Blasted Muggle Contraptions
Summary: Draco. Hermione. Busted muggle elevator. You rang? R+R!
Author's Note: Percolating on Sympathy for the- and Real Magic. Fluffalore! Woohoo!
Chapter One: The Excelsis
Hermione, soon to be a seventh year prefect, stuck her fists into the pockets of her red wool overcoat and shivered against the wind. It was unseasonably cold for September. Even for England. She strode down Diagon Alley, nodding at passersby but feeling just a bit out of place in her muggle ensemble. She stopped at a new robe shop called Hip Witch and sighed at the beautiful robes in the window. She could see know what Lavander and Parvati would be wearing every chance they got. Shapely robes with a low neckline cut like the top of a heart, many of them silk and lavishly embroidered. Even if she happened to have the extra cash for such a robe, she wouldn't be able to pull it off. She didn't have a horrible figure, but it was nothing special either. Certainly nothing compared to some of the other showy sixth years. Hermione didn't exactly feel ugly, but she did feel plain. Brown eyes. Bushy brown hair. Not a terribly curvaceous shape. Too many freckles, she thought with a sigh. It was hopeless. Potions were not only an incomplete solution but, according to Hermione's sense of logic, a bit like cheating. If you weren't beautiful, she thought, then you simply weren't beautiful. And she considered it a sort of lie to pretend to be something she wasn't. The truth was that physically, she was invisible. But, she protested to herself, she was visible in other ways, particularly intellectually. And this made up for it. Even if she was lonely and even if she was rather hurt when Harry and Ron talked about beautiful just about every other girl existing on the planet was.
Right in front of her.
Enough! She thought to herself. She turned on heel away from Hip Witch... and walked straight ahead to Gimble's Candies where she brought a mixed bag of Bertie Bott's, some normal gummies, Fizzing Whizbees and couple of other interesting candies called Glitter Lip Gumdrops, Thought Pops, Hopping Kisses (which required their own little bag) and Love Bubbles, all of which she brought because she was feeling whisftully and tragically romantic. She nibbled on the gummies and checked her muggle watch to see that she only fifteen minutes to get out of Diagon Alley and meet her parents at The Excelsis Hotel for a fancy lunch (in celebration of her becoming prefect). Her eyes widened and she strode quickly back to the Leaky Cauldron.
Draco shook the hand of yet another Oh-So-Powerful-Practically-the-Dark Lord's-Right-Hand-Man-Evil-as-They-Come-Death-Eating-Wizard but inwardly rolled his eyes. Another booooring banquet with father and his dull drones, putting on a pretense of innocent respectability at the Le Reche Cafe in the middle of Diagon Alley. The life of a young dark wizard was always the same and not half as exciting as less experienced and less distinguished Slytherines thought it to be.
If they only knew, Draco thought. Because being an up and coming Baddie in the wizarding world was low on glamorous doings like bloodletting or ritualistic sacrifice, for example. But it was very high on, what Lucius liked to call, Draco couldn't count the number of mind numbing conversations in the Malfoy's horseless carriages about who was related to who, and who was a spy in the ministry and who hung who by their pinky toes in exchange for unquestioned allegiance.
Bla bla bla.
So many details. So many annoying things to keep in mind that you wouldn't think an evil type wizard like Lucius would give a second thought to.
Location, location, location, Draco would mouth along with Lucius. I cannot stress, Lucius would say, the importance of, not only property value, but neighborhood demographics as well! Obviously, no servant of the Dark Lord could be seen living anywhere near something like that hovel the Weasley's call home. But neither can they be seen settling down in of those dreary communal townships so popular in Ireland right now. Ambiance is very important. It's all style! That's why you don't see a death eater wearing brightly colored robes. Black only. We have dress codes. And names, Draco. Names are crucial! Take our family. Where does the name of Malfoy come from, Draco?
Draco rolled his eyes and recited,
And what does it mean?
And what does my name mean?
Aha! But it is in reference to...?
Draco said in a completely flat monotone.
And your name, Draco?
Father, I know what my-
Your name, Draco?
And it is?
he would say, you see. And we are a model family of dark wizards. Now you cannot get along in the dark wizarding world with a name like, say, Neddy. And for another thing, Neddy means Very impractical. Or Fritz, which sounds quite awful and means, and here Lucius shuddered,
And then Draco suddenly felt argumentative.
Draco said, what if a wizard with a silly name became a dark wizard?
It's not his fault he's got some silly name but he still wants to be properly evil, what about that?
Like take the Dark Lord. Pretty convenient he had the name Tom Marvalo Riddle, isn't it? Just perfectly switched around to I Am Lord Voldemort.' What if he'd had a name like... something ridiculous like... like Bobby Lee Smith, or something. What can you switch that around to?
The Smiley Bobby! That's all I can think of! It switches around to The Smiley Bobby and how silly is that? I suppose you could find something evil in there like seeth' or bite' or... bleet' is in there also. But I'm not sure what you can do with
You're being nonsensical! I will not have nonsense in my house!
But, father, we're in a carriage.
Stop your incessant babbling this instant!
What I'm getting at is nature versus nurture, father. I mean if you have a name that means bad faith' you're just not destined to turn out a good egg, are you?
But that's precisely my-
So really we're all just the products of our environment? What about free will, father?! What about the existentialist struggle?!
Which was pretty much how most such conversations ended. But that was usually okay with Draco, even in the summer time. He was often able to sneak away in the night anyway. And he only ever had these arguments with this father for the pure entertainment value.
But at the moment he was bored. Insanely bored. But if he could escape from this horrid banquet for a moment he would sneak away. Maybe even out of Diagon Alley, away from the imploring eyes of his father and the suspicious eyes of the rest of the wizard community. He could explore muggle London, which he never got the chance to do. At least not when stores were open. So during a lull in the Draco made a convincing case to his father that he really had to inspect the newly designed snitches that Hogwarts was ordering from Quality Quidditch Supplies just that morning put on display in the shop. His father accepted the excuse and Draco slipped away.
Hermione, with a few minutes to spare, wandered around the lobby of The Excelsis and attempted not to sulk. There were couples everywhere. Couples in their clever winter coats and lovely muggle skirts and suits. There were couples in the hotel bar drinking Cosmopolitans and discussing the last time they sat in a Hotel bar and drank a Cosmopolitan. There were couples on honeymoons, cooing at each other or arguing about seafood. Hermione tried to imagine herself in one of these couples but she couldn't picture the face of the half of the couple that wasn't her.
Great, she thought, me and some faceless boy eating scallops on our honeymoon. Well... at least there will be scallops.
If I could have just one romantic day in my entire life, Hermione muttered to herself, one beautiful, stupid romantic day.
She sighed and made her way to an elevator. Excelsia, the restaurant at the top of The Excelsis, was on the eighth floor. Hermione rode up the eight floors and got off at what looked like a normal corridor of pastel painted doors. She crept down the halls, through what seemed like a labyrinth, looking for anything looking like a restaurant or bar but all she saw were doors and mediocre paintings. An aristocratic looking old lady stepped out of one room and Hermione approached her.
Excuse me, do you know where Excelsia is? Hermione asked.
The old lady laughed and nodded, Yes, dear. It's on the very top floor. The twentieth.
Hermione thanked her, sighed to herself and tried to find her way back to the elevators but she came to a couple of forks in the hallway, unsure of which direction she'd turned in before. Soon enough she was completely turned around and seemed to be in the dingy back end of the eighth floor.
There must be stairs somewhere, she thought to herself. I could always climb... ugh... twelve stories?
Never the less, she found a door that looked like it might lead to stairs and opened it. Instead she found a large windowless room full of paint cans and cardboard boxes. Behind her the door closed, plunging her into darkness.
Hermione whipped around to open the door, only to find it locked. She yanked on the handle to no avail.
What kind of a stupid door locks behind you?! She yipped uselessly to herself. The door was not budging and Hermione did not have her wand with her because it was summer. She found a light switch on the wall and was comforted by the light. She could now see that the room went off into hallways behind the boxes.
Must be another door somewhere, she muttered hopefully.
Hermione repositioned her shoulder bag and went to explore behind the boxes. Sure enough, she managed to find...
Another elevator! Perfect!
Hermione pushed the button and a moment later the doors opened. She stepped inside and looked at the young man leaning against the elevator wall. Her jaw dropped in utter astonishment.
What are you doing here?!
Draco's cloak billowed behind him as he hustled down Diagon Alley toward the Leaky Cauldron.
Got to get out of here... must get out of here...
Soon he found himself on the other side of the brick wall,outside of the innocent looking tavern and on a muggle London street. Draco took off the rather dodgy looking cloak and folded it over his arm, immediately shivering. It was unseasonably cold for September.
Even for England.
Next time bring a muggle sweater, idiot!
It was a tough call, whether to freeze his arse in a black t-shirt and jeans or stay toasty in his Malfoy crest cloak... but he wanted to blend. So Malfoy chose an icy bottom.
Malfoy took a moment to look around him. Cars and buses zipped back and forth. People walked everywhere. People talking on those... what were they? Sell phones? People carrying briefcases. People listening to music on funny muggle contraptions. An entire world of people getting by without magic.
Draco shoved his hands in his pockets, cloak bunched up over his arm and made his way down the street, having no idea where he was going. He wandered into a GAP but quickly got bored. He meandered into an electronics store and become fascinated by televisions. He was looking through the eyepiece of a non-magic camera when he saw the goon. He pointed the camera toward the car stereo section and there was none other then Morfran, his father's current lackey of choice, standing out like a sore thumb in his cloak and looking around, presumably for Draco.
Draco blurted. He put down the camera and looked up to see that Morfran had already spotted him.
Not today, Morfran!
Draco turned and gave chase, speeding out of the store past onlookers. He raced down the street and thanked his lucky stars that Morfran was a rather heavy set fellow. Draco ran wildly through crowds of hipsters and businessmen and turned a corner. Up ahead he saw the entrance to a tall modern building that read Excelsis Hotel in large guilded letters over the doors.
A hotel, Draco thought, surely I could get lost in there!
Draco ran inside with Morfran hot on his tail, past a front desk where a concierge in a maroon suit looked up in alarm. He ran into a dining room, knocking into a waiter carrying a platter of crabcakes which went flying in all directions. The waiter was shouting obscenities at him when Morfran barreled into him, sending the tuxedoed little man crashing into an ice sculpture shaped like the queen. Draco sped into the hotel's main kitchen, Morfran catching up to him. Up ahead he saw a pot on a stove full of bubbling red liquid. Draco grabbed the pot without thinking and threw the near to boiling pasta sauce at Morfran, who shrieked like a girl and slipped on a mushroom just as Draco realized that the pot handle had been quite hot and he'd burned his hand. He hissed in pain but kept running, through a door, down a corridor, around a corner, down several corridors and headfirst into an elevator. Dracowide-eyed, whipped around to see no one there. He'd seen these elevator thingies before and he pressed the button, hopping up and down impatiently and blowing softly on his pinkening right palm. The doors opened and Draco pressed the highest numbered button. The doors started to close just as Draco saw Morfran, covered in tomato juice and barreling down the hall. Draco tossed the frustrated wizard a smirk just as the doors shut and made it's way upward.
Yes, father, Draco said to no one but the elevator, his name is Morfran, which is Celtic for demon.' A good dark wizard's name. Definitely not the sort who has to wonder what he's going to be when he grows up. Pretty much set in stone. No one with a name like Morfran is going to end up being an interior decorator, for example. Ah!
His hand hurt again and Draco looked at his palm to see a deep pink blotch. He shook his hand rapidly which made it feel worse and blew on it which did no better. He probably knew a healing spell to remedy the situation but just as quickly remembered that his wand was sitting on his night stand... next to his bed...back at home. He slapped his hand to his head in frustration and grimaced.
The elevator was slowing and Draco looked up to see the green numbers in the little black box over the door changing from seven to eight. The doors opened slowly to reveal a young girl in a red coat and black corduroy skirt. Draco looked up just as the girl did and he couldn't contain his surprise.
What are you doing here? Hermione demanded, pushing the button for the twentieth floor.
The doors shut behind her and Draco crossed his arms, smirking.
I could ask the same of you, he drawled.
Hermione just rolled her eyes. Don't be a git, Malfoy. My parents are muggles, of course I'm in the muggle world. And I happen to have an engagement with my parents for tea on the twentieth floor.
What a truly riveting story, Granger. Draco said in a bored tone.
I would think that you wouldn't even be allowed in a place like this though, she said, eyes fixed on the screen over the door to see that they'd only just passed the ninth floor.
Draco scowled,Well, maybe you don't know everything there is to know about me, mudblood. I have an appointment on the twentieth too, he lied.
Hermione shot him a look, the familiar derogatory term having been used by him so often that it barely registered anymore.
With who? Hermione mumbled, Vice President of Bastards?
What was that, Granger?
Hermione didn't reply but looked up to see eleven change to twelve.
I can certainly handle a two minute elevator ride with Malfoy, she thought, even if he is... Malfoy.
Draco muttered, I'll have to decontaminate myself after...
Shudder, shudder, thump, bzzzz, THUMP.
Draco's sentence went unfinished and Hermione's stomach dropped a little as the elevator made very suspicious noises.
The elevator stopped. The doors did not open. The two Hogwarts students looked at the numbers display, only to see it blank. Hermione felt her palms go sweaty and a sense of panic travel through her spine.
What the bloody... Draco was whispering.
Hermione waited for the elevator to resume but it did not. It just sat there, somewhere between the eleventh and twelfth floors.
GRANGER, WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE ELEVATOR? Draco shouted.
Hermione spun around and scowled at the Slytherin.
It's stuck, she said calmly.
Oh, simply ingenious, Granger, he hissed. I can see that. Why don't you do something about it?!
Hermione threw her hands up in the air.
What am I supposed to do about it?! Hermione snapped. I'm not an elevator repairman! This one doesn't even have a phone to call for help!
But you're a mudblood, he insisted. You're supposed to know these things! Fix it!
Malfoy! You're daft! Just because I'm muggleborn doesn't mean I know how to fix a muggle elevator!
THEN WHAT GOOD ARE YOU?! He screeched. What about your wand?! You get such high marks all the time, you must know how to get us out of this?!
I don't HAVE my wand! She barked. Why don't you get out your little wand and summon the Dark Lord to get you out of trouble? She quipped.
Draco kicked the floor and pouted.
I don't have my wand either.
Hermione slunk to the floor and crossed her ankles in front of her.
she said. Then I guess we're stuck here.
Draco glared at the ceiling and screamed at nothing.
BLASTED MUGGLE CONTRAPTIONS!
to be continued...