There were few things that Hermione hated in this world. One of them was admitting that Draco was right. After breakfast they had showered and changed clothes. There were two agendas that day: head to the bank to get some money and then off to the market to fill up on food supplies. It would be a bit of a drive, and once again Hermione had to rely on Draco to be her guide as he held a map in front of him.
When they had first arrived to the little cottage Hermione had been surprised that Draco had been able to read the map so well. It made her feel a bit ashamed to practically be calling him an imbecile when it came to common matters. Perhaps it was her preconceived notions of him being a spoiled brat? Though that notion was still holding true as she envisioned herself cooking his meals…
The drive was a smooth one. Draco still looked a bit uncomfortable being in a car, but Hermione wasn’t concentrating on that. She was taking in the scenery and seeing more green than she had ever seen before. They passed other little cottages like their own, but they were all spread out at quite a distance. Once they reached the shopping area, the little town of Delamere had come to life. To see a mass of human beings all walking among each other after living in alienation, even if it was just for a day, was refreshing.
Hermione and Draco split their duties in half. He would walk down the road to the bank and get enough money for them so they wouldn’t have to make a trip back too soon, and she would head into the market and gather more than a bundle of food items, paying for them with the credit card she found with the bank book.
What she thought would happen when they entered town did. Her face was new to those who seemed to frequent the town daily. They were friendly; offering small smiles and nods of the head to her when she passed. Without a doubt a few of them would find their way to her and Draco’s doorstep offering their friendship and a welcome wagon to the neighborhood.
Before parting their ways Draco had mentioned a list of things that he liked to eat. Hermione had no intention of buying any of them, but then cursed herself for being so mean and picked up a few. The shopping cart that she was pushing was a little more than halfway full and she suddenly felt self-conscious.
I must look ridiculous with this much food… Hermione thought and hurried herself to a cashier. She began unloading the things from the cart and watched contentedly as the bagger began putting them into bags. Now it didn’t look so bad.
“I don’t think you want that.”
Hermione looked up to the voice of the cashier. She had been standing there for a near five minutes and hadn’t realized that the cashier was a man with deep dimples, piercing blue eyes, brown hair, a smile to die for, and a five o’clock shadow that he pulled off flawlessly.
“Want what?” She caught herself, completely forgetting that he had said something.
“That,” the cashier pointed to a jar of jelly. “I don’t think you want to buy it. A local guy named Ford Watson makes it himself, brings it here to sell. We stock it for him and all just to keep his spirits up –he’s elderly –but we all know the stuff’s downright terrible. We pay him out of our own profits like it’s actually getting sold.”
“Oh, well, that’s a bit deceiving, don’t you think?” Hermione asked as she watched him take the jar away. He shrugged, smiled, and continued checking her things.
“A bit… But if that’s what you got to do to keep an old man happy, then a bit of deceit can’t hurt any. I’m Robbie by the way. Nametag says Robert, but no one calls me that but my mother.”
Hermione laughed. “I’m Her…” She coughed, cleared her throat, and started again. “I’m Nicolette.”
“Nice to meet you Nicolette. Doubt you’ve been living here long. Someone would’ve told you about the jelly long ago.”
“No, I haven’t. Just moved in as a matter of fact,”
Robbie’s face lit up. He had finished checking everything and Hermione handed him the credit card. “Is that so? Must be living in the old Morrison Cottage… Place has been vacant for years. About time someone brought some life back to it. Do you like cobbler?”
Hermione had to hold in her surprise. Of all people she thought would be knocking on her door to give her the customary peach cobbler for a welcome she thought it’d be a little old woman. Not a man whom she guessed wasn’t a day over thirty and exercised regularly.
What happened next also came as a surprise for Hermione. She unexpectedly felt an arm wrap around her waist and her body being pressed against another. She looked to her right to find Draco standing beside her and wearing a smile that she would describe as wicked and mischievous.
“Ah there you are, love. I’ve been looking for you all over.”
Hermione could see that Robbie’s face had fallen, though he had picked it back up quickly. Hers had done the same as a matter of fact, having momentarily forgotten that she wasn’t single in this new life of hers.
“So,” Robbie smiled and addressed Draco. “You must be this lovely woman’s..?”
“Husband,” Draco said proudly and Hermione could feel her gag reflexes operating, but she controlled them with expertise.
“Ah, all the good ones are taken. I’ll still bring the cobbler by.” He turned to Hermione and handed her back the credit card. “Hope you and your husband like it here.”
Hermione thanked him, signed the receipt, and she and Draco left the market and began loading the things in the trunk of the car. All the while doing so Draco was silent, but once in the car his mouth was running a million miles a minute.
“So I can’t talk to people, but you can invite guests?”
Hermione rolled her eyes. “I didn’t invite him, Malfoy. He knew that I was new to the place and offered to bring by something.”
“And how does he conveniently know where to drop off that something, huh?”
“It’s a small town. Wasn’t hard to deduce where we’d moved into,”
“We..?” Draco laughed sarcastically and took up to looking out of the window. “You mean you. Where you had moved into… The bloke had no idea I’d even existed.”
Hermione began to smirk. “Feeling hurt, are we, Malfoy? Has my neglect of mentioning my undying love for you broken your heart in half?”
“Get a hold of yourself.” Draco scowled. “Aside from not saying that you’re married, that guy wouldn’t have known it anyway.”
Draco reached into his pants pocket and placed something on the dashboard. Hermione glanced at it and was shocked to realize that it was her faux wedding ring. She looked down at her left hand and found that it truly was bare. She had forgotten to put it back on after slipping it off for the night. She had spent the whole day being the married Nicolette Groves. She had at least wanted to go to bed being the single Hermione Granger.
“What were you doing in my bedroom?” Hermione demanded. It was the only way that the ring could’ve ended up in Draco’s possession.
“I needed something to wear.” He admitted. “Technically that master bedroom is to be shared, and so that’s where all my clothes are.”
Hermione nodded knowingly. She then shivered at the thought that he might’ve come in while she was in the shower. Merlin forbid he had still been in the room while she came out wearing just her towel and having her hair a dripping mess.
“I take it we’re even then?” She asked. Draco shrugged and then smiled.
“Sort of… That fellow’s going to be popping by the house any day now. Janice hasn’t so much as gotten a hint that she’s welcome to visit the cottage let alone received a full blown invitation.”
Draco was fully grinning now and Hermione was tempted to slam hard on the brakes; anything to break that grin from off of his face. She couldn’t say no, however, and inaudibly groaned.
“Just keep your knickers on when she visits.”
“So long as you do the same when your guest comes,”
Hermione was taken aback. “Well, I’d never!”
“With that response clearly you haven’t.” Draco snickered. And Hermione kept her eyes firmly on the road so as to distract herself from the fact that her face was turning a deep shade of red. Unfortunately for her, she could catch a glimpse of herself in the side-view mirror.
Back at the house Draco was a surprise help to Hermione in aiding her in putting the groceries away. In fact, in the past day and some odd hours that they had been together he had been surprising her a lot. It wasn’t in overt ways either, for he was still an annoying prick and seemed to take an extreme joy in acting that way. It was his composure that struck her as strange.
For someone who had been an absolute grouch at being relocated to a muggle town, Draco was hardly as fretful as Hermione expected he’d be. She had first noticed something different about him when they were on the drive to the cottage for the first time; the way he was looking out at everything around him. It had seemed that he liked it. That he was reminiscing on it; like it had reminded him of something long lost and deeply forgotten. And while in town, Hermione had expected him to be mumbling angrily under his breath about how underdeveloped it was compared to a wizarding shopping center. For all she knew he could have. They had gone their separate ways after getting there. But Hermione had watched him long enough before doing so to assume that he wouldn’t. He looked at peace. And it made her quite curious.
“Have you been here before?”
The question startled Draco. At first Hermione didn’t know why, but then figured that a sudden voice sounded like a bomb in dense quiet. It would startle anyone.
“Here, in Delamere.”
“The point of witness protection is to take you away from where you are and where you’ve been.” Draco said snobbishly. He huffed and placed the last food item, a can of mixed vegetables, with the rest of its kind in the cupboard. “So, of course not,”
Hermione rolled her eyes. His moody attitude was back. Can’t say that she missed it, though. She’d prefer his sarcasm over his grumpy mood any day.
“Why do you ask?”
Hermione turned to him. He was standing in the middle of the doorway, apparently about to head out, but deciding to turn back out of curiosity of her curiousness.
“You just seem comfortable here is all. I can adjust fine with my…background. You on the other hand well…I figured that you wouldn’t. I think I’ve been proved wrong.”
To that Draco gave a, “Hmm,” and walked out of the kitchen. Hermione shrugged and made sure that the kitchen was left in the neat state that she had come home to find it in. She left with her mind made up to head directly to her bedroom to change out of the denims she was wearing and into something more comfortable. They were tighter than she was used to wearing and were gently pinching the sides of her waist in a way that she hated. She had passed the sofa without seeing Draco sitting on it and was stopped a quarter-ways up the stairs by his voice.
“Have you ever noticed that wizards almost always live in cities?"
Hermione stared at him with interest. She admitted that she hadn’t thought of it and moved to sit down in the armchair diagonal ways from him.
“Either it’s cities, very near to cities, or in remote places where there’s no one close by.”
“I said no one, Granger.” Draco reiterated. He put his feet up on the coffee table and stretched. “When I mean remote places, I mean that an incident like yesterday when Janice just happened to stroll onto our property could never happen.”
Instantly Hermione thought of Malfoy Manor. It was situated in the absolute middle of nowhere. Yes, there’d be no way for someone to simply tumble onto their property in the slightest.
“I don’t know why it’s like that, but it simply is. You’d think being wizards, we’d want solitude; a place where our magic couldn’t be easily found out. A mystery for the ages, I suppose. As I’ve said, no, I’ve never been here before, but I’ve been to other muggle towns. Several… This place reminds me of them.” Draco suddenly laughed, a small one, and genuinely smiled at Hermione. “You’re surprised.”
Hermione nodded. “You have to know that I can’t very well imagine your father or mother marching down a muggle town with you.”
“Neither could I. And if they’d even tried, I would’ve had them committed. Along with house elves, my family had regular servants –muggleborns or squibs exclusively. And until I had led my father to believe that he had broken me, I was a rebellious little boy. As punishment he’d have me spend the weekends in the home of Hilda, one of the muggleborn maids.”
“You’re kidding.” Hermione was wide-eyed. She was more than surprised and then rather furious at the thought that punishment in Lucius’ terms was to be downgraded in social class. Typical… “And what did the family of Hilda have to say about this? Surely they must’ve wondered what she was doing with you at her side.”
“That’s the funny part about it.” Draco chuckled. “Her and her family were somewhat estranged. I say somewhat because Hilda and her mother were fine. It was her and her father where the issues came into play. She and her family rarely spoke. They didn’t even know that she worked for us. She was a petite blonde haired woman with grey eyes; an easy relative to me if we were seen in the street together, and so I was passed off as her son. Another punishment my father bestowed on me: to be the son of someone not a pureblood.”
Hermione’s skin crawled. If she didn’t detest Draco’s father before, she certainly did now. “So, was it? Punishment for you..?” She asked it with disdain. He had noticed and to her surprise he slowly shook his head.
“No… I was a rotten little boy in my father’s opinion from the age of three until seven. I remembered those weekends vaguely until now. And I remember that I had enjoyed it.”
author's note:'ello all!! here's yet another chapter for you all. i'm pretty sure its easy to guess what my favorite part of this chap is lol. and what do you think of draco's muggle-filled child-hood?? in a way i think it suits him as well as suits lucius to do it.
ah, anyway, i hope that you guys enjoyed the chap! and i must THANK YOU for all the reads/reviews i've been getting ^_^. now im off to try and get some homework done (did i mention that i'm on spring break? hw should be illegal lol...)
until next time!
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