If you're here because you liked my first fic, throw out alllll your expectations because this is silly, sometimes crackish fun written to relax from the stress of grad school :D Suggestions and feedback welcome here or on Tumblr, including criticism (especially if delivered Miranda-style. I might fall for you). Updates will be irregular (no I really mean it this time!), but rest assured this is just the beginning with a lot more shenanigans ahead.
Narcissa Black looked up as a well-known witch approached her office on the top floor of the Elphias-Clark building. Potter's little friend, Herninny Granger or something like that. There was no conceivable reason why the mudblood would come see her, and an interruption was the last thing she needed today. What she needed was more tea, something her second assistant would have brought by now if the coward hadn't quit in tears after a minor mauling at a forest-themed photoshoot five days before.
"Did you wander in off the street?" Narcissa asked, lip curling in displeasure.
Granger hunched her shoulders a little but held her ground. "I'm Hermione Granger, as you know. I graduated this month, top of my class." She slipped a paper onto the desk already piled high with rejected photographs and past issues.
Unimpressed, Narcissa barely glanced at the Hogwarts transcript. If Draco hadn't been so heavily burdened with the Dark Lord's demands in seventh year, he might've gotten top marks. Anyone can go back to school after a war and excel. "What is your purpose here?"
"I want to work for you. Well, not you in particular," Granger corrected herself, nose wrinkling slightly, which did not escape notice. "You see, Headmaster McGonagall won't accept me as her research assistant unless I take a gap year to get some life experience outside academia. Now I'm seeking a job for the next twelve months, but not with the ministry because honestly they were useless during the war..."
Narcissa was hearing a life story when all she wanted was a concise statement. She held in a sigh and returned to her task of deciding which photo layout looked least awful, listening with half an ear as the rambling continued.
"...and all my other job applications have been rejected because they don't want me to 'squander my talent' in trivial jobs, because of, you know, the hero thing, and I'm running out of options, so it's down to your magazine or Witch Weekly."
Narcissa folded her hands under her chin, staring in disbelief. "So you don't read Blacklist."
"And you weren't aware of my fame in fashion."
Granger's lips spread sheepishly. "No."
"And you know nothing about wizarding style or how to dress yourself properly."
Granger stuck her chin out in defiance, though to her credit her tone remained polite. "Well, different people have different―"
"No, no. That wasn't a question." Narcissa let her eyes rove over the young woman and mentally critiqued every aspect from head to toe. The bushy brown hair showed a clear lack of care, with frayed ends near the rough collar of her corduroy jacket. The jacket itself was... unspeakable. The black slacks had an unflattering cut covering what would have been appealing curves, and sported the telltale wrinkles of being left in a drawer too long without ever feeling an iron. Narcissa could see all of this in an instant, and it did not leave a good impression.
The judgment had a rather satisfying effect of putting Granger off balance, but her feeble pitch continued. "In fourth year I took the initiative to create the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare, spreading awareness for―"
"That's all." Narcissa flicked her hands. She was tired of chatter about childish activities that in no way qualified someone to assist a demanding and very busy fashion editor.
Huffing in irritation, Granger turned on her heel with a squeak against the gleaming floor. She only made it a few steps away before she turned back and said, "Alright, you have a point. I don't know anything about fashion."
Narcissa looked up from her work again with mild interest. The audacity to stay after dismissal and the humility to admit one's one weaknesses were a rare combination in her world.
Granger continued, "But I'm smart. People call me the brightest witch of my age. I'm studious, I pay attention to details, I'm highly organized, and I will work very―"
"Mother, the Holyhead Harpies shoot is going terribly," Draco interrupted, sweeping into Narcissa's office.
"―very hard," Granger finished before she gave up and stomped away.
Draco showed Narcissa a few snapshots. "The players pose nicely at first, but if you watch the photographs long enough, they make rude gestures. See? This one is sticking her tongue out between her fingers. Nine out of ten are unpublishable."
Narcissa felt a little thrill as she looked up from the photograph to watch Granger disappear down the hall. She'd be lying if she said the young witch had no potential. Maybe a bright and thorough worker was just whom she needed working under her. "Keep them. They're true to life," she decided.
Draco followed her gaze. "Was that Granger? Are you plotting something I don't know about?"
"No plot. I want that witch," Narcissa said. "Dobby?"
Pansy Parkinson hurried in. "Yes, Narcissa?"
Pansy was a good first assistant, though none could ever measure up to Narcissa's late house elf Dobby, the perfect servant and one dearly missed whenever she woke up thirsty or needed someone to pick something up off the floor.
Narcissa smiled to herself. "Fetch Hermione Granger for me and train her."
Pansy didn't question her, but Draco protested, "She's a mudblood! We can't have her working here."
"It's a new century. Blood purity is so passé," Narcissa said, waving them both away. "Why are you still living in 1999?"
"This is 1999," Draco muttered.
~ Prada Kedavra ~