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Refuge at the Malfoy Manor by Ravenclawandslytherinqueens
Chapter 3 : Day One at Malfoy Manor
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 1

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Chapter 3
Hermione returned to her room a little exhausted and worn out. The day felt like the longest day she’s ever had and she still didn’t know much of what was going on. She now resided in a home of a classmate who she hadn’t seen in years and had surprised her many times during the day. She was completely blown away by everything that was the manor. It surpassed her first experience there, where most of what she could recall now included blood and screaming. She thought it would bring back terrible memories, but from what she could tell, Draco Malfoy and his mother had completely changed the place after Lucius’s arrest, and it brought a pleasant and calming feel now, which was probably the most shocking part for her.

Could they be faking it to make me put my guard down? She shook her head, they didn’t seem like the sort of people who would do such a thing anymore.

She walked around the room and tried to get a feel for things, after checking every corner for who-knows-what and failing, she retired onto her bed and pulled out a book to read before falling asleep.

She woke to a knock at the door. “Jenny the house elf! Breakfast will be served in 15 minutes, Miss Granger.” It took Hermione a second to realize where she was and what she was doing there. At first she felt a sense of forewarn and danger but quickly relaxed when she realized she would be safe in the manor, for now.

“Thank you Jenny, I’ll be down as soon as I can.” She hurried to the dresser and looked through some of the clothes she hung up the night before. In addition to her own, Mrs. Malfoy had provided for her some beautiful gowns that were probably more expensive than anything she’s ever owned. She decided against them and settled for a plain T-Shirt and a casual floral printed skirt.

Hermione thought she would be competent enough to find a dining room in a house, but apparently the Malfoy manor had other thoughts. She walked through the corridors for what felt like hours, and for one that despised being late, she was close to having an anxiety attack. Every hallway looked identical for her, the large windows were covered with beautiful gold and silver drapings, and ornate lanterns lit up the way as she passed. The ceilings were covered with exposed wood and the floors had a rich dark red carpet, making the manor feel royal but also comforting at the same time.

They must have an excellent designer.

Her stomach had started growling when she heard footsteps walking down from the hallway, as the figure emerged grinning she found it hard to hold back a blush on her cheeks, she couldn’t believe she was in such an embarrassing situation.

“The smartest witch in our age, lost in my manor?” Malfoy said, looking incredibly smug.

“Never. Say. A word of this. To anyone.” She stammered, and walked past him, not looking back.

“You’re going the wrong way you know.”

She turned around and glared at him, “I know. I was just testing you.”

“Whatever you say.”

The walk to the dining room was silent, and Hermione found it hard to fight the urge to look up at him once in a while and study his expressions. She was usually really good at reading people and understanding what they wanted, but Malfoy was a complete brick wall, impenetrable since the day she met him. Sometimes she wished there was no rivalry between Griffindor and Slytherin, and she could get to know people who didn’t put their guard up every time she saw them.

She desired so badly to break down those walls, to see why he did what he did during the war, if it was an act forced to him by his father and Voldemort or something he desired to do himself, because he truly hated any non-magical folk.

“Why are you staring at me so much?” He asked loudly, and she recoiled from him, backing up a few steps. “Is there something on my face?”

“No, it’s nothing.” His grin fell a little when he noticed her reserved tone, “My mind was just wandering off, that’s all.” He said nothing until they reached the dining room, where he opened the door to let him in and left right after. As Hermione apologized for her lateness and sat down Narcissa informed her that he was heading for work and would be back later.

“Is there anything you need for your stay here? You’re welcome to visit the library or any of the other rooms to pass your time.” She said, passing the cream to Hermione.

“Well, I noticed you don’t have any reception here, and I was hoping I could catch up on some of the work I’ll be missing since they won’t let me leave until the matter is resolved, do you have an owl I can use instead?”

“I’m sorry dear,” Narcissa replied, pursing her lips, “I would love to give you anything you need but Draco has told me that you are not to contact anyone by any means, and I know he is doing this for your safety and by order of the minister.”

“So I’m not allowed to leave the house or talk to anyone for what could be weeks? I’ll go completely mad!” Hermione said, and then she was sounding very ungrateful. “Of course, I’m thankful for your help, but I just wish I have a little more free-will in this situation, and I’ll be completely behind on work.”

“I do hope these criminals are located as soon as possible for your sake, and I’m sure Draco is working on it,” She replied, gently slicing the toast, “Since Lucius’s arrest 8 years ago a lot has changed for the Malfoys, and Draco is the new head of the house now. In my heart he’s still my baby boy but I’ve decided to trust him in matters of the household, you should also trust that he will take care of you, too.”

Hermione looked down at her food, thinking through what would be the best response. She didn’t want to anger the host after one day, but she decided if Narcissa was in the mood to talk a little more her family, Hermione would put in some input about how she really felt.

“It’s just that, your family has been regarded as one of the greatest supporters of Voldemort,” Narcissa looked up at her sharply at the mention of the name, “and Harry has seen all of you following him first hand at the night of the great war. He’s told me what you’ve done for him, and he probably won’t be alive if it wasn’t for you, but it just amazes me that everyone seems to be fine with the Malfoy family now after 8 years, as if none of this ever happened.

It seems like a lot has changed over the years, so I can understand a little of why the ministry sent me here, but to call it the safest place to hideout in the wizarding world is extremely shocking for me. All the decorations have changed, but it’s the same floor we’re sitting on where I was lying on the floor being tortured and screaming for my life because of what’s in my blood. It’s also where one of my closest friend and house-elf was killed. I can’t shake these images out of my head, but everyone is being very civil and it’s all very confusing for me.” Hermione finished, and felt an extreme sense of relief from her body, she had finally said what she wanted to say, and she knew Narcissa might hate her for it, but it was a risk she was willing to take to figure out what was going on.

Narcissa put her hands on Hermione’s, and she could feel a motherly touch, a combination of a stern warning but slight affection. “My dear, you still have a lot to learn about the world, and I hope that you will one day understand there is no clear division between good and evil, only people with goals and people who are willing to achieve those goals. My goal that night in the Forbidden forest and all the other days of my life is to protect my son, and that is what I did. I cannot explain the goals and reasoning behind my husband, sister, and son, but that is mine.

I’m sorry for what you went through. I hope you can forgive Draco for at least these few weeks, and maybe someday he will explain his reasoning to you.”

Hermione was pleasantly surprised at how gentle Narcissa was in her reply, and she decided not to push any further and finished her breakfast in silence.

“Thank you so much.” She said as she left, and Narcissa nodded her goodbye.

Hermione asked one of the house elfs on the way out where they library was located, and they led her to a grand room filled with thousands of books filled up to the top of high cathedral ceilings. Sunlight poured in from glass tiles with beautiful motifs surrounding the room and couches and study desks were dotted throughout the room, making the space feel comfortable and elegant, just like the rest of the manor. She picked a nice spot in the corner and picked up a magical history book that piqued her interest and sat to read for the rest of the day. She decided to skip lunch since the breakfast at the manor was enormous, and she shooed the house-elf away when she informed her it was time to eat.

She was so engrossed in her third novel that day that she dropped it onto the floor when she heard another person shuffling around in the room. She looked up to see Draco with the same attire he had in the morning, a stunning and slim grey suit with black pants and a tie the exact colour of his eyes.

He suppressed a laughter at her reaction, and said instead, “Do I have to escort you to every meal or can you handle eating three proper meals on you own?” She looked at him quizzically then looked at the clock. At the sight of the time, she gasped.

“It’s 7pm already? I’ve been here since breakfast!” At that, her stomach started to growl.

He chuckled. “I’m glad you’re enjoying the manor so much, but please refrain from starving to death when I’m not around, the minister wouldn’t be pleased if I brought you back dead.” She scowled at him and put her pile of to-be-read books back onto the shelf.

“You can bring them back to your room if you like, no one uses this place much anymore.” She lightened up a little at that, and picked up a few of the books she was very interested in.

“You have an incredible collection here, I haven’t even heard of most of these works, and trust me, I’ve read a lot in my life.”

“This is the product of many generations of Malfoys collecting all forms of novels about magic, and I can proudly say this is one of the greatest magical book collections in the world.” He said proudly.

Hermione wasn’t bothered by the bragging, and was pleased that someone could be this happy about book collection. The mood seemed to lighten between them as they walked down the hallways of the manor this time, and Hermione felt a great sense of relief. She really wished she could talk to him about serious matters though, not just small talk, but she wasn’t sure how to bring it out of him.

“So… how was work today?”

He burst out laughing at that. “Is Hermione Granger really asking me how my day was at work? Whatever happened to my life to bring me to this point?”

“Never mind then, I won’t mention it.” She said, pouting.

“It was good. Same as always. Guys who don’t deserve to be in their positions telling me what to do and how to do it. At least if you were my boss I would know the smartest witch of our age was bossing me around, but those guys don’t deserve it.” He trailed his finger against the wall as he spoke. “How was your day?”

“I got lost, almost missed breakfast, then your mom taught me life lessons about the world then I went to the library and forgot the world.”

“Sounds like any other day at the Malfoy house.” He grinned.

The conversation seemed lost again, so she tried another attempt, “Have you stayed in contact with anyone from Hogwarts after you left?”

He looked a little startled by the question, but regained his composure quickly, “Not really, everyone who was there during the war still looks at me as a villain. It just doesn’t go with my preference, whether they think being a villain is a good thing or bad.”

“I see.”

“How about you? Still best friends with Potter and Weasley?” He asked, sounding slightly curious. Hermione looked up at that, and he quickly looked away, looking straight on.

“I thought everyone in the wizarding world knew about this. They threw me out of their ‘clique’, as Rita Skeeter was saying. After the divorce, it seemed Harry was on Ron’s side, so I’ve moved on.”

“Wait…” Draco stopped in his tracks. “You MARRIED Weasley?” She nodded.

“I thought you knew.”

“Well I wasn’t invited to the wedding, clearly.” She smiled at that, imagining Draco showing up at the reception and how clear the anger would be on Ron and Harry’s faces, “I’m just so disappointed… I always thought you would aim for someone greater and higher. Someone at least with some sort of common sense.”

“Someone like you?” She asked, and shut her mouth tight immediately. She had no idea where that had come from. She realized she didn’t want him to be angry with her, or shut her out.
A red tinge creeped up his startling white cheeks, and he replied softly, “That’s not what I meant.” He cleared his throat and started walking again, then said smoothly, “But that’s what you’re into, I obviously applaud your tastes.”

She glared at him then looked away, crossing her arms. She thought she got him for a second. For a second, he seemed like he let a little of his guard down, and it was really nice surprising him with something he didn’t know, even though she didn’t know why he cared so much.

They had finally reached the dining room, and Draco actually pulled her chair back before she sat down, and she muttered a thanks before starting a conversation with one of the house elves.

Narcissa and Draco kept to their own conversation for the rest of the meal, discussing house hold matters and family friends Hermione didn’t understand much, but she did learn what Draco did for living, and she was shocked to find his office was only a few floors up from hers in the ministry.

He was not part of a clear division in the ministry, but provided a lot of guidance and expertise to any department that asked for his help because of his expansive knowledge of dark magic and artefacts. He also knew many languages and about many potions and magical creatures because of his father’s insistent teachings, so could help in those aspects as well.

Hermione guessed that he had not tried to work his way up because he didn’t need the money he would get at a higher position. She knew that if he tried he could work his way up to even being the minister, something she could not do as there had never been a woman minister of magic. At Hogwarts, he was one of the only other students who could come close to the grades she had gotten. She was very pleased at having some kind of competition, actually.

She asked Draco in the middle of their conversation why he didn’t specialize in a specific department, but he avoided the question and went back to his tale of muggles being attacked by an unknown magical creatures, a problem that has been spreading rapidly throughout the country.

She gave up on her inquires after a couple of tries and excused herself when she was full.

She decided to go back to her room, pick up where she left off in her novel, and decide her future plans the next day. But first, she had to figure out how to actually find her room. Hermione sighed in exasperation.

-RavenClaw Queen.

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