Tuesday, June 1, 2012
Malfoy Manor loomed before her.
Hermione Granger had not considered returning to this place after the war, much less moving in, but this would be her home for the summer. As the potions professor at Hogwarts, she often stayed at school over holidays to tutor students who were struggling with her classes, and her summers were normally devoted to research. Sometimes she stayed at Hogwarts, and sometimes her research took her all over the world. This year though, Draco Malfoy made her an offer she couldn’t refuse: move into the manor for the summer to tutor his 12 year old son, Scorpius, and he’d pay her an exorbitant amount of money plus give her use of both his personal potions laboratory and the infamous Malfoy library for her own research. So she’d packed her trunk and taken the Hogwarts Express back to London with the students and tried to mentally prepare herself for a summer with the Malfoys. Mercifully, it would just be Draco, his wife, and his son, as his parents would be summering in France.
It was hard to think of Malfoy as someone’s father. She knew he’d married Astoria Greengrass as soon as he finished his post-war ‘eighth year’ at Hogwarts and produced an heir soon after. It was odd to see a miniature version of Draco show up at Hogwarts. She’d dreaded his arrival from the moment she’d seen his name on the list of incoming first years, but instead of a bullying prat, Scorpius was quiet and polite, but unfocused.
Hermione was unprepared for Astoria Malfoy. She’d not spent any time in school with the younger witch, nor had their paths crossed in the brief time Hermione worked in the Ministry before returning to Hogwarts to teach. Her first impression upon arrival at the manor was that Astoria was stunning: pale skin, blue eyes, lustrous auburn hair. Her eyes lit up when Hermione arrived, and she’d welcomed her with open arms, gushing about how happy she was to have another witch around all summer. Astoria had dimples when she smiled and a tinkling laugh that put Hermione at ease.
Malfoy met them at the front door with warm greetings for his son and a nod her direction.
“Welcome,” he said with a smile. If it was meant to put her at ease, it had the opposite effect, for she could not recall Malfoy ever smiling at someone like her.
“Hello, Malfoy,” she said, automatically using his surname.
He smirked. “You know, Granger, you’re living here. There are three people in this house who answer to ‘Malfoy.’ You’ll have to call us by name.”
She blinked, momentarily taken aback. “Oh. Um, alright. I suppose I can do that. But if I’m to call you Draco, then it would only be proper for you to call me Hermione.”
“Well then, welcome to Malfoy Manor, Hermione.”
The sound of her name on his lips sent an unexpected shiver down her spine.
Life at Malfoy Manor was nicer than she expected. Draco insisted she dine with the family if she was in the home at mealtimes, and Astoria insisted they take tea together every day, usually in the gardens or the conservatory. Her bedroom was cosy but luxurious, the potions lab was extravagant, and the library was even better than she’d hoped.
Scorpius was a smart child but had a difficult time staying focused, a huge liability in a discipline as exacting as potions. She dove right into her assignment, spending hours and hours helping him prepare ingredients and walking him step by step through first and second year potions. He was eager to learn, despite his difficulties, and Hermione thought her summer was off to a wonderful start.