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Penitence by star_lite84
Chapter 2 : A Muggleborn's World
 
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 2


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A/n: typed this up faster than I thought...

 

Chapter 2: A Muggleborn’s World

 

“Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go, just remember how far you have come. Remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won, and all the fears you have overcome.” –Unknown

 

The house was clean. So why did she have an obsessive need to make sure everything was in its place. She must have walked through the guest room at least ten times. Her mother had washed and changed the sheets the night before, her father had cleaned out the closet and dresser.

“A great excuse to donate things we haven’t worn in years. A good excuse for your mother to go shopping.” He said as he folded another sweater.

Hermione found herself standing at the end of the bed glancing around the room. She could go through it with a white glove, and not find a speck of dust. So what was she doing? She always liked the guest room. The wall behind the bed was a medium charcoal coal, while the rest of the room was coated in ivory. The floor was cover with a light gray carpet, the room was barely used so it still felt cushioned under her feet. The sheets were white, but at the end of the bed was a spring green blanket. Not exactly in the Slytherin color scale, but still green.

The room only had one window, but it had a lovely bench seat under it. It had a view of their small backyard. The grass was a brilliant green, her father had just trimmed it over the weekend, and she could still see the lines the lawnmower left behind in its wake. In the distance the bell at St. Jude’s Church began to toll the hours.

Hermione closed her eyes.

‘6…7…8…9…… 9 o’clock. One more hour.’ She thought as she took a deep breath.

With one last glance around the room, she smoothed the already perfect spring green blanket and went across the hall to her room.

~*~

Her parents had taken the day off in anticipation for their guest. Her mother was currently in the pantry that housed their washer and dryer. She was folding the towels she started earlier that morning. Hermione’s father was sitting on the couch reading the most recent dentistry journal, wisdom teeth extractions seemed to be the topic of the month.

She tried to read her book, but found over the last half an hour she glanced over the same paragraph. Every leaf that blew past the front window of the living room, every shake of the branch, the neighbor walking their dog down the street made her heart race with anticipation. She just wished they would arrive, so that the stress would disappear. She knew she was lying to herself, as soon as he arrived, the rest of the summer would be nothing but stress!

The past week had started with more tunnel vision, but she tried to keep herself busy with cleaning and organizing to take the anxiety away. At night she found it hard to shut her brain off. She was never trusted sleep aids, magical or muggle created. She told herself she had to learn to cope and shut down on her own. That’s when she found herself mentally writing the stories of the last seven years in her head. How she met a quiet boy on the train that had lost his toad, which lead her to meeting her two best friends. She thought about how hard it was to adjust to magical schooling, finding that the bullying he suffered through during primary had followed her into the wizarding world. How she was determined to show that a muggleborn could excel just much, if not more than any other student in the school. She laughed when she thought about the one term Harry was actually performing better than her in Potions, all because of that stupid book. Before she knew it, she was fast asleep dreaming of the pleasant memories.

Yet, now, it seemed the darkest part of her recollections was going to literally walk through her front door. The last time she had seen Malfoy, he was in the Ministry, preparing for trial. She had been there to support Harry as he testified about his accounts during the war. The Department of Magical Law Enforcement had also asked her and Ron to stand trial as well. The boys had no problem retelling the accounts of the past year, but Hermione had spent enough time in the limelight. She wrote multiple scrolls about what she had seen, what she had done, what others had done. Harry had told her that they read them at various points of the trials.

The day she saw him, was the same day Harry was going to testify that Narcissa Malfoy had lied to the Dark Lord in order to save her son. It was odd to see him in any emotional state, other than indifference. But that day he seemed nervous. Nodding his head anytime his mother addressed him, as if he would vomit if he dared opened him mouth. When it was time to enter the court room, he seemed to compose himself enough that you would never know he could show any concern. The old Malfoy was back.

The doorbell rang.

Yet instead of the light and friendly tone it normally chimed, Hermione heard it as a drawn out low dreadful pitch. Something that would be heard in a horror movie. She didn’t dare move. Her father glanced over the frames of his glasses at her, before he placed his journal down on the coffee table. He stood up and rounded the couch. The living room had a wall that separated it from the front hall. As her father neared the door, he became out of sight. Hermione stood, one hand still holding her forgotten book, she flicked her right wrist and allowed the base of her wand to drop from her sleeve into her palm. Constant Vigilance.

“Ah! Good day, sir! I am Thomas Worthington, is this the Granger residence?” she heard a cheery voice ask through the screen door.

“It is indeed. Why don’t come in.” Mr. Granger said as he flipped the latch on the door.

Hermione heard the signature creek of the door as her father opened it wide enough for them to enter. She watched as Mr. Worthington entered the front hall and glance around at the pictures that hung on the wall. He seemed quite pleased that he had found the correct address and took it upon himself to peek down the hall towards the kitchen, before turning to look straight at Hermione in the living room. His eyes seemed to light up as he recognized her.

“Good morning Miss Granger! I hope the summer is treating you well.” He practically shouted at her.

Hermione tried to send him a polite smile, but then saw him enter the hall. She didn’t know why it surprised her, it would hardly be acceptable for him to walk down the street in the expensive robes he normally fashioned himself in. He stood there, unsure of what to do, wearing a pair of dark jeans, a dark gray t-shirt with a black leather jacket over it. He held the strap of his knapsack so tightly his knuckle were ghost white. He too, glanced around in the front hall, until Hermione’s father waved them inside the living room.

He gave her father a side glance before he entered the room. When he looked back up, he stared straight at her. He gave her the slightest of nods before he stood next to Mr. Worthington. Hermione’s mother entered the living room through the dining room entry just as her husband was offering their guests a seat. Erica placed a hand on Hermione’s shoulder and silently asked if she was alright. Hermione answered by taking her seat, sliding her wand back into her sleeve.

~*~

The better part of the next hour was Thomas Worthington talking so fast, it was almost impossible to see when he took a breath between sentences. There was a heavy stack of paperwork her parents needed to be briefed on and signed before he left Draco in their care. He explained that the same paperwork would be present to the Malfoy’s when Hermione was to spend her time at the manor. There was a protection spell placed on the person in their care so that no harm can come to them during their stay. Of course this excluded the killing curse, but the Ministry would be immediately informed if an Unforgivable was used. While Hermione and Draco were free to use magic, in no way could it be to harm one another or anyone within the vicinity of the town.

“This is a learning experience. If I were you,” Worthington suggested as he looked over at Draco, “I would learn to go without it. See how it is to live life without the use of magic.”

“Actually,” Mr. Granger chimed in, “While we accept Hermione’s powers, we discourage the use of magic around the house for quick fixes. She still does her chores, and cooks without magic.”

Mr. Worthington clapped his hands, “Perfect. When in Rome…” he encouraged as he stacked the papers.  

Hermione had to keep from rolling her eyes. She again felt her mother’s hand on her shoulder.

“Darling, why don’t you show Draco his room, and take him around the house. I’ll make lunch in a bit.”

Hermione glanced over at the blond on the couch. He refused to look at her as he reached for is bag and stood. They left the room silently as they made their way up the stairs. The Grangers lived in a modestly sized home. Three bedrooms, close to the town, their office not more than ten minutes away. It was perfect for the three of them. So why did it now feel as if it was claustrophobic?

At the top of the stairs, Hermione took a left down the hall. Her room and the guest room were at the beginning of the hallway. On the left, Hermione’s door was open to show the white and lilac walls, as well as a gray and lilac comforter neatly tucked into her bed frame. Draco was not surprised to see the bookshelves that were built alongside and under her window. She stopped at the door right across from her room. She opened the door and stepped in.

“This is your room. There’s a dresser you can use, that’s the closet over there,” she pointed out both on either side of the window. She watched as he took in his new environment.

“What’s that door?” he asked as he pointed at the door on the other side of the staircase they came up.

“Oh, that just leads to the attic.” She was waiting for the look of disgust, when she wasn’t presented with one, she stepped back out of the room and further down the hall. Draco took it as a signal to follow.

“This is the linen closet, any clean sheets or towels are in here, as well as the laundry hamper.” She walked further down the hall, “This is the bathroom, and that’s my parent’s room.” 

She led him back down the hall to his room. “I’ll just leave you to settle in, lunch should be ready soon.”

Hermione stopped halfway down the stairs to try and control the shaking of her hands. She took a deep breath and went to help her mother make sandwiches.

Draco reentered his new living quarters. He didn’t know what to expect, but this was certainly a far cry from the mud shacks he use to image muggles living in. He was still uncertain as to what the Grangers did for a living, but it had to be a respectable one to have this type of house. His room seemed quite comfortable, of course it was barely the size of his closet back home, but decent. He placed his bag on the floor by the dresser. He looked out the back window…green…the grass, the trees. It was strangely calming and yet he never felt more unnerved. He turned, sat on the bed, and ran his hands through his hair.

~*~

A/N: Honest thoughts would be appreciated...


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