Draco Malfoy thought that he had escaped his past by moving to muggle America. After a run-in at the local bar, he isn't so sure anymore. 'His Death Eater days were long over. And then here came Granger, marching into his supposed to be 'relaxing' lunch, a dark mark on her arm and a mysterious little boy to match.' disregards last half (or so) of DH Rated 'T' for swearing and violence
A/N- hello readers! This is a story idea that I've had in my head for a very long time. WARNING. If you're looking for a quick read this is NOT it. While I respect other author's stories, I don't write stories where the main characters fall in love in the first ten chapters. I can promise you Dramione, but it will be very subtle in the beginning because Draco is not going to do a complete 180 in a week. Please review, it's great to know what people think or if they have any suggestions! ~DWLF (wow that is a weird acronym) (oh and if Hermione is a bit out of character in this chapter, don't worry. Her motives will be explained in the next one!)
DISCLAIMER- I don't own Harry Potter. If I did, there would be a lot more 'No-nose Voldemort' jokes
Evan McDermitt was sitting at the local bar, a drink in one hand, a fork in another. Pushing the beef around his plate, he stabbed it so suddenly that the action elicited a sharp intake of breath from the person to his right. She picked up her drink and moved down a few seats before settling in front of a box-like telly. T.V. as they called it here. Evan resisted the urge to sneer at her; those days were over, he reminded himself. The boyish days of being flat out rude to people. Ah yes, those were the days indeed...
Life had changed him, of course. This lunch, which once would've been considered cheap and unworthy of his time, was a treat. Evan tried to keep to business and not socialize while in town, it only complicated things. And these people were muggles. American muggles without a trace of magic in them. A few years ago, the bitter blonde would have scoffed at the thought of them being considered human, but living with them changed him. And yes, Evan had his respectable colleagues, but they were all extensions of his job. Nothing more.
There were the nightmares that plagued him of course; nightmares of the wizarding world that cast his mind into chaos whenever he thought about them in the daylight. His name was Evan McDermitt, not... that other name. The awful name which his parents had christened him with at such a young age. The name that would've followed him everywhere had he stayed in Britain...
Swirling the brandy in the glass, Evan watched as the ice clinked against the sides. Tipping his head back he drank, enjoying the burn that fell down his throat. This was bliss.
The door to the restaurant swung open and the trill of a child's voice could be heard. It was brief, but Evan's eyes snapped towards the entrance, searching for the interruption of his paradise. A small blonde boy was ducking behind his petite mother, whose back was facing the bar. She bent over, unbuttoning the little boy's deep green rain jacket. He laughed at something his mother had said, although the boy's features were hidden by the woman's legs.
Evan grimaced and turned away, taking a bite of his lunch. Don't think about happy family. That little boy could've been you, had your parents been more loving... Evan swallowed the lump in his throat while simultaneously pushing the wistful thoughts back, taking another mesmerizing gulp of his whiskey. Whiskey, a muggle drink that the wizard seemed to love more than life itself. Whiskey; the drink that made the past dissipate into nothing.
"Come on," A feminine British voice called, getting closer by the minute, "Come on, sweetie, we haven't got all day," Evan never understood why parent's called their boys 'sweethearts' and other rubbish names like. They were going to be men, not pathetic two year old girls. But then again, there were many things about the world that Evan never quite grasped.
The brunette's obnoxious tone was getting louder. Perhaps she was getting closer to the bar, although she had a young child with her, therefore the bartender would not allow her so much as a sip of alcohol. These country muggles sure believed in morals, like 'go to church every Sunday or you're going to Hell' motives. Evan never had fully grasped the idea of God.
Someone sat next to him, bringing the wizard out of his thoughts, "I'm not here for a drink," She dismissed the bartender's unanswered question, "I was merely wondering if there was a town map around or perhaps a gas station…"
The voice, her voice sounded astoundingly familiar to Evan, but he forced himself not to look, to keep his head down. Shoving another pile of food into his mouth, the blonde chewed several times before swallowing the beef. It was extra rare, just the way he liked it. Back at… home (if that was even the correct word for it) the house elves had always over cooked the steak a bit, and no matter how many times they were scolded and punished, it never got pinker. Eating it so red on the inside it might moo was a rebellion of sorts, even if his parents were probably dead by now, as with the house elves.
Once again, the voice of a female lifted Evan out of his thoughts, "Draco… Draco Malfoy?"
Ah yes, Evan McDermitt was in fact Draco Malfoy.
Oh Gods. He had not heard that name in a long time. Turning his head to face the source of the noise, he was met with the sight of wide brown eyes staring questioningly at him. She swept several strands of thick brown hair back from her face, revealing a long, thin scar. It would've been invisible to anyone who was not within a few feet of her, but he could see it plain as day. What had he done to deserve this? Why was she here now? One thought stuck out in his head, and it was Deny everything.
"That's not my name," He replied curtly, reaching blindly for his glass. He could feel her eyes on him, lips pursed in determination. It was true, sort of. Draco Malfoy was not his name anymore.
"Is it now? I recognize you, ferret. I'm not stupid," The nickname ferret caused a certain anger to well up inside him. Why her, of all bloody people? He would rather have to deal with Voldemort himself than her.
"Well," Leaning closer, Draco placed a hand on the bar to support himself, "It's nice seeing you again, Mudblood,"
Instead of screaming at him like a banshee, Granger merely smiled tightly, "Not in front of my son," The little blonde boy, who looked no older than six, poked his head out from where he had been hiding under the bar. The boy had impossibly white-blonde hair and deep, stormy grey eyes. He smiled, revealing tiny white teeth and the cutest dimples Draco had ever seen.
"Someone got busy," Draco remarked, leaning back to take a swig from his glass. The boy's appearance unnerved him; he looked exactly like he had when he was that age, although the boy's hair was wavier.
"Bloody hell woman," Draco snapped, not wanting to be referred to as that, "That is not my name here. I'm Evan McDermitt," Holding out his right hand, he was surprised when Granger grasped it with her left. She was wearing a long-sleeved, creamy blue colored shirt and jeans, a very muggle thing of her to do. When she shook his hand, her sleeve rode up, revealing the edge of a faded grey tattoo.
Without registering his actions, Draco pushed the sleeve up, hissing when he found the dark mark there. "Shit, Granger, what did you do?" Meeting her eyes, Evan was shocked to find tears in them.
"Not here Malf-Evan," She corrected herself firmly, removing her arm from his clutches, "I'll explain everything, I promise, but not now," Indeed, people around the bar were sending them suspicious looks, though they did that whenever someone new came into town.
"Alright Ms. Granger," A smirk graced Draco's features, to which the brunette frowned, "We should go somewhere more private so we can… talk,"
"Why should I do that?" Her answer was so Gryffindor of her that Draco nearly burst into laughter at it. This was his old school rival, Potter's best friend and now a Death Eater (something which he had not even begun to wrap his head around), yet here he was, bickering lightly with her in a pub. It was a quite interesting experience indeed.
"You initiated the conversation," Draco rolled his grey eyes, "You talked to me first,"
The bartender arrived back at them, frowning at their engagement in conversation. Perhaps the dark-haired, muscly man wanted the brunette all to himself. Draco couldn't care less; he could have her. "I brought you some maps, Ms…?"
"Smith," Sticking out a hand to shake, Hermione filled in the blank, "Julia Smith,"
Draco watched with amusement as the man's eyebrows furrowed in confusion. He had been in a close enough proximity that he heard Draco refer to her as 'Granger' several times. The bartender nodded and gave her the maps, brushing his hand against his dirty red apron.
Watching the blonde child pull a small red toy car from his jacket pocket, Draco remarked, "So, your child then?"
Granger sighed, gazing down at the boy wistfully, "He's been through hell and back. It might not look it, but he's a fighter," At the word 'fighter' the child looked up, his face blank of emotion. The red car was being rolled back and forth in his left palm by his pointer finger on his right. It was a repetitive motion, almost as if the boy was doing it without thinking. He blinked then shuddered, pressing against his mother's leg. The car-moving was stopped, and he clutched the toy firmly in his tiny fist.
Draco fought the urge to question Granger about what the boy had been through. Instead he dived into a different topic on the child, "So, he looks like me,"
Instantly, the brunette's defenses were up, "Loads of people have got blonde hair and grey eyes, Mafloy," She hissed his true last name so low that only he could hear, "I don't see why it should matter,"
"It does though," Draco reached across the bar to snatch several napkins to wipe his face of any food residue, "Because of the Manor…"
Granger's eyes shut as if to block out the memories, "Shut up, please. I can't do this here. Don't you have a house or somewhere more private we could talk?"
Draco stared at the once brave woman in front of him, "Have you been looking for me?" He didn't answer her question. He was curious. Was she on the run from the Dark Lord? The only reason why he'd fled to muggle America was because he wanted to get away from wizards. After Voldemort triumphed over Harry Potter, The Boy Who Lived, the one person in which all others held hope, Draco knew that it was fight or flight. He had joined as a boy under his father's duress, because he was a foolish and power-hungry. He did it under the threat that his parents might be killed if he did not do exactly as the Dark Lord dictated. After the victory that he never thought would come, Draco knew that he must flee, also knowing that he had to sever his wizarding ties completely. And he did. He created a fake name, a fake past, a new job in a small, rural state in Kansas. What kind of bloody name was Kansas anyways? Who wants to live in a place called Kansas. He was pretty untraceable, and he figured that Voldemort would have bigger things on his plate than to run about searching for a scared eighteen year-old boy. Having no major news about the man for five years, Draco assumed that he was still in power in Britain. The only way that Granger could have found him was to track him down.
"Not really," She sighed, running a small hand through her son's hair, "Fate is a fickle thing,"
Draco scowled, "Alliteration, mudblood, alliteration"
Granger glanced up from her son's head, frowning, "Listen ferret face, I'm not playing you games. Just because I've met you here, by chance or destiny or whatever you want to believe, and we have had a sane conversation doesn't mean that I am willing to put up with your rubbish. I wanted to talk to you about everything that has happened in the last few years, but apparently you can't stomach the thought of a stupid Gryffindor muggleborn in your presence any longer. I am sorry to have interrupted your precious drinking time," She stood, eyes blazing, her hands clenching and unclenching at her sides.
"Come on, let's go," Her son grasped his mother's hand, standing from his position on the floor. He glanced back at the lonely blonde man at the bar, a confused look in his eye.
Draco had to stop them from leaving. Now.
Standing, he reached into his wallet, yanking a twenty out. Slapping it on the bar, he ran after Granger and her peculiar son. "Wait!" Bursting through the doors, his words stopped her in her tracks. Why in the world was he even going after her? He had just finished building a new life, creating something that didn't involve death or destruction or torture. While they were muggles, they were innocent, good-hearted people who loved working hard and a cold beer. Draco was not sociable in any means but he did not want to do wrong to those who were completely oblivious, not really. His Death Eater days were long over. And then here came Granger, marching into his supposed to be 'relaxing' lunch, a dark mark on her arm and a mysterious little boy to match. Draco didn't know why he went after her; perhaps it was the craving to know more about what had happened after, what the wizarding world was like now. Maybe it was the chance to finally get some answers as to what conspired between them at the Manor during the Easter Holidays so long ago. No matter the reason, Draco had in fact gone after her, and he waited desperately for her to acknowledge him.
"What do you want?" Her voice was flat, her back to him, though the child standing next to her looked up at Draco, a calculating look on his face. As though if the older blonde said the right thing then he would be deemed acceptable.
The wind blew through the street, rustling a few leaves and blowing a coke can down the road with several loud clatters. Folding his arms over his chest, Draco thought for a moment, not about his answer but about life in general. How he was just a man, long forgotten in the war, and how, at that moment, his insignificance didn't bother him. Not connecting his mouth to his brain, Draco began to speak.
"Because I want to talk, Granger, why else? I would like to know how good ol' Tom is doing. Has he killed off all the muggles in London yet?"
Hermione nodded, turning to face, pulling the maps she had stuffed into her jeans pocket out. A pen was produced as well. Bloody hell, how much space did she have in there anyways? "What's your address?"
Draco took the pen from her hand, scrawling the familiar numbers and letters on the edge of the glossy surface. Granger took it back, frowning at his expression, "What time should I meet you?"
Glancing at his watch, Draco answered, "By seven. And please, don't expect too much. I want answers. That's all,"
He did not believe the words he spoke, and apparently, neither did she. Smirking in a way that would make his father proud, Granger began to walk down the street, little boy in tow. Turning her head to the side to call over her shoulder, "That's more than I expected of you, Evan,"
"Evan, what's bothering you?" Draco's eyes snapped back to his flirtatious secretary, Clara, before flickering to her risqué cleavage.
"Erm," Clara was the kind of woman that Draco tried to avoid; easy, sleazy, and desperate. Draco didn't mind the easy aspect (what man doesn't need a good shag every now and then?) but everything else was just wrong. Besides, wasn't sleeping with your secretary something people only did in movies? Draco inadvertently cringed, "Nothing Clara, nothing at all,"
Giving him a pouty look, the dark-haired woman handed him a manila envelope full of papers, "Whatever you say, Mr. McDermitt,"
Snatching the envelope from her, Draco turned on his heel and stalked away. Why did all women have to get into his bloody personal shit? It wasn't his fault that he was secretive (once a Slytherin, always a Slytherin) and for Pete's sake, he was not some sort of doll to obsess over!
Storming into his office, Draco slammed the door shut with such force that it rattled the expensive art on the wall. Settling into the comfortable arm chair at his desk, Draco began to flip through the papers that had been given him. They were all legal questions about interest and housing issues. Draco cast them aside, frown lines forming between his eyebrows.
She's a mudblood. She's a mudblood. So why the hell do I care? Why did I even talk to her? I should've left the restaurant as soon as I saw her. And I gave her my address! To come over and talk! What will we have, tea and crumpets while discussing Voldemort and the paternity of her child? The boy that looks just like me, but with curlier hair and neither of our abilities to keep quiet for an extended period of time. What the hell are you playing at, Draco Malfoy? What are you doing?
A deep voice shocked the paranoid blonde out of his reverie.
Grey eyes met dark brown, and Draco immediately sat up straighter.
"Good afternoon, Evan," The deep skinned man addressed casually, "I do hope you've had a wonderful lunch," Nodding, Draco motioned to the seat across from him.
"Please, sit Mr. Linney,"
"Evan," Mr. Linney crossed his arms in a joking fashion, his eyes flickering about the small office distractedly, "How many times have I asked you to call me Caleb?"
Draco grimaced. Mr. Linney was his boss. It would be strange to say his first name so openly. "Right, I'll keep it in mind. What have you travelled all the way down here for, Mr. Linney? It must be mighty important,"
Sighing, Mr. Linney sat in the blue-padded chair across from his employee, "Well you see, Mr. McDermitt, America is not in a good economical state at the moment,"
Draco knew. He saw the prices rise and, more often than not, a disappointed and angry worker leaving an office that they had been employed at until very recently. Yes, Draco knew of the Recession, of the taxes and credit rates. Draco did know. So why was his boss bringing it up?
"I am aware, yes Mr. Linney…" Draco fiddled with his thumbs absently. He prayed to some upper power that he wasn't about to be fired like those pitiful souls he saw, their backs hunched with sadness, when he went into the nearby cities.
Catching the look on Draco's face, Mr. Linney smiled. "Don't look like that, I'm not going to let you go. Just the opposite, in fact," Draco studied the man in front of him. Strong jaw, dark hair, a mischievous look in his dark brown eyes. Just what is he thinking?
Pursing his lips, Mr. Linney leaned forward, placing his forefingers to his chin, interlocking the other digits on each hand together. "I have an intern for you, Evan," Draco raised an eyebrow. An intern…
"She'll be here tomorrow,"
She! Draco thought, smirking subtly. It's been a while since I've had female relations… perhaps it's time to drag the good ol' Malfoy charm out of the cupboard and put it to good use.
Draco was still considering the likeliness of him getting a good bedding by his new intern when Mr. Linney left.
Draco sighed as he made his way into the kitchen. Looking at the glowing green of the clock numbers, the blonde sighed. It was six fifty. Ten minutes until Granger got there with her quiet son. Ten minutes…
Ten minutes which Draco used to tidy up his messy kitchen table (it was covered in bills, work documents, napkins, pencils, quills, ink bottles, parchment, books, several old muggle newspapers and a blue button) and check the time. Repeatedly. At last, the six fifty nine turned to seven o'clock and (knowing Granger, who could not be a second late for anything) the doorbell rang.
Draco took a deep, calming breath. Walking down the hall, he unlocked the large wooden door and yanked it open. On his porch stood a windswept Hermione Granger and the blonde child, who was holding her hand. Granger was wearing the same outfit from before, which was odd considering how warm it was outside. The young boy had on a red t-shirt with a muggle pattern on it and a pair of jeans. In his hand was the same red toy car he had been playing with at the bar.
"Granger," He nodded curtly, moving aside so she could step in. She did, her large brown eyes instantly on high alert. The little boy squeezed her hand, and Granger's previously wandering eyes snapped to his. They shared a small smile, as though they had an inside joke all of their own. Draco closed the door sharply, scowling when the child jumped. He had not meant to do that.
"Well, Evan," Was she mocking him? "I know how fun it is to stand about but I haven't got all day and I'd like to get this little meeting over with as quickly as possible,"
Draco sneered at the curly-haired witch in front of him. "Fine then. Would you like something to drink, Granger?"
Shaking her head 'no', Hermione snickered, "Being nice, are we?"
"It's not my fault that my parents taught me proper etiquette," Draco sniffed, turning on his heel to walk back down the hallway and into the kitchen. Granger followed, along with the boy, who had not said a single word since he'd arrived.
"Nice appliances, Malfoy," Draco glanced about, looking for what she was referring to. Clearly it was the stove she was talking about, for it was muggle. Or maybe the microwave…
"Thanks, Granger," Motioning for her to sit at the table, Draco took his seat in the space across. She gently pushed her son, who appeared quite bored, towards the living room.
"Go play, sweetheart. Just don't get into anything, ok?" He heard her mutter. They shared that same smile from earlier, and Draco suddenly felt the urge to look away. That smile was something very private, something special.
Granger cleared her throat.
"Oh! Right. Sorry," Draco leaned forward in his wooden seat, leaning his elbows on the smooth surface of the table, "So, Granger, talk to me,"
The brunette glared at him, "You could be nicer, you know,"
"Sorry," That you're not giving me answers here, Mudblood.
Sighing, Granger ran a hand over her face, "Dammit, I just…" The witch sighed again, but this time it was out of frustration, not sadness, "I just haven't been in contact with anyone for a while is all. And then I run into you out of nowhere and…"
"Yes," Draco's voice was thin, impatient. Granger must've heard the strain there, for she quickly proceeded.
"Right. I guess I should start at the beginning, shouldn't I?" Running an anxious and through her hair, Granger began to speak. Draco allowed her mellow voice (it wasn't so bad when she wasn't screeching or bossing someone around) to lure him in, preparing him for the story to come, "It all started the summer of 1997…"