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Grazed Knees by Padfoot_Prongs
Chapter 14 : xiv.
 
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This is coming early because, well, I’m in a rather fantastic mood, and it’s my last week of classes, and I just figured you guys deserved it, :)  Hope you enjoy!

xiv.

All the spotlights streaming into angry skies
Means there’s no one watching as we leave 

August fifteenth.
1998.

Hermione arrived at the Manor on Saturday, and she was shocked when she reached a hand up to ring the doorbell and Narcissa Malfoy opened it.

The Manor itself was terrifyingly large, and, when she’d apparated to the apparition point a little ways away from the gates, she couldn’t help but gulp.  Last time she’d been brought before the looming black mansion, she’d left with her arm bleeding and her body too weak to even stand by herself.  At this thought, she touched her arm as the skin burned.  A faint scar still lingered on her arm, faint enough that it couldn’t be caught at first glance, but that, upon closer inspection, one could just make out the word.  Mudblood.

Hermione shook her head, walking toward the black gates.

“Don’t touch the gates, whatever you do.  I’ll have my father lift the charms at three o’clock.  If you’re late, I’ll come down.”

She stared at the gates, wondering.  She’d tried to ask Draco more, but he just shook his head.  She checked her watch, three o’clock exactly, and she apparated to the other side of the gate.  When she reached the door, she looked at her watch again: three oh one; the charms would be back.

She brought her finger to the doorbell and waited while a chime rang through the house.  And, when the black wooden door opened, Hermione’s eyes went wide at the sight of Narcissa, Draco’s mother.

“Mrs. Malfoy,” she stammered, trying to smile, but she could see recognition dawning on her, could see the memory unraveling in her mind.

“You must be Hermione,” she brought herself out of her trance, and Hermione marveled at her sudden transformation, one she’d seen Draco do countless times.

Though, while Draco could go ice cold, his mother put on a charming smile.

“Come in, dear.  We can get you settled in.  Lucius and I are leaving tomorrow after breakfast,” she said as she clicked inside, Hermione following her.

Narcissa was beautiful, in a very elegant way, with black and blonde curls that she pulled out of her face in a neat bun, long pale legs complimented by black heels and a flowing black dress that fell to her knees.  The dress dipped around her breasts fashionably and her shoulders were bare save for two thin straps, accentuating the silver necklace adorned with a single diamond and her soft, rounded shoulders.

They went past a room that was gorgeously furnished, but a memory flashed before Hermione’s eyes and she shuddered, quickly looking away.  Narcissa saw the glance, and her features saddened dramatically.

“I’m sorry, Hermione,” she whispered, “I wish I had known how to stand up to my sister.”

Hermione watched the same memory play in Narcissa’s eyes, but it wasn’t this that made her falter.

“I guess I only truly understood what she was doing when she turned her wand on Draco.”

“What?” Hermione gasped.

Narcissa nodded, bringing her through the opening hallway and into a large foyer where a wide, grand staircase was built against the wall.

“After you disapparated, she attacked Draco.  Lucius held me away, made me watch as she slowly killed my baby.”

“She used the… Cruciatus,” she said it slowly, grimacing, “Curse on him?  How did you get to him?”

They’d reached the top of the stairs, which opened to a long hallway.

“I think when Draco stopped moving and screaming, it shocked Lucius and he let me go.  Bella was never allowed in the Manor afterward without Rudolphus.  He was the only one that could ever get through to her.  This is Draco’s room.  Did you charm everything into your purse?”

Hermione nodded, looking around at the spacious room they’d just entered.

“You can leave it in here, and I’ll take you around the rest of the house.”

Hermione left her purse on his large bed, which was only a few feet from the door.  The room was lit by the sunshine streaming in through white curtains pulled back to reveal a wide bay window with a small windowsill seat.  There was a beautiful wooden desk next to the window, a long walk-in closet on the wall by the door; there was even a comfortable-looking couch near the window.

Narcissa led her farther down the hall, motioning to a door diagonal from Draco’s bedroom.

“That’s the bathroom, and that’s mine and Lucius’ bedroom,” she said, pointing down the hall to a closed door, “Everything is here that you’ll need, and the elves will replace anything that runs out.”

She opened the bathroom door, and Hermione’s eyes widened at the large white room.  There was a standing shower with glass doors, a toilet, and a wide sink with a countertop-long mirror with dressing room lights, and a porcelain clawed bathtub.

Narcissa clicked back down the hall, Hermione following her.

“So, Draco never told us much about your home life, Hermione.  Do you live near London?” she asked pleasantly as they descended the stairs into the foyer.

“Somewhat.  It’s about a half hour drive.”

“He said your parents were dentists.  They work with people’s teeth, yes?”

“They do.”

“I’d like to meet them someday.  Maybe over winter break,” she said with a soft smile, leading Hermione back into the front hallway before going into the living room.

“Er, Mrs. Malfoy,” she began uncomfortably, but Narcissa waved her away.

“I know, dear.  You’ll have to forgive Lucius.  He isn’t used to the idea yet, of both you and there being not much to do with blood statuses anymore, but I can assure you that I do not think quite the same as my husband.  I hope this room will not bring fear to you while you are here,” she finished as she showed her the living room.

It was furnished with black leather and dark wood, and the walls were a rich red, though it looked different from the last time she’d seen it.

“We renovated many of the rooms you’ll come across in June and July in an effort to make this a home again.”

“It’s beautiful, Mrs. Malfoy.  It really is.”

“Call me Narcissa, love.  Come, I’ll show you Draco’s favorite room.”

“Where is Draco?” she wondered aloud as Narcissa led her out of the living room and down a short hallway that opened to another room.

Hermione smiled; of course this was his favorite.

“He had to run out with his father to run a few errands.  Draco decorated this room himself just a few years ago.”

Bookshelves were built into the walls, though the opposite wall of the door was bare save for a wide, unlit fireplace.  Four couches, soft and inviting, two black and two a deep, emerald green, were spread about the room.  Two wooden tables, rectangular, sat on opposite sides of the room.  One had been used recently and was scattered with open textbooks, parchment, a quill, and a capped bottle of ink, and Hermione smile.  She could almost imagine Draco pouring over his books and his homework in here.  Narcissa pulled her from her thoughts, though, as she moved to close the door.

“We put charms on it when the Dark Lord took over the Manor so that it was hidden.”

“What charm?” Hermione asked curiously, following her back through the hallway and into the living room again.

“The Fidelus, actually.  Draco was the Secret Keeper.  Yes,” she answered Hermione’s unanswered question, “The same charm that the Potter’s used when they went into hiding in Godric’s Hollow.”

Hermione found it strange that she talked so easily of those she’d been raised to hate, but then a thought struck her.

“Narcissa,” she began, the name unfamiliar on her tongue, “Were the Black’s and Potter’s friends?”

“Oh, quite, dear,” she smiled, leading her down the front hallway and into another room, the kitchen, “The Black’s may have been Ancient and Noble,” she sighed, “but the Potter’s held just as much influence over the wizarding world, and they were quite good friends.  I remember when I used to visit and James was frequently there because Orion dared not lay a hand on Sirius while a Potter was in the house.  Their hatred of one another only blossomed with Harry, though it wouldn’t have had the Dark Lord not caught wind of the prophecy.”

Hermione nodded; it made sense.

“This is my kitchen.  Don’t let Draco fool you into thinking that I don’t cook for him.  He’s just always terribly hungry, and I’m only one woman.  The elves are darlings, though, as you’ll come to find.  They love to help in the kitchen.”

It was extremely big, and Hermione felt intimidated just by the sheer size of it.  They went straight through the kitchen and through the open doorway into the dining room where a very, very long table and many chairs sat.

“Do you often hold parties here?  It seems like such a perfect place,” Hermione commented.

“Oh, quite.  The foyer is wonderful for that, and, well, the Black’s are a very large family, and so we used to gather here every year for Christmas.  That was, until, my parents and Sirius’ parents passed away.  We haven’t been together since their deaths.”

Hermione noted a hint of sadness in her voice, and, in a very bold and affectionate movement, she touched Narcissa’s arm.

“Maybe someday, now that things are different,” she murmured, and Narcissa’s face lit up, a wide, genuine smile.

“I’m starting to see why Draco has fallen so hard for you, love.  You’re very charming.”

“Thank you,” she said bashfully, drawing her hand back.

“Just wait until you see the backyard,” Narcissa continued, and Hermione smiled; it was if she’d said the exact right thing to be truly welcomed into Narcissa’s heart.

She followed this enigma of a woman through the dining room, through an open doorway again, and they went down a small hall.

“There’s a smaller bathroom through that door,” Narcissa said, motioning toward a single door in the hallway before it was suddenly cut off, and they stepped out into the sunshine.

Hermione nearly gasped as the delicate and exquisite sunroom that they came upon.  A small porch wrapped around the back of the house, though the sunroom didn’t end there.  Stairs descended into luscious grass where white chairs were scattered about grouped in threes, though Hermione stared at the glass walls, curious.

“You can walk through them,” Narcissa said with a little wink, “My little invention.”

Beyond the sunroom was an extensive backyard, one that Hermione knew she would be spending much of her time wandering about.  It was empty, though, save for a white gazebo in the distance.

“Narcissa, your house is absolutely beautiful,” she said, looking over at the smiling woman.

“I’m glad you like it.  Now, breakfast is at eight o’clock tomorrow morning.  I’d like if you and Draco joined Lucius and I,” she began, ushering Hermione off back into the house, “I trust you know how to cook?”

When Hermione nodded, she continued, “I’ve left Draco with some money for the week, though there’s always Gringotts.  Don’t you fret,” she added at Hermione’s distraught look, “Dear, you’re dating a Malfoy.”

Hermione laughed softly, and she watched as Narcissa went to fix them a pitcher of lemonade.

“Do you like grapefruit?” she asked, turning only slightly.

“I do, actually.”

“The boys should be home soon enough.  Have you met Pansy and Blaise yet?”

“Technically,” Hermione offered uncertainly, “I mean, I know who they are, but I haven’t formerly met them yet.”

“Oh, that just won’t do.  Lucius and I will be returning a day before you leave.  Would you like to spend a day out with Pansy and I?  Just a little girls’ day, and I’ll owl my sister.”

Hermione couldn’t help but smile.  Watching Draco grow as a cold, closed off person his entire life, she never would have expected to find such a caring mother in such a warm home.  It surprised her, and she almost didn’t believe it.

“That sounds wonderful, really.  I’m just afraid that, well…” she trailed off, sighing.

“I know.  Gryffindors and Slytherins don’t mix well, but you’ve created history, Hermione.  Will you two be going public next year?”

“I think it only right.  We’ve told my friends, and I know he wanted me to meet his, so I assume so,” she said, following Narcissa back into the sunroom where she let her levitating pitcher, glasses, and grapefruit sit on a white table on the porch.

Hermione sat opposite her, and Narcissa tsked to herself before murmuring, “Accio spoons.”

Two spoons zipped out of the house, and one dropped in front of Hermione.  They continued their conversation, only quieting when they paused to spoon a piece of grapefruit into their mouths, and Hermione was fast finding that she quite liked the charming Narcissa Malfoy.  Though, pushing at the back of her mind was Lucius, a figure whom she’d seen on numerous occasions, and one that caused her to gulp in fear.

--

Disclaimer: Everything recognizable belongs to J.K. Rowling.  Lyrics from Wow belong to Snow Patrol.

I really quite like Narcissa, :)  I know her character is very OOC, but I’ve always pictured her to be a rather charming, adorable woman.  So, I hope that my characterization of her doesn’t throw you off; I just, well, I wanted to paint her the way I see her.

Also, I love one-scene chapters.  They’re so much fun to write.


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