“The press is like the peculiar uncle you keep in the attic - just one of those unfortunate things.”
Going to work had become something Hermione dreaded. She knew that being surrounded by the people, working with the people, that were selling the idea of her and Malfoy being together to the public couldn’t be good but it was her job and it was also her responsibility to her boss and to Malfoy to keep face around The Prophet and stop any incriminating information before it’s released to the world. That’s the only reason she walked into the doors of The Daily Prophet that morning. She had decided to come to work early, hoping less people would be there and so she could safely get to her office without any disturbances, but apparently she wasn’t early enough.
The very second Hermione opened the two glass doors of the workplace, and took a step onto the shiny, laminate flooring she was bombarded with yells, flashes and people shoving their way up to her with quills and notebooks in their hands, just like the one she was carrying. Did they really not realize she works here? She’s one of them? Hermione just stared for a moment of disbelief and then went to covering her face – ever since the end of the war she had never gotten so many paparazzi. She shielded her face with her hands as she would if she was outside on a sunny day, and tried to force her way through the crowd which didn’t part for her naturally. It was like trying to push through a wall.
“Excuse me!” Hermione said as she shoved her way through, the clicks and flashes of camera’s following her.
“Hermione! Tell us about you and Draco!” Reporters would yell at her, questions like these following: “How long as this been going on?” “What’s the sweetest thing he’s done for you?” “Is Draco Malfoy a romantic at heart?” “When did you realize you loved him?” “Where did he take you on your first date?” And a couple that shocked Hermione were, “Was this to make Mr. Weasley jealous?” and “Are you marrying Draco for his money or his estate?” Who would answer those?! And who would even dare ask them?!
Finally she saw a small opening and forced her way through – she was almost at the elevators and was planning to shut herself in her cubical the moment she was able. This was absurd! A reporter stepped right in front of her and asked, “On a scale of one to ten how much do you love Draco Malfoy?” Hermione opened her eyes wide, appalled at the question.
“Who would answer something like that?!” She demanded as she tried to shove her way past the man, she had never heard anyone at her work ask anything so horrible and immediately felt sorry for the other famous couples, she could not imagine living like this for more than was necessary.
“So it’s not a ten, then?” she heard someone shout.
“No! She would have said if it was!” Another person yelled back. Hermione stumbled on words and then let out an odd, angry noise that had been building up inside her. The elevators were now in sight and she fought the crowd to get to them. This was the worst mob she’d ever encountered; at least the paparazzi that had followed her, Harry and Ron around after the war had been considerate of their war heroes. Suddenly a small teenage boy came up beside her, he was dressed in a Daily Prophet uniform and she guessed he was hired on for the summer while away from Hogwarts.
“I have something to tell you, miss.” He said timidly. “A letter from Mr. Malfoy is waiting for you at your desk.” With that the crowd went wild, reporters writing down word after word in their little books and took pictures to go with it. She could see it now Hermione does not love Draco ten stars! And Ms. Granger receives letter from betrothed at work! How ridiculous. She thanked the young man and slipped into the elevator, quickly clicking on the third floor button where her cubical was situated, and watched as the iron fence slipped into place and the people disappeared below her. She got out at her floor and went straight to her desk; thankfully she had no people in her face up there. Her co-workers happened to be very well behaved and knew her rather well, so instead they just smiled at her as she walk passed. The occasional person shooting her a confused glance but that was it.
She sat down at her desk to see a small, white envelope sitting carefully atop her small metal desk. She smiled and ripped it open; this must be his reply to the letter she had sent him yesterday. Her smile quickly faded when she saw what he had written.
Letters are no longer safe. I’ll be picking you up at your flat at 6:30 so dress up and be ready.
She grimaced. How is it not safe? Well she would not know because he hasn’t actually told her anything. She was very annoyed and this was the last straw. She ripped up the letter and threw it into the rubbish bin beside her. She sighed and placed her head in her hands when she heard the quiet tapping of heels behind her. She glanced over her shoulder and smiled when she saw it was Henrietta, the secretary for the third floor.
“Hello, Henrietta.” Hermione said. Henrietta smiled back, returning the greeting.
“The manager wants you to pack up all your belongings,” Henrietta told Hermione. “And take them up to the fourth floor.” The fourth floor was where esteemed reporters took office. And by office they meant office - all reporters were given one instead of a cubical. Hermione looked up at Henrietta in confusion. This was a lot to take in.
“Why? Why the fourth floor? I haven’t received a promotion?”
Henrietta furrowed her eyebrows. “I don’t know but he says you have ten minutes to be up there, he doesn’t like to be kept waiting.”
Hermione nodded and immediately started grabbing things off of her desk as she didn’t need a box, she had barely anything. Two picture frames, one filled with a picture of her and her parents taken last fall, and the other a picture of Ron, Harry and herself back when they were in their very early twenties. A box of tissues, a mug filled with pencils, a paper bag filled with owl treats, and three books; one on writing, another on the work force and lastly a favourite of hers, Important Events throughout the Ages. Once all the objects were gathered in her arms she left her cubical and walked past Henrietta, smiling a little wanly at her and out the door and straight into the elevator before anyone of consequence noticed her. The trip up to the fourth floor could barely be called a trip and she stepped out into a very small room, practically the size of a broom cupboard. On one side of her were stairs leading up, the other side were stairs leading down, and in front of her another door. She opened it and stepped inside a hallway with doors on every inch of it. The offices.
“Ms. Granger!” The manager, a tall man with grey slicked back hair and a large, salesman-like grin, exclaimed when he saw her, clapping his hands together. “Your office is number seven!”
Hermione bit her lip. “Mr. Cobalt,” She addressed him. “I was wondering why I’m getting an office.”
He looked at her as though she slapped him in the face for giving her a thousand galleons. “Why? Because of all your publicity, of course! People will be coming in to see you for interviews and some will even just want to see you! And I can’t have them seeing or taking pictures of the cubicles of third floor but rather the offices of fourth floor. Naturally.”
“Naturally.” Hermione repeated under her breath. “So, wait. This isn’t to do with my work at all?”
Mr. Cobalt’s grin shrunk into an odd, small thing that looked almost like a frown. “Well, no. But I’m sure you’ll earn your office soon enough!” He smiled again.
“So wait, will I be receiving fourth floor projects? Or third floor?” She asked quizzically. She hated not being moved up for her work efforts and skills but rather her celebrity status as Draco Malfoys fiancée and only female of the golden trio.
The man paused. “Well, third floor projects. But you get to work in style, just like a fourth floor reporter! So don’t you worry, I’m sure with some hard work you’ll be promoted in no time. You just have to get into what you’re doing! Now, I really have to run! Good day Ms. Granger!” The man shot her another hardy grin before grabbing her right hand in both of his, squeezing in a sort of hand shake, and hurrying out of the door at an unbelievable gate which seemed natural to him – He really should have been a salesman. She looked down the hall. There was number seven. She felt horrible as she walked towards it – some people would be fine taking an office that was not rightfully theirs but Hermione liked to earn things for her efforts and this wasn’t earned, it was just helpful for the time being and had nothing to do with her as a reporter.
Once she stepped into her office her stomach dropped. It was small, but lovely. It had nice, ornate wallpapered walls and deep, rich hardwood flooring. She had a wooden desk and two shelves for books, and three trays for different articles. She put her stuff down and organized it into place, feeling like more of a fraud with every second. On the other side of the walls were people who had spent their lives working here, trying to get to the top of their chosen career. They probably did not like that she got one of their offices just because she was on the front page. Once this all blows over would she stay here or go back to her cubical? Probably the latter.
She was snapped out of her daze when she heard a knock on the door. A woman in a tight, knee length blue skirt and white blouse stepped in. She had brown hair that was curled into a French twist.
“Hello, Ms. Granger. My name is Danielle. I’m the fourth floor secretary.” She didn’t smile but her eyes sparkled and her posture was good but not strict which gave her a friendly feel. Hermione tried her best at a convincing smile.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m just, uh, getting set up.” She said, glancing around the office.
“It is a nice office you have been given, Ms Granger. I hope you use it effectively.” Hermione stared up at the witch and she only stared back. Danielle, as was her name, still had a twinkle in her eye which made Hermione believe she was the type of person who would be an easy friend, but the odds were against Hermione cultivating any friendships with her fourth floor co-workers when she was there for her fame and nothing else.
Danielle shifted her weight. “Alright. Well I’m the very last door in this hallway if you need me.” She smiled a small, almost forced smile before retreating back behind the door. Hermione smiled in return and could hear her heels tapping against the floor as she departed down the hall.
Hermione sighed. She turned to face her window and watched as a large, grey owl swooped onto the sill. It was not Draco’s falcon. She unlatched the window and slid it open with a creak. It hopped inside, a letter attached to its leg. She untied it carefully and set it down. The bird looked at her hungrily and pecked her arm just enough to give her a red mark.
“Ow! Okay, okay!” She slipped her hand into the bag of owl treats she had put on the shelf, and took one out, giving it to the owl. The owl ruffled its feathers and swooped out of the window, not taking her reply letter. She closed the window sill. That was rather odd, but then again so was everything lately. She sat down at her desk and looked at the letter which was a thick, yellow parchment with a beautiful seal on the back. The Hogwarts seal. She opened it gingerly and the paper unfolded itself by magic. She then heard Professor McGonagalls voice – or rather Headmistress McGonagalls voice.
I am pleased to inform you that this year will be Hogwarts first ever reunion. I thought it would be appropriate to start the tradition with your graduate class as they proved themselves to be some of the bravest students Hogwarts has ever known. You and your classmates are all invited and I hope to see you there. I’m sorry for the short notice but it will be held in a weeks’ time for that is easier for the staff. Please send your reply back to me at Hogwarts be it a confirmation or not. Thank you for your time.
Hermione stared down at the letter which fell onto her desk limply once the magic had been used up. Hermione re-read the letter then stared out her window. A Hogwarts reunion!?
Alright, that would be the end of chapter three. I am sorry, this chapter and the previous chapter, chapter two, have both been rather dull and informative. I'm just trying to get some things out of the way. Also it was a rather short chapter, and I apologize for that as well. I do hope you enjoyed this chapter nevertheless and the next one should be up shortly. Thank you so, so much for reading this chapter and I hope you continue on and read more as the chapters are validated. As I say every chapter, please review! Just a single review to see what you think means the world to me. So again, thank you for reading!