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Teaser: The Malfoys learn why they need Muggles.
Disclaimer: The characters are not mine. They belong to Warner Bros, Scholastic, Bloomsbury, Heyday/1498 films, JK Rowling and Raincoat books. This is just for fun. No money is being made.
Hermoine strolled across the still empty beach and placed her beach towel in the perfect place. It was her first day of summer vacation and she was determined to spend at least one day of it relaxing, getting a little sun. "No thinking of You Know Who or Death Eaters or Dementors or how horrible poor Harry must be right now at the Dursleys. You can worry about that all tomorrow and the rest of the summer. Today you're just a teenage girl resting on the beach!"
She settled on her brightly colored towel and watched the nearby sea roll into the shore with white foam. Seagulls cried overhead and one lonely sailboat bobbed on the sea's surface. Even though it was only morning, the sun was bright overhead and it warmed the large expanses of bare skin not covered by her red swimsuit. She glanced down at her legs and arms. "I feel so naked!"
A few years ago it was normal to spend the day at the beach. That had all ended when she had learned she was a witch and had met Harry. "Well, at least I had owled him a package of food earlier today so he won't starve."
A few more minutes ticked by.
Her fingers drummed on the towel and she glanced at her beach bag. Perhaps she could do some reading…
"No, you're here to relax, not study!" Hermoine told herself firmly. "You can go one day without having your nose stuck in a book! Why, other girls your age ….."
Hmmm, what DID other girls her age do? She pondered that for a moment. "Oh, they have boyfriends. I guess."
Well, that certainly was out! Hermoine could just imagine how some cute but dumb boy would act if she told him she was a witch. "That would never work!"
No, they could never keep up with her intellectually anyway. Like that professional Quidditch player: BOR-ING. Why couldn't there be a cute and smart boy? "Oh, now I feel guilty for thinking about a possible summer romance when Harry has it so bad! I bet that horrible Uncle never took him to the beach in his life!"
It was all Dummbledore's fault!
While Hermoine suffered on her beach towel, dark dastardly things were afoot not too far away. An invisible carriage pulled to a stop near the long strip of sand. It was very old-fashioned looking, not all that different then the ones that took the students up to Hogwarts each year. A large M circled by twin snakes was on the doors. Two people sat inside, one much younger than the other. Snake-headed cane in hand, the older one began to speak. "Now Son, you will see many horrible things here. You must be brave."
Draco shifted a bit nervously on the hard wooden bench inside the carriage, but stared back at his father. "Muggles are here?"
"Yes, it's one of the places they like to go. Soon you will understand why we hate them. They breed like animals and are everywhere. It's disgusting." Lucius Malfoy explained to his son. "Many of the things they do will no doubt shock you. Remember that you are as high above them as the birds in the sky."
"Yes, Father." Nervousness bubbled in Draco's stomach but he hid it from his father well. He had never seen a Muggle community before and he had no idea what to expect. But when Lucius opened the carriage door and got out, he boldly followed him. He blinked in surprise at the large expanse of golden sand and the sparkling blue sea. Birds cried overhead and a salty breeze blew the fine strands of white-blonde hair off his forehead. He glanced first one way, then the other. "Is this the right place, Father? I don't see any Muggles."
"Ah, we have arrived early it seems. Soon this place will be swarming with them." Lucius informed him. His blue-gray eyes searched the large expanse of sand and spotted a bright bit of red far off to the left. Raising an arm, the brilliant sun sparkling off the priceless rings on his fingers, he pointed. "There is a Muggle we can observe."
Wordlessly Draco followed his father towards the unsuspecting Muggle. His fine black dress shoes weren't made for walking on the beach and soon he felt grains of sand slip inside them. The hot sun pounded down on his bare head and the first trickle of sweat ran down his back. It felt unbearably hot for some reason, hotter than it should. It never felt like this at Malfoy Manor during the summer. He frowned, thinking the coarse grains of sand were no doubt ruining the smooth finish on his shoes. Then his mind shifted to the tall thin figure ahead of him. Had they just come here to watch Muggles or did his Father plan to do more? And if so, would he be expected to participate?
The Muggle was just ahead of them now and Draco stopped, his mouth dropping open to form an O. Lucius had also stopped and waited just two steps in front of him. Draco squinted, a hand shading his eyes. That bushy brown hair looked awful familiar, but the rest…? "I never knew Granger had such legs…"
Hermoine still sat on her beach towel, totally unaware she had acquired an audience. Her thoughts swirled around in her head all jumbled together. "No, you won't worry about the OWLs as you won't find out until mid July. Hmm, I wonder if I should make another food package?"
Just like magic, her thoughts were once again back to Harry stuck in that awful house. "If it wasn't for that Dummbledore he could come to the beach with me! Like Death Eaters would really come here!"
A dark figure stepped in front of her, blocking the sun.
Hermoine jumped slightly in surprise, having been so sure that the beach was totally deserted. Usually people made lots of racket when they started to arrive: kids screaming, radios blasting music, people laughing and shouting. It had been totally silent though. Her eyes focus on the totally inappropriate black dress shoes, the black pants, and the black robe with dark green trim…?
She tilted her head back quickly to see the person's face and found herself staring into Draco's gray eyes. "What…?"
"Didn't expect to find you here, Granger." Draco said with his usual drawl. His eyes flickered to her red swimsuit. "Loose your clothes?"
"No, I didn't loose them!" Hermoine quickly climbed to her feet, her face turning slightly red from embarrassment. She knew she had nothing to be ashamed of, but she had gotten so used to wearing the school uniform all the time that wearing normal summer clothing felt odd. "It's a swimsuit. You know, beach clothing? Didn't you ever see a swimsuit before?"
"No, of course not. I'm a Pureblood, remember?" Draco informed her.
"No, I didn't forget!" Hermoine rolled her eyes. "You only remind me like almost every day! What are you doing here anyway?"
"Father brought me here to observe Muggles, only we found you instead."
"Your father is here?" Hermoine asked, her heart practically leaping up into her throat. It pounded in her chest like an out of control jackhammer and the loud sound seemed to fill her ears. She had been so sure that Death Eaters wouldn't come to the beach and certainly not one that was supposed to be locked up in Azkaban Prison! She spun around and saw Lucius standing behind her, watching. A soft breeze blew his long white hair but his blue-gray eyes never left her. How could she have been so stupid? She was out-numbered and totally alone with two Slytherins! They could kidnap her or who knows what and she would be totally defenseless because underage witches can't use magic! Why, she wasn't even holding her wand!
"Miss Granger, we meet again." Lucius Malfoy said as he stepped closer, a not so pleasant smile on his face.
Hermoine's mind raced but for once she was totally speechless. Lucius Malfoy was the last person she had ever expected to see on a beach!
"Speechless, Granger?" Draco drawled, raising his dark eyebrows. "I'm shocked."
"Umm, aren't you supposed to be somewhere?" she finally asked Mr. Malfoy.
"Ah, yes. That unfortunate incident." Lucius smiled, his teeth perfectly white and straight. "Needless to say, I have gotten out of there. The accommodations were utterly horrible and I have no plans to ever return to that place. But it seems it's just the three of us on this lonely beach. Where ever could all the Muggles be?"
Hermoine took an uncertain step backward. "I … I really don't know."
"Why, Miss Granger. You're not frightened of me, are you?" Lucius asked innocently. "I assure you we had no idea you were here. I brought Draco here so he could learn how horrible Muggles really are."
"There's nothing wrong with Muggles!" Hermoine cried as she bravely stared Lucius in the eyes.
"But you're biased, of course. Your parents are Muggles." He stated, his eyes shifting up and down the beach to make certain they were still alone. It wouldn't do to be caught talking of Wizard-World things in front of actual Muggles.
"Yes, they are." Hermoine admitted as she bravely stood her ground. "Why do you hate Muggles so much? They don't do you anything! They don't even know you exist!"
"But if they did know, they'd wipe us all out, wouldn't they?" Lucius ran his gloved fingers idly along his cane. His wand, of course, was hidden inside and within easy reach. Granger, on the other hand, was wandless. Pleased, he moved a step closer to the defenseless girl. "You know it's true. They hate our kind and would be all too happy to see us burn."
"If you're referring to Salem, those weren't even real witches! That was about prejudice and hatred and things getting out of control!" Hermoine replied. "Most Muggles love magic!"
"Granger, has the sun fried your brain?" Draco asked, feeling unbearably hot in his school uniform. "How can Muggles love magic if they don't have any?"
"Well, they do love it! They put it in movies and books and stage plays! Why, they even have magic shows where a person called a magician does all sorts of tricks on stage, like sawing a woman in half or pulling a rabbit out of a hat. It's all tricks of course, slight of hand and mirrors, but the audience loves it!"
Draco blinked at her. "What's a movie?"
"Well, it's …. It's…"
"Yes?" Lucius asked.
"It's Muggle magic!" Hermoine blurted out. "It's like a stage play except it's on a film and it moves and there's sound, well, you really need to see one to understand."
"In other words, it's technology." Lucius guessed.
"Of course. But technology is based on magic!" Hermoine was warming to her subject now. She felt slightly more relaxed, since so far the escaped Death Eater who stood before her hasn't tried to kill her or kidnap her. "Don't you see that?"
"No." Lucius replied. "It's all bits of noisy metal and stinky fumes."
As if on cue, a Muggle airplane flew high overhead, the vibrating sound of its engines filling the air. Hermoine eagerly pointed up at the plane. "Long ago Muggles would watch the birds fly in the sky and they dreamed of flying, too. There's an ancient myth about how a man tried to fly up to the sun using feathers and how he failed. But man didn't give up and with time they invented airplanes. And Air travel has brought the far reaches of the globe close together. You can hop on a plane and be almost anywhere within hours!"
"Flue powder can do the same." Lucius replied, unimpressed.
"Yes, but Muggles don't have flue powder!"
"Exactly." Lucius agreed, his long white hair blowing in the sea breeze. "But it won't matter much anymore. I mean, we ARE going to kill the Muggles."
"Surely you don't mean ALL the Muggles?" Hermoine asked, shocked.
"Why not?" He replied. "Then we won't have to hide anymore. Muggles are just annoying pests. They're like vermin."
Hermoine crossed her arms over her chest, a smirk appearing on her face. "And I suppose you're going to grow your own food then, are you?"
Draco rolled his eyes. "Don't be stupid, Granger. We're nobility. We don't grow food! We buy it from a store and I thought you did, too. Now Weasley…"
"Well, the store won't have any food if you kill all the Muggles!" Hermoine cried. "Oh, you can be so incredibly dense! It's the Muggles that grow all the food! They have the technology to grow as much food as possible off each piece of land. They know how to harvest it, how to store it and how to ship it around the world! If you kill them, whose going to put food on your table?"
"Well…" Lucius rubbed his chin thoughtfully for a moment, unsure what to say about this new development.
"Do you like to eat tropical fruits?" Hermoine asked Mr. Malfoy.
"Yes, of course." He replied.
"So when all the Muggles are gone are you going to teleport all the way to Hawaii for pineapples or to Brazil for bananas? And how much can you really bring back that way? Face it; flue powder and brooms are not very good at transporting cargo! Muggle aircraft are. So whether you like it or not, you need Muggles!"
Draco glanced from Hermoine to his father. He certainly didn't like the idea of starving or going without foods he had always taken for granted. "But doesn't Herbology…?"
"No, Draco." Hermoine answered his unfinished question. "Herbology only deals with magical plants. You can't eat them. They're not a food crop. Wizards are too busy doing magic to have time for large-scale farming!"
"Well, it appears the plan might have a few slight flaws…" Lucius admitted. Then he smiled. "But our time hasn't been totally wasted. We have, after all, caught you."
"What?" Hermoine asked, hoping she had misheard him but dreading the worst.
"You heard me, my dear." Lucius said as he reached out and gripped her arm securely with a black-gloved hand. "Not that it's you we want. But, well, one takes what one can get. And you are being so helpful."
"Let go of me!" Hermoine wailed as she tried to twist out of his grasp.
"I'm not going to hurt you, not if you cooperate."
"You better cooperate, Granger." Draco said, still eying the swimsuit. "How can you go out in public dressed like that?"
"For the second time, there's nothing wrong with it! It's normal!" Hermoine shouted at him.
"There's nothing normal about that." Draco replied.
"Well, you better never see a bikini then!" She shouted back. "You'd no doubt pass out!"
Draco looked at his father, confused. "What is she talking about?"
"I haven't the slightest idea." Lucius admitted. "I told you Muggles do shocking things."
"Obviously." Draco agreed.
"So if you're finished yelling nonsense at my son, you can help us." Lucius told her. "So, where's Potter?"
"I'll never tell you!" she vowed.
"Come on, Granger." Draco said as he moved closer, flashing a brilliant smile. "Tell me where Potter is."
"Here's where he is every summer!" Hermoine answered.
"But where's that?" Draco asked.
Hermoine frantically thought of how she could escape from this mess, but it didn't look good at all. The only real thing in her favor was the fact that so far Lucius hadn't tried to kill her. "Look, I thought you wanted to study Muggles? Soon lots of Muggles will start arriving and then you can study away. You don't need Harry for that."
"True." Lucius admitted. "That had been my original plan but I can't let this golden opportunity pass by, either. It's not often one of you three are unguarded and all alone. Well, Weasley is but then who would want to kidnap him?"
"There's nothing wrong with Ron!" Hermoine protested. Then she turned to glare at Draco. "And they don't live in a single room, either! They live in the Burrow!"
"And Potter?" Lucius repeated, his grip on her firm.
"With his uncle." Hermoine finally said, feeling guilty for saying even this much. "But you don't want to go there! Harry has told …wait, why am I telling you for?"
"Because you love to talk, Granger." Draco smiled at her, the sunlight shining on his pale hair.
"Perhaps we could make a deal?" Lucius offered. "You wish to no doubt convince us that Muggles are not horrible. Is that not true? So we will spend the weekend here and you can have that time to show me that my beliefs are wrong. In return you'll tell us where Potter is."
"Like I'm going to make a deal with a Death Eater!"
"It seems to me you have very little choice."
"Oh, all right!" Hermoine sighed, thinking she was going to put the high and mighty Purebloods through all sorts of Muggle torture. Who knows, it might even be fun. And with a little luck, they might even get to LIKE Muggles. "But you're going to have to cooperate, too!"
"I will. We will." Lucius promised and he released her arm.
To be continued…