dimly lit hallways until he reached the study where the door was slightly cracked open. He peeped through and saw his mother sitting at a large mahogany desk with her head in her hands.
He knocked silently before entering the room. “Mum?” he asked tentatively.
Immediately, Narcissa looked up and smiled at her son’s handsome face.
“Draco, Darling!” she said as she stood up quickly and wakled to give her son a warm hug.
“Mum what’s wrong?” Draco asked wanting to get right to the reason she had looked so worried.
“Oh nothing, honey just some silly rumors in the Daily Prophet. How have you been?” she replied.
Draco knew what she was referring to, but decided it safe not to talk about it.
“I’ve been alright, I suppose. I just got a new neighbor with another blasted cat, but I’m sure I’ll be able to handle it.” He smiled at her sweetly as she gestured for him to sit down.
“How have you been mother?” Draco politely asked.
“Oh you know how it is, Draco. Good days, bad days. Life goes on.” She smiled softly before she seemed to wake up out of her trance. “So my darling dear, how is your love life? Anyone new that I must meet?” she winked at him as he stared at her pointedly.
“No mother. No one new.” He replied nonchalantly.
“So you’re still with that Heather girl?” she asked in a slightly annoyed tone.
Draco cringed at her words. He and Heather were over. She had broken it off with him about a month ago. Her reasoning was all to unclear now. Something about she knew she didn’t love him…found someone else…blah blah blah. Whatever. He got through it.
“No mother. We’re through. I’m a single man now.” He said dully.
“Oh, Draco, I’m so sorry!” Narcissa said in sympathy, but Draco could see the look of happiness in her eyes. He knew that she had never approved of Heather. No matter how much he pressed it upon her that he loved her. For some odd reason, his mother always thought she wasn’t good enough for him.
He sighed. It seemed that no matter what she had said to him, he had been convinced that he and Heather were meant for each other. It seems now his mother was right all along. Why had he chosen to ignore her like he always did? For once, couldn’t he have chosen to listen to her wise words of wisdom?
No. Of course not.
Draco rolled his eyes and turned to face the wall opposite him. He sighed deeply.
Narcissa sensed his tension and knew immediately he needed a break.
“Draco.” She began. “Will you do me a favor?”
“Anything, mother.” He instantly responded.
“I need you to run an errand for me. It seems that Gilderoy Lockhart has written a new book about his experience in St. Mundo’s. Unfortunately, I lost track of the time and didn’t order it ahead of time. I’m afraid it’ll be sold out. Will you run to Diagon Alley and look for it?” she asked with hope in her voice.
Draco inwardly laughed at his mother’s obvious alliance with the other woman of the wizarding world who still believed Lockhart to be the most handsome man alive. Personally, Draco couldn’t see what was so attractive about him.
“Of course. Would you need anything else while I’m there?” he asked.
“Now that you mention it, I probably do. Let me write it down.” She and Draco spent a few minutes compiling a list of things she needed before he hugged her goodbye and left in whirl of flames.
Ginny hurried around the kitchen attempting to make some sort of lunch before Harry came home. It wasn’t often that he got to come home for lunch so she wanted to make it special. She had just finished the final touches on the place setting when Harry came through the front door.
“Hey you!” Ginny said excitedly and raced into her husband’s arms pulling him into a tender kiss. When they broke apart she looked up into his face with glowing eyes only to meet his troubled ones. “What’s wrong?” she asked immediately knowing something wasn’t quite right.
“Nothing.” Harry responded instantly.
Ginny rolled her eyes in irritation at her husband’s back as he headed toward his seat at the table. “Oh no Mr. Boy-Who-Is-A-Terrible-Liar. You’re not getting off that easily. Now you can go about this the easy way or the hard way take your pick.”
“Just what exactly would the hard way entitle?” Harry said with a smirk and raised eyebrow.
Ginny glared at him which immediately seemed to sober Harry up with a defeated sigh.
“The ministry has been informed of even more sightings of Lucious Malfoy. Not all of them are outrageous tales either. Actually, most of them seem likely and realistic.” Harry looked at his wife through distressed wife eyes that begged her for consolation.
“Harry, darling.” Ginny intervened. “Listen. I know you’re worried about Lucious returning, but really he is no harm to the ministry any longer. The only ones in harm as civilians. Even they aren’t too bad off. We know Lucious is weak since his master died. Honestly, I think the people we need to look after are the Malfoys themselves. I know they haven’t always been our best friends, but they are the ones in his line-of-fire. They betrayed him to help the light side win! If I were an evil murderous dark wizard follower and I got sold out by my family they would be my first targets. Maybe if you want to find him so bad you should look where you know he’ll go.” She concluded this last sentence with an evident tone of sarcasm that stated she thought the answer to their prayers was obvious.
Harry stared at his wife and couldn’t help but appreciate how lucky he was. He pulled her towards him into a tight embrace and kissed her on the cheek.
“You know.” He stated. “I don’t think I give you enough credit. I better watch my back or you may take my place in the ministry.” He winked.
Harry picked up his knife and fork and stared at the stove covered in dishes.
“So. What’s for dinner?”
“What is it about this damned book that every woman in the wizarding world finds so bloody interesting? It’s about a man who went loony for Christ’s sake!” Draco thought to himself as he strolled through the streets of Diagon Alley looking from window to window of the bookstores only to see large signs in each window stating that they were out of this man’s latest literature creation.
The packages he already purchased from his mother’s list were beginning to weigh him down and he decided that if he did not find the book soon, he would simply return to the manor and tell his mother he would search some other time.
He continued to walk for sometime and was about to give and turn around when he came to a small bookstore called Spellbound. For some odd reason this name stood out in his mind; however, he quickly pushed this warning to the side as he was growing tired and frustrated and this was the only store he had seen who did not dawn a sign saying “sold out”.
He walked in and the little bell chimed at the top of the door. He looked around and didn’t see anyone so he began to look for some sort of sign that would tell him where this best seller was. He walked around for a few brief minutes before he came to a table where he presumed the books had been, but it was now empty. He sighed heavily and rolled his eyes at the stupidity of the workers who did not bother to advertise their lack of the book.
He headed to the front to speak with an associate.
“Excuse me.” He said to the back of the head of a light blonde. She turned around and Draco was appalled to see Luna Lovegood.
“Loony” Draco asked in recognition. Luna raised her eyebrow slightly at the remembrance of her childhood name, but spoke to Draco with respect nonetheless.
“Yes, Mr. Malfoy. It’s me. Can I help you with something?” her voice wavered only slightly, but Draco could tell she was feigning sweetness.
“Yes you may. You see, this is the only store in the entire village who doesn’t have a sign displayed saying they are out of bloody lockhart’s new book and I was wondering where these existent copies were.” He finished with a sarcastic drawl.
“Actually, I was just on my way outside to post the sign. I’m sorry Mr. Malfoy.” Luna relied in a voice that sounded all too pleased she could disappoint him.
“Okay listen Loon--- I mean Luna. I really need this book. Are you really going to tell me you don’t have one single copy in this entire store??” Draco asked with a tone that dared Luna to tell him otherwise.
Luna studied him for a moment before responding. “Well. We do have one copy, but I doubt you’ll be able to pry it from her..” she was stopped mid sentence by the sound of footsteps coming down the back hallway.
Instantly, Draco realized where he knew this store.
Just as she rounded the corner he turned to leave.
“Now, Now Ferret. Preparing to leave already?” Hermione asked from behind her counter.
Draco froze at the use of this annoying nickname and turned to face her.
She had her hair up in a bun tied loosely on her forehead with pencils. She looked worn out and it was obvious she had been working for the greater part of the day. Her shirt was unbuttoned twice on the top to help her keep cool and she held what Draco presumed to be the last copy of Lockhart’s book in the entire world in her hand.
“Now, Granger.” He began with his signature smirk. “Insulting the customer isn’t a great strategy to get them to come back again.” He flashed his eyes daringly at her.
“Exactly.” She said simply coming closer behind the counter and sitting the book down to look at him. “Now what can I do for you?” she asked firmly.
“Actually…” he walked over to the counter and picked up her book. “This is what I’m looking for and since I have successfully ‘pried it from your hands’, I will buy it now.” He walked over to the register where Luna was standing.
Hermione rolled her eyes and looked at Draco. “Fine. Take it. I’ve already read it twice anyhow. I was just reading some of the interesting parts over.”
Draco shook his head. Twice? The book had just come out that day. “You’re going to give it up to me that easy, Granger?”
“I’m not now nor will I ever give anything up to you Malfoy.” She replied in an icy manner that sent chills even down Draco’s spine.
They stood staring at each other in a silence for a while, daring the other to speak.
“Okay then Mr. Malfoy. I’ll just ring this up for you.” Luna walked over to the register and was followed by Draco who paid and gave Luna a smirk. “Thanks Luna.” He said and tilted his head upward in some form of acknowledgment.
Draco turned back to Hermione who was still staring at him intently.
“I’m sure I’ll see you soon Granger.” Was all Draco said before he gave her wink and turned to leave knowing she was staring daggers into his back even as he heard the bell chime once again.
Hermione could not believe the audacity he had to speak to her in that way. She fumed the rest of the evening at work, which did not prove to be very long as she went home less than an hour after he left.
Hermione apparated to her newly found flat and waklked through the front door. The man behind the desk was dancing to some song on the radio in a rather lively hat and fashion, so she decided it best not to interrupt him. As she staggered up the stairs, she couldn’t help but giggle when she heard the distinct uncomfortable “meow” from the man’s pesky cat.
She headed straight for her door and went inside. As she laid down on her sofa, she had never felt more relieved in her life. This had most certainly been an eventful week. This time a month ago, she would never have guessed she would live through everything she had.
With these thoughts in mind, she soon drifted off into a deep slumber.
Draco sat on his balcony as the sun was setting and watched it descend. His encounter with the mudblood today had been interesting to say the least. He loved to make her mad. He didn’t know why it was so entertaining, but it was.
He was so deep in thought he was surprised that he even noticed the light next door flick on.
He smiled as he though about their banter and got up out of his seat.
He headed towards the door knowing exactly where he was going. After all, his mother had always taught him it was only polite to greet the neighbors with welcome arms.
Narcissa Malfoy leaned back on her headboard and set her book aside. She rubbed her eyes in concern and brushed the hair from her eyes. She couldn’t read any logner. She was very tired and sleep was slowly consuming her.
Before she fell asleep, she rose and went to her bathroom to wash her face and brush her teeth. She rbbed her face lightly with a towel and blew out her candle before heading into the bedroom once again.
She opened the adjoining door before stopping dead in her tracks.
“Hello darling.” A voice came like a threatening whisper from across the room.
Narcissa whimpered slightly before her towel dropped gently to the floor and her world faded into a black void.