Chapter 2 : Chapter 2
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At the moment Hermione was juggling four different jobs, working at a bar in the evenings, at the coffee shop Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, then at the book shop on Mondays. She also had to be waitress on the occasional Sunday for a catering company and even then she still wasn’t getting enough money to live on. Hermione could never seem to get a full-time well-paid job, all she could get were bitty jobs that she would easily be fired from when they no longer had use of her. Now she was late for the bookshop she was sure to be fired.
Quickly she hurried out of bed, throwing on some clothes not bothering for a shower, as she didn’t have time, quickly brushing her teeth before exiting her house at record speed.
As she walked out her flat she pulled back her bird nest hair into a bun and took her glasses out of her bag and put them onto her face. Before she left the building she picked up her post, and searched through it as she walked down the street.
Thwo different letters, one telling her she owed the bank money and the second being one in writing she didn’t recognise. She opened the envelope and began to read:
Dear Miss Granger,
You’ve been an excellent employee and I hate to have to do this, but I am afraid we are going to have to let you go. It has recently come to my attention upon looking on CCTV that you have begun to slack.
I noticed you made less effort on your attire and have begun to look very unprofessional, as well as one particular hostile encounter towards a customer. I can’t afford to let this continue and there have been many people looking for a job from me.
So with deepest regrets I shall have to fire you. I will continue to pay you one more week of your salary, and you shall not have to come into work. Sorry again.
Hermione groaned once she had finished the letter, she crumpled it up in her hand and stuffed it into her bag. She had just lost the stablest of all her jobs, and one of those reasons was Malfoy. Malfoy. Suddenly their encounter from last week cropped up in her mind; he had offered her money, with no catch. This was the first time since he offered did she truly begin to think about accepting it.
She shook her head vigorously; she knew she could very easily fix all her problems with magic. The one problem with that was she wasn’t ready to take magic back up, she wasn’t even sure if she could. Three years she had lived without it, three years was a long time.
Hermione walked into the bookshop to hear the familiar tinkle of the bell above the door, her boss stood at the till with a sour expression on her face. “I am so so so sorry” Hermione apologised, “I overslept, I know there’s no excuse for it, and that I’m almost an hour late. I am so sorry,”
“Its fine, but you’ll have to make up for it, you’ll have to stay on later and sort out the storage out back,” her boss told her. Her boss’s eyes had begun to soften, and her blonde hair fell down her shoulders she now just looked disappointed in Hermione. “How much later?” Hermione asked nervously,
“Till the job is done,” she replied sternly, “I’m off out for a bit. There are a couple of customers already here so remember, be polite, happy and helpful.” Hermione nodded, her head hung low. She walked to the till and put her bag underneath the counter and waited till her boss left before releasing a sigh.
That offer from Malfoy was becoming evermore tempting knowing that she now had to miss a shift at the bar, and most probably wouldn’t be paid extra for staying later at the bookshop.
Customers came and went, some bought things others just browsed. Hermione read the spines of countless books in the shop, but not of them seemed exciting, it might have been the sudden appearance of Malfoy last week or the fact she was only just about managing, but she was beginning to miss magic.
“Fancy seeing you here, Granger,” came Draco Malfoy’s voice as he walked into the book shop and spotting Hermione,
“Yes what a surprise” she told him sarcastically, “I’m not stupid I know you’ve been stalking me,”
“Looks like you still are that know-it-all from Hogwarts,” Malfoy smirked, “There’s no point me beating around the bush, you need money, and I’ve got money. Lets do business,”
“So there’s a catch now?”
Malofy nodded, “Should’ve taken my offer when I first brought it up, Granger. Not quite as smart as you used to be,”
“You’re insufferable, you know that Malfoy?” Hermione glared, “I don’t think you’ve changed at all since Hogwarts,”
“Once a slytherin always a slytherin, darling” Malfoy winked at her. “But I have changed. It’s just not obvious to you, though it would be if you looked close enough.”
A book was placed on the counter, Hermione tore her glare from Malfoy to see an elderly lady holding out some money, “Can I buy this dear?” she asked in a feeble voice,
“Of course” Hermione smiled as she took the money and placed it in the till then handed the woman her change. She then placed the book in a bag, and handed it over to the lady, “Thank you” she said to Hermione before hobbling out of the shop. Once the lady had gone, Hermione averted her attention back to Malfoy, “I’m not saying I’ll accept your offer, but I’ll meet with you over it,” she told him,
“Excellent Granger, I knew you’d come around,” he slid a piece of paper across the desk, “once you get off work come to this address and we’ll talk business.” With the way he was talking and being dressed in a suit, Draco Malfoy, definitely looked like a businessman. It made Hermione laugh, but she laughed to herself whilst keeping a cool exterior.
“Ok, but it could be really late,” Hermione warned him,
“I doubt it, you won’t need to go work in the bar, and they’ve been informed you can’t make it to work tonight,”
“Ok…” Hermione replied hesitantly, things were a little weird. She couldn’t make heads or tails of this situation, Draco Malfoy had been following her, he was offering her help, at first there wasn’t a catch now there was, Draco Malfoy, the hardest of people to figure out.
“I’ll see you later Granger,” he told her, as he left the bookshop.
Hermione held the piece of paper in front of her with an odd address on it. It was clearly somewhere in the wizarding world because no muggle place had a number or name like that. She had finished in the bookshop at just gone 9:00; there had been a lot of stock to go through.
Her brown eyes scoured the paper, trying to find any meaning to its words, not one light turned on within her head, she was completely in the dark. She turned the page at different angles held it under different lights but still she was none the wiser.
In one of her hands she held a mug of tea and took the occasional sip as she scrutinised the page. Hermione had first tried to work it out when she was in the bookshop but thought it better to work it out at home where she had more books that would be of use to her.
She had searched through wizarding code books, wizarding maps, everything. Hermione knew there was probably only way to find out the answer and that was magic! Although she knew she was correct, she couldn’t bring herself to use magic, so just sat on her sofa. “If he wants me, then he’ll have to come and fetch me. I shan’t all of a sudden begin to use magic just so I can and visit Malfoy of all people. If I was to use magic it would be to go and see Harry and Ron and tell them where I’ve been for the past three years. They probably think I’m dead or something,” she muttered to herself,
“First signs of madness Granger,” Draco Malfoy pointed out, as he appeared in front of her. “But that also clears a lot of things up. You haven’t even told Potter or Weasley where you are, no wonder they ask…” he trailed off.
“No wonder they asked what?” Hermione questioned,
“Lets go now Granger,” he quickly grabbed her wrist and before she could object, they had apperated.
Hermione quickly pulled her wrist out of Malfoy’s grasp and looked around her surroundings; they seemed to be in a very large, extremely posh flat. Hermione’s eyes glanced at every nook and cranny before labelling the flat as- A Bachelor’s Pad.
Draco Malfoy walked down the hallway they had landed in and plonked himself carefully on the black leather sofa. Everything in the flat was immaculate it almost looked brand new; it seemed as if no one even lived there. Everything was placed perfectly, everything was coordinated, it was too perfect for Hermione’s liking.
She sauntered over to the living room where Draco Malofy sat; she took the leather armchair next the sofa and faced him. “Just because you apperated doesn’t mean you can skirt out of my question,” she told him,
“Like my flat, Granger. Thought you might, it’s much nicer than your little hole,”
“My little hole, as you refer it, is much nicer than this place. My flat is like a home, yours barely even looks lived in.”
“Well that’s your opinion Granger. You’ve always liked the little poor things in live haven’t you? First poor Weasley, then your poor life and poor home,” Malfoy teased clearly enjoying being rude and pushing Hermione’s buttons.
“How do you expect me to believe you’ve changed if you carry on acting like the Slytherin prick, who is racist, conceited and down-right disgusting?”
“I don’t care what you believe, I was merely making a point. Whether you believe I’ve changed or not doesn’t affect me in the slightest,” Malfoy lifted his legs upon his sofa and stretched out. It made him look pompous and shallow, Hermione sneered disgusted at him.
It was then that Hermione noticed something, he had had his hair cut. It was shorter, yet it still looked just as soft and had a handsome messy looked about it, it suited him. Then she realised he wasn’t wearing a waistcoat, tie or suit jacket. In fact he had his shirt unbuttoned quite low. The way he was lying and the way he was dressed almost made it seem as if he was seducing Hermione. She shook her head quickly trying to get rid of the obscure idea.
“You once again steered off topic, Malfoy. I still want to know what Harry and Ron asked you,” Hermione told him,
“I’m afraid that’s classified information,” he winked at her with a smirk playing on his lips. This then added to Hermione thinking he was trying to seduce her, once again she shook her head trying to get rid of the ludicrous idea. “Got flees have we Granger?”
“Piss off Malfoy,” Hermione retorted, “Now stop being a prick and answer my question,”
“Alright, you’ve pulled my leg. Potter and Weasley asked me to track you down. They’ve been awfully worried about their poor insufferable-know-it-all-Granger,” Malofy told her truthfully.
“Oh, and have you? Told them where I am?”
“No, not yet. Upon seeing the state you’ve gotten yourself into, I thought it best that they didn’t know where you were, until you were suitable enough to see them. I doubt you would want them to see you in this state. So I thought I’d help you, I mean we need the golden trio together again don’t we?” Malfoy hissed sarcastically.
Hermione nodded; beginning to understand things, there was a reason why Malfoy had been following her, but she didn’t know why he wanted to help her. Maybe he had in fact changed. He hadn’t once called her mudblood and had used other insults instead. What if Draco Malfoy had changed? One thing Hermione knew she needed to find out was more about this new Malfoy.
Malfoy was standing in front of her and looking down at her, “Having a good think there Granger? I was wondering if you wanted a drink?”
“A drink? Sure, what do you have?”
“Alcohol,” he answered, upon seeing Hermione’s confused face he felt the need to explain, “I don’t use this flat often, I only come here to either get away or bring girls. So that’s why there is only alcohol,”
“You’re vile you know that?” Hermione told him whilst shaking her head in disgust,
“I can’t help being irresistible,” he told her with another wink,
“Must you do that?”
“Wink constantly, it’s creepy and comes across as if you are seducing me,” Hermione accidentally let the last bit slip out she had been thinking it and hadn’t planned on saying it.
“In your wildest dreams would I be trying to seduce a thing like you Granger,” Malfoy told her before walking away and into his large kitchen.
“Because I’m a thing? Great insult there Malfoy, almost as good as mudblood” she shouted at him, as he busied himself in the kitchen.
“I don’t use that word anymore,” he shouted back, “I’ve grown a fair bit since Hogwarts. Words like mudblood don’t fall off my luscious lips. I don’t care about blood-status anymore. That was just an idea put in my head by my father. I can think for myself now. No more prejudice!”
“Interesting,” Hermione said to herself. Draco Malfoy thinking for himself, can’t be anything more dangerous than that she thought.
Malfoy came back from the kitchen with two wine glasses filled with red wine and passed one to Hermione, “There you go. Might be a bit rich for your pallet but I’m sure you can mange it,” he sneered, once again back to the original rude Draco Malfoy.
Hermione took a sip, he was right it was very rich, but her pallet could mange it just fine. “So tell me, why do you want to help me?”
“Why does there have to be a reason?”
“Because with you Malfoy of course there has to be a reason. You either want something in return, which you now do. But before you offered it without a catch and I want to know why,”
“I’ll only tell you if you agree to take my money and sort your life out,” he told her,
“What about the other catches?” Hermione asked,
“I thought I’d tell you them after you’ve agreed,”
“What, so I can’t back out of them?”
“Pretty much,” he nodded, “Though I can tell you now, but then you probably won’t want to agree and then you’ll never find the answer to the question you so badly want to know the answer to.”
Hermione contemplated for a minute, yes she didn’t know what Malfoy wanted in return but she was getting knowledge and money in return also. She loved knowledge and desperately needed money; she was getting herself in more and more debt and she’d already lost a job. “Ok, I agree” she told him, “I accept your terms,”
“Good,” Malfoy clapped, “so what do you want to know first?”
“Why did you want to help me?” Hermione asked eagerly awaiting an answer,
“Because I owe you. You helped to save my life back in the Room and Requirement and by me helping you it makes us even as I am technically saving your life. Also it’s my way of apologising for everything I’ve ever done or said to you in Hogwarts. I want to make amends,” he explained.
“But Harry and Ron also helped save you, aren’t you going to repay them? And how by you making catches on our deal means that you have made amends?”
“I’ve already made it up to Potter and Weasley, me finding you was the last favour I owed them. And me making catches on our deal is perfectly fine because it will save your pride from feeling like you are a charity case and will mean that you don’t feel like you owe me anything. This way you win, free of any glitches. I know you well enough Granger, to know that my catches will put your mind to rest. No feeling of being in debt to me, or anything,” Malfoy continued to explain. Hermione nodded in understanding, it seemed as if Malfoy and figured everything out; it was true she would feel that way but by the sound of his catches it would mean she wouldn’t have to.
“How much money do you need Granger?” Malfoy asked after he drained his glass of wine.
“I don’t really know” Hermione stuttered, “Not a lot, I guess,”
“Well that’s a lie,” Malfoy sneered, “I saw the stack of bills in your house and I’ve seen the way you dress,”
“What’s the matter with the way I dress?” Hermione asked defensively as she looked down at her attire. Malfoy did the same. She wore a long brown skirt that came down past her knees and was frayed around the edges, and a discoloured shirt underneath a navy jumper with the same black pumps from her first encounter with Draco Malfoy.
“You look like an old lady,” Malfoy pointed out, “In fact I think old ladies dress better than you. You look like you picked out the cheapest thing out of a charity shop to buy and then not care about presentation and just throw them on,”
“Well, it’s hard trying to get clothes that are cheap and fashionable, anyway I don’t care how I look,”
“You can tell” Malfoy replied in a voice that was almost bored, “I say if you hand me over all your bills I’ll pay all of them off first,”
“Can you afford this?” Hemione wondered, “It’s just I owe a lot of money and you have to pay for your own things too.”
“Granger!” Malfoy started exasperated, “I have plenty of money, I own my father’s old business as well as my own, as well as working part time for the ministry. Believe me I have my fingers in many different pies, all very profitable,” he consoled her. Hermione just nodded in response. She continued to sip at her wine as the two sat in silence. Hermione still couldn’t help but feel guilty for taking Malfoy’s money, although he said it was him repaying her for all the trouble he had caused she couldn’t help but feel she was in debt with him. In debt with a Malfoy…
“What’s the first catch?” Hermione blurted out already feeling the need to repay her debt before she had even received any money.
“Haven’t decided yet,” he told her, “But I would like to know why you have been magic-free for three years and why you continue to refuse to use it,”
“It’s complicated” was Hermione’s response as quickly finished her wine and began to twiddle her thumbs.
“I’ve got all the time in the world,” Malfoy told her whilst he lay back in the sofa eagerly awaiting her answer.
“Ok where, um do I begin?” Hermione stuttered, “I suppose it began once the war was over. I had seen how much damamge such a fickle thing like magic could do and I felt scared to hold so much power in my hands, and to know that I could just ruin someone’s life with the flick of my wand. Then I went to finish my N.E.W.T.S at Hogwarts, all top grades (Draco rolled his eyes at this). So once that was over and I knew everyone was well and truly safe as many death eaters had been caught and sent to Azkaban. I thought it time that I went in search of my parents.
“I had obliviated their minds, in order to keep them safe. So I went off in search of them. It took me a very long time to find out where they were. Turns out they went to Australia and had, um, died shortly after getting there. Killed by death eaters.” Hermione could feel the tears trickling down her face, she tried to hide it from Malfoy feeling weak and foolish for crying. But the tears continued to fall down her soft face. Malfoy just watched as Hermione, cried not quite sure as to what he should do, if it had been anyone of his friends crying he would have comforted them but this was Granger and their past still hung in the air like a disease.
Hermione’s tears finally subsided, and she continued to tell Malfoy her story “So after finding out they had died. This hatred of magic began to build. I not only felt guilty but felt disgusted of myself for getting them involved in magic, if I wasn’t what I am they would still be alive. Magic had caused so many horrors in my life and I needed a break from it. So I took one. It was only going to be a year at first but then I couldn’t bring myself to pick my wand back up, I changed a lot in that year without magic. I cried for most of that year and stayed in my flat not working. When that first year was over and I still couldn’t bring myself to go back to the magic world I began to work in the muggle world.”
A/N: Please review it would mean so much to me. I don't mind whether it is a compliment or critisism
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