Tiny snowflakes fell gently from a dark cloudy sky and a gentle winter breeze blew through the empty streets dimly lit by the streetlamps. I sat at my desk, finishing some paperwork when I glanced at the clock, ticking away on the bookshelf near my office window. Only ten more minutes until I could go home. I fixed my brunette locks in a ponytail and kept scribbled away in a couple more forms before my boss, Mr. Fletcher peeked in my open doorway, “still working, Hannah?”
I nodded, filing away the forms in the cabinet behind me, “Just a few more minutes and I will be out the door.”
“You better, you know you work too hard,” Mr. Fletcher grinned, walking down the wall.
I sighed, knowing he was right. I spent all my hours here and maybe too many but this was my life, what gave me a purpose. After the war with Voldemort, everyone had work to do and our work was insanely busier the past three years due to our witch and wizard recovery program. Constantly, homeless witches and wizards were coming to us for a place to sleep, food or vocational training. I had only been here a year and was the youngest of the group at nineteen years old but I kept up with the rest by putting in extra hours. Packing up my bookbag and shutting the lights off in my office, I headed down the hall, passing my colleague Lyla who smiled at me, “So, do you have a hot date for the Christmas party in two weeks?”
I sighed, wishing she would stop with asking about my love life, “No, I do not. Lyla, maybe I am better off staying home. Last year was a disaster.”
“Well, I suppose stepping on Ron Weasley’s feet last year during the waltz did create some problems but you managed to stay in heels the whole evening and you didn’t spill butterbeer on the minister of magic,” Lyla pointed out, getting up from her desk.
I bit my lip, stating seriously, “I am not good in the whole date, dancing and looking pretty kind of department. You know that as well as I do.”
“Look, Neville obviously did not know who to set you up with so I will do it this time” Lyla smiled.
I shook my head, “Save yourself the effort. I have to head home but I will be in first thing on Monday.”
“See you then,” Lyla waved as I walked off.
I started walking down the stairs to the main entrance and as I shut the door behind me, locking it, I bumped into someone. I quickly apologized, “Sorry, I did not see you there-”
Then I looked up, meeting a pair of tired grey eyes belonging to a ragged shaggy blonde haired twenty year old man wearing ripped dirty jeans, a torn and patched brown overcoat. He fumbled with his words before I mentioned, “I am really sorry, but we are closed for the evening. You will have to come back in another seven hours.”
“Please, I just need a place to stay,” He said, practically looking ready to get on his knees and beg.
I softly said, hating to tell him what was only true, “Our shelter is completely full.”
I started to turn but he said pleadingly, “Please, there has to be something. The knight bus is full, the London shelter is even full. I have nowhere else to go.”
I looked at him, my heart pained by the look in his eyes and I sighed, “Give me a second and let me talk to my boss.”
I went back inside the office building and spotted Mr. Fletcher putting on his coat. I started to say, “Sir, we have a walk in outside. He has nowhere to go because every shelter is full and he will not leave even when I told him our shelter was full as well.”
“Well, there is nothing else to do then,” Mr. Fletcher sighed, “I cannot take him in, my wife’s parents are coming in for the holidays.”
I persisted, “We cannot just leave him out there.”
“Well, what do you propose I do? Ask Lyla to take him in for the night?” Mr. Fletcher asked.
I glanced back outside at the guy shivering the cold winter night and looked back at my boss, “I can take him in.”
“Are you sure? Do you realize what you are getting yourself into? You don’t even know anything about him-” Mr. Fletcher started to say.
I stated, “It is the Christmas season after all. And he cannot sleep on the sidewalk in this cold weather.”
Mr. Fletcher sighed, “Your decision, I suppose. Just be careful.”
I nodded and headed back to the door, the man standing against the wall, rubbing his fingers together that were covered by worn gloves. I looked at him, saying, “If you would like, you can stay at my place for the night.”
He looked at me, shocked for a moment, “Really?”
I nodded, “Yes.”
We walked down the snowy sidewalk a couple of blocks until we reached my apartment building. We walked to the second floor and I unlocked my door, letting him inside. He did not remove his coat or his shoes but stood there, seemingly unsure what to do. I flicked on the lights with the switch and he glanced around, saying something to himself. I mentioned, taking off my boots and coat, putting them away in the closet, “down the small hall is my room and the bathroom on the right.”
He nodded, still not moving from his stance and I asked, “Is there anything you need?”
The guy shook his head, saying nothing and continuing to glance around, seemingly in shock at the muggle style of my apartment. I went to grab some extra blankets from the hall closet and set them down on the couch and found him looking at pictures on my wall. He seemed transfixed on one in particular of my brother and me when we were young. Once he realized I had come back, he turned, “Sorry.”
I thought nothing of it and finally thought to introduce myself, “I’m Hannah Longbottom.”
Once I said my last name, he looked a little torn and almost like he was remembering someone. Then he spoke quietly, “Jack.”
I sensed he was not telling me everything but left our introduction at that. Then I said, glancing at the clock, “I am going to bed but if you need more blankets, there are some in the closet.”
He nodded and I went to my room to go to bed. Only a couple hours later, I heard sounds of crying and talking. Getting up, I walked towards the living room to check on everything and found Jack sprawled on the couch, crying and trembling in his sleep from some bad dream. He kept repeating over and over, “I can’t do it, please, don’t make me.”
Then I noticed a strange mark on his exposed left arm, the dark mark. I swallowed hard. I had dealt with a couple former dark wizards before but not this close, as that was another colleague’s department. I only held the job in paperwork. Hesitantly, my fingers touched his shoulder, shaking him from his nightmare. Suddenly, his eyes opened, he flinched under my touch and sat upright, glancing around almost paranoid. I bit my lip, unsure of what to do but he quickly rolled his sleeve down his left arm, covering the mark. I looked at him, meeting his gaze, “Alright, ‘Jack,’ what is your real name?”
He averted his gaze within a second, hesitant to answer me, as if speaking his real name was torture. He fiddled with the blanket edge for a moment before meeting my eyes. His voice was filled with sorrow and regret as he spoke, almost looking ashamed of his own name, “Draco Malfoy.”
a/n: I have not written a hp fan fic since my last one (christmas magic about George Weasley) almost a year ago....so I am rather rusty at the moment so let me know if this okay or not lol. thanks for reading! :) Also, Hannah Longbottom is Neville's sister. More will be explained later on.