Brief, and mostly likely the only, Author's Note: This is my first attempt at something other than a smutty one-shot in… well, years. Please note the rating. There will still be some smut, but the smut to plot ratio is a lot lower than normal… Something like 1:25 instead of my typical 2:1. This is much more about the story. The sex is an added bonus. I promise I will do my best to stay dedicated, I'm very excited about this plot idea. Speaking of the plot, here comes the usual disclaimer: I, of course, do not own Harry Potter or any characters therein. However, I also cannot take full credit for this plotline, as it is loosely borrowed from one of my personal favorite musicals. Also, the chapter titles are all Faith Hill song titles. I do not know as yet exactly how many chapters it will come out to, but I promise I will be very definite and firm about the end. You'll know when it's over.
And now, without further adieu…
Somebody Stand By Me.
"No, I'm desperate."
"Okay, you're desperately crazy."
Hermione was packing the last of her things in a hefty trunk as she bickered with her mother.
"I told you that you can stay here as long as you like…"
"I know I can, Mother, but it's time I started making my own way… I'm twenty five years old, I can't keep living at home having a pity party for myself just because there aren't any good jobs for someone who didn't finish school." Hermione hadn't realized how devastating losing her last year of school would be to her future career. She might have been the right hand of the Chosen One, but that didn't matter on paper. Back then it hadn't seemed important – and she supposed, in the grand scheme of things, it wasn't. Vanquishing Voldemort for good was certainly something far more grandiose and significant than a paltry potential desk job.
Now, however, with Voldemort having been gone for eight years and Hermione still living with her mother because the Ministry of Magic didn't want to hire someone who hadn't completed a wizarding education, she was being forced to second guess her past, and she didn't like it.
Frustrated, she forced her thoughts to the neatly packed trunk in front of her.
"I think that's everything…"
"Mother, I'm sorry, but I've made my choice." Hermione's voice softened a little when she saw tears welling in her mother's brown eyes. Her hair had been pulled back into a bun, but curly little pieces were falling out here and there from her mother's exhaustive last-ditch attempts to get Hermione to stay.
She was still beautiful, Hermione thought. Even at fifty.
She pulled her mother into a tight hug. She felt a few tears splash onto her shoulder.
"Mum, please don't cry… I'll be fine. I really will. Being a governess will be good for me. You know how I love to teach."
"I know, but Hermione… it's for… for that Malfoy boy's son…"
"Mother, Draco Malfoy is no longer a boy. He's a grown man with a child, and he needs help schooling him. He's five years old, he still has six years before he goes to Hogwarts." She said it as gently as she could but she knew they were words her mother didn't want to hear.
"Can't he find someone… anyone… else? He was so awful to you in school, I can't imagine you living in his house! What if he tries to kill you?"
"Then he'd be arrested and most likely have his soul sucked out of him by a dementor. It's not hard to prove a wizard's murder. All you need is the wand that did it. If Draco Malfoy wanted me dead, there are far stealthier ways to go about it than going to the trouble of hiring me as his governess."
"But why you?" her mother demanded, pulling away and meeting Hermione's eyes.
"If I know Malfoy, he will want only the best for his child. He knows I will not lead his son astray, and as much as Malfoy may not like my bloodline, he cannot deny that I was the top of the class every year."
Her mother sighed and her gaze dropped.
"Mum, we've been round and round this conversation a hundred times. You know I'm holding fast. Please, just support me? I need to know I'm not alone."
"Your father's death is still painful for me. I just can't imagine being alone in this house all day… every day."
Hermione was silent. Her father had died of a heart attack – so the doctors assumed – shortly after Hermione restored his memory when she returned safely after Voldemort had been killed. He had been fifty at the time compared to her mother's forty two. Hermione's best guess was that his body reacted to the strong magic of returning memories badly. She didn't know if it was because he was older and a bit more frail than her mother, or simply because his body wasn't used to so much magic. Hermione had always thought the magic in her bloodline came from her mother. Her father's death was another confirmation for that suspicion.
"You're a strong woman, mother. I will owl you as often as I possibly can. But please, get yourself out of the house sometimes. Spend time with your friends, go shopping, graffiti a train station, something…"
She was pleased to see her mother smile, and even more pleased when she pulled Hermione into a tight bear hug.
"I love you, Hermione."
"I love you too, Mum."
"Please be careful."
"As long as you are happy, I will support you."
"Thank you…" Hermione murmured, and then pulled away. She shut her truck and locked it, then turned it up on its end and held the handle.
"I'm going now, all right? I'm expected at mid-day today and it's already a quarter to twelve."
"Goodbye, love. Take care."
"Of course, mother."
And with a turn on the heel and a quick pop, she and her trunk were gone.
She staggered a little with the weight of her trunk by her side as she appeared just outside the front gates of Malfoy Manor. They were made of solid black iron and looked ominous even in the bright noon sunlight. Sensing her presence and, she assumed, having been charmed to know who she was, they opened to allow her entrance. She hadn't gotten more than two steps in when two wizards – at least, she thought they were wizards – appeared at her sides. They were dressed to the nines in topcoats with tails, but their skin seemed to gleam, almost glow, like their veins had molten gold flowing through them instead of blood.
"Miss Hermione Granger?" One asked. His voice was deep, but watery and smooth.
"Yes sir," she replied, nodding her head in a slight bow.
"We have been waiting for you." The second said. His voice was exactly the same as the first.
Hermione only bleakly nodded.
"Shall we take your trunk for you?" the first asked.
"No… I mean, I—"
"Very well, then," replied the second, and they each took an end of her trunk and carried it before her on the path as if it were as light as feathers.
Well, she thought. At least they weren't house elves.
She followed them at a jog up the walk, for they travelled very quickly, and soon joined them on the front steps, where the one closer to the door took one hand off the trunk and knocked at the door three times. It opened immediately for him and they trotted inside. Hermione walked in after them as gracefully as she could, but she felt her own gait to be heavy and clumsy in comparison to their dancing step.
Once her eyes adjusted to the dimmer light inside and she moved her gaze straight ahead, she found herself face to face with none other than the man of the house, Draco Malfoy. He stood a few meters from her, his hand on the shoulder of a boy who was the spitting image of his father, but the top of his head barely came to Draco's waist. The two gleaming wizards stood, beaming, to the side, still holding her trunk.
"Hermione," he said to her. His voice was smooth and even. Hers, she was sure, would be trembling, for she had just then realized how incredibly nervous she was. She was staggered enough at his use of her first name. Through all their correspondence previous in the hiring process, he had referred to her as Ms. Granger, and she to him as—
"Mr. Malfoy," she responded, inclining her head in the same bow she'd given the men currently holding her luggage.
"Draco, please," he corrected her. She thought maybe he might have smiled, but that thought was so unlike Malfoy that she dismissed the notion immediately.
There was a painful silence and Malfoy glanced over at the two men. It was then that Hermione realized that Draco was dressed in a robe which stood open to reveal a freshly starched shirt complete with a green tie and what she was sure must be twenty galleon black pants. Forty galleon shiny black shoes completed the ensemble. His son was also in a starched shirt and black pants, but he lacked a tie and robe. The two golden wizards were in white-tie tuxedos. And she… Hermione was clad in a two galleon off-the-clearance-rack brown polyester skirt suit, with hose too dark for her skin tone and low-heeled pumps with scuffs on the toes. Her hair, at least, was pulled back into a stern, no-nonsense bun…
"Gentlemen, please deliver the lady's luggage to her quarters, and then you are dismissed."
"Yes, sir," they said in unison, and they – and Hermione's trunk – disappeared silently in a cloud of golden mist, which soon fell to the floor and evaporated.
"I'm sorry?" Hermione said, her eyes snapping back to him.
"They're called Orhommes. Golden men. A very strange hybrid – or mistake – from a French wizard's laboratory… but they make quite useful servants. They don't require payment, they don't eat or drink, and they never need new clothes."
"How… interesting…" she choked out, trying not to imagine the kind of horrors those men must have gone through to go from ordinary humans to strange apparating golden creatures.
"I call them Dmitry and Davius," Malfoy continued.
"Which is which?" she couldn't help but to ask.
"I'm not entirely sure, but they know the difference between each other, so I'm not bothered."
"Father…" the little boy said, tugging at his father's robe.
"Ah, yes, how rude of me. Hermione, this is Scorpius. Scorpius, this is Hermione. She is to be your governess until you are old enough for institutional education."
"How do you do, Scorpius?" Hermione asked, kneeling down on one knee and meeting his eyes – silver, just like his father's. He looked so much like Draco that Hermione wondered if he had a mother at all, or if Draco had merely cloned himself… Hermione made a mental note to ask about the boy's mother.
"I'm doing good," Scorpius replied, looking down at the floor. His father had instructed him to be polite and he clearly was not enjoying the task.
"Don't you mean, 'I'm doing well'?" she corrected him, smiling.
"Whatever…" he said, shuffling his feet. "Father, can I go now?" he pleaded, looking up at him. Draco sighed.
"Go on to your room. I'll be by shortly."
Scorpius wasted no time but dashed away and out of sight immediately.
"He's… charming…" Hermione said, struggling to find a positive comment.
"He's difficult is what he is."
"I'm sure I can work with him," she said, trying to convince both of them.
"I'm sure. You wouldn't be here otherwise," he countered. She supposed that was a compliment.
"Shall I show you to your room?" he asked.
"Certainly," she answered. He led her up a grand staircase and she stared at the surroundings… lots of dark wood paneling, stone floors, plenty of artwork… the whole place was extravagant, but quite distinctly Slytherin. They walked all the way down the west hallway of the second floor until they reached the door at the end.
"You'll find everything you need inside, I'm sure. Every day breakfast is at eight, lunch at twelve, and dinner at five. You are welcome to join us at our table unless I specify otherwise. I want you having as much time with Scorpius as possible. He does not take very kindly to strangers and it will take a while for him to warm up to you. I'd like you to begin tutoring him tomorrow, every day between breakfast and lunch. After lunch he is allowed to roam around and do as he pleases, within reason, until dinner. After dinner he is to practice reading for a while. He should be in bed no later than eight. Should you require anything, just call for Dmitry or Davius."
Hermione tried to file all that away in a temporary space in her brain so she could write it down when he let her into her room.
"If he misbehaves?" she asked.
He didn't seem keen to expand on what "accordingly" entailed, so Hermione decided she would just make sure to keep her disciplinary decisions prudent.
"Lunch is in ten minutes. I'll see you in the dining room then."
"Thank you…" she replied, but he was already walking back down the hallway, leaving her alone at the door. Not wanting to waste time, she turned the handle and slowly pushed the heavy door open.
Her mouth went agape as she took in her new living quarters.
At the right of the room was a magnificent, king-sized four-poster bed hung with silver curtains and dressed with an emerald quilt, emblazoned with the Malfoy family crest. To the left of the bed was a wardrobe and to the right was a bedside table. On the left of the room was a fireplace with two Victorian era couches by it, and on either side of the fireplace were bookshelves. On the back wall was a large writing desk, and to its right were two gorgeous French doors that led to a small balcony overlooking the west side of the grounds. Her trunk stood, open and empty, at the foot of the bed, and she realized as she explored the room that Dmitry and Davius had already unpacked her things. She noticed a door by the bedside table and opened it to reveal a stunning bathroom – covered in gray slate and white marble, with a beautiful vanity, a shower big enough for three people, and at the center of the room a gorgeous, antique clawfoot tub.
If this was her room, she couldn't imagine what the master suite looked like…
Hermione shook the curious thought away and made her way downstairs in search of the dining room for lunch.
Author's Note: Reviews are not required but always appreciated. This will be my one and only petition for reviews. I'd like to know if I should keep going with this idea or scrap it. I know one chapter is hard to judge on, so wait for more if you like.