Chapter 3 : Chapter 3
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Draco was nestled in the corner of the telephone booth facing Hermione. “Office of Misinformation, I always thought you would do something with magical creatures or something like that.”
Hermione shrugged, “Yeah, I was for about a year, but it just didn’t feel like a good match for me.” She shifted around trying to get more comfortable, and her black flats accidentally scraped against his sleek Italian loafers.
“Merlin! My shoes! Are you daft woman?” His eyes were wide with disgust; Hermione would’ve laughed if it weren’t for his booming voice reverberating off of the glass.
Jumping at his outburst, she couldn’t believe it, “Are you serious? I barely touched your bloody shoes! You’re still such a-” She stopped talking when she saw Draco grinning. Fed up, she crossed her arms in front of her, “Why are you grinning?”
Draco just kept looking at her for a couple of seconds and chuckled, “I was only kidding Granger. Still think I’m a spoiled albino prat.” He saw her opening her mouth again, and kept going, “I thought you were supposed to be the forgiving one,” pointing in her direction.
She huffed. “I don’t appreciate how you’re insinuating that you are more forgiving than me. What the hell did I do that is in dire need of your forgiveness?”
“Well, for starters,” he said crossing his arms, “You did your fair share of bullying too.” He straightened up a bit to his full height and looked down at her, “I believe it was you who embarrassed me saying that I bought myself into the quidditch team. I’m actually a decent flyer if you must know. So I, Draco Malfoy, forgive the almighty, Hermione Granger.”
“And I, Hermione Granger, will put your ludicrous forgiveness on hold.” She looked at her watch and groaned, “It’s been fifteen minutes; I hope Luna did get some help.”
“I’m sure she did. So, what do you do in the Office of Misinformation?”
“Well, I make sure that every dubious events caused by magic in the muggle world are explained, my liaison being the prime minister of England.”
He let out a long whistle, “Wow. Sounds like quite the important job. Since the war is still fresh and all. You’re perfect for it.”
“Um, thanks Malfoy. So, you still haven’t told me what you do.”
“I did Granger, I fix magical items.”
“I know, but what kind of items? Who employs you? Are you lying to me Malfoy?”
“Merlin, I’ve stepped into the Spanish Inquisition.”
“Y-You know about muggle-”
He glanced at her surprised face. “Don’t ask, I’m not as ignorant as people make me out to be.”
Hermione nodded and he went on,
“Kingsley hired me a couple months after the war, seeing that I, umm, had fixed something that was rather hard to fix. He owls me whenever there’s something that needs to be fixed. I insisted for him to be discreet.” He finished nervously, hoping that she wouldn’t catch on. But of course, she did.
“The Vanishing Cabinet… Kingsley actually trusts you?” Hermione pursed her lips and frowned.
Frustrated, Draco threw his hands in the air, “Do I actually look evil to you Granger? You and I have been stuck in this bloody booth for thirty minutes. If you haven’t noticed, I haven’t used the M word or hurt a single hair on your pretty little head.”
“You were a Death Eater Malfoy.” retorted Hermione, clearly enunciating every word. “What am I supposed to think? Whether it was your choice or not, you were affiliated with the very people that abhorred people like me, so forgive me if I seem to be wary of your actions.”
“What was I supposed to do! Run away from the Death Eaters’ headquarters and knock on the Orders’ door with cookies and tea? They WOULDN’T have taken me in! “
“You could’ve TRIED. You could’ve TRIED Malfoy!”
“No. Not when lives are on the line Granger.”
Hermione stopped talking and actually looked at him. His pale face was flushed and she could see his chest rising and falling rapidly. Looking into his eyes, she could’ve sworn they were slightly watery, but she knew for a fact that the old Malfoy wasn’t there. He was different. He sounded sincere.
“Look, I shouldn’t have judged you like that. It all seems surreal right now. Being stuck in a telephone booth with you and having an actual conversation,” she chuckled, “it is sort of crazy.”
He gave her a tired laugh, “Believe me, this is definitely the strangest day ever.”
After a long silence, Draco cleared his throat, “Let me show you Granger. I’ll prove to you somehow that I AM different and that I have changed.”
Hermione slightly grinned, “I’ll show you Malfoy, that I’m different too. You and Harry were neck to neck for that snitch if I recall.”
With a clunk, the telephone booth began to descend again. Losing his balance, Draco lurched forward into Hermione.
“Hermione! I didn’t crush you did I?” He pushed off of the glass and looked her over.
Flustered, she shook her head, “No, no I’m fine.” She smoothed down her cardigan and rearranged her scarf. “You know, you said my name, for the first time.”
The booth descended to the floor of the Ministry and opened with a ding. “I did?” He asked while they stepped out together to the marble floor. However, they came to a halt and tensed when they saw their parents. They both exclaimed,
Mrs. Granger spoke first, “Hermione dear! We just finished with Kingsley. Don’t worry, Luna told us everything.”
“Oh, that’s a relief then,” said Hermione as she glanced over to Draco. Lucius looked stiff and uncomfortable in his black robes while Narcissa, adorned in her finest pearls in an emerald cloak, had her hand gently, but firmly around his arm. Hermione stood there awkwardly, as did Draco. With a sliver of a smile, Narcissa spoke evenly,
“Draco dear, aren’t you going to introduce us to your new… friend?”
Draco most ineloquently sputtered, “O-Of course mother. Uh, Granger, this is my mother and father, Mrs. and Mr. Malfoy.”
Hermione politely shook hands with Narcissa, but gave Lucius a defiant glare as she shook his. “Well, Malfoy, this is my mum and dad, Mrs. And Mr. Granger.”
The Grangers gave a warm hello and a smile, while the Malfoys simply nodded in acknowledgment.
Determined to get out of the awkward situation, Hermione began to usher her parents back in the telephone booth. “We can’t be late for our dinner tonight! We should go now.” As her parents began their ascent back to muggle London, Hermione turned around and was surprised to see Mrs. Malfoy and Draco right behind her.
“Please Miss Granger, call me Narcissa,” with a wink towards Draco, Narcissa gracefully walked back to her husband.
“Sorry about that Granger, that was awkward.”
“Yeah, don’t worry about it Malfoy.”
“Right. So, see you around?” asked Draco while he glanced back at his parents.
Hermione nodded, “Yup, I’ll see you around.”
With an awkward wave and a genuine smile, Draco Malfoy turned and walked towards his family while Hermione looked on. She muttered to herself, “Who knew that Malfoy could smile?” and stepped in the telephone booth, with her mood, strangely a little lighter.
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