Chapter 1 : BLUE: of Memory
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July 2, 1986
The sleeping dragon opened his eyes to the bright, new sun. He sat up, hair disheveled and sheets tussled all over the bed, yawning deeply. He rubbed his eyes.
“Dobby!” he called groggily. Almost instantaneously, and with a loud pop, the wrinkled creature, quite near in size to Draco appeared.
“How may Dobby assist young master this morning?”
“Tell Mummy I’m awake,” he ordered, still coming out of his sleep. The elf disappeared as quickly as he’d come.
While Draco awaited his return with instructions for the morning, he made his way to the casement window nearest his bed, from which the sunshine poured through. He hoisted himself onto the window seat beneath it, and stood on his toes to reach the crank that kept it shut. He had just wrenched it open, and felt the fresh air of summer on his little face when another telltale pop resounded behind him. He was dragged down to the ground before he could protest.
“Oh no! Young master must be careful! Young master is not supposed to open windows on his own.”
Dobby complied and released his hold on the boy, who had not been standing on his own and consequently lost his balance, falling flat on his bum with a loud thump.
“Master!” Dobby shrieked, horrified. Draco, however, did not hear the elf over the sound of his own laughter. “Dobby is sorry, young master!”
“Oh, stop fussing,” Draco complained, swatting away Dobby’s arms. “You’re no fun at all.”
Draco stood, dusted his nightgown, and rubbed his bum still smiling. As he did so, he faintly remembered a very serious conversation he recently had with his father. Lucius had taken him into his study, after seeing Draco running through the gardens with Timbel – another of the manor’s elves – and proceeded to reprimand him.
Draco was now too old, according to his father, to consort with the house-elves in such a manner. “They are lesser creatures; they are beneath you. From now on they are your servants and nothing more.” Draco had thought of mentioning that he did not have many playmates, but instead asked rather innocently if he could order them to play with him. That question earned him his father’s disapproving (and disgusted) sneer. “Of course, if you wish to tarnish the Malfoy name and ruin all it has built for you.” With that in mind, Draco removed his hand from his slightly sore tush and stood up a bit straighter.
“Get me ready for breakfast, elf.” His tone was void of humor.
Dobby wasted no time ushering Draco into his bathroom for the usual morning preparations. He had a fresh bath, brushed his teeth, and combed his hair. Draco reached for his house clothes, before being stopped. “Mistress says young master is to dress in his robes for today.”
Draco was immensely excited. It had been too long since his last play date (only three weeks, actually – but time moves so differently for the young). He took extra care checking over Dobby’s handiwork in the mirror. With a satisfied ‘hmph’ he turned to his servant.
“To the dining room!”
Draco bounded down the many stairs of his home, racing through the rooms that separated the private quarters from the east wing. The portraits on the wall, many of them awoken by his pitter-pattering, grumbled disapprovingly. Draco paid them no mind, however, nor the house-elf running behind him and begging its young master to slow down. He could only think of the assuredly fun day he was going to have. He hoped his play date would be with Theo. He was by far Draco’s favorite playmate. Though, he supposed Vinny or Greg would be fine too. As long it wasn’t one of the girls he was happy. They liked to play dress up and dolls and family, and Draco could not be bothered with such rubbish games.
He burst into the dining room, and went right for his mother’s knees; he nearly climbed over the arm of the chair she sat in, in his excitement. She let out a surprised ‘umph."
“Mummy, mummy!” he screamed. She turned to him attempting to still his joyful leaps. She smiled brightly at him, though.
“Woah! Good morning, darling. Aren’t we energetic today!” He grinned back, eyes wide.
“Draco!” His grin dissipated, following his mother’s, as his father’s voice bellowed from across the room. “Come here.” Draco moved cautiously, arriving head-bowed at his father’s side. “Would you care to explain the egregious manner in which you entered the hall?” Draco kept his head low. “I am waiting?”
“Sorry, Father,” he mumbled.
“Take out your hands.” Draco slowly lifted his two hands, palms up, and closed his eyes. He felt two sharp raps, one to each. He winced and opened his eyes, tearing as Lucius lowered his wand. “We do not gallivant around this house like werewolves. Understood?” Draco nodded his little head.
“Yes, sir” he whispered, voice shaking.
“Good.” Lucius flourished his wand at Draco’s hands, alleviating the pain as swiftly as it had come. Draco smiled. “Dobby, share Draco’s plate. Then, I suggest dropping something weighty on your toes. Perhaps that will teach you to be more sure-footed when looking after my son.”
Draco took his accustomed seat in the center of the long rectangular table, between his parents. They seemed to be mostly finished with their breakfast, but the family ate in silence for some time. Lucius and Narcissa each read their copies of the Daily Prophet, and Draco focused on gobbling down his egg on toast.
“Mummy, am I playing with Theo today?” Draco ventured once he’d filled himself of breakfast and pumpkin juice. Narcissa lowered her paper.
“No, dearest, not today.”
“Who then?” Narcissa furrowed her brow at Draco, understanding steadily coming over her. She glanced at Lucius, still behind his paper and hopefully unbothered.
“Oh no, my love. No play dates today. We are going to run some errands after lessons.” She cooed.
Draco visibly pouted for the second time that morning. Errands were certainly less fun than playing. Lucius stood then, dropping his paper and snapping his finger. Timbel appeared right away with his outer robes and staff. He put on his garment and walked the length of the table, saying his usual morning goodbyes.
“Don’t look so sullen, Draco. I’m sure your mother will get you some sweets and a new toy while you’re out.”
“A broom?” he beamed. Lucius chuckled.
“You’ll have to speak with your mother about that.” He kissed the top of Draco’s head. “Adieu, my love,” he whispered, pecking Narcissa gently on her lips. “Perhaps you might pick up some figs? I’m in the mood for a tart this evening.” Narcissa’s eyes sparkled delicately; she nodded. Following another kiss, his father exited for another day at the Ministry.
By noon they were weaving in and out of the shops on Diagon Alley. As promised he’d been treated to a rather large scoop of butterscotch ice cream, and a new toy dragon. He was rather pleased as his mother announced they’d finished and took his hand to apparate. Upon landing, he held his stomach and breathed deep. He’d only finished his ice cream 30 minutes or so prior, and felt rather queasy.
“All right, darling?” his mother asked. Draco took one more breath and stood straight; he had too much pride to be sick.
“Yes,” he answered, sincerely. He looked around. “Mummy, where are we?”
When his mother had said they were finished, he assumed they’d be returning to the manor. But Draco knew those grounds in and out – that certainly wasn’t where they were now. And they weren’t at a (smaller) mansion or home of one of his mother’s friends. Instead, they were on a pristine road lined with incredibly small homes and tress, at the end of which stood a high-steepled church. His mother turned to him and knelt down.
“Draco, Mummy has to see an old . . . friend. Then we will head home. All right, my little dragon?'
“Mmhm.” He truly didn’t mind much. She took his hand, and they began to walk until the church seemed far in the distance. Draco pretended to make his dragon fly with his free hand. A few minutes later, as they turned a corner, Narcissa’s movements slowed. Draco looked up just as a dark-haired woman approached them, wearing a warm but cautious smile.
“Cissy, so good of you to come,” she addressed his mother. Though, he’d never heard her called that name before.
“Andromeda,” his mother replied curtly. They did not quite stop walking; rather Andromeda fell into step beside them. “Ugh, such a base neighborhood. Could you not have chosen a more . . . reputable location.”
“With your reputation at stake, I thought better somewhere no one you know would recognize you. Certainly you won’t find any of the wizarding elite in this village. I find it rather charming.” Narcissa scoffed.
“More so filled with all sorts of filth,” Narcissa said under her breath, in begrudging agreement.
“Also,” Andromeda added, “there’s a lovely little garden with a play park that Nymphadora always adored. In case, you brought Draco along. Which of course, I’m glad you have.” Draco looked up at the sound of his name, to see the strange woman – a dark version of his mum – smiling at him. He smiled back.
“Andromeda,” came his mother’s voice, low and threatening, “Do. Not.”
Draco unconcerned himself with the rumblings of the adults as they reached their final destination, and he could see the playground’s colors so bright in the distance.
“Mummy, Mummy! Can I go play?”
At Narcissa’s “Of course” Draco took off, full speed barely hearing her additional warning to be careful and stay in sight. He felt the distinct tingle of magic around him as he ran – she’d no doubt placed some sort of protective spell on him.
She was seated in the sun on the also-still roundabout. Her shoeless feet wiggled in the sand beneath. In her lap, she held a book in one hand, while she rested her chin on the other. Draco, unconsciously, smoothed his robes and hair, and walked towards her.
He realized that was a terrible idea once he stood in front of her, though, he wasn’t quite sure why. After a moment, she looked up at him, having felt his shadow.
“Hello!” she said, cheerily.
Somewhere in the back of his mind, Draco heard his mother’s voice reminding him it was impolite to stare. He couldn’t help himself. Her dark blonde hair was pulled back into a French plait, but some bushy waves had escaped its hold, framing her face in frizz. She looked like a golden pygmy puff; she was so pretty.
“Are you all right?” she asked cocking her head to the side. Draco stood still. She sighed and closed her book. “Well, get on with it then. I’d like to finish reading.”
Draco finally caught hold of himself.
“Get on with what?” he asked her, confused.
“The teasing. I’m sure you think you’re clever.” He did, and he was starting to suspect she was too, which he liked.
“I don’t want to tease you,” he replied.
“You don’t?” It was her turn for confusion.
“No, I don’t. Do you know where the monkeys are?”
“The monkeys?” she questioned.
“Yes. There are no monkeys anywhere. And the slides aren’t moving; all the spells wore off. I think this park is broken. Can I read with you?” The pygmy openly stared at him for a moment before bursting into laughter. He strangely recalled the sound of his piccolo whenever he actually caught a tune.
“You’re funny,” she declared, still smiling. “Yes, you can.”
Draco removed his own shoes and sat down beside her. She opted to read aloud, sounding almost grown up. The book contained no pictures, but she hardly ever stumbled with the words. Draco was impressed. He had recently moved on from picture books, but he wasn’t nearly that good yet. He liked the way she read, and the way her stray hairs floated on the wind, and the way her heel occasionally swiped across his instep.
They sat like that for some time, until the Pygmy came to the end of the chapter.
“Riveting!” Draco declared, as if he’d been listening. It earned him another smile; he was beyond grateful.
“That’s a cool dragon,” she said, pointing to the toy he’d set beside his shoes. He bent down to pick it up, brushing the sand off it’s soft but life-like scales.
“It’s a Swedish Short-Snout,” Draco proudly proclaimed. “Watch this!”
He took one of the dragon’s wings in his hand, and began to flap it. The dragon roared; a gush of brilliant blue flame dispensed from its mouth. She screamed.
“That’s dangerous!” she shouted, leaping off the merry-go-round and away from the toy. Draco laughed.
“It’s not real, silly!” He flapped the wing again, and placed his free hand in the dragon’s mouth. The fire engulfed Draco’s hand without singing a hair. “Here, try it,” he offered her.
She took it tentatively, her face riddled with caution. He watched her as she mimicked his movements, testing the dragon fire with her own hand. There was that smile again. Of course, neither of them knew that they were the only two on the playground at the moment who could hear the roar or see the flame.
"How does it work?” she asked him. He shrugged.
“Come on, I mean really.” He shrugged harder.
“Is your cape for magic too?” she teased.
“Cape? These robes are the height of wizarding fashion!” He borrowed the phrase from his mum.
“Dashing!” she confirmed, and they laughed again. “All right, then. Let’s go to the swings; they’re my favorite.”
“I told you, everything’s broken,” he whined. She told him he was daft, grabbed his arm, and dragged him to the swing sets.
That afternoon, Draco learned to pump on a swing. The Pygmy finally succeeded at the monkey bars. Draco learned broken slides could still be fun when using them for racing. It was a much better day than he’d expected to have, and he’d discovered the best playmate of his young life.
They were chasing each other around the roundabout when his Pygmy suddenly stopped running.
“Hermione! Time to go!” He followed her gaze to the woman shouting in their direction.
“That’s my mum, I’ve got to go. Will you be here tomorrow?” Draco was at a loss. He wasn’t ready for her to leave. He looked back towards his mother, seated on a bench with that woman, and sadly shook his head.
“I don’t think so,” he whispered.
“Oh. Well, it was nice meeting you. Thanks for playing with me.” She waved at him and began to turn around.
“Wait!” he called. Unaware of what had taken hold of him, he held out his toy to her. “Here, take it.”
“I can’t take it, it’s yours.”
“I don’t want it anymore. It’s okay, you like it a lot. You have it.” She regarded him strangely, but reached out and took the curious toy from his hands.
“Thanks. Okay bye . . . wait! What’s your name?” she giggled. He smirked, preemptively proud of his own cleverness.
“I’m the Dragon.”
“That’s not your name.”
“Yes it is,” he insisted.
“Well, fine. I’m Hermione Granger.” In the distance, her mother called out for her again. “Thank you, Dragon.” She rolled her eyes. She kissed his cheek. She took off sprinting in the other direction.
“Come on darling,” Narcissa held out her hand to him. “Home, now.”
They were on the familiar Manor grounds in a matter of seconds. His mother knelt to his level for the second time that day. “Draco, this is very serious. I am going to ask you to do a very big boy thing.”
“I don’t want you to tell anyone at all, not even Father, about my meeting today. Do you understand?” He nodded his head.
“Mmhm.” Narcissa looked at him strangely.
“Are you sure, dearest? You understand you can’t speak of this? If someone asks, you must say we came straight home after shopping.”
“I understand,” he confirmed. Draco was too young to know what embarrassment was. Even less so prepared to describe the feeling of a crush. But he was certain he did not want to speak about it.
“Well, all right then. Where’s your toy, Draco?” He shrugged; his mother sighed. “I suppose we’ll just have to get you a new one tomorrow. And perhaps a broom, since you are my big boy now.”
“Yes!” he happily cheered.
What an absolutely marvelous day.
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