Disclaimer: I own no part of the Harry Potter series, nor did I write or edit it. That honor goes to the lovely and talented J.K. Rowling. However any non -canon locations such as the Café are mine, as are the houses at the Salem Witches' Institute. The personalities of any characters not appearing in the books are also my creation.
Author's Note: Hermione gets violent in this chapter. And I don't speak French, so the Café Du Locke has no real meaning as titles go.
I woke to rain tapping on my windows. The silk sheets tangled around me as I sat up, pushing the dark green blanket off. I ran one hand through my blonde hair.
Merlin's beard, what time is it? I thought. The diffused light outside gave no hint as to the hour, except that I knew it was daylight. I kept no clock in my room, trusting to the house elves to wake me up. They'll be punishing themselves for the next week when I get my hands on them.
I stood, adjusting my boxers more comfortably and picked up my wand. I muttered the spell that would bring a clock to me under my breath. A large, gaudy gold clock appeared. I checked the silver hands. 12:15. What? A Malfoy does NOT sleep late. Just then a house elf Apparated into the room.
"Master Malfoy, you're awake!" It croaked in a low voice. I recognized this elf as Barsley, the oldest elf in the Manor. "Get dressed, you have an appointment in half an hour!" It offered me my calendar.
'May 1st, Lunch meet. W/ Blaise.' Today's date read. "Hell's bells!" I said. It was a favorite Muggle term of mine, picked up from a store clerk at a bookstore where my mother used to do business. "Get out, get out!" I ordered the house elf. He disappeared with a loud crack as I ran to the shower.
One shower and a long hairstyling session later, I was out the door and on the way to the Café Du Locke for my meeting with Blaise.
I Apparated just outside the wards of Malfoy Manor and appeared about a mile from the café. I frowned. I did not usually undershoot when Apparating. I didn't want to try again and overshoot, or worse Splinch myself in haste. I ran instead. I miraculously avoided the Muggles passing by and made it to the Café on time, albeit slightly out of breath.
The Café Du Locke was a stately white building. The cursive writing on the sign that declared it a café was blue, as were the door and curtains. A bell chimed pleasantly as I opened the door. A young woman with flaming red hair and a nametag bearing the name Audrey stood at the counter. Abstract paintings were hung on the white walls. The tablecloths on the intimate round tables were blue. Large fluorescent lamps in the ceiling gave the place a cheery air. I ignored the décor entirely and walked straight up to Audrey, cutting in front of the line of customers picking up their coffee.
"Slytherin," I said. Aubrey flashed me a wide smile.
"Granted," she said. A green door with a silver knob appeared in the wall. The customers didn't even blink. The Café served only wizards and witches. The front section was for the non-Hogwarts patrons and the wizards who preferred a more mundane setting. To the Muggle eye, I imagined the Café looked like a boarded up building. It worked on an odd kind of magic. It was basically a Fidelius charm that included all magical folk. The charm checked for magic and let you in. Hags, goblins and other magical creatures had their own room away from the eye of the public.
I turned the knob and opened the green door onto a dimly lit room almost entirely different from the main area of the Café. The walls here were painted dark green. A portrait of Salazar Slytherin hung above the counter, which was manned by another young witch. She had cropped black hair, a silver nose piercing and a haughty expression. I recognized her before I read her nametag. It was Pansy Parkinson's older sister, Vanessa.
The tables here didn't have tablecloths, instead they were metallic looking and a silver snake curled around the edge of each one, matching the high backed silver chairs with green silk cushions. The counter had a row of green stools with silver snakes curled around the legs. The only light in the room came from greenish glowing orbs floating high on the ceiling. I greeted several people I knew, bought a black coffee from Vanessa and went to the table where I knew Blaise would be sitting, in the back right corner, which was almost entirely darkened.
"Afternoon, Zabini," I said, sitting down in the chair on the left.
"Malfoy," a deep voice drawled. "You're looking flushed today." Blaise sounded worried.
"I had to run part of the way here," I said, sipping my coffee.
"Are you sure you weren't just talking to Vanessa?" I realized Blaise was teasing me. He leaned forward on his elbows and poured sugar into his coffee. Blaise took his coffee with milk and sugar, a lot of sugar. He told me once it was because he kept such mean company that he needed something sweet. "She 's being very nice today." He rolled the 'r', somehow making the word sound dirty.
"Blaise, don't project your fantasies on me. Just because you want to shag Vanessa Parkinson doesn't mean we all do," I reprimanded him in the same teasing tone. He gulped his coffee.
"You wound me, sir," he said, adopting the voice of Sir Cadmus, a painting we had both hated at Hogwarts. "I only want to set you up with a girl." He raised his eyebrows and looked past me at Vanessa.
We talked for a while, about Blaise's job at the Ministry and mine at International Magical Supply. I worked as an Overseas Apparation Deliverer. I took the products we made, like broomsticks and cauldrons, to people who ordered them in America or Australia. Not many people at the company could Apparate properly over the ocean, so I was paid quite highly. We talked about the weather and stupid Muggles, and anything else that popped into our heads, really. I left at 1:30, and Apparated back to the Manor without any problems. I put on a cloak and a black shirt, tied my shoulder length hair back and went to work. I worked odd hours, as the company also dealt in illegal products that had to be delivered carefully. Today, however, I was just delivering legal supplies. A shipment of Potions supplies went to the Salem Witches' Institute in America, some books to the U.S. branch of Flourish and Blott's and magical rubber gloves to St. Mungo's in Boston. My checklist actually said 'Magical Rubber Gloves, 3 crates, black'. I used an Undetectable Extension Charm on a black tote bag, put my items into it, and turned on my heel into lung-crushing darkness.
The Salem Witches' Institute wasn't hard to find. I followed the smell of perfume to a set of large gates of the sort you might find at a graveyard. Behind them a tall, imposing castle rose. I went through and straight to the Potions classroom, which was in a high tower with a large window. I sniffed. Potions should really be in the dungeon. I didn't bother to knock on the door. The professor was supposed to know I was coming, and if not I would be a pleasant surprise.
The Potions Mistress at Salem was a short, heavy witch with blonde ringlets. She was teaching a class of 7th years who were all wearing green and stirring cauldrons. The woman sat at a large desk with a blackboard behind it. She looked up from her papers when I came in. The woman stared blankly for a moment, and then seemed to recognize me.
"Malfoy! I was wondering when you'd get here. Just in time for the 3rd year Nycteris girls next. That's, uh, Ravenclaw in Hogwarts terms," she gushed. I gave her a frosty smile. Why are teachers here always hysterical? The girls looked up.
"Oh, is this the delivery boy?" One girl with a round face asked.
"Took him long enough," added an identical girl from across the room.
"He looks odd, too," said a third who looked exactly the same as the other two. How many of them are there? All three of them broke into identical high -pitched laughter.
"Girls, be nice," the teacher admonished them in a matronly tone. "Malfoy, these are the Juno-that is, Slytherin-girls. They're normally quite friendly, but it's been a long day." She shot a glance that somehow encompassed all three triplets. They gave identical smirks that would have made Blaise proud. I took the crate from my bag and set it down in the corner of the room.
"They are very much like Slytherins. But girls," I turned to them. "When insulting a stranger, attempt to be classier. 'Odd' doesn't sting me. Put some force into it, okay?" I spoke kindly, trying not to smirk. "Goodbye, then." I left the room. On to Flourish and Blotts. The girls stared in awe as I left.
"What a Juno!" One of the triplets muttered to the girl next to her.
"A real Juno, wow. He's really something," a girl who wasn't a triplet said.
I smirked to myself. All in a day's work for Draco Malfoy.
The Flourish and Blott's delivery went uneventfully. I handed the books to a quiet old man named Stuart, who waved his wand and put them all on the shelves.
At St. Mungo's, I had to go through security to make sure I wasn't insane or delivering drugs. They sent me to the storeroom, a vast grey place stacked floor to ceiling with supplies. I marveled at the names on some of the crates:
WART HEALING MANDRAKE POWDER
DELUSIONAL COUGH SYRUP, POTENT
PATIENT SMOCKS, EXTRA LARGE
ALICE IN WONDERLAND CAKE
Alice in Wonderland cake? What could they possibly mean by that? I laughed and went out.
On my way out I bumped into a witch and made her fall down. She was wearing street clothes, but had the uniform of a Healer in a plastic shopping bag she carried with her.
"Oh, sorry!" She exclaimed. I blinked at her accent. She wasn't American. In fact, I knew that voice. As I helped her up I looked at her more closely. She was short, with dark eyes and curly brown hair that puffed up immensely and had honey colored highlights. She had a pleasant freckled face and fair skin.
"Granger?" I said, recognizing her at last. I pulled her back up and wiped my hands on my cloak. Mudblood. What scum.
"Malfoy?" Her brown eyes widened. "What are you doing here?" She sounded almost angry.
"My job brings me here," I replied, speaking as coldly as possible. "And you?"
"I worked here." She pointed to St. Mungo's behind me. Her tone was somehow both exactly like mine and entirely different. There was something soft in it that would never be found in the voice of a Malfoy. "Today was my last day. It was a good day." Granger narrowed her eyes at me in a gesture that reminded me of my mother.
"It's not my fault you were in my way," I pointed out. Her entire stance changed. She looked like she was ready for a fight. The last time I had seen her in that pose, I had left with a stinging handprint on my cheek in 3rd year.
"You don't look where you're going!" She crossed her arms, her shopping bag swinging.
"I have places to be. You, however, were standing outside looking blank." I kept my tone as rational as possible, resisting the urge to pull out my wand and hex the filthy mudblood into oblivion. A Malfoy is always calm. She, however had no such self-restraint. Granger hit me full in the head with the shopping bag, which definitely had shoes in it. Stiletto heels, if I wasn't mistaken.
"Filthy mudblood!" I exclaimed, holding my head where she had hit me. "How dare you?"
"How dare I? How DARE I?" She shrieked, her voice losing all traces of softness. "How dare YOU, you coward!" I raised my fist to strike her. She blocked me efficiently and continued to scream. "You were too scared to join us in the war!" She hit me in the stomach with her shopping bag. I doubled over in pain. "You were too scared to stay with Voldemort. You never fought on the front lines! YOU HAD TO BE RESCUED TWICE!" She was so loud now that people were gathering to watch our fight. A Malfoy is always courteous.
"FILTHY MUDBLOOD!" I yelled at her, getting back up and grabbing her right arm, making her drop her shopping bag. "YOU WILL NOT CALL ME COWARD!" My vision had turned red. I kicked her leg out from under her and pulled her back up hard enough that I think I dislocated her shoulder joint. She scowled and reached to punch me with her left hand.
"YOU'RE NOTHING BUT A SNIVELING FERRET!" She hit me hard in the nose. I had to loosen my grip on her. The mudblood kneed me in the groin and picked up her shopping bag. "A sniveling, bouncing ferret." She spat the last words into my face quietly as I keeled over. A Malfoy always wins. I gave a dark chuckle at the thought as the witch walked away, limping slightly.
Blood trickled from my nose and I ached everywhere. I couldn't pass out. I was too strong for that. This was worse than any Cruciactus Curse, because I had been humiliated by a mudblood Gryffindor. Two healers came running out from St. Mungo's and brought me back in. Under the effects of several calming droughts, I finally fell asleep.
I was standing outside, enjoying the fall air and taking in the streets on my last day in America. I clutched my St. Mungo's uniform and the heels one of the other Healers had given me as a present in a shopping bag in one hand. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes.
A tall blonde wizard rammed into me. He had his hair tied back and nice clothes. I placed him around 22, about my age. The wizard had a slight tan and aristocratic features, as well as warm gray eyes. He was carrying a black tote bag with him. He helped me back up as I apologized. His gray eyes narrowed, suddenly full of ice.
"Granger?" It was an accusation. He had a familiar voice and I suddenly recognized his smirk. Malfoy.
I don't know what happened after that. I remember my vision clouding, Malfoy hitting my leg and yanking my arm, and then I was limping away while he writhed in agony on the ground. Walking away from a hospital when you're wounded. Nice one, Hermione, I chided myself.
As soon as I was away from the crowd I Apparated back to my apartment. I noticed the blood under my nails as I put down my bag and took off my coat using my left arm, and immediately went to go wash it off.
I healed myself with magic, wincing at the pain as my right shoulder popped itself back into place and my knee fixed itself. I sat down on the couch and took deep breaths, looking out the window. It was raining that afternoon, a soft pleasant sort of rain. After a few minutes I took out my dog -eared copy of The Goblin Market and began to read.
When I looked up again it was dark and the rain had stopped. I took out my wand and gave it a flick. The curtains shut and the light went on. I stood up slowly and went to the phone. Chinese food sounds good. I don't feel like cooking. I dialed the number and ordered.
It was 20 minutes later, halfway through a plate of sesame chicken that I realized what I had done. I hurt another living person. Badly, too. But, it was Malfoy. Does that make it okay? No, of course not, but he insulted me. That stupid coward. I angrily ripped the napkin on my lap to shreds in my hands. I finished my food, drank a cup of tea and decided just to go to bed. Back to the U.K. tomorrow...I'll see Ginny and Luna again, and I'll be able to sleep in my own house instead of this little apartment. I flicked my wand again and the lights went off. I settled into the bed right next to the table and couch and fell quickly to sleep.
A pair of gray eyes appears in the dark. I am shouting curses at the person, who has long hair and nice clothing, though his face is mostly in shadow. He smirks and steps back. Suddenly everything is light. We are in my Uncle Alf's hayfield. I can feel the long grass tickling my ankles. I lie down in it and roll around like I did as a child. My blue sundress is spread around me. I can see the farmhouse in the distance. I stand up and run to it, my bare feet delighting in the rich brown dirt.
I am close enough to see my family through the large picture window when I hear him behind me.
"Filthy mudblood," a voice drawls. I turn to see the long- haired person from before.
He raises his wand. "This won't hurt a bit," he says, smirking again. "Avada Kedavra." The spell hits the house, not me. It disintegrates, taking the field and my family with it. I am once again alone in the dark. I light my wand and look around to see my apartment. I relax and turn to the bed.
He's lying in it, face still in shadow. "Granger, come to bed," he drawls invitingly. I obey and crawl in next to him. He rolls over to face me. "Turn off that light." I whisper the spell and the room goes dark. I don't sleep. He puts his arms around me.
"Naughty, naughty little mudblood. Dreaming about me like this," he whispers huskily in my ear.
"Dreaming?" I mumble.
"Yes, Granger. This is a dream." I feel him smirk against my ear. "You may as well make the best of it." He draws closer.
I pull away a little bit, although I can't go very far in the circle of his arms. "Please," I whisper back, not knowing entirely what I mean. He smirks again.
"Of course." He moves one arm from me and makes a slashing motion in the dark. The curtains open and I can see his face clearly at last in the dawn light.
"Malfoy," I say.
I woke to birds chirping, the name still hovering on my lips. I was on the very edge of the bed, positioned as if to make room for another person. I shuddered. I definitely need to see Luna. She'd know what that freakish dream meant.
I made a cup of coffee with no sugar and oodles of milk. It was sunny outside and a light breeze was blowing. I checked my watch. 7:15. I packed my clothes by magic and put the rent on the table. I took a deep breath to steady my nerves and Apparated.
I came out in the hills near Luna's house. I frowned. That's not where I wanted to go! At least I made it across the ocean in one piece! I must have been thinking about that icky dream. I turned again and this time came out at the door to my house.
It was quiet and clean, just the way I left it. I unpacked quickly and sat down in my favorite chair. Pulling out parchment and a quill I made a list of the things I needed to do today. My lists were always extremely detailed. I had a visit with Luna planned today, I needed to go pick up my mail at 6 PM, I had to check in at the café where I would be working for the next few weeks, and I had to go shopping for food. I would visit Ginny tomorrow. She was still in France with Harry and wouldn't return until then.
I looked down at my outfit and laughed. I was still in my pajamas! I tied back my hair, quickly changed into jeans and a black V- neck, put my wand in my pocket and Apparated back to the hills.
Luna's father opened the door.
"Good morning, Mr. Lovegood!" He smiled at me, showing a mouth of chipped teeth. I smiled brightly back.
"Luna's excited to see you," he said, leading me inside. "She's in the kitchen." I thanked him and went through to the brightly painted round kitchen where Luna was sitting.
"'Mione!" She exclaimed, standing to hug me. "It's so nice to see you again."
"Hi, Luna," I said. We sat back down at the table. "How are you?"
We talked for a while. She frowned slightly when I described my dream.
"We should break that into parts. That first bit with the farmhouse probably suggests you miss your childhood and family. You as a child see the shadowed person as a threat to your family, perhaps a step parent or troublesome aunt. That also explains the destruction of your house. I think you probably blame someone for destroying your family. That's a fairly common dream." Luna paused for breath
It's the second part that worries me," she said.
I grimaced at her accurate reading. My Aunt Louise had been a gossip and a liar and had always meddled in other people's business. She had single handedly ripped my family to shreds.
Luna continued. "A dream involving familiar settings would normally imply a level of comfort with your self and surroundings, but because it was in the dark that suggests you are uncomfortable with something you have done. The part with the person in the bed would imply you are attracted to that person, but the dark and the commanding tone you described, as well as the face being in shadow suggests hatred. Once again you consider that person a threat, although now I am unsure of your reasoning." I blinked nervously. Luna always unnerved me a little bit when she talked. She sounded incredibly calm and sure of herself, even when doing something that made no sense, like reading my dreams.
"The reveal of Malfoy at the end brings me to the conclusion that you had a fight with Malfoy, who was for some reason in America and called you a mudblood, you are uncomfortable with what you did, and you either hate him and never want to see him again, or you are attracted to him at a ridiculous level, to the point of obsession." She smiled at me when she finished and curled a strand of her hair around her pinky.
"Wow," I said. "You got the exact situation from a dream I had? Although it's definitely the first one when it comes to the hate or love Malfoy thing at the end." I paused. "Who taught you how to do that?"
"My mother," she replied, dreamily staring out the window. Luna's mother must have been a hell of a person. I smiled slightly.
"Have you heard anything from Ginny?" I asked her after a moment. She snapped back to attention from whatever daydream she had been in.
"No. She and Harry have been completely silent to me. I thought you might have heard from them," Luna said.
We talked until around 9. I said goodbye to Luna and her father and went out onto the hills. I considered visiting the Weasleys a few hills away, then decided against it. I have too much to do today. I'll see them tomorrow when Ginny comes home.
I picked up some food from the grocery in Ottery St. Catchpole, mostly health food. My parents had instilled a belief in healthy eating in me from a young age. I remembered telling a teacher my favorite food was broccoli when I was 5 and having my class laugh at me for liking vegetables. I did, however, indulge in a box of red velvet cupcakes. They were my favorite food and a guilty pleasure.
After dropping off my groceries at home, I took a long nap and did not dream.
At noon I put on my gray cloak and walked to my new job. It was only a 15-minute walk at a brisk pace. I hummed a cheery tune as I went and enjoyed the fall air.
The café where I worked was a nice place that was far larger on the inside than it appeared to be. I looked around at the people drinking coffee and eating pastries. Everyone looked happy. Something about the smell of coffee and chatter of people made me smile. It was the kind of place where you could sit and read for a while. I went up to the redhead at the counter, bypassing the line of people waiting for coffee.
"Hi, I'm the new girl taking the afternoon shift," I said. "My name's Hermione."
She gave me a grin so mischievous and friendly I wondered if she was related to the Weasleys. "Hi, Hermione. Come behind the counter so I can get these guys," she indicated the line, "their drinks." I went around the counter.
Somehow she managed to show me how to do everything while taking the customer's orders and not fouling a single one up. "Okay, so you put on that black apron." She pointed to an apron hanging on a hook on the wall with her left hand, effortlessly making a latte with her right. I tied the apron on. "Your nametag's already attached."
"This one's the cappuccino machine," She shook her head towards a small pink contraption in a line of other similar machines. "Each machine is a different color. Green is latte, blue is hot chocolate, pink is cappuccino, red makes regular coffee, orange does flavored coffee, yellow makes frappes, white does espresso and the black one on the end is for decaf." The redhead rattled the names off effortlessly, pressing a button on each machine, placing a cup under one here or collecting a cup there. Her grin stayed wide. She seemed to have a good word for each customer.
"Sugar's on the shelf behind you, cream, half and half and lactose intolerant cream are in the mini fridge. There are rags for cleaning the counter if something spills on the shelf below the sugar. The bathroom for employees is on your left. If you need to step out for any reason, ask Janice -she's the one with the brown hair toasting bagels over there- to cover for you. Use a waxed paper to get pastries from the display case." She pointed to the glass case in the front of the counter. "The specials of the day are on that green chalkboard behind you. You're the afternoon shift, so don't worry about changing them. Don't forget to smile!" She turned to me and grinned even wider.
A middle aged customer came up to the counter. He had on a wide black hat and a black cloak.
"Hufflepuff, please," he said in a gravelly voice.
"Granted," the redhead said. A black door with a gold knob opened in the far wall. He tipped his hat and opened it. I had a brief glimpse into a small, bright room decorated in the Hufflepuff colors.
"Oh, that's what I forgot to tell you. When a customer asks for a house, say 'granted'. Some will ask for the creature room. When they do that, ask them for an ID. That's the room where the hags, goblins and centaurs hang out. Only humans with business with them are supposed to go in there. If the ID checks out let them in. If it doesn't, be polite and tell them they don't have access to that room." The redhead, whose nametag read Audrey, said this in one breath. "And be nice to the Slytherins. They get uppity if you're not," she said in a confidential whisper.
A few minutes later, after checking that I knew everything, Audrey left me to my shift. I did everything she said, and aside from a minor sugar spill, everything went as planned. A heavyset blonde boy named Robert took my shift later that day. I collected my cloak from the hook, bought a latte from Robert and left.
My mail was all junk. Ginny and Harry hadn't sent even one letter. I sharpened my raven feather quill and sat down to write to them.
Dear Ginny and Harry,
I do hope you two are alright. You haven't written a word to Luna or I, and I'm rather put out about it. Harry, Ginny had better be treating you nicely. She said something before she left about locking you up if you didn't take her to the Eiffel Tower. For your safety, take the girl to the Tower!
I'm very busy with schoolwork, of course. Considering the fact that we aren't in school anymore, I think I'm doing quite well. Ha-ha.
I just got back from America today. The branch of St. Mungo's there is divine and the people were incredibly nice. I had a splendid time until my last day there. Our favorite blonde ferret showed up and was lucky a hospital was right behind him.
The café I work at now is a pretty place. There's a girl there who has red hair and a tricky looking grin. You lot don't have a cousin named Audrey, do you?
I'll let you two get back to your trip. I expect full details about the Eiffel Tower and/or Harry's time locked in a hotel room when you get home.
I brought my letter to the post office. By this time it was night, but I wasn't sleepy at all.
I decided to go for a walk. I put on my cloak and put the hood up, tucking my wand into my pocket again.
I walked through town, feeling mysterious with my hood up and face mostly hidden. I stopped in front of a wall that I knew had all sorts of interesting art on it. Several new ones had been added since I had seen it last. My favorite was of a girl standing near the edge of the wall, her brown hair and white skirt streaming back in a nonexistent wind. She had one arm outstretched back as if to reach for a person standing behind her. Her mouth quirked in a wry smile.
"Hello, beautiful," a voice drawled. I smiled to myself faintly. Why on earth is Malfoy in my town? He doesn't seem to recognize me with my hood up. I acted quickly, whispering a spell to change my voice before I turned to him. Operation confuse the ferret is go!
"Hey, handsome," I replied. My voice came out low and smooth.
"What are you doing out here alone in the cold?" I stepped a little closer to him.
"I could ask the same of you," he said smoothly. I laughed a little bit for no reason. He indicated the wall behind me. "Have you seen the art wall before?" I nodded. "It's really the only reason I come to this town. My favorite is that one." Malfoy pointed to the painting I had just been admiring, the girl in the wind. "She looks like she's waiting for someone, don't you think?" He put an arm around my shoulder. "And so do you. Are you waiting for anyone?" I batted my eyes. Ready, set, confuse.
I whispered the counter charm to my voice spell. "I'm waiting for you to recognize me, of course." His eyes widened in shock.
"Should I recognize you?" he asked. I slowly pulled back my hood and smiled.
"Yes, you should," I whispered.
"Granger," It wasn't an accusation as it had been in America. He was simply stating my name. He said it again.
What do you think? Please, please leave a review. Feel free to rant about my grammar (I don't think there are any errors, but if I missed something…) or whatever else you enjoy ranting about. I'll definitely return the favor, not the ranting part, but I'll review your stories.
Those of you kind enough to come from the Potter facebook pages, thank you so much! I promise Seamus/Luna is on the way!