Chapter 3 : Dinner and a Game
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While Hogwarts always had enough food to feed everyone twice over, and the choices were endless, there was something about a simple turkey and cheese sandwich that satisfied her stomach. She was in the middle of slicing up a tomato when Malfoy hesitantly walked in. He took in the room, though not sure what he should do, or where else to go, he decided that the doorway seemed to be a safe spot.
“Are you all settled in Draco?” her mother asked as she pulled a loaf of bread from a drawer behind the island Hermione was using.
Draco nodded his head and crossed his arms over his chest.
“Well I’m sure all that traveling you did this morning has worked up an appetite. Grab a plate and help yourself.” She instructed as she untwisted the bag. “Hermione, dear, did you show Draco everything?”
“Just the upstairs.” She answered then turned to Malfoy as he approached the island. “Well…you’ve seen the living room, you’ve obviously found the kitchen…” she pointed to her right, “Over there is the dining room, the door under the stairs is the small bath, that’s the pantry in the corner…you can do your laundry in there…or…I can show you how to use the machines. Then, there’s the back door that leads to the yard.”
Draco glanced around as she pointed out the various places. When she pointed out the back door, he noticed a small plastic flap at the base.
“Is door for that cat of yours?” he asked as he placed some bread on his plate.
Hermione glanced back at the door, then proceeded to finish cutting the tomato.
“No…well yes…but no. We sort of have shared custody of our neighbor’s Scottish terrier.” She explained.
Draco raised an eyebrow.
“You see, not long after I got Crookshanks, our neighbor’s, Bill and Lisa, decided to adopt a puppy. Pepper became very attached to Crooks.” She said as she spread the mustard on her sandwich.
“Yeah, so attached, every time I let the cat in, Pepper would be right behind him. I still say we should our own dog.” Henry chimed in as he entered the kitchen.
“You can get a dog when we retire.” Her mother countered.
By the shaking of Hermione’s head, Draco could tell this was an old topic.
“Anyways, we accepted the fact that Pepper would be spending time here, so Dad installed the pet door.” She looked over at her mother with a slight frown. “Where is Crooks? I haven’t seen him all morning.”
“He went out not long after breakfast, dear. I’m sure he’ll be along.” Her mother answered as she brought her plate over to the table.
Hermione had hoped that Crookshanks would be around. She was really curious to see just how he would react with Malfoy in the house. In truth, she had hoped that one of the furry animas would be present, she had noticed, not long after Pepper was adopted, that the two animals were more comfortable with one another than any cat and dog should be. Crookshanks was cranky on the best of days, but having a ten week old puppy tailing him around the yard was bound to drive anyone crazy. But it seemed as though Crooks had taken Pepper under his wing. One day when Pepper had joined the Grangers for the evening, she was one the floor reading when Pepper settled in next to her. It was then that she noticed the slight forking in his tail. Crups were known to look more like a Jack Russell terrier, but perhaps Pepper was only part crup. Either way, both kneazles and crups had the tendency to spot trustworthy people. Hermione needed to know.
The day was quite boring, yet on edge. The two teens seemed to do everything to avoid one another for the better part of the day. Hermione for the most part stayed in her room and read on her bench window. Draco, not knowing what freedoms he had within the house, did the same. It wasn’t until Hermione’s mother called them down for dinner, that they had the first interaction in hours. Practically bumping into one another in the hallway as they exited their rooms at the same time, Draco waved her to go first. In the back of her mind, Hermione gripped the railing a bit harder, anticipating him to kick her down the stairs. She knew he wouldn’t dare, but she could only trust him as far as she could throw him.
Dinner was always in the dining room, something his parents did for every meal. While their table could comfortably hold six to eight people, the table in the manor was made to hold up to twenty. It always seemed odd that the three of the Malfoys would all sit at one end of a very long table, while the rest of it went unoccupied. Then again, when it was last occupied, he watched an innocent teacher murdered, then devoured by a snake.
He waited for the Granger’s to settle before he sat down. Hermione’s father took the head of the table, he was placed on the right hand side of him; facing his wife and daughter. The smell of the roasted chicken, steamed vegetables and mashed potatoes were enough to make his moth water. He let the Grangers serve themselves first, before he placed anything on his plate. It was a custom to let the hosts have the first choice of the meat and servings. He helped himself to a breast, avoided the cauliflower in the vegetable bowl, and a decent amount of potatoes.
Hermione poured herself a glass of lemonade, when her father started the conversation.
“So, Draco, what is it your parents do for a living?” he asked as he cut a piece of chicken.
Hermione nearly missed her cup as she sharply looked up at Draco. He noticed her reaction, but was able to answer smoothly.
“My father has dealings with many companies, for the most part he is on the board of directors for the ones we are highly invested in. My mother, on the other hand, works with charities, fundraising events mostly, but she is also the executor of all Malfoy properties both here and in France.” He pierced a carrot with his fork.
“Investment and realty…very impressive. Do plan on following in your parent’s footsteps?” Henry asked as he grabbed his wine glass.
Draco swallowed before he answered. It was the first time anyone had asked him that question. Most people assumed that he would take over for his father, when it came time. But in fact, he really wanted to separate himself from his parent’s successes and failures. He wanted to make a name for himself.
“Actually…no…I’m looking into joining the Department of Magical Games and Sports.” He watched for Hermione’s reaction and was not disappointed. If her eyebrows could raise any higher, they would have gotten lost in her mop of curls. He turned back to her father as he let out a hardy laugh.
“A sports man! Finally, someone to talk football. Tell me you’re a Manchester United fan, I feel like this is our year…”
“Dad,” Hermione interrupted, “There’s no football in the wizarding world.” She tried to break it to him softly.
“No?” he asked as he looked to Draco for confirmation. The young man shook his head, and watched as the older man’s shoulder sagged slightly. With the next breath, Henry Granger seemed to come to a conclusion. “Well, I’ll make you a fan yet.”
Her father wasn’t lying. Soon after the dishes were brought back into the kitchen, and Erica reassured the boys that they would handle the clean, Henry steered Draco back towards the living room. Draco sat in the same spot he occupied earlier that morning. Although at the time he was concentrating more on the scratch in the coffee table then the company he was surrounded by. This time, however, he took in the room. There were pictures on the mantle of the fire place on his right. Many of which were Hermione taken at various ages. First birthday, first day of school, losing her first tooth, vacations, even one where she was wrapped in what seemed to be a duck towel. All in all, it seemed as though Granger grew up in a happy home.
Mr. Granger was currently playing with a large black box that was situated in the corner. He seemed to be holding a thick black wand that controlled the box, because with the push of a button the box turned on, and moving pictures and sound were displayed. While he thought the pictures in the frames were mundane, he had to admit, this box was extraordinary. The people in the box seemed to be talking to them, were they to answer? How did the people get in the box? But before he could ask, the pictures were rapidly changing. It seemed as though Mr. Granger had control over what was projected on the box, as he kept hitting the buttons until he found the right picture.
The picture he chose was loud. The commentators seemed to have to shout over the cheers of the crowds in the stands. The pitch looked like a much lower version of a quidditch field, yet it was rectangular in shape, there was only one larger goal per team, and the players were running. They seemed determined to kick a quaffle across the field.
Mr. Granger walked him through the rules and objectives of the game, as well as critiquing the way his team was playing. Before he knew it, Draco was just as into the game, yet kept his celebrations and disappointments to himself. He didn’t even realize Hermione had joined them until she spoke.
“It’s called a television. There are cameras at the game that send the images through wires and electricity, and then are projected through the screen. There are different channels, or pictures, that you can watch.” She reached over to the table and grabbed the thick wand. “This is the remote, it changes the channels, controls the volume, and the power of the tele. So I can hit this button and we can watch the news…”
As soon as she hit the button, she was met with an outcry from the armchair next to her. She looked at her father, shook her head, and then changed it back.
“I was trying to show him how it worked. Wizards don’t have televisions.” She explained as she set the remote down.
“He’s here for a month, darling. He has plenty of time to learn how to work the tele, just not during the game.” Her father answered as he confiscated the remote to prevent any further tutorials.
Her mother laughed as she entered the room, setting down a tray of biscuits. “Men and their sports…help yourselves.”
Draco watched as Hermione reached over and took a treat. She placed the treat between her teeth as she settled in to read her book. Draco turned back to the game. They were so normal. He had expected to enter the house and be confronted by Mr. Granger about the way he treated his daughter in the past. Instead, he was greeted with a smile and a handshake. Offered a nice room, and good food. And now the man was trying to bond with him. Everything he was brought up to believe about muggles, was so far proven to be the furthest from the truth and he had only been here for nine hours. He reached over and grabbed a biscuit. He took a bite…something was off. He stared at the cookie in question, had he been wrong? Were they trying to lure him in with comforts and were now trying to poison him? He glanced over at Grangers to see if they were anticipating his demise, but they were still enjoying the game. He glanced over at Hermione to find that she was trying not to laugh.
“They’re sugar free. That’s why they taste funny.” She explained as she closed her book and reached for another. “My parents are dentists.”
He raised an eyebrow at her as he swallowed the cookie that was now deemed safe.
“They’re like healers, but they specialize in teeth. Sugar degrades teeth, so they have a strict no sugar rule.” Hermione examined her cookie before she took another bite.
A no sugar rule? He could think back to all the times his mother had sent him sweets while they were in Hogwarts. All the times he stopped in Honeydukes during his Hogsmeade visits to restock his sugar supply. In fact, now that he thought of it, he could recall seeing Granger in said shop quite a few times. He’d have to hold on to this piece of information, should he need it.
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