Chapter 6 : Working for... a Malfoy
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For the next four days, I didn't went to my work or to the Ministry at all. I had been home all the time and I had let Ron tell the rest that I was sick. But in fact I just didn't want to go to work. I didn't want to see Cedric and I might have even become a little afraid of him. It sort of worked, except that some of my friends tried to visit me. I kept them away by telling them, that I didn't feel good enough for visits.
On the fourth day, I decided to go out for a walk, since Ron wasn't at home and others still believed I was ill. I went to the park just a few blocks from my house. I slowly strolled through the place and enjoyed the fresh air and the sounds of nature. Then I came to the playground, where many children where playing in the sandbox, on the swings and others were going down the slides. Some parents were watching their children as they were chatting with the other parents. Others were helping the kids getting on the swings and playing with them in the sandbox.
I stood there and watched them for a while. Then I felt something or someone hitting me full on the body. I stumbled a few steps backwards and an arm was wrapped around my waist. I looked up into the face of: "Malfoy!" I said, surprised to see him here. He was wearing a black shirt and grey jogging pants. His shirt was half soaked with sweat, while it revealed his muscular body, being so tight. His hair was messy, which made him look even better than he usually did.
"Granger, what are you doing here? Standing in the middle of the path?" he asked, just as surprised.
"What do you mean? I stood here just fine until you almost pushed me over!" I said upset. "You didn't even ask if I'm alright! Well, I don't even expect you to do so." I muttered the last sentence.
"Well, that's because I can see you're perfectly fine," he said much calmer now. "But what are you doing here? Shouldn't you be at the Ministry?"
"I... I didn't feel so good these days, so I took some days off. But aren't you supposed to be there as well?" I asked him in return.
"I gave myself a day off," he simply said.
"Gave yourself a day off?" I repeated.
"Well, I am head of the department, you know -" he started.
"Yes, yes, I know," I said. "But you can't just do that. You also have duties as a head!"
He chuckled. "And I also need a day off as a head."
"Just like employees do."
Then there was an awkward silence between us. Malfoy broke it by saying: "I want to see you in my office tomorrow."
"Why?" I asked surprised.
"You'll see. Just come to my office tomorrow around 12." Then he walked away, before I could stop him.
For the rest of the day, I wondered what he could possibly want from me.
The next day I went to the Ministry. I didn't really want to go, but I was still curious about what Malfoy wanted to talk with me about. I tried to avoid Cedric and I quite managed that. I didn't come out of my office and when I needed something, I asked Lavender to get it for me.
But I was so engrossed in my work, that I completely forgot about the appointment. At 12:15 someone knocked on my door.
"Miss Granger, Mr. Malfoy said you had an appointment with him at 12?" I looked up and saw an annoyed Parkinson. My eyes widened.
"Oh no, I totally forgot about that. Is he still waiting?"
"Yes, he sent me to get you," she said, obviously not enjoying being sent to my office to get me.
I let my things on my desk as they were and hurried after Parkinson to Malfoy's office. When I came in, he was sitting on the edge of his desk, looking through some file. He looked up when he saw me and put down the file.
"Sorry, I forgot about the appointment," I quickly said.
"It's alright," he said. "Now sit down, please."
I took place at the only chair in front of his desk and looked at my hands, waiting for him to say something.
"I called you to ask you something," he paused. "Do you want to work for me?"
I looked up, shocked. "What do you mean?"
"I mean that you will stop working for Diggory."
"What will I have to do then?"
"Well, what we do here is basically track down those who violated the law and decide what their punishment should be, depending on what they have done, but I guess you knew that already."
I thought for a minute and said: "I will consider the offer."
He nodded. "You know that this will be the best for both of you, don't you?"
I said nothing and left.
At home, I discussed this matter with Ron.
"What?! You want to work for Malfoy?" he shouted at me, his eyes full of fire, so it seemed.
"No," I told. "I said that he suggested that I should work for him and I haven't agreed yet."
"But you are going to say yes?" he asked, more calmly now.
"I don't know yet..." I sighed.
"But why would you work for him?"
"Well..." I did not want to tell him about Cedric, knowing that it would upset him even more. "It's a better job and I will get paid more," I said to him, which was true too.
"But you will be working for bloody Malfoy!"
"So?!" I asked louder than I meant to. "It's my life and I can make my own choices, whether it's jumping off a building or working for Malfoy!" Then I ran to my (or rather our) room and locked the door.
I heard Ron coming after me and knocking on the door. I quickly put some enchantments on the lock and door, so he wouldn't be able to open it, not even with magic. "Hermione, let me in! Come on!"
I sat down on the bed and waited for him to leave. After a minute or five, he finally did. He would have to sleep on the couch tonight as I would not let him in for the rest of the day. But after a while I heard the front door open and shut again.
Fine, I thought, he can leave me here as I won't be talking to him for the rest of the day. He is probably of to Harry or the Burrow. I waited ten minutes, to see if Ron would come back, but I heard nothing. When I was convinced he was really gone, I came out of the bedroom. I went to the kitchen and made myself dinner. While I was eating, I thought about Malfoy's offer and just before I fell asleep in bed, I had decided.
I took a deep breath and knocked on the door.
"Come in," came Malfoy's cold voice from inside.
I slowly opened the door and saw him sitting behind his desk, with a small pile of files before him, which where flying through the office, into a drawer. In his hands he had a book, in which he was lining things with a pen, the cap between his teeth and a deep frown on his forehead. When he heard me, he looked up and the cap fell out of his mouth, his lips making place for a smirk - no it was actually a smile.
"Ah, you came," he said.
"Yes, I wanted to talk about your offer," I began.
"So you have decided then?"
"Yes, I have," I said, "I'll accept it."
This time he smirked. "Good. Have you told Diggory about it already?"
"No, not yet."
"Do you want me to do it for you?"
I hesitated, but he said: "I will take that as a yes. You can start tomorrow. Come to my office and I will tell you what you'll have to do and where your office will be. Oh, and by the way, you will need to learn this book by heart, which will be very easy for you." He handed me a lawbook. "You will need everything that's in here to do your job. Believe me, it will be more interesting than sitting in an office, doing paperwork all day." He grinned.
I took the book, thanked him and left.
That night I only studied the book. A lot of difficult terms were used, but they were no problems to me. I had learned more than half of it by heart before I decided to go to bed. Ron still hadn't come home. I wondered where he might be, but quickly pushed the thought about him away. Crookshanks jumped on my bed and we slept just like the time before Ron had moved in. But still, it felt emptier than before.
The next day, when I went to my office to get my things, there was a bunch of flowers with a little note attached to it on my desk.
I am truly sorry for what I did. I hope you will forgive me one day. But it won't be easy for me to forget you after all these years.
Good luck with your new job.
After I read the note, I threw it away and left the flowers on the table. I packed my things and left, without looking back at the place where I have worked for the last few years.
On my way to the elevator I ran into Lavender.
"Hey, Lavender. There's a bunch of flowers on my desk. You can have it."
She looked at me, confused and not knowing what to say and muttered a "Thank you".
At the Magical Law Enforcement department, I was lead to my new office by Parkinson. She constantly looked at me with a nasty look on her face, which annoyed me a little, but which I tried to ignore.
My new office was somewhat larger than my old one and the desk was also bigger. Well, maybe it all just looked bigger because it wasn't such a mess as in my last office.
I unpacked my things and put them on my desk: a picture of me and Ron and one of my parents, my quill and an inkwell and some other things.
Then I sat down at my new desk and closed my eyes. I thought about how it has become like this. It felt really weird, being in another office, that was mine, and where I had to work for maybe the next few years.
I wondered where Ron would be now and if he was thinking about the day before yesterday.
Then someone knocked on my door.
"Yes?" I said, slightly nervous, but it was only Malfoy.
"I only came in to tell you about your working hours and what you have to do," he told me, sitting in the chair in front of my desk, without even my invitation. He picked up some of my things from the desk and looked at them.
"Oh, right," I said. "I do still have a lunch break every day, don't I?"
"No." He was just looking at the picture of Ron and me.
"What?!" I exclaimed, "But I always have lunch with Ron, every single day!"
"Then you've got to cancel all those lunches with him starting from today, but seeing that you are having some kind of fight now, there is probably no need to cancel anything."
"What? How do you know that?" I asked surprised because I hadn't told anyone yet.
"Just a little guess," he said. I said nothing and he continued: "But what's more important is that you have to know what you have to do. You will start really easy: I will give you a case and you will have to look at it, decide which laws have been violated, who should be punished and how they should be punished. I will check your work if your done. If you have any questions, you can come to my office. When I think that you are good enough, you'll be allowed to"
As soon as he had left, I set to work. It was an easy case about some misused spell and the consequences of it. When I was ready I went to Malfoy's office.
"Ah, I see you've finished it," he said as soon as I had entered the room. "That didn't take you long, though it could have been quicker." He smirked.
"Well, yes, I...," I didn't know what to say and shut my mouth again.
"Hmmm, this looks alright," he said, turning over a page, inspecting my work. "Well, it's the quality I've expected from you. I will give you some harder stuff to work on and maybe in a few weeks you can even do the real work."
"The real work?" I asked.
"Yes, that means going to the places were the trouble is and then you can write your own reports and work on the cases," he explained.
It sounded to me like some detective job, but I didn't think Malfoy would even know what a detective is.
"You know what, this is really good what you've done, I think I will give back your lunchbreaks," he said after he had finished checking my work.
"What? But I thought there weren't any lunchbreaks!"
"It's so funny to see how you can react to things. That's also how I knew something was wrong between you and Weasel." He smirked triumphantly. I felt my face getting hotter and I looked down, hoping he wouldn't notice. "Your lunchbreaks are from 12 to 1," I heard him say. "I will now give you some harder stuff to work on." He handed me some files. "You can go now. If you have any questions you can always ask me, but if I am not at work, you can ask anyone else here."
That evening I went to Harry and Ginny's house. I wasn't the only one who went, they had also invited Luna, Neville, Seamus, Dean, Parvati and some other people, who I didn't know.
They were all sitting at the dining table, while I was helping Ginny with the food.
"Ginny, have you seen Ron lately?" I asked her.
"No? What do you mean? You can see him everyday now, right?"
"Well, we had an argument about something a few days ago and he had left after that, but he's sill not back. I'm a little bit worried about him."
"Oh, don't you worry, he'll show up again sooner or later just as he always did. I know he would because I know he loves you."
"Thanks, Ginny," I said, feeling much better.
We were chatting during dinner when they found out that I was working for Malfoy now.
"What?!" they all said in unison. "That can't be true. That's impossible. How did that happen? And why would you do that?"
I told them the story. Well, part of it. I left out the reason with Cedric.
"But don't you know that the people who work for him are mostly former Death Eaters or people who had something to do with them?" Parvati said.
"But why are these people working at the Magical Law Enforcement Patrol department? I mean, they used to break the law and now they are trying to enforce it?" Ginny asked. People nodded in agreement.
"Well, they aren't doing a very bad job, you know. And I think they want to show us that they have changed," I said, unaware of the defensiveness in my voice.
"Well, what surprises me most is how easily you got the job," Dean remarked.
"Yeah," Seamus said, "and it was Malfoy who offered you the job, right?"
I hadn't thought about it, but now that they have said it, it did sound a little weird to me. I'm a muggleborn and Malfoy never really liked muggleborns just like the rest of his family, we didn't get on that well at school and why would he help me on the matter with Cedric? It just didn't make sense to me.
The topic of the conversation had already changed when I started to pay attention again. I tried to chat with the others again, but the thing that had come up about Malfoy and my job just wouldn't leave my mind.
After the party, I found Ron at home, sleeping on the couch in the living room.
Well, that was the sixth chapter. What did you think of it? Leave a review! :)