Chapter 31 : Itís a Pleasure
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Ch. 31 It’s a Pleasure
The magical part of Canberra, Australia is hidden much like the magical part of London, in plain sight. Blaise looks around and notices many nice shops and restaurants; he makes a note to himself to check out one after his tour. He leaves Magical Canberra and walks two blocks to where Last Chance is.
The outside of Last Chance looks to be just a dilapidated building housing a non-profit business (called Last Chance) for homeless animals. As you walk to the building there are actual people behind a couple desks with phones and computers. On the walls are posters of animals and scenes of nature that don’t move. In the back are dogs and cats that need homes. Blaise is told that if anyone who lives at Last Chance decides they want a cat or dog, they were allowed to be tested for one and then they would be monitored and given an animal. In the back of the non-profit building there are two doors, one led outside and the other into Last Chance. Much like getting in to Diagon Alley, Blaise taps the doorframe with his wand and the door opens, he then steps through on to a street called Hope Street. To his right is a one room building where everyone is to check in and request who they are there to see.
Blaise walks in to Last Chance and takes a look around. He notes that everything is pretty much uniform. There are houses on either side of the road and every house looks to be basically the same just different colours. The only way to enter Last Chance is to either be there as a prisoner or be invited in by someone already there. Draco had set up with James to have the place checked out and he asked Blaise if he would go so that Hermione wouldn’t be alone. Blaise wasn’t sure what Hermione was thinking letting someone like Goyle, or even the Weasel after everything he’s done to her, off for the crimes they already committed; let alone for the ones they are sure to commit again. Whatever she is thinking she is his friend and he would do anything for her.
Blaise checks in and is told that Carli will meet him to show him around. He continues up Hope Road while he waits and notices that there are people all around gardening, reading, talking with each other, Blaise is a bit shocked that it seems just like any normal place, not like a prison.
“Hello, Blaise, I’m Carli.” A woman says as she appears next to Blaise.
He turns and a small woman with short black hair and dark brown eyes is standing next to him with a smile on her face. “Hello.” Blaise says and they shake hands.
“You seem to be confused about something.” Carli says and Blaise frowns but nods.
“Yes, I am a bit confused you could say, about how this looks like a merry place, not a prison.” Blaise says still looking at Carli.
She smiles and nods, “You are correct this indeed does not look like a prison, let me show you around and explain what Last Chance is about.” She says and gestures as they start walking. “You will see that we have built Last Chance to seem like a community or a small town. We have magically expanded a couple times to accommodate more internees; also everyone has a roommate so there are generally two internees to one house. I’ll show you a basic house.” She says as they come to a house on the street.
Blaise and Carli both walk into the house and it is very sparse, there is a sofa and a chair in the living room and in the kitchen is a basic set up of a stove, sink and table. There are two bedrooms one on either end of the house and in each are a bed, desk, dresser, and closet. There is only one bathroom to share. They leave the house after Blaise looks around and then continue down the street, where Blaise notices that other streets intersect each other and more houses are standing on each road.
“Each internee is tested weekly, to make sure his or her issues are under control, if you look around you notice everyone is wearing a band around each wrist. These are put there magically and cannot be removed but by the minister. The bands do multiple things such as keep them from using magic. Even if they get a hold of a wand it is nothing more than a stick of wood to them. Also they are unable to apparate and are monitored with the bands.” Carli says.
“Who monitors them?” Blaise asks wondering how they are monitored.
“We have our own Aurors here and they monitor twenty four seven.” Carli answers and Blaise nods. “They are not allowed outside contact to anyone, unless the person or persons come here the same way you did. Each internee has a list of persons they would allow to see them and if the person is not on the list, the person is not allowed in without permission from both the minister and head of Last Chance.” She continues but Blaise stops her.
“James?” He asks, “Is James the head?”
“Yes, Last Chance is his brain child, and he takes it very seriously, he doesn’t allow just anyone in.” Carli says and smiles, “We are protecting both the outside world and our internees, and there are many people in here that in the wrong company would be in a very serious situation.”
“Yes, I imagine.” Blaise says dryly. “Other than the magic and the wrist monitoring, are they allowed to do whatever they want?” Blaise asks as a woman wearing a wristband rides by on a muggle bicycle.
“Yes, and no, for instance, we have a special section of Last Chance for those internees that are what we would called hard cases, those who have a hard time not acting out, we also have several rewards for those who don’t happened to revert to their not so good side.” Carli says and gestures to a building called a Theatre. “Have you ever seen a muggle movie?” She asks.
“No, I’m not entirely sure what a muggle ‘movie’ is.” He says looking at the building missing the smile Carli gives him.
“Well, we have this as a reward for those internees who have shown remarkable improvement, some of the internees just made bad choices in their outside lives, not saying that they should be given multiple chances that could somehow lead to lets say murder.” Carli says and waits until Blaise looks down at her, “But I personally believe that for those who regret what they have done, and wish to become a better person shouldn’t be given death.”
Blaise thinks about what she said, and honestly he agrees with her. Maybe Draco would have been in this situation if he wouldn’t have been given another chance to redeem himself, even Blaise, who tried to stay neutral, could have easily been thrown into the death and destruction of the Death Eaters. Blaise smiles down at Carli and nods that he understands.
“They are also allowed other rewards like the bicycle you saw the woman riding, also certain books, gardening tools, and even the option to paint their houses.” She says and gestures down a street, called Wonder Way, where all the houses except a few are white.
“Do the rewards actually work?” Blaise asks thinking about the reward of a simple book.
“Let me ask you this, did you ride a broom growing up?” She asks.
“Yes.” He answers wondering at the strangeness of the question.
“Well, did your parents ever take it a way from you if you were naughty?” She asks and instead of waiting for the obvious yes answer she continues, “If you were good and didn’t do whatever naughty thing it was you did again, you were given the broom back, as a reward.” She them smiles, “It helped make sure you didn’t get into trouble again, yes?” She finishes and waits while Blaise thinks it through.
“I see, yes that makes sense.” He says then thinks of something. “What about the ‘hard cases’ you spoke of?” He questions and her frown disappears.
“They are rewarded as well, but their rewards are more simple, they are never given anything that could be used as a weapon, and often the rewards are not permanent.” She explains, “Example; when a hard case internee gets rewarded they could chose from a special dinner, or a new pair of shoes.”
“So do hard cases stay hard cases?” Blaise wonders allowed.
“Yes and no, some get rewarded often enough that they realize that there more to their existence than their anger or frustration, whatever it is that is making them act out.” She says then her eyes go dark, “There are others who stay hard cases getting rewarded every so often then there are some who can not be controlled and are sent back to Azkaban.” She says the last quietly and Blaise nods.
“I understand.” He says and they continue walking eventually ending up back at the check in office.
They finish up their tour where Blaise is given more information of the process to how a condemned person gets transferred to Last Chance. He makes sure that all Draco, and Theo’s questions are answered and then leave through the non-profit building to walk back to Magical Canberra. Once back, he chooses a restaurant that looks fun and walks in to be seated.
“Welcome to ‘Bar-B-Q Everything’, just one?” A beautiful woman says and seems to stop once her eyes land on Blaise, even Blaise feels his mouth go dry when he sees her face.
She is gorgeous, shorter than most women he dates only about five four, and small, though curvy in just the right places. Her skin is a lovely lighter olive tone, flawless and soft looking, making Blaise want to touch her arm to see if it really is as soft as it looks. Her hair is long and wavy the colour of chocolate and caramel perfectly mixed together and she is wearing it loose and down her back. Her fringe is brushed to the side though it seems to fall in front of her eyes causing her to absently brush it back in place. Her eyes captivate Blaise, they are warm and smiling, they are a lighter brown with flecks the colour of golden honey; they are framed with long dark lashes that seem to brush her cheeks when she blinks. Her fringe falls in front of her eyes again and before Blaise knows he is moving he reaches forward and brushes her hair back so that he can see her lovely eyes again.
Her eyes go a bit wide though he sees no fear in them, just curiosity, “I’m Blaise Zabini.” He says softly and watches her every move as if memorizing her. She moves with a grace of a dancer and the confidence of a woman who knows what she wants.
“My name is Ikhra Yazmin Warsame, it is my pleasure to meet you.” She says and reaches her hand out to Blaise.
Without taking his eyes from hers, he grasps her hand thinking yes it is as soft as it looks then instantly a jolt goes through his body making him suck in a breath of air, her eyes go wide and her cheeks turn a pretty shade of pink meaning she most likely felt it too. They stand there for what seems like an eternity smiling at each other then from behind Blaise someone clears their throat and Ikhra looks down and lets go of Blaise’s hand.
She seats him quickly, but instead of looking at the menu, he watches her move thinking that whatever he does, he will find out as much as he can about this beautiful creature, Ikhra.
After the meeting with Ron I get a message from James, and then another from Theo requesting a meeting with Draco and I. We set one up for the following morning at the bookstore since I am working it, and the rest of the day goes somewhat quickly.
Tuesday morning, Draco floos to work with me, after Cissa and Lucius come to stay with the twins at our house. Jake comes in to open up the Café and instead of heading there he comes straight to me and hugs me.
“How are you? How was the meeting? Is there anything I can do?” He questions quickly then pulls me back to look directly in my face.
I smile at him, “I’m fine, don’t worry, the meeting went as expected, and actually, I have some guys coming in for a meeting this morning, wanna do breakfast?” I ask and his eyes light up.
“I will make my famous cinnamon rolls, and last night I made pumpkin muffins that I am going to fill with cream cheese, how does that sound? He asks smiling at me.
I laugh and nod, “You know you are never allowed to leave or quit, because I will never find anyone as talented as you.” I say and watch him blush at the compliment.
He shrugs then asks, “Coffee?”
I lean in and kiss his cheek, “Yes please coffee, Draco?” I ask as I look over where Draco is grinning at Jake’s obvious embarrassment.
“Coffee sounds great.” He says and Jake leaves to open the café.
I go about my morning routine to open, and then Draco and I sit at a table waiting for the others to join us. Harry walks in first.
“Harry!” I exclaim and jump up to hug him.
“Hey, ‘Mione.” He says and squeezes me back.
“Coffee Harry?” Jake calls and I hear a chuckle from the café.
“Yes, please a mocha.” Harry calls back and then looks over at Draco. “Morning Malfoy.” He greets amiably.
“Potter.” Draco says and pulls me back down next to him, “One day you are going to jump one of your friends and seriously hurt them.” He says and he kisses my cheek as I just laugh in agreement.
Theo walks in followed by James, and we all sit down after I hug them both. Jake calls out for coffee orders and once Jake brings our drinks and food, we start in on what Theo found out.
“Okay, after I left you two yesterday, I called Troy about the potion, he is looking into it.” Theo says then takes a bite of a pumpkin muffin and his eyes go wide. “This is bloody fantastic, where did you find him?” He says to me gesturing to Jake and Jake blushes behind the counter while I shrug and chuckle.
After Theo’s declaration of the muffins we all take a minute to try them and of course they are just as Theo said bloody fantastic.
“Okay, also after I talked to Troy I called James to talk about Last Chance, I believe it isn’t a matter of if Ron will do something, it is more a matter of when. He was very agitated yesterday, both because of Hermione and for Hermione.”
“What do you mean for Hermione?” Draco questions narrowing his eyes at Theo.
“He is obsessed.” Theo shrugs then continues, “Like Goyle, only Ron will do anything to get to Hermione, where as Goyle won’t hurt her.” He explains then his brow furrows slightly, “There is also something else about him that I can’t quite place, he has a madness if you will that haunts him. Something about his eyes, you saw it didn’t you ‘Mione?” He says looking up at me and I nod slowly.
“Harry do you happen to have a recording of his face during the meeting?” I ask turning to Harry who nods then reaches for his wand.
He flicks it several times and in the middle of the table a screen like square appears and Ron is sitting in the room. We all watch the recording though and I have to look away when he stands to throw his chair at the door, there is indeed madness to his actions.
“I saw this as well when I went back to review the interview.” Harry says sadly then looks at me and says, “I don’t understand it.”
“I understand what both of you may be thinking, and trust me I know how much you want your old friend back.” James says quietly and both Harry and I look at him, “I think he may be in there somewhere, but whatever it is that is causing him to do and say these things, it has control over him.”
I nod and reach over to take Harry’s hand, “I know this, I remember the look on his face the time he took me from the pub, he wasn’t himself, and yesterday I saw the same thing, not as potent but still there.” I say and I feel a bit of anger rise around the table when I talk about Ron taking me, “I know you may not understand exactly why I don’t what Ron to die, nor Greg, but I just can’t be okay with that.” I say looking down at the table.
“We may not understand, ‘Mione, but we will back you in this.” Draco says and I look up as the others nod. I smile feeling a bit better about all this.
“Blaise is in Australia today touring Last Chance, once he gets back we will discuss if this is indeed something you wish to go ahead with, Hermione.” Theo says and then nods to James.
“I will help you during the process and answer any questions you may have once you have talked with Blaise” James says and I nod at him.
“Now, for the next two weeks, Ron isn’t allowed many privileges, and he is in a special housing for released prisoners, he isn’t able to go many places so for now there should be no problems. Once the two weeks have gone, Ron requested testing for his magic, and for visitation of the twins.” Theo says and I suck in air feeling a weight drop in by belly I feel panic rising in me.
Draco puts his arm around me and I take comfort from this. “Don’t worry overmuch at this point, testing will take sometime.” Harry says to me and I nod slowly taking deep breaths of air to calm down and ease the panic.
“I want to say this now.” I speak up and the guys all look at me. “I don’t know much about Last Chance, but I think I for sure want this to happen no matter what Ron does, unless he kills someone, he should go there.” I say and the guys all nod knowing this is what I would want anyway.
“I agree with you Hermione, but what about Greg?” Theo asks quietly. “We can’t legally keep him much longer, right Potter?” Theo says.
“Yes, that is true, his crime should be reported soon if not already, but we do have some time.” Harry says then looks to me.
“I don’t really know Greg, and honestly I don’t truly feel threatened by him, after all he made an unbreakable vow.” I say then shrug, “I want to talk to Blaise but I think I want him to be given the opportunity to go to Last Chance.”
The guys nod and I feel Draco kiss my temple. Then we all talk about other things having this problem with Ron sorted out, Draco tells the guys about the twins and how Libby is getting really close to walking and how both Libra and Lucas call everything, mummy or daddy. Cassie walks in the front of the store to start her shift and calls out to Jake.
“Hey Jake, how’s it going?” She says as she approaches the café smiling, she wasn’t able to come yesterday to the Manor because of some family thing she had to go to.
“Hey Cassie, good, how are you?” Jake says and starts on a drink for her, she turns and sees us and smiles widely.
“’Mione!” She exclaims and I stand to embrace her, we break apart my arm still around her waist and I feel her stiffen. I look over at her and follow her line of sight to James, who is staring back at her his gaze riveted to her face.
Theo’s brow raises and Draco hides a grin behind his coffee cup while Harry blinks looking between the two.
“Cas, this is James Green a friend of Troy’s he went to Durmstrang.” I say to Cassie, “James, this is Cassie Griffiths, she works here for me.” I say and watch as Cassie flushes and James grins at her stands and comes around to kiss her hand.
“It’s my pleasure.” James says softly smiling at Cassie causing her to giggle and look away from him cheeks still red.
I roll my eyes at the two of them and sit back down next to Draco who leans in and whispers in my ear, “Where we ever that sappy?”
Theo leans across the table and says seriously, “Yes.” Then Harry and Theo start laughing and I try to hold back my snickers while James, still holding Cassie’s hand, looks down at us blinking.
Hello again! I truly hope you enjoyed this chapter, and maye a few of your questions have been cleared up. Greg has used an unforgiavable curse, which means a one way ticket to Azkaban, but for him since he was already in Azkaban, he will be sentanced to the Dementors Kiss. So for him, Last chance truly is his only option if he wants to stay alive... They also feel like Ron is a ticking time bomb, so they are hopeful of this new option too...Keep that in mind. Please review!
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