D/C: I don't own Harry Potter.
I got this idea really late at night, and I just couldn't sleep before I got it out of my system. It turned out to be really nice, though, and I'm glad I stayed up to write it or all my spur-of-the-moment inspiration would've gone. Anyway, enjoy!
'There you go, Draco. You can have fun here until your parents return. Go on.'
The day-care lady gave four-year-old Draco gave a little push further into the huge playroom. Draco stumbled a bit, and looked around awkwardly at all the kids who were playing in the room. He shoved his hands deep into the pockets of his jeans and walked further into the room. For some reason, he was feeling really nervous; he had never been around this number of kids before in his life. He was home-schooled, and whenever his parents went out, they just left him with one of the nannies. It just happened that today all the servants were on leave, and his parents had an important appointment, so they went ahead and left him in this day-care centre.
What more, all these kids were common Muggles. His parents had always warned him about Muggles, but they had been desperate this time, and that's the only reason they brought him here. Of course, his mother warned him not to touch any of the kids there.
He didn't know what was so bad about Muggles. The way his mother described them; he'd imagined them to be big, freaky monsters with one single eye in the middle of their foreheads...but now that he actually saw them, they seemed like normal kids. Blonds, brunets, red-heads with a normal pair of eyes. Just like him. Yet, he didn't want to have any contact with them; he felt like his mom would find a way to know if he did, and that would definitely make her angry at him...and he certainly didn't want that.
He scanned the room for somewhere to sit, and saw an empty chair at the table next to the book shelves. He made his way towards that chair, careful not to bump into any of the kids. He settled down on the chair. He checked out the books which were stacked on the shelves, but nothing really grabbed his attention. Instead, he amused himself by drumming his fingers against the surface of the table.
'Would you mind? I'm reading,' said an annoyed voice from next to him.
Draco whirled around, and saw a small girl with bushy brown hair, wearing a white summer dress with pink flowers embroidered on it, sitting on the other chair, reading a thick book which he was pretty sure she didn't pick it out from the books on the shelves. What got him so surprised, is that he was pretty sure he hadn't seen her sitting there before. 'How...how'd you do that?' he demanded.
The girl frowned at him. 'Do what?' she said, sounding puzzled.
'You weren't sitting there a second ago! And you suddenly appeared!' he exclaimed.
The girl shrugged. 'I'm not sure I know how I do it,' she replied. 'I can make myself vanish when I want to. I just concentrate real hard and then...'
She grinned, and Draco noticed that two of her front teeth over-lapped slightly. 'Cool! I can do stuff like that, too!' he told her.
The girl put down her book and looked excitedly at him. 'You can? Really?' she asked. 'What can you do?'
For some reason, Draco felt really animated talking to this girl. 'Sometimes, I can transform objects into different things!' he said. 'Like, when I don't like the food I'm given for lunch, I concentrate real hard just like you do, and then I change the food into ice-cream when my parents aren't looking!'
'Wow! I should do that! My parents never buy me sweets; they're dentists, you see,' she told him.
Draco frowned. 'Dentists?' she repeated.
The girl laughed. 'Don't you know what a dentist is?' she said incredulously, and he shook his head. 'Dentists are people who take care of your teeth! When you have a cavity-filled tooth, you go to a dentist so he can fix it for you. Haven't you ever visited one before?'
He slowly shook his head. 'No...whenever my tooth starts to hurt, my parents take me to St Mungo's for treatment, and a Healer takes care of it,' he explained.
It was the girl's turn to frown. 'Healers? What are those?' she demanded.
Draco opened his mouth to tell her what Healers were, but remembered that this girl was a Muggle and she mustn't know about the wizarding world. 'People,' he said quickly, and the girl frowned again. 'My name's Draco.'
The girl giggled. 'Draco?' she repeated.
Draco felt annoyed. 'Is there something wrong with my name?' he said angrily.
She shook her head. 'No, it's just that I never saw anyone with that name before, but it's really neat; I like it,' she said earnestly, and Draco felt a smile tugging at the corner of his lips. 'My name is Hermione.'
'Your name is weird, too,' he remarked.
'I know,' she mumbled. 'My mom loves Shakespeare, and she named me after a woman in one of his plays.'
Draco didn't say anything, mainly because he had no idea who Shakespeare was. He wanted to talk about something he knew about; magic. He didn't know how, but this Muggle girl seemed to know how to do magic as well, and he was happy to find some one like him around here; it was such a comfort. It was his turn to say something, and he strained to think of what he should say. He smiled. 'So, what else can you do?' he asked her.
'Hmm,' Hermione murmured, putting a finger to her lips. She smiled when she thought of something. 'I can make flowers bloom! My mother has a flower bed in the backyard, and it takes ages for them to open up!! So, I concentrate and there you have it! Blooming flowers!'
'That's nice,' he admitted.
'Isn't it?' she said, excitedly. Then, her expression fell and she looked down at the pages of her open book. 'But...my parents don't think it's really nice. I think it scares them when I do things like that. So, whenever I do something, they try to come up with all sorts of explanations so they could avoid the truth.'
'What truth?' he asked.
Hermione grinned mischievously at him. 'I think I can do magic,' she whispered.
Draco paused; should he tell her? He looked uncertainly at her, but she just beamed proudly at him. 'I...I can do magic, too,' he told her.
She stared at him for a moment, and then she clapped happily. 'So it's not just me?' she said. 'So, I'm not a freak, after all!! This means I'm normal!!'
'Who told you you were a freak?' he demanded.
Hermione looked away again. 'One time in my school, a boy named Andy brought along this hamster with him to school. It was locked up in a small glass cage and I kept staring at it, and it seemed so sad, being locked up in that cage,' she murmured. 'So, I made the cage disappear and the hamster ran away. Andy saw what I did, and he started calling me a freak, and ever since then, I keep thinking that I'm a freak because I'm not like other children.'
'You're not a freak!!' Draco said heatedly. 'Freaks are ugly!! You're not ugly; you're really pretty!'
Hermione stared at him for a moment, and Draco had actually started to wonder if what he said was bad, but then she smiled warmly at him. 'Thank you, Draco,' she said softly, and he blushed and nodded, as if it weren't a big deal. 'Hey, do you want to play?'
'Play?' he repeated.
She nodded vigorously. 'We could play with a puzzle! The lady over there gives out puzzles to those who want them, and I saw a 300-piece puzzle in the pile, and I wasn't sure I could finish it on my own, but now that we're two...'
'Okay!' he agreed. 'I'd like to try it!'
Hermione smiled happily. She got up and hurried off to get the puzzle. She returned a few moments later holding a box in her hands. She sat down and edged her chair closer to him. She opened the box and tipped the puzzle pieces over the table. 'There you go!' she announced.
Draco stared down at them. 'That's a lot!' he remarked.
'They are three hundred pieces, after all, silly,' she teased him. 'Shall we start putting them together?'
They set about putting the pieces of the puzzle together. Draco had always thought that puzzles were for dorks, but it was actually kind of fun sitting there, comparing the pieces with Hermione and trying to make a picture out of the pieces. He had been missing out on a lot, not going to school like all the other kids.
'I don't go to school,' he suddenly blurted out, as he put two pieces together.
Hermione looked in surprise at him, and Draco winced; realizing she'll probably think he's stupid now. 'How come?' she asked.
'Well, teachers come to my house and teach me, so I don't have to go to school,' he told her.
'Oh,' she murmured.
'I'm not stupid,' he said quietly.
'I didn't say you are,' she replied.
He hesitated before asking his next question. 'Are schools...fun?' he asked cautiously.
Hermione nodded. 'Yes, it's rather fun to go to school...but the part which I don't really like is when teachers give us homework,' she told him, grimacing, and he laughed. 'Also, in school, you get to make lots of friends.'
'Friends,' he echoed.
'Don't you have any friends?' she asked.
Draco shook his head. 'My parents don't let me talk to other kids,' he said sullenly. 'So I don't have any friends.'
Hermione's expression brightened. 'I can be your friend!' she exclaimed.
'Really?' he said, surprised.
'Yes!! I'd love to be your friend, Draco!' she said happily.
'Wow! Thank you, Hermione!!' he said gratefully. He paused for a moment. 'So, just to be sure, we're friends now?'
Hermione shook her head, and he faltered a bit. She grinned. 'Before two people can become friends, they have to hug each other!' she told him. She reached out and hugged him. Draco was taken by surprise at first, but then he returned the hug. When they broke apart, she was still smiling. 'Now we're officially friends!'
They finished putting the puzzle together. Only now, Draco felt a lot more happier than he did at first, because know he was playing with his official first friend. He had to admit that it felt really good, and he was thinking of asking his parents to put him in a school now. Hermione placed the last piece of the puzzle, and then they both sat back and looked down at the huge picture of a beautiful, white unicorn.
'Yay! We did it!' Hermione exclaimed.
'Yeah, we did,' he said happily. He pointed at the unicorn. 'You know, I saw an unicorn before with my parents.'
She frowned at him. 'Really?' she asked, sounding doubtful.
'Yeah!' he said enthusiastically. 'It was really pretty! Maybe one day I can take you to...!'
They both looked around, and to his dismay, Draco saw his mother standing in the door way of the playroom, with her hands on her hips as she tapped the floor with her foot. It was already time to leave? He really didn't want to go; he wanted to stay here and play with Hermione, but the look on his mother's face told him otherwise; she looked really angry, and he could tell why. Sighing, he got up to his feet and Hermione looked up at him.
'You're leaving?' she asked.
'Yeah,' he mumbled. He smiled at her. 'Let's see unicorns together next time, okay?'
Hermione didn't say anything for a moment, and then she, too, smiled and nodded. 'Okay!' she agreed.
He didn't care what his parents told him; Muggles were really nice.
A/N: Yup. That's it. I know, I know; abrupt ending, but I really didn't want to include the part with Draco's mom; it would totally ruin the fluffiness of this story. (I hate her) But I really like to imagine that Draco used to be a sweetheart when he was a kid; not everyone is born bad, right? Well, anyway, I do hope you liked it, because I'll be wanting reviews, okay? Thanks for reading!!
- S. N. B.