"Astoria, could you get your sister's dress from Diagon Alley? I'm in the middle of something now."
"Why can't she get it herself?"
"Because she's busy too. Now hurry!"
Astoria groaned as she went upstairs to get her traveling cloak from her bedroom. She passed a number of polished doors, until she opened one and stepped inside. House elves were already scurrying around the room, picking up clothes from the floor and throwing them into a basket to be washed. Her four-poster bed was being made, and the green and silver bedsheets were being smoothed down. The green coloured, velvet curtains were being dusted. Astoria grimaced at the sight of so much green in her room. Her mother refused to let her change the colour, and had actually put a spell on them to prevent her from doing so.
"Tipsy, where's my traveling cloak?" asked Astoria as she searched among the piles of clothes in the basket.
A frail, house elf scurried to her. "Madame has asked Tipsy to wash it," said the little house elf with a bow.
"Okay, so where is it now?"
"It is wet. But Tipsy could dry it for mistress, if mistress wants."
"No, thank you, Tipsy. I need to hurry, or both mother and Daphne will throw a tantrum," said Astoria as she hurried out of her room.
Astoria peeked into Daphne's room as she passed it. Daphne was sitting in front of her dressing table, combing her honey-blonde hair as she hummed a tune to herself. Busy? thought Astoria, That's being busy? Right.
She pursed her lips and stomped downstairs again. She was used to doing Daphne's chores for her. It was clear that her mother adored Daphne, and there was no use complaining, it was always like this from the beginning. Daphne always got the attention, while Astoria stood by and watched in the shadows.
It was always about Daphne, who was more beautiful, more intelligent, and who had more astounding achievements than Astoria. Astoria looked a lot like her sister, but everyone admired Daphne, not her. Her honey-blonde hair had more volume, and it shimmered in the light, while Astoria's platinum blonde locks, were too plain. Daphne had a pair of sparkling blue eyes, while Astoria had dull, boring brown coloured ones. Even though, they were both Slytherins at Hogwarts, and had average marks in all subjects, her mother never ceased to point out that Daphne was the better Slytherin, and Astoria should follow her sister’s example. In her mother's words, she was a rebellious teen, always whining and complaining, while Daphne was the epitome of a gentle lady.
"Astoria, walk slowly, that is very unladylike," ordered her mother as she passed by.
Rolling her eyes, Astoria walked to the drawing room. She headed towards an ornate fireplace, on the far side of the luxuriously decorated room, and picked up a pinch of green powder from a small bowl, and threw it into the fireplace.
"Diagon Alley," she muttered as she stepped in, and was engulfed by the emerald flames.
His luck was always rotten. From the time he'd stepped into Hogwarts, his luck had always been bad. Like how he could never outdo Granger in studies, or beat Potter in Quidditch, and how he'd never been able to please his father. He knew that he could've easily accomplished all of those things, but it was always his rotten luck that had gotten in the way.
Draco Malfoy wondered about his awful luck as he was strolling in the busy streets of Diagon Alley one evening. He lazily looked at the windows as he passed by, earning curious looks and gasps from the shoppers.
"Isn't that him?"
"Shh! He might hex you!"
There it was, proof of his terrible luck. It's been two years since the war, and still people were afraid of him. Hadn't the ministry cleared the Malfoy family of all charges? So, what was bothering them now?
He wished he could hex them, just to teach them a lesson, but he gritted his teeth and kept calm. Any more mishaps, and they just might get chucked into Azkaban. He would've preferred Azkaban, than all the negative public attention he was getting, but for now, he didn't want to end up there. Even though there were'nt any Dementors around there anymore, Azkaban still sounded like a dreary place, and Draco did not want to rot in there. He had to make amends, had to clear his name, and get his old life back. But the question was, how? Obviously not in the way his father was planning. Draco almost laughed aloud when he remembered the talk he had with his father in the morning.
"We need to do something," said Lucius, pacing their handsome living room.
Draco couldn't care less of what his father intended to do. He was polishing his broom, and paid no heed to his father who was discussing his intentions with his mother.
"Draco!" his father suddenly exclaimed, as he stopped pacing.
Draco paused in his work, and looked up at his father in annoyance. "Yes, father?"
"Why don't you invite Potter to the manor?" suggested Lucius.
Groaning, Draco went back to polishing his broom. "Father, after six years of hatred, don't expect me to be on buddy terms with Potter," he muttered.
"But he did save us from Azkaban, Draco," added in his mother.
"So?" said Draco annoyed, without looking up from his broom.
Lucius shook his head in disappointment at his son's ignorance. He began pacing again. He stopped for a second time, and faced his son with a wry smile.
"Why don't you get married to...what was that Mudblood called again...ah yes...Granger?"
Draco nearly dropped his broom in shock. "What?" he exclaimed.
"Yes, yes that would be good. We'd certainly get our reputation back, if you-" started Lucius.
"I am not getting married to Granger!" argued Draco, "Do you really think I'd stoop that low for you?"
"Draco!" exclaimed his mother.
"No, mother, stay out of this! I'm twenty years old, for Merlin's sake, I think I can make my own decisions, thank you!"
"Do not talk to me in that manner young man!"
And then Draco had stormed out of the house.
It was so typical of his father- ruin his life just to get a good stance back in the wizarding world. Why did he have to get involved in this? It was all his father's fault. He's the one who got mixed up with the Dark Lord, not Draco, and now Draco had to marry a Mudblood to get their reputation back? If father's so intent on getting his reputation back, then let him marry Granger! thought Draco, There's no way I'm marrying her!
But now, as he was walking down Diagon Alley, Draco understood why his father was getting so desperate. The wizarding world despised them, and treated them like filth. Although, now it had all died down a bit, it was still unbearable. At first, half their wealth was taken away, they were no longer invited to parties or other wizard's houses, and they were jeered at whenever they were outside of their home. Draco's seventh year at Hogwarts had been a year he never wanted to experience again, and of course, luckily, he didn't have to. He graduated nicely, with good marks on all his subjects, but that year had been terrible for him. No one wanted to associate with a former Death Eater, and even the Slytherins had ignored him. Even though Harry Potter had protested for them, the wizarding world still did not trust the Malfoys.
The last two years were bitter, but the Malfoys managed to get through it, and now, his father was scheming to get fully back on their feet. Oh, joy.
Draco sighed as he wondered if his father would let him in the house again. It had felt good to snap at his father like that, but now, he regretted it.
Draco walked into a random shop to avoid the stares he was getting from people. A sales witch eagerly came to his side, not bothering about his identity.
"Would you like a robe for yourself, young man?" she asked, "We have the finest collections..."
Draco reluctantly let the witch show him a set of green wizard's robes. He was simply buying his time to let his father's temper cool off, and had no intention of buying anything from the shops.
"It's a fine material," gushed the witch, "made of the finest silk...won't cost you much..."
Just then, the fireplace in the shop ignited with emerald flames, and a blonde-haired witch scrambled out of the ashes, coughing and spluttering violently.
"Stupid floo...stupid mother...stupid sister..." she muttered under her breath as she dusted ashes off her robes.
"Ah, Miss Greengrass, how may I help you today?" asked the sales witch who was helping Draco, and turning all her attention on the girl instead.
Greengrass? Where did I hear that before? thought Draco.
"I'm here to pick up the robes Daphne ordered," answered the girl as she stood in front of the counter beside Draco. She looked quite young, about seventeen, or eighteen, guessed Draco.
Oh, Daphne Greengrass. I didn't know she had a sister, remembered Draco, as he looked closely at the girl.
The girl noticed Draco looking at her, and smoothed down her blonde hair to hide her face from view. She shifted her feet and looked around the store as the sales witch went to a storeroom in the back to get the ordered robes. Draco decided to initiate conversation.
"Hello, I'm Draco Malfoy," he introduced, giving his hand to her to shake, "I used to go to Hogwarts with Daphne."
The girl shook his hand and gave him a cold smile. Draco raised his eyebrows in surprise when she didn't say anything.
"I didn't know Daphne had a sister," continued Draco, "She never mentioned it."
"Oh, the day she'd mention that would be the day Crumple Horned Snorkacks are discovered," she muttered under her breath, but Draco heard it anyway.
"I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name," said Draco.
"That's because I didn't mention it," she snapped, clearly, she wasn't in a good mood.
The sales witch arrived with two bags. She gave one to Draco and the other to the girl beside him.
"Hey, I didn't order anything," said Draco, looking at the witch in annoyance.
"Why, sir, I was under the impression that you wanted these robes. You see, our custom is that if you want to see it, then you want to buy it," replied the witch.
"Well, I don't want to buy them," snapped Draco.
"Sorry, sir, but I've already packed them," the witch said, with an innocent smile on her face.
Sneaky witch, thought Draco, as he took out his wallet. He paid her the money, and looked beside him, expecting to see the blonde haired girl, but she was gone.
Draco took the bag and headed out of the shop. He walked towards a deserted alley and turned on the spot. Within seconds, he found himself in front of the large gates of the manor.
Taking a deep breath, Draco walked towards the door of the manor, which was opened by his mother, who was looking at him with annoyed eyes.
"Where have you been? Why did you just storm out of the house without telling me anything? Do you know -"
"Easy, mother. I'm an adult now. I think I can step outside the house without killing myself," interrupted Draco with a smirk on his face.
Narcissa pursed her lips, and beckoned him inside. "Your father's very angry with you, Draco, for your behavior in the morning."
"Sorry, mother, but I cannot marry a -"
"Lets discuss this later," said Narcissa, "Get ready. We have to go to a party tonight."
"The Greengrasses invited us to their daughter's twentieth birthday. You remember Daphne, don't you?"
"Yeah, I do. Did you know she had a —"
"No time for chit-chat, Draco! Get ready now!"
Draco rolled his eyes as he went upstairs to his room to change. Perhaps it was a good thing that he had bought those robes from that clever witch. Now, he had something new —
"What in Merlin's —" Draco cursed as he held a set of green witch's robes in his hands.