Disclaimer: I do NOT own anything pertaining to Harry Potter. If I did, I highly doubt that I would have the time to write this. =D
Interview for Life
Chapter One:Most Eligible Bachelor
Hermione Granger was happily seated in her office, her eyes roaming over the most recent story that she’d just written. Her Quick Quotes Quill was currently floating in mid-air above the paper, waiting for more corrections to be made. When Hermione got to the end of the page, a brilliant smile lit up her face and she rose from her seat. “Excellent,” was the only word uttered from her mouth as she strode from the room.
Her boss’s office was at the end of a lengthy hallway, which adjoined several offices to one-another. Approaching the frosted-glass window, Hermione smirked at her boss’s name on the door. Rita Skeeter. Ever since the damned woman had lost her job at The Daily Prophet, she’d been looking for a job. Now, she was the supervisor and editor for Witch Weekly.
Ruffling the parchment in her hands, Hermione knocked on the glass, hearing the faint, “come in,” through the window. Her smile still in place, Hermione stepped into the office, not bothering to shut the door behind her. “I have your Deatheater story finished. ‘Final Deatheater Captured and Reprimanded’ was the title you suggested, was it not?” Rita nodded her head, extending her hand to receive the new story. “Well, I rather would have named it, ‘Wizard World Now Cleared of Scum’ but we can’t do that. All because Draco Malfoy got off with a warning.” She hissed, handing her boss the paper, her smile no longer visible.
Rita smirked, glancing over her glasses at her prized writer. “Now that you’ve mentioned it, I figure we might as well talk about it. Close the door, Hermione, dear.”
Hermione arched a brow for only a second before slipping the door shut with her foot, turning and seating herself in the chair in front of Rita’s desk. “I know very well, Rita, that you don’t sweet-talk me unless you have a very viable reason. What despicable story do you want me to report, now?” Three years working for this woman, she ought to have learned a bit.
Rita released an obnoxious laugh before folding her arms across her desk, looking rather serious now that she had her convincing to do. “As you know, we do a ‘year’s most eligible bachelor’ story, once a year, of course,” Hermione nodded her head in understanding. “Well . . . This year, our most eligible bachelor is actually a widower. And, fortunately, you should know him well enough to be able to work some things out of him. You did attend school with him, after all.”
Hermione’s brow furrowed as she glared at her boss, crossing her arms across her chest, lips pursed. Clicking her tongue, she lightened her expression, if only slightly, “You’re telling me, that Parkinson died,” Rita nodded, “that Malfoy is single,” another nod, “and that you want me to interview him?” Skeeter offered another nod. Hermione rose so quickly from her seat, that the chair beneath her toppled onto it’s back. “Why can’t we use Harry? He’s been the year’s most eligible bachelor since I started working here!”
Rita chuckled, “you of all people should know why. Or, have you forgotten how long it takes to write up a story and publish it? He’ll be married by the time the magazine is released, Hermione. I thought you were Ginny’s maid of honor?”
Hermione visibly blushed at her forgetfulness. Sure, I can remember written information, but verbal invitations to weddings completely slip my mind. She rolled her eyes, righting the chair and sinking back into it. “Why do you need me to interview Draco Malfoy?”
Rita smiled, adjusting her position to rest her chin on the backs of her hands, “I knew you’d ask that question.” She let out a thoughtful sigh, her eyes trailing to her favorite picture for only a moment. “Because you are the only member of my staff talented enough, and mentally strong enough, to handle Mr. Malfoy. Besides, who else to send on the biggest story of the year, than my best writer?” The blond offered a dazzling smile and Hermione groaned.
“Fine, Rita. But, I want a raise for this job. I will also need an extension on the publishing date, because I know how hard it is to force information from a Malfoy. I murdered his father, after all.” She shook her head, realizing exactly how difficult this was going to be. “Hopefully, this won’t start a third war in the wizarding world.” She got a sudden idea as she rose from her chair, leaning forward a bit toward her boss. “Was Parkinson’s death reported in the news?” Rita nodded, “was it a big story?” A second nod, “did Malfoy seem upset?”
At this question, Hermione received a snort. “Hermione, dearest, it was an arranged marriage. He took it as though he’d lost a relative he’d never even met.” Rita’s eyes softened for a moment, shifting to the picture on her desk once more. “Although, his three-year-old son seems to be taking it roughly. He doesn’t quite understand why his mum hasn’t come home.”
Hermione’s back straightened immediately, her eyebrows shooting into her hairline. “You mean to tell me that Draco Malfoy has a son?” Rita bobbed her head, “then why the Hell would he need another wife?”
Rita sniggered, rising from her own chair “because he feels he needs a ‘woman’s touch’ in his home. A female aid to raise his son. We’re not entirely sure what he’s looking for. It hasn’t been proven that a Malfoy can love.” Butting the parchment against her desktop, Rita laid them down neatly. “I’ll go over your story later. For right now, I need to go to lunch. And I do believe that you have a story to start on. There’s a carriage outside that will take you to Malfoy Manor, seeing as no one can apparate onto the property. Even if they could, you wouldn’t know what it looks like. I’ll walk out with you.”
Two hours later, Hermione could feel the obvious slowing of the carriage as it pulled onto a dirt road. Pulling back the maroon curtain concealing the window, she glanced outside. What she saw made her breath catch.
The grass was so green that it was practically blinding and a pond was located not far off of the road they were following. Trees were scattered randomly, growing denser as they got further away. Then, as they continued forward, Hermione saw the largest house she had ever seen. It was gray, and made completely of stone.
The dirt turned into gravel, and a circular drive was formed around a small garden and statue, which Hermione was still trying to see. Shrugging defeat, she focused back on the house in front of her as the carriage came to a stop. The walls were lined with beautiful bushes, whether flowered or not. For a moment, Hermione was about to ask if she were at the wrong house.
Before she had a chance, a tiny house-elf came skittering out the front door, rushing to the carriage and releasing the journalist. Hermione smiled down at the creature as she climbed out, kneeling carefully so as not to pull her skirt too high. The house-elf quivered, turning its head away and squinting. “Well, hello there. Do you work for Mr. Malfoy?” Hermione’s voice was soft and soothing, the house-elf visibly relaxing, if only just a little.
The small green head bobbed in the positive as he swung the carriage door shut. Before Hermione could say anything, the four black horses were urged back into a run and reined out of the driveway. “This way, missus. Master Draco is not liking to wait. Come, follow Mipsy.” Hermione did as she was told, taking small steps to remain behind the elf. She was ushered through the front door, and she finally placed that this was, in fact, Malfoy Manor.
The entrance was nothing but classy, black marble; white lines standing out within the stone to prove its origin. A large, wide staircase stood several feet away, emerald-green velvet concealing the hard steps beneath. A door stood to her left, which Hermione assumed was the study. As she turned to head that direction, the house elf tugged lightly on her knee-length skirt. “May Mipsy take missus’ cloak?” Hermione smiled, nodding as she quickly unhooked the clasp and handed it to the small creature. With a snap of its fingers, the warm fabric was hanging on a coat rack beside the entrance. “This way, miss. Master Draco waits always in the library.”
Hermione followed the elf around a corner on their right, walking through a high-ceilinged room that she assumed could be whatever Malfoy would need at the time. At the moment, it was set up as a dining room, a lengthy mahogany table resting in the center beneath a gigantic chandelier. Hermione was suddenly stopped by the elf as she was tugging on her suit jacket, making sure it was free of wrinkles. As the elf knocked and spoke through the door, Hermione ran her fingers through tight curls. “Master Malfoy . . . A missus is here to see yous.”
When Hermione heard the voice echoing from the other side, she was almost positive that she was in the wrong house. Draco’s voice had never been warm and welcoming . . . Had it? “Yes, Mipsy. Show her in. Make sure that Chayton is behaving himself in his play room, won’t you?” Mipsy stretched tall to open the door, twisting the handle and pushing it open. Motioning with its hand for Hermione to enter, the house elf was quickly gone with a ‘crack.’
Hermione waltzed into the most amazing library that she had ever seen; chocolate eyes roaming across the vast quantity of decorated spines that were currently facing her. She nudged the door shut with a heeled shoe, her mouth dropping open slightly as she tried to take in the seemingly never-ending supply of shelves. A voice, from somewhere in the middle of the room, cleared her thoughts. “Granger? I had a feeling they would send you. Stop drooling over the fact that my family has money and let’s get this over with.” Hermione’s eyes narrowed as she adjusted her vision to the blond, who was currently seated in a rather plush-looking armchair. Nope, he hadn’t changed.
Running the palms of her hands along her skirt, she approached her long-time rival, taking a seat upon the couch without bothering to be offered. Flicking her wand, she smiled as a quill and parchment appeared in her lap. “So, Mister Malfoy. As you’re probably already aware, I’m here for Witch Weekly to do a story on our most eligible bachelor for the year. How it happened to be you, I haven’t the faintest idea.” She saw Malfoy snarl, yet continued on, “but, it’s not my decision. So, seeing as you are the one being interviewed, where would you prefer we begin?” Her quill was now in her hand, the plume rolling between her thumb and forefinger.
Malfoy arched a brow at her, leaning back comfortably in his chair, fingers combing through platinum blond locks. “Merlin . . . Don’t tell me that you’re actually catering to my preferences? Honestly, Granger, I expected you to come in here with a strict outline of this interview. Not very prepared, are you?” He offered her his famous smirk, his right leg lifting to rest the ankle on his left knee.
Hermione rolled her eyes, setting the quill down gently atop the parchment. “I didn’t come here to argue, Malfoy. I would like to get this session over with. So, if you would rather I start with random questions, I will. What was life like growing up inside of the Malfoy Manor?” Her tone sounded bored, as she really couldn’t care about Malfoy’s childhood at the moment. She wrote down the question on the parchment, indenting a bit on the second line, so she would know what her queries’ answer was.
Malfoy’s smirk disappeared instantly, although he kept his carefree air rather easily. “How do you think it would be, as the son of a Deatheater? Having been raised to despise anyone who isn’t pureblood, and then forced into servitude for a half-blood who hates his own kind? It would be wise for you to start with another question. I’m not going to pour out my past to you on your first visit.” His grin had returned, although it appeared that he was becoming bored with the situation, his eyes drifting around the room.
When Hermione spoke, Malfoy wrenched his head around to look at her, not expecting the sudden question. “How long were you betrothed to Miss Parkinson before you were married?” It was a simple question, and if he honestly didn’t care about his late wife, Hermione would find out now.
“It was arranged when we were six years old. Thus the reason she was constantly attached to my arm through school at Hogwarts. We were married four years ago, when the war was just beginning to end. It was Voldemort’s idea, and Pansy had to abide by the ‘Dark Lords’ orders. Despicable.” The expression on his face almost made Hermione laugh. He looked like he’d just sucked a raw lemon, and was about to spit the juice upon the ground.
Releasing a silent strain of laughter, she wrote down the reply before coming up with another question. “So . . . You were against Voldemort and,” suddenly, something hit her. “Wait a moment . . . You referred to him with his first name.”
“So I did, Granger. It’s good to see that you’re still on top of things.” He leaned forward, lifting his wand from the table and twirling it about his fingers, trying to keep himself entertained. “I’m not afraid of him, like most people. Not only that, but Potter killed him, so why shouldn’t I be allowed to say his name?”
Hermione simply shrugged in response to his question before she began prodding him once more. “As I was saying; you were against Voldemort, and Miss Parkinson was for him. Did that affect your relationship at all?” She was writing down the question as she asked it, silently wishing that she’d brought her Quick Quotes Quill.
“Yes and no,” he paused, trying to think of the best way to explain their situation to an outsider. “I was very good at pretending. I could make anyone believe that I adored my position. In all honesty, the only reason that I remained beneath Voldemort’s servitude is because of my reputation, and the reputation of Malfoys to come. I did what I had to in order for my family name to remain safe. Now I have no need to worry, as that bloody bastard’s finally dead.” He was very focused on his shoe, pointing his wand at it and changing it different colors to keep himself busy.
“Well, it’s certainly good to know that you were serving him for your own benefits, instead of your want to murder.” Hermione was sarcastic, her eyes rolling once again.
“Did you come here to berate and belittle me, or are you here for an interview? You asked a question, and I bloody well answered it, Mu-Granger.” Draco recovered easily, setting his wand down on the cushion beside him as if nothing had happened. His shoe was now back to its original color: Black.
Hermione’s eyes were wide at the fact that Draco had just stopped himself. Ceased in calling her a name she’d known for just as long as she’d know him. “Why did you stop yourself from calling me a Mudblood, Malfoy?” She was curious, her voice holding more malice in it than she wished.
Draco simply raised an eyebrow, smirking, “I honestly have no idea what you’re talking about, Granger. Shall we get back to the questions, now?”
“Not until you answer this one. What happened to force you into no longer using the word ‘Mudblood?’ Why did you stop yourself?” Her quill was scribbling down everything their conversation was filled with, eagerly wishing to record his sudden change of heart.
Snarling, Draco rose from his chair and pointed to the door. “Out, Granger. I’ve had enough of your pathetic questions for the evening. Next time; be sure to send an owl in advance. I wouldn’t want you randomly arriving while I’m . . . Unavailable.” He left it at that, watching Hermione as she flicked her wand and rose.
The parchment and quill disappearing, Hermione made her way to the door of the library, not bothering to look back until she’d pulled open the door. “I’ll have you know, Malfoy, that I’ll find out one way or another. It might be easier on you, if you simply come out with it. Good day, Mister Malfoy. I’ll be here tomorrow about noon.” With that, she strode from the room, slamming the door behind her.
A/N: I know that this is short for the first chapter, but I figured that I would throw it out there, just to see what people think about it. Thanks for reading!
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