So I decided to continue this and hopefully this will turn out alright…I'll try to be faithful to JKR's characters. Hope you like!
Paris vs. London
Fate seemed to be playing a series of extraordinarily unamusing jokes.
Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
1 year later
The grey city was soaked. Rain fell in torrents, it made the river swell and burst its banks, drowning streets in murky water. Rubbish swirled in the puddles, colours were washed out and the sky was made up of swirls of black and white. Fog clung to the buildings, cloaking the dementors that were surely gliding through it. The water splattered against the roofs and dripped down the sides of buildings, getting into every crevice imaginable. It was like the sky was trying to drown the city. And it was succeeding.
"Son? Are you listening to me?" My father's voice shattered my reverie and I turned away from the window. Father was still standing by the fireplace, his fist curled against the mantelpiece, the other clutching a tumbler of firewhiskey as if it was his only salvation. The amber liquid mirrored the flames in the hearth, making it look like his fist was on fire.
"Yes, I'm listening," I said, leaning against the wall next to the window.
"The Dark Lord wishes to push his control over to the surrounding countries: France, Germany, Norway, Belgium etc. etc. Not only does he want to expand his territory he believes that the renegades from the Defeated will be found." He strode towards me, clapping his hand on my shoulder. His haggard face assembled itself into a hopeful smile. "He is calling for young men to scout the areas and even hunt for these Undesirables."
I smiled tightly at him, "Like who father? I thought they'd all been rounded up. Vance, Finnegan, the Lovegoods, a few of the Weasleys, Thomas…"
"Those were the minors, there are still others that are of far more concern to him. Shacklebolt, McGonagal, Longbottom, Granger..."
I wasn't surprised that Granger was still high on the list of Undesirables. The girl was irritating but a fighter. "Hmm," I replied, taking a sip of the burning liquid.
"Do you understand what this means?" Father leaned heavily against wall, still looking earnestly at me, "If you answer the Dark Lord's call, find one of theses Undesirables and bring them to the Dark Lord, the Malfoy name will finally be cleansed. We will regain our reputation, our honour. Don't you want that Draco?"
"Of course I want that father," I lied. I actually didn't particularly give a fuck whether the Malfoy name meant something or not. In fact nothing really mattered shit anymore. "But what if I can't-"
He grabbed my jaw with his free hand, fingernails digging cruelly into my skin, making me look into his bloodshot eyes, "You can and you will. Your family depends on you. You are the soon to become the man of the household once you find a good pureblood wife. You have to start taking the responsibilities of your family name." He let go of me and stalked back to the fireplace. There was a silence between us stretched, yawning between us. I looked back out the window again watching an Inferior hurry across the cobbles. The boy looked barely twelve years old, and I squinted at the mark on his shaved forehead. MB. Mudblood.
I missed Hogwarts. I missed a good Quidditch match. I missed Bertie Bott's Every Flavour beans. I missed the sunshine and picnics on the front lawn of Malfoy Manor. I missed talking to people who weren't clearly insane in one way or another. I was shocked to admit to myself that I missed the world I had helped to destroy. I searched this new world for a piece of the familiar and found none.
"Look," Father spoke again, demanding my attention to be drawn back to him, "I heard that there is an Undesirable hiding in Paris. Volunteer to go to Paris on your own. It will look better when you catch the Undesirable on your own. Bring them back alive, offer them as a gift to the Dark Lord to do with as he pleases."
I stared at me father, pity and shame filling my gut. This is what my proud father had been reduced to: depending on whispered rumours to try to piece together the scraps of the family's former dignity. A sick feeling in my stomach told me that this was what I was facing in 20 years or so. I stared down at my glass again before downing it in one. I walked towards father, placing the empty glass on the mantel piece beside his hand, "I'll go father." I said quietly and calmly, "for the honour of the Malfoy name."
A strained smile formed on my father's face, as if the act of smiling was painful for him now, "That's my boy," he said hoarsely, slapping my shoulder in what was meant to be a jovial way but felt more like a punishment, "Make the family proud."
What's there to be proud about?
2 days later
Paris had remained untouched by the storms brewing north of her. Muggles still walked free of being chased or cursed. The sun shone on the ornate white buildings, its rays making the waters of the Seine sparkle. The blue sky stretched from horizon to horizon making me realise how much I missed it. I stood on the Pont Mirabeau, watching the green-grey waters flow below me. I wore Muggle clothes so I could blend in with the flowing crowd, black sunglasses covering my eyes in the bright midday sun. I was glad to be away from London, which was just fucking depressing to be in for any amount of time. Paris had always spelt freedom for me; Mother would take me here when Father was away.
I turned away from the river, watching the chattering people and the hulks of metal that hummed along the road rush past me. The muggles took one look at me and quickly hurried by, sensing the danger that was carefully controlled underneath my skin. I paid no attention to them, trying to formulate a plan inside my head. I had yet to look at Wizarding Paris, which I knew lay concealed behind the Arc De Triomphe. I could start questioning people there, see if they had seen any suspicious people, if they know of anyone from Britain had moved into the area during the last year.
I pushed away from the bridge and joined the river of people. I walked the boulevards and streets for a while, not feeling like apparating to the Arc de Triomphe. But it became apparent to me that I was being followed. Every time I looked over my shoulder, I saw someone wearing a dark hooded jacket, walking just as purposefully as I was. I began to get more suspicious when the figure continued on my trail for the next 10 minutes.
I ducked into an alleyway, hid behind a black bin and waited for my pursuer. I pulled my wand out, gripping it tightly, readying myself to silently reiterate the death curse. The follower's death would be quick, clean. Footsteps pattered closer and a shadow fell across where I was hiding. Before the Killing Curse even passed my lips, my wand was wrenched from my fingers and I was slammed against the dirty graffiti covered wall. "Really Malfoy? Walking in broad daylight? That wasn't very clever. Mind you, you were always an arrogant bastard." I started at the female voice that emanated from the shrouded figure, whose face I still couldn't see. The figure stood defensively in front of me, their wand hovering inches away from my nose.
"Why are you here?" the question was hurled at me.
I smirked the Malfoy smirk, "Felt like having a holiday."
A shock of white light smashed into me, my body jolted at the sudden force of it. "Don't be smart with me. Why are you here?"
I growled at her, "Still a bossy know-it-all Mudblood I see Granger?"
"Still a stuck up cocky piece of Pureblood trash I see Malfoy?" she replied evenly, seemingly unperturbed that I knew who she was. Her position did not change, "Now stop avoiding the bloody question Malfoy. Why. Are. You. Here? If you don't tell me, I will hex you within an inch of your life. And you know how good I am at hexes. I was the best in class, you were always at my heels." A mocking tone took to her voice, as if the thought of me being good at anything was laughable. Bitch.
"Looking for an Undesirable," I finally ground out, "I heard there was one hanging around in Paris. Didn't know it was you though."
There was a pause before she lightly swore under her breath. "Right…are there anymore of you?"
"I'm the only one, but more will probably follow if the rumour persists," I said through gritted teeth, internally slapping myself for having been ratted out so quickly.
As if she could read my mind, she commented, "You aren't a very good Deatheater, are you?" She stepped closer, pressing the tip of her wand into my cheek, her soft warm hand cupped my jaw. "What should one do with a shit Deatheater?"
Another pause as she thought before saying, "I'll put a Memory Charm on you and let you toddle away back home. Give you some bullshit story you can tell to your master so you won't be too heavily punished."
"What? You're not going to kill me?" I said, incredulity lighting my voice.
"Of course not, don't be so silly," she said, as if I was an annoying two year old, "it might be a foreign concept to you but you once saved my life. I can't ignore that. So consider this a debt repaid. Goodbye Malfoy, it was oddly nice to see a familiar face."
"Wait!" I burst out, pushing her hand away, "Just listen to me. I'm sure we can come to another arrangement."
She gasped, her skinny warm wrist squirming in my hold, "Malfoy what are you doing? Get off me!"
"If you listen to me then maybe I will," I said smirking.
Her face was still hidden my her dark hood but I could tell she was pissed before she said, "Start talking."
"Well," I said not letting go of her wrist, "Britain is fucked up. I think we both know that."
She snorted, "No thanks to you. Spoilt Malfoy brat finding life tough? I'm just choking with sympathy for you."
I twisted her wrist making her cry out in pain. "Don't interrupt me," I said quietly and coldly before continuing, "I want my home back before all that shit happened. And you're probably the girl to help me."
She said, "What are you suggesting Malfoy?"
My smile widened, "I give you information and you save the world."
She scoffed before pushing her hood back with her free hand, her amber eyes sparkling with scepticism. Now I could see her properly I saw how much she had changed in little more than a year. Her serious face seemed older than 18, sharp angular features, a frown creasing her skin. Her wild curly brown hair was tied into a tight bun at the back of her head, reminding me vividly of Professor Mcgonagall, but stray pieces of hair escaped anyway, spiralling away from her face. Freckles dusted her skin across the bridge of her nose and cheeks and her lips were pulled into a disapproving pout. "Really? I save the world. Brilliant plan Malfoy, just fucking superb!" She seemed particularly pissed off by this statement so I quickly hurried on.
"We can figure something out Granger. We were the best of the class of 1998. Together we can bring the Dark Lord to his knees, " I said determinedly, I let go of her wrist now. We now stood in that dark grimy alleyway, staring at each other guardedly, wondering if the other was going to bolt.
Her eyes narrowed, and her fists clenched, "How can I trust you when you still call him: 'The Dark Lord'?"
I smiled bitterly, "I'm sorry, that is a habit of mine. And you are going to have to trust me. I'm the only chance you've got of taking him down, and you know it."
She chewed on the inside of her cheek, and I allowed her to think it through. I stepped back from her shoving my hands into my pockets. I watched her, as she continued to deliberate, her white teeth chewing on her bottom lip, a hand tugging on the stray locks of hair that flew away from her face. I was beginning to get impatient. I was offering to give her inside information and help her plan the rebellion against the Dark Lord's government. It was an offer she couldn't refuse.
Her eyes flickered to me before giving me a silent nod in agreement. She tucked her wand underneath her jacket, before sticking out her hand out to me. "Fine… but if you double-cross me…I will find you. Are we clear?"
I smiled, her veiled threat amusing me somewhat, "Of course. But it goes two ways Granger. If you betray me to any of the other Undesirables… I will find you." We then shook, eyeing each other shrewdly. We quickly parted, as if afraid of catching diseases from the other.
She pushed back the stray curls of hair before catching a lock between her fingers and staring at it for a moment. She did something entirely unexpected. She reached for her wand again and quickly severed the lock. She handed it to me saying, "give this to You-Know-Who, tell him you killed me and did it in such a way that my body was completely destroyed. This was the only evidence you could glean from my body. That should keep you out of suspicion and you would rank higher amongst the Deatheaters. You can go into explicit detail if you want but keep your facts straight."
I snatched the lock out of her fingers, more angry that she had thought of the idea first rather than me, "Yes I know, I'm not stupid." I wrapped the hair carefully in my handkerchief before folding it away into my pocket.
"That's still debatable," she replied drily, "Next time you decide to take a gander in a country that is not your own, disguise yourself for Merlin sake. Other Order of Phoenix members may not be so merciful when they see you. You were so obvious, you stuck out like a sore thumb."
"You know where they are?" I asked coldly, choosing to ignore the criticism and the odd phrase.
She froze in the middle of pushing her hood back on, letting it fall back onto her shoulders again, "…no. We all scattered to the Four Winds after the Battle. Haven't heard anything from anyone in months. I don't know who's alive and who's rotting in a mass grave. You're the first person from the old days I've seen. And you're not even on our side!" A note of desperation wheedled into her usually business like voice.
I scowled, "Granger, you have got to stop thinking of me as the enemy. It will make it slightly counterproductive. And do you mind we don't talk about this in an alleyway. Absolutely stinks here."
She frowned again before nodding, "there's this little cafe around the corner. We can't go to Wizarding Paris: who knows whose crawling around in there. I've always depended on Deatheater snobbishness on not coming into Muggle Paris."
We walked out into the street again, Granger pulling up her hood again as we walked. "How long have you been living in Paris?" I asked, as we formed part of the Parisian crowd.
"A year," she said, "I apparated here after you let me go."
"Why didn't you go to your parents?" I asked.
"I couldn't risk it. Some one might've followed. And anyway, their memories of me are gone. It would be cruel to drag them back again."
"They've lost their memories? Why?" I asked as we came across a little café on a corner.
Her face was a mask as she said, "I wiped their memories before going to find the horcruxes, in case one of your lot tried to look for them so as to get information about me."
"Oh," I said not quite sure how to respond. It was odd to think of someone willingly pushing someone they care for away. I kept the things I treasured most as close to me as possible.
A waiter bustled to our table and said, "Qu'est-ce que vous voulez?"
"What do you want?" Granger asked me.
I looked at her, wondering if she was seriously expecting me to eat muggle food and drink. She smirked, obviously finding my expression amusing. "You've got to drop your prejudice. It's counter-productive."
I scowled at her before saying curtly, "Coffee, black," I leaned back in the green and white wicker chair allowing the sun to warm my skin.
"Un café noir et un café au lait, s'il vous plaît," I heard Granger murmur and the waiter hustled away.
"So tell me, how is everyone? Who's dead, who's hiding and who's swaggering?" She also leaned back in her chair, eyeing me with a mixture of resignation and fear.
I paused before relaying the names of the dead and the other Undesirables. She remained quiet and after I had finished telling her which of her friends were dead, she remained silent. I allowed her the time to let it sink in. I looked away as she surreptitiously wiped her eyes. "Right," she finally said, she tried to make her voice strong but it quavered anyway. The coffees came and they did nothing to interrupt my retelling.
"Which Weasleys?" she asked, lifting the coffee to her lips with trembling hands.
"Uhm…" I muttered, shifting uncomfortably in my seat, as her ochre eyes shone in the sunlight, "Molly and Arthur Weasley died fighting for their lives and the lives of their children. George Weasley was found a month after he was still operating the Pirate Radio, he was killed instantly. Bill and Fleur Weasley's location is still unknown, we think that they have smuggled themselves to another country. Charlie is also missing. Percy is working for the new government, still as Junior Assistant to Minister of Magic. Ginny Weasley is an Inferior to one of the Pureblood families and Ron-" she froze at the mention of Ron's name, the coffee cup trembling between her long fingers, the hot liquid spilling over the rim. She didn't seem to notice the scalding liquid trickle over her skin, she just stared at me, with wide unblinking eyes, "is dead, he was killed at the Final Battle. I'm sorry." The apology tasted off in my mouth but it needed to be said. A solitary tear rolled down her cheek and she wiped it away quickly. She took her sip of her drink and I knew she was composing herself.
I knew that Weasley and Granger had been close. I knew if their side had won the war, they would have been the Golden Couple. I knew they would have married and their wedding would be splashed across the papers with gaudy garishness. I knew they would have produced a load of ginger buck-toothed half-blood babies and sent them off to Hogwarts, with proud and indulgent smiles on their faces. I knew they would have grown old together and died together. But their side didn't win the war. I am facing a crying Mudblood after telling her the love of her life died without her.
She took a large shaky breath, blinked a couple of times before saying with a false briskness, "What's an Inferior? Who's Minister of Magic?"
I leaned forward, glad the conversation had changed direction. "Well," I said, "They're human slaves, basically. The house-elves had a sudden and unexpected rebellion. We do not know how they did it but we wiped them out before it got out of control. We also had too many Undesirables to deal with. The death camps were overflowing. So the Dark Lord allowed a slave trade to start. Healthy, talented and good-looking Undesirables are chosen for multiple purposes. The ones who work in agriculture or industry have their heads shaved and a brand placed on their forehead: BT for Blood Traitor, HB for Half Blood, M for Muggle and MB for Mudblood. Domestic Inferiors keep their hair but are still branded on the forehead. And then there are those in entertainment, like singers, musicians, dancers etc. they're branded on the back of their hand. They're all charmed not to runaway while working and are traceable. Weaslette is a Domestic Inferior for the Parkinsons."
"Right, and who's the MoM?" she asked again, seemingly feeling better.
"Yaxley, though everyone know he takes orders from the Dark Lord."
"What's he doing?"
"He shuts himself away with his most trusted followers and they form plans to take over the world," I shrugged, taking a sip of my coffee, "Sometimes he appears at the death camps and…has some fun." I looked away from her even gaze, staring out at the street.
"Do you think you can close to him?" she asked, "Get into that circle of trusted Deatheaters?"
I frowned, thinking about it, "…Maybe. If I do the right things. Find the right people, torture the right people, suck up to the right people, marry the right girl…" I rubbed my jaw in thought before turning back to look at her, "Saying I killed you would definitely put me in the right books. I killed the last of the Golden Trio. Hmm I killed Granger. Sounds good."
I grinned at her and she rolled her eyes, "We'll wait until we know more. You work your way up the ranks. Get closer to You-Know-Who. I heard you're a good Occlumens?"
"Snape taught me well," I said, remembering my old teacher. He had scarpered soon after the battle and no one heard of him since. I often thought of him, wondering if he was alive or not.
"Good, because you're going to find it handy," she said bluntly, "If you let your guard slip, you'll be killed, they'll find me, I'll be killed and any chance of stopping You-Know-Who goes down the drain."
"No pressure then," I said drily, swilling my coffee.
"Indeed," she said, her business like tone firmly in place, "How many Deatheaters will follow the rumour that lead you here?"
"Oh I don't know. I'm guessing all of them will catch on and quickly follow. Some of them will endure their disgust and come into Muggle Paris. You should get out of here, find somewhere else to hide."
She scowled in irritation. "And I so liked it here," she muttered, more to herself than to me. The scowl disappeared and she straightened in her chair. "We need to keep in touch without it being traced or tapped into somehow. I think I've got something at my flat actually. Something I've working on, just in case something like this happened."
She picked up her coffee and drained it, before looking expectantly at me. "Come on, we'll have to take the metro. Can't apparate there because the apartment block has the same kind of spell Hogwarts had: can't apparate in or out of it."
I scowled at her, "Boss me around Granger and I'll hex your mouth shut."
She laughed, a light airy sound that shocked me by coming out of her mouth. "Oh dear, Malfoy you make me feel like I'm in school again." She then called to the waiter, "Serveur! L'addition s'il-vous-plait."
"And that's a good thing? I treated you like shit. Still treat you like shit." I said as the waiter came by.
"Oui," she said, smiling at the waiter as she paid, "Honestly, just you calling me Mudblood gives me the nostalgia."
"Hmm," I muttered draining my cup before hoisting myself out of the chair, "Come on Mudblood, show me the way to your hovel."
She raised her eyebrows and began to walk away down the wide cobbled street, "Keep up Pureblood. You're going to have to walk faster than a strut."
Three words: partnership from hell.
Ta da! Hope you like. Please, please review!