Isabella C Robertson
The minutes seemed to melt away into hours, the handles on the kitchen clock ticked exuberantly and all the time, I was waiting, uncharacteristically excited about the arrival of the Loughlin children. Draco's mood today was unsettled, though it was becoming a frequent habit of his to demonstrate displays of manic depression, I made an extra effort to play into his sorrows, hoping thought's of yesterday's punishment would fade away. For the best part of the morning, we took to organising his clothes and bathroom bag. I had offered him the ability to rearrange the room he resided in to suit his needs. The offer meant little to me, but much to a boy his age.
"I was never allowed move anything," he told me, "Father had jinxes around the furniture. If I moved even my bed a tiny piece, I'd be burned or disgusting boils would erupt on my face."
I assured him my furniture was jinx free, demonstrating as I dragged his bed around the room. It earned me a short smile; not a long lasting grin, but I noticed a tiny light spark in those eyes. Delighted at the notion of progress, we had ventured into the attic. Well… I had hoisted him onto my shoulders, while he stuck his head through the attic door. I directed him to an old trunk of mine and together we hoisted it from it's dust cave.
"An old Hogwarts trunk of mine, from my school days." I told him, pushing it against the end of his bed. I unbuckled the leather straps, lifting the lid and batting away the dust as it rose from it's years of settlement. "I've got a lot of old memorabilia here from the Slytherin common room."
"You stole from the Slytherin common room!" he gasped.
"At the time I suppose it was considered stealing, yes," I agreed, picking up an old silver jar encrusted with a light gilded engraving. "But considering I'm head of Slytherin house now, it's more borrowing with intention of returning at some stage."
He peered into the trunk, admiring my treasures. I saw his fingers flex with irritation, the temptation to touch and prod and know about it all rattled him. He was a curious child, Draco, forever questioning and wanting to have an answer for all of life's problems. Until he reached a certain age, then nothing of the sort was tolerated in Malfoy Manor. If it was mentioned, then it became a rule and you did not question rules at Malfoy Manor.
"We'll go through it tomorrow, what do you think?" I suggested, dropping the jar back amongst the pile and causing a swirl of dust to rise. I whacked it away with my hands. "I'm certain that there are some Slytherin flags in here. I'm sure we could brighten this place up with some fine décor."
"I'd like that." he mumbled, dropping his eyes to my hands.
I hardly noticed the time pass, we had become so preoccupied in finding a suitable position for Draco's bed. It couldn't be in the centre of the room, that was to formal nor could he have it shoved against one wall because that left to much empty space; so we decided the best option was to rest it at an angle against one corner of the room.
"This way I can view the door and the window." he explained, tucking the edges of his blanket carefully beneath the mattress.
I had been about to reply, with what I couldn't recall, I think it was a suggestion about moving his desk, when the security chime echoed around the house. It was followed by two enthusiastic knocks against the door.
"I think that our guests have arrived," I said, rising from the edge of the bed, "I'll go greet them while you change."
I closed the door behind me, secretly throwing a prayer to the winds that he would think for himself and not allow his father rule his mind from a distance. George greeted me in his usual manner, a strong hand shake and a chatty reencounter of their adventure from his house to mine. I nodded vaguely, humming and making subtle remarks as I waved him through to the kitchen. Though I wasn't really concerned, I was neither rude. His sister, Alison, a bright young girl of 11, trailed behind him. Though I found George to be an absolute pest, I quite favoured Alison for her considerate nature and observant personality.
"Don't you think, Mr Snape?" he hollered.
I looked up, blinking at his expression and realising I had no either what he had been saying. "Quite." I replied, hoping the answer suited.
He sighed, shaking his head. "I said the same thing you know. I do rather think Ms Lynch needs to come down from her high horde and give over with her ordering about. It's her first year on the bonfire committee and she's already seen to it that we don't go rock climbing after 4pm."
"That's because the tide rises at 4, George. It'd be dangerous. Unless you want to fall into the waves and be lost forever." Alison added.
I smiled. Always the prudent one her. She smiled back at me, her ponytails rocking from either side of her head.
"Where's Draco then?" George quipped, "I still can't believe his name. Hilarious!"
"It does not do to laugh at others, George. The tides turn eventually and you wouldn't want to find yourself on the other end." I reminded him.
He shrugged. Turning from me and staring out the window. "What is it we're getting up to today, Mr Snape?"
"Some weeding and watering." I told him, opening the back door indicating toward a pile of wood stacked against the wall. "Then there's all that wood I need taken away."
"Is that for the bonfire?" Alison asked, stepping into back garden. I nodded in reply, kicking aside a large dandelion that had grown between a crack in the path.
"Why that'll be brilliant!" George gasped. "Imagine the height we'll reach with the flames this year."
"I don't think Ms Lynch will approve."
"Lynch smynch," he scoffed, waving a hand in front of his sisters face. She swatted him away. "Oh there you are! About time, the weeds have been growing you know!"
I turned. In the doorway, standing with an air of weak authority and confidence, was Draco. His hair was slicked back, trademark, and he wore a blue t-shirt, with a pair of trousers. I nodded to him, a silent remark of praise and encouragement. He returned my gesture.
"Right then," I said, rubbing my hands together. "George and Draco, why don't you begin pulling the wood out front. Alan Carter will be around to pick it up and myself and Alison will begin weeding."
The work was exhausting. One could only pull and pluck at so many slivers of weeds, before agitation set in. I had managed to de-weed a square patch of grass near the wall, bringing shame upon myself as I saw the large rectangle area Alison had groomed. All the time I watched from the corner of my eye as Draco silently picked his way through the pile of wood. Though he settled for the lightest bits to begin with, I watched as his ego rose to the surface, ever trying to match the strength of George. I admired his attempts, his new ways. I wasn't deterred by his lack of conversation with George, occasionally he would mutter a word or two, answer a question or if he couldn't come up with a big enough exaggeration, just ignored him. I doubted that George minded. He was more a talker than a listener either way, never failing to fill an awkward pause with a rumour he had heard or a strange fact of nature.
His livid personality was new to Draco, I never expected him to welcome the change with open arms, but I was happy none the less of his attempts to socialise. Though little they were, he managed well. We continued weeding and plucking, mowing and pruning, pulling and pushing well into the evening. It wasn't until I heard the chime of the village bells for 6 o clock, did I finally struggle to my feet.
"Time flies when you're having fun!" I puffed, shaking the stiffness from my joints. "Six in the evening already. Your mother will have me drawn and quartered if I keep you longer!"
"I am rather hungry," Alison said, patting her stomach, "And tonight is pizza night."
"Pepperoni and extra cheese," George added, licking his lips. "Oh, Mr Snape, do let us go now!"
I scoffed in false offence, then pulled from my pocket two five pound notes, handing one to each of them. "For your excellence and company," I said, "Don't spend it all in one go. Now go on, away with you."
"Brilliant, Mr Snape!" he gasped.
"Thank you loads," Alison beamed.
I saw them to the door, expecting Draco to follow. I found him out the back garden, plucking the last few dandelions from a corner. He was hunched over on his knees, his head lowered and his arms working furiously.
"You done a fine job today," I remarked, resting on the heels of my shoes.
He shrugged. "Was easy."
"I see you spoke to George. Change of opinion?"
Another shrug. "He's alright."
He said nothing, continuing to pull at bits of grass. He eventually shrugged , leaning back on his heels. "She's grand I suppose."
I chuckled at him, offering my hand to pull him from the grass. He heaved himself up, dusting down his knees and looking proudly around the garden.
"It looks nice now." he said, resting his hands on his hips. I was briefly amused by this gesture, though I nodded and agreed that yes, we had done a fine job.
Guiding him into the kitchen, I told him leave his shoes against the door for scrubbing. He kicked them off and wiggled his toes, flinching with the movements.
"Sore feet?" I asked, raising an eyebrow.
He nodded. I poured a glass of lemonade and cut a slice of sticky toffee cake for us. We settled into the table, savouring our make shift dinner. I watched him from the corner of my eye as he licked the toffee from his fingers and almost dared to wipe the contents on his t-shirt. It's not that I would have minded, in fact I would have favoured an act of social rebellion on his behalf. We weren't quite there yet, I realised, but progress was certainly being made.
"The shoes didn't match." he said, tilting his glass slightly and watching the liquid slosh around inside.
"What do you mean?"
"The pants. The shoes didn't suit my trousers. It looked funny."
"Well how do we accommodate for that?" I asked, brushing some cake crumbs into my hands. He shrugged. "I'm open to suggestions."
"Well," he said, trailing his finger along a burn mark on the table, "I could get some jeans to go with them. Like the ones that George had."
"Jeans it is then," I said, cutting another slice of cake and mentally jumping for joy.
At that moment, I had taken for granted just how easily happiness could be distorted. How quickly confidence can be torn down and shredded into a former shadow. I should have known, suspicion should have told, a sense of warning. Logic should have kicked in, but it didn't and that's when things get tough. That evening was serene, I should have realised to serene and to perfect for nothing to destroy it. What followed the next morning shook every foundation I had worked on for the last few days with Draco. Ignorance is a bliss.
Apologies for my leave of absence, I had internet issues and a few things to sort out. Never fear, I am back on track. Thank you kindly and greatly to all those who have supported me. You make this what it is! Great appreciation is given to me1234567890, Reidlover, SimplyEcho, Cacca, forbbidenluv; these people have been fantastic, following the story through and through, if ever you feel bored or in need of Harry Potter love, check these profiles out for creations and recommendations.