T'm sorry! T'm an awful, awful person! Tt's been so long stnce T posted anythtng and T feel so so bad. T figured tt was best for me to post what T had and start writing agatn, so a new chapter ts on the way. Ftrst though T have to get my laptop ftxed because suddenly today tt's started typing 't's tnstead of the letter whtch ts pronounced 'eye'. T will try to post as soon as T can. Thank you to every one who has revtewed whtle T've been away and sorry agatn.
Nothing unusual or untoward ever happened in Market Lavington. The weather was never too hot or too cold or too wet or too windy. The trains ran on time and the buses were regular. The garden wall of Number Seven Church Street had, for as long as anyone could remember, had a hairline crack running across one corner, causing it to fall of whenever Number Fourteen's cat sat on it.
In fact, that was usually the most exciting thing to happen and some of the youngsters in the village were under the impression that the adults had a rota of whose turn it was to replace the corner stone, so that everyone had an equal amount of excitement.
Because of this, when a new car which none of them recognised purred sleekly down the High Street, half of the villagers discounted it as nothing unusual, while the rest crowded around the vehicle in order that they might catch a glimpse of something exciting.
The blue car pulled into the car park of the Green Dragon pub, and a multitude of people crowded the entranceway, anxious to catch a glimpse of the new arrivals. A large, beefy man with a spectacular moustache emerged from the vehicle first, dressed in an immaculate grey suit. He opened the passenger door and a tall woman with a pointed nose stepped out, craning her long neck. The flamboyant peach dress and matching feathered hat which she was wearing gave her the appearance of some exotic wading bird. The third figure to leave the car was an immensely obese boy with curly blonde hair, clutching at a paper bag of sweets.
The three cast a brief look around the sunny courtyard before turning and walking through the door into the shadowy interior of the inn. The crowd which they had gathered dispersed quickly.
As ever, it was a warm and sunny morning which saw Draco and Harry sat in Draco's library, the blond buried deep in his Ma Famille et les autres animaux, whilst Harry was still struggling through The Magician's Nephew, with the aid of a massive dictionary squatting at his side.
The sound of a car crunching up the gravel driveway made them both look up and they dashed to the window which housed the cameo of Leo Tolstoy. Draco recognised the grey car immediately.
"Ah, that's our librarian, the one who's reorganising our library. Shall we go and greet him?"
Harry nodded silently and they padded into the Entrance Hall just as Tania was opening the door. Harry's first impression was that the librarian looked like he had been born from a book and was not really human at all. He was fairly short, perhaps five foot three, and had wiry grey hair and a long nose at the end of which a pair of circular spectacle were balanced delicately. He beamed when he saw Draco and rushed forward to shake his hand.
"Ah Draco. What a pleasure it is to see you again. I have missed your company." His voice reminded Harry of that of the old caretaker at his school, cheery and amiable but cultured. This man was obviously one of great intelligence.
"You have only been away for three weeks." Draco countered, smiling despite himself.
"Ah but I missed your original insights into all subjects known to man. Will you be joining me in my work, holed away on this glorious morning?"
"Of course, I find nothing more exciting." Draco's tone implied a dry sort of double-sarcasm.
"Oh you rapscallion." The librarian laughed, showing uneven but white teeth. His eyes suddenly locked onto Harry's, standing a few feet behind Draco in silence. "And who is this young fellow? I don't believe we've had the pleasure."
He extended a gnarled hand towards Harry, who took it tentatively.
"Of course." Replied Draco. "How rude of me for forgetting. Harry, this is Severin Hummel, our librarian. Mr Hummel, this is my friend Harry, who is staying with us."
"I am very pleased to meet you." Said Hummel. "A friend of Draco's eh? Then I am sure that you shall also be the most illuminating of company."
As he said this, the doors opened once more and a woman entered. She must have been about thirty-five and had shoulder-length brown hair and hazel eyes and was clutching a great stack of folders to her chest.
"Mr Hummel," she said, "You left your DDC System Key in the car. I took the liberty of picking it up for you." Her voice was layered with honey and flattery, but Mr Hummel seemed not to notice.
"Ah, thank you Alannah. You do so well. Draco, this is Alannah Webb, my new assistant."
"Charmed." Said the blond, giving the woman a quick nod of his head. She replied with a thin smile and a brief reciprocation.
At that moment Lucius entered the room.
"I apologise for my tardiness, Mr Hummel, I was somewhat preoccupied. I trust you know by now where the library is. If I may speak to you before you leave then I would be most grateful. Draco, Harry, may I speak with you a moment?"
He led them to the far corner of the room as Mr Hummel and Alannah left.
"Boys, I have a meeting here tonight. A man is going to be joining myself and Narcissa for dinner whom I am hoping will sell me one of his vineyards in Dalmatia. May I ask that you retreat to your rooms for the duration of this evening?"
Draco nodded as though this was nothing new, and Harry also murmured his assent.
"Thank you boys, now go to the library. I am sure that Mr Hummel and Miss... Webb, was it? - are anxious for your company."
The boys spent the rest of the morning in the main library, fetching and carrying piles of books and chatting away to Alannah who, it turned out, was able to get Harry to talk too, albeit sparsely. At lunchtime, Draco led Harry back to the helical staircase linking the two floors of the room. Surprisingly, he led Harry downwards, descending a second section of the flight which he had not noticed on their last visit. It took them into a windowless room that was lit with cheery lamps along the walls and filled with cushiony sofas.
"This is the informal salon, where I do most of my entertaining." Draco explained. He led the brunet along a corridor which led out of the room with no doorway interval and past several doors on their left, explaining that they were the servants' quarters. Eventually, they reached a simple wooden door at the end of the hallway, which Draco opened into the kitchen.
Talula came bustling out to greet them, sporting a tray which was laden with sandwiches and hefting two glass bottles of lemonade under each arm. "I thought that you might find your way down here before too long." She smiled, her eyes twinkling. "And so I took the liberty of preparing you a light lunch."
Harry privately thought that even the richest man in the world couldn't call this lunch 'light', but accepted the bottles of cloudy liquid and followed Draco back to the library.
"So Harry, how are you enjoying your stay here?"
It was just after two o'clock, and Draco and Harry had been called to Narcissa's office for the second of Harry's therapy sessions. They were sat at the same set of sofas on which they been seated last time and a plate of ginger biscuits was sat temptingly on the glass top of the coffee table.
Harry thought. He remembered the tour of the house and the hours spent with Draco in the library, the many hours that Draco had spent by his side and the myriad of occasions when Draco had pulled him from the throes of a nightmare.
"I like it here a lot." He eventually replied honestly, still only just catching himself before he added a 'Miss'.
Narcissa smiled. "Is your accommodation acceptable?"
"Yes, absolutely." The boy gushed in response.
"Splendid. I thought that, today, we would stay away from some of the more sensitive topics and merely discuss things which we like and dislike, just in order that you might be better able to have conversations with other people, is that acceptable to you?"
When Harry nodded his response, she continued, "Shall we begin with... 'What is your favourite colour?' Oh, and would you like a biscuit?" She extended the plate towards him and he took one politely.
"Green." He replied, in answer to her question, and she smiled encouragingly.
"Very good. Draco?"
"Mauve." He replied, and blushed a little. He too took a biscuit.
The questions progressed thus, visiting topics such as favourite book, favourite animal and various other inconsequential subjects. Unfortunately again, a fair few of the questions proved unanswerable to Harry, but he soldiered through and did his best to provide adequate responses. Draco couldn't have been prouder of him.
Please revtew, tt's very much apprectated. T'll try to update sooner thts ttme.