I. The Fair Maiden
Draco pauses for a split-second to reply, Night,
Granger, before plunging into the safety of the lift, and
Wait! She moves with terrifying speed. I might
as well ride down with you, she says, slipping through the
closing doors and smiling up at him, adding, for the lifts
benefit, Archive. She shows Draco an armful
of scrolls. I have to return these, and its on the
Are you coming to Rons party tomorrow night?
Oh... Thats a shame.
He doesnt offer her any excuse or apology, and they stand
side-by-side, in uneasy silence, until the lift stops, the doors
open, and she steps out, turning to murmur, Well... Good
night, then, Draco.
He nods again.
Then the doors close, and he relaxes, leaning back against the
wall, and shutting his eyes tight.
Hes no idea when the buck-toothed, bushy-haired, Muggle-born
know-it-all who tormented him at school became the beautiful,
sexy, sophisticated know-it-all who torments him at work.
But he thinks it must be Merlins retribution for his past
In fact, he thinks his entire so-called life must be Merlins
retribution for his past sins.
Because it certainly isnt a buggering Life.
The gates of Malfoy Manor stand tall and proud, which is more
than can be said for the house behind them. Draco slips through
the bars, and tramps down the long, straight path that leads to
his ancestral ruin.
From behind the shattered façadeits stonework cracked
and blackened, its windows broken and melteda few wisps
of smoke draw Dracos eye, warning him that the Fiendfyres
broken out again. The seat of the fires close enough to
the kitchens to make him slightly anxious, but experience tells
him that once the flames have grown to sufficient size, the Ministrys
containment spells will activate, and eventually starve them out.
Home Crap Home.
Theres a grubby white peacock scratching about on what
used to be the lawn, and Draco gives it a wide berth, turns right,
and follows the path to the kitchen block.
He pushes the door open and steps inside.
The kitchen, at least, is warm and welcomingthe fires
still glowing, the soup he prepared before leaving for work that
mornings simmering gently on the range, and the laundry
he washed and wrung out the previous night smells crisp and dry.
Theres no sign of his parents and he assumes that, as usual,
theyve spent the day in bed.
He dumps his few purchases on the kitchen table and sets about
lighting the candles.
Thered been an outcry when the Wizengamot had passed sentence
on the Malfoys. The Daily Prophet, having campaigned for
the Dementors Kiss, had called it a scandal when Narcissa
had been fully pardoned (thanks to the risk shed taken in
protecting Harry Potter), and Draco and his father had been spared
Azkaban and, instead, been condemned to a life without magic (except
in performance of a Ministry-approved job, or in self defence).
The Prophet had published a vicious cartoon, showing the
Malfoys lounging on sunbeds in some Caribbean retreat, drinking
cocktails and paying others to cast their Unforgivable
Curses for them.
Draco prepares two trays with silverware and napkins.
In reality, with no house-elves and no domestic magic, with the
entire Manor (save the kitchen block) reduced to a pile of perpetually-smouldering
rubble, with the Malfoy assets frozen pending further investigation,
and with his father and his mother both sulking in their beds,
the sentence had condemned Draco to a life of slaverycooking,
cleaning, and launderingand had forced him to hold
down a boring clerical job at the Ministry, just to put bread
on the table.
To his mothers tray he adds a tiny crystal vasebought
with his first paltry Yuletide bonus from the Ministryand
a single rosebud, salvaged from the ashes of the rose garden,
in the hope that a little cheerful colour might help coax her
out of bed.
He lifts the lid from the pot of soup, and tastes it, adjusting
the seasoning before he fills two bowls, and sets them on the
How could a man in his position even contemplate
any sort of relationship with a woman?
He knocks at his fathers door and, hearing no response,
opens it and enters, setting down the tray, and lighting a candle.
His father doesnt bother to acknowledge him.
Draco shrugsShout if you want anything else,and
closes the door behind him, knowing full well that when he goes
back to fetch the tray, Lucius will have devoured everything on
He takes up the second tray and knocks at his mothers door.
Come in, darling.
Unlike his father, whos wallowing in self-pity, his mothers
taken to her bed as an act of defiance, wearing her quilt like
a suit of armour, which is why Draco doesnt mind taking
care of her so much, and why he hopes that, eventually,
shell get her fight back, and rejoin him in the real world.
What is it tonight? she asks, arranging herself on
Chicken noodle, he says, laying the tray in her lap.
Hes a decent cook, though he says so himself.
Youre a good boy...
Do you need anything else, Mother?
No, darling. You go and have yours while its still
Back in the kitchen, he sits down wearily, and picks up his spoon.
Granger, he thinks, is probably out on a date with
He eats slowly, savouring his own cooking, enjoying the crusty
bread hes bought from the new bakery in Diagon Alley, sipping
a glass of the oak apple brandy hes rescued from the partially
collapsed wine cellarand, by the time hes finished,
hes decided to leave his chores until the morning, and have
an early night.
He fetches the trays from his parents rooms, has a quick
wash, and turns in.
When the Ministry had sent the Malfoys home to a pile of rubble,
Draco had had to take the initiativehed moved his
parents into the undamaged kitchen block and turned the scullery
and the pantry into bedrooms for them, scrubbing the floors and
painting the walls, and scavenging bits of furniture for them
from elsewhere in the Manor.
The only thing left for him had been a narrow cot shoved
into the alcove beside the kitchen fire.
Its not exactly, he thinks, somewhere you could
bring a girlfriend.
He closes his eyes and thinks of Granger, remembering how lovely
shed looked, with her cute little frown, when hed
told her he wasnt going to Weasleys party.
Shed almost lookedhe frowns, himselfdisappointed.
Maybe she wanted to dance with me, he thinks. Maybe
Oh, shut the fuck up, Draco!
He turns onto his side, grabs his pillow, and pulls it down over
III. The Fairy Grandmother
The following morningSaturdayafter making breakfast,
and washing up, and preparing the vegetables for lunch, Draco
sets out on one of his foraging missions, sifting through those
parts of the Manor that arent either blighted by Fiendfyre,
or teetering on the edge of collapse, or buried beneath a ton
of fallen masonry.
By midday, his haul includes a set of silver spoons, only slightly
tarnished (which he thinks hell be able to clean up and
sell); a porcelain vase, miraculously still intact (ditto); and
a book on Advanced Potions (which he can still read,
even if hes not allowed to practise potion-making any more).
Hes already on his way back to the kitchens when, in the
remains of the Entrance Hall, he spots a glint of gold andwith
high hopeshe clears away a pile of wood, to find nothing
but an old oil painting, in a battered gilt frame.
He lifts the picture up, and turns it over.
Hello, dear, says its occupant.
Draco pulls out his handkerchief and carefully wipes a smear
of soot from her nose.
Thank you, dear.
He recognises her, of courseshes Sophonisba Malfoy,
wife of Abraxas Malfoy, mother of Lucius Malfoy, and his own paternal
Im sorry youve been left lying here so long,
Grand-mama, he says.
Oh, Im fine, dear. She smiles with that genuine-looking
warmth that only a very old ladyor, sometimes, Grangercan
pull off. How are you?
Oh dear, she says, making herself more comfortable.
Tell Grand-mama whats wrong. And she gives him
another of her worryingly kind smiles.
Draco sighs, and sits down on a marble step, and he doesnt
even know what hes going to tell her until he starts talkingand
then he tells her everything.
Lucius always was a drama queen, says his
grandmother. Take me to him, dear, and Ill sort him
out. And then well set to work on you.
After thirty minutes shut up with his mothers portrait,
Lucius emerges from his bedroom washed and dressed, rouses his
wife, and takes her for a walk in the devastated grounds.
To plot his counter move, thinks Draco. And he cant
help wondering if Grand-mamas intervention is really going
to make things any better on the father front.
Now, dear, says his grandmother, we need to
get you ready.
Draco dries the last of the lunch plates, and sets it on the
table. Ready for what?
The Ball tonight.
Draco shakes his head. Its not a Ball, Grand-mama,
its a partya Muggle-style thing. And Im not
Nonsense, dear. Of course youre going.
I cant, Grand-mama. Ive no way of getting there,
andeven if I hadIve only one decent set of clothes,
which I wear to work. I couldnt
Let me see what youre wearing now, dear. Come here.
Draco hangs up the tea towel and, with a sigh, stands like a
statue in front of his grandmothers portrait.
She draws her painted wand.
That isnt going to work, Grand-mama.
Oh, pish-posh, she clucks. Then she points the wand
at him, and mutters, Commuto Vestis.
Draco feels a sudden warmth spread across his chest, then along
his arms and legs, and he looks down at himself, and gasps, patting
his clothes with his hands, scarcely able to believe that his
grandmothers managed to transform his faded shirt and patched
trousers into a well-cut suit of the darkest green-black silk.
He smiles up at her with new respect.
It wont last, Im afraid, she says. So
youll need to be home before midnight. Now... Yes, fetch
me thatthat thingover there, dear. The thing
with the wooden handle.
Its called a mop, Grand-mama, says Draco, squeezing
the water out of it. I use it for cleaning the floors.
Goodness, dear! Well, never mind, it should still do nicely.
She points her wand at it. Fugio.
Draco feels the mop rise in his hand, and silently commands it
to wait. But Im not allowed to fly, Grand-mama,
he points out. Except to work.
Youre not allowed to fly a broom, dear. But thats
Draco grins. Clever.
Now, says his grandmother, youll need
some flowers for your young lady.
That rather pretty plant, dear, on the tablebring
Its a cauliflower, and Draco watches his grandmother transform
it into a bouquet of delicate wild flowers, wondering how she
can possibly know that Grangers the sort of girl who likes
that sort of thing.
He feels a sudden, unexpected pang of gratitude. What must
I do to repay you, Grand-mama? he asks.
Youve already paid me, dear, by pulling me
out of the ashes, she replies. But, she adds,
showing him why shes always been considered the blackest
of the Malfoy familys many black sheep, if you really
feel the need to do something more, just pass on a little kindness
to someone else.
IV. The Weasley Ball
Draco hides his mop at the back of the stack of brooms, smooths
his jacket and straightens his tie, then climbs up the steps to
Weasleys front door, and knocks.
The door opensand a flood of noise pours outand,
Draco! cries Granger, greeting him with a hug. You
came! Im so glad!
Draco shoves the flowers into her hands. Theyre for
you, he mumbles.
Oh, theyre beautiful, she says, sniffing them.
My favourites! Thank you! She gives him one of her
thousand-candle smiles, and Draco wonders if shes taken
some sort of Beautifying potion. Come inside, she
says and, closing the door and taking him by the arm, she leads
him into the sitting room, which is dark and crowded, crammed
with what seems like hundreds ofunfortunatelyfamiliar
Just make yourself at home, she says. I think
you know everybodythe drinks are over by the windowhelp
yourselfand there are nibbles all over the placeIll
go and put these in some water...
Though he knows she means him to mingle, Draco follows her into
Shes wearing a long, flowing gown of some translucent Muggle
material, with a neckline that plunges all the way down to her
waist and, though hes sure shell have cast a charm
to keep herself in place, the thought of what might happen
brings him out in a cold sweat.
He fixes his eyes on her face, but that does nothing to curb
his imagination, andnot for the first timehe finds
himself longing for her, aching to take her into his arms, and
kiss her, caress her, and
I said, shall we dance?
She flashes him another devastating smile, and thentaking
him by the handshe leads him back into the sitting room,
where she drags him into the mass of bodies and carves a little
space for them, and they both jig around to some inane music with
a repetitive beat, which hes pretty sures Muggle.
Wheres Weasley? he asks and, as he leans forward
to shout the words, the over-enthusiastic dancer on his right
decides to throw out her arms and whack him in the face.
He lets it pass.
Hes in charge of the music, says Granger.
She lifts her hands above her head, and gyrates her hips, and
Draco almost passes out but, fortunately, his crazy neighbour,
choosing that precise moment to stamp on his foot, revives him.
II need some air... He flees, pushing his way
through the dancing crowd, and stumbles through a pair of glass
doors, where he finds himself on a narrow balcony.
Its a cool, autumn night. He closes his eyes, and breathes
You dont like crowds, do you? Grangers
followed him outside.
He sighs, raking his hand through his long hair and, when he
turns towards her, hes surprised by the intensity of her
gaze. I shouldnt have come, he says.
Of course you should. She moves closer. Youre
almost a recluse, Draco. You never eat with us at lunchtime, you
never join us for a drink after work. I worry about you.
Her words are like a spell that makes the world shrink down to
a tiny bubble of night, holding nothing but himself and her...
Then shes in his arms, and hes kissing her, and hearing
her moan, and her hands are sliding inside his jacket and spreading
across his back, and hes holding her tight, and kissing
her harder, and shes arching up, and pressing herself into
him, and her bodytheir bodiestheir bodies are
They spring apart.
Weasleys standing in the doorway, tryingby the look
of himto kill Draco with a wordless, wandless Avada Kedavra.
Whats going on?
Nothing, says Draco. Nothing at all.
And he hears Granger gasp, and feels her fury, in his
head and in his chest, but he cant bring himself to look
at her, cant bring himself to apologise and, after an aeon
of angry, sizzling silence, she turns her back on him, and lets
Weasley take her inside.
Draco has no idea how long he stands on the balcony, getting
colder and colder but, when he summons up the courage to go back
inside, he finds that the partys changed. Someones
transfigured something into a small stage, and people are taking
turns to stand on it and, holding what looks like a big, black
ice cream cone, to sing along to Muggle music.
Everyone seems to think its fun.
Draco scans the crowd, but cant see any sign of Granger,
and hes just about to make a run for it when someone shouts,
Come on, Ron!
Yeah, Weasley! You next!
Draco watches Weasley climb onto the stage.
The song he sings has no particular melody (that Draco can discern),
but its words, he thinks, are significant:
...we belong together now
Forever united here somehow
You got a piece of me
My life would suck without you...
And as Weasley embarks upon the next versesomething about
being wrong for tryin to pick a fightthe crowd
seems to part, and Draco spots Granger, gazing adoringly at the
Did you have a good time, dear? asks his grandmother.
Draco returns the mop to its bucket and, swallowing the lump
in his throat, nods half-heartedly. I need to turn your
face to the wall, Grand-mama, he says. So I can get
Thats all right, dear. She sits down, and grasps
the arms of her chair, as though the manoeuvre might be life-threatening.
I hope the suit lasted long enough impress your young...
She frowns. Wheres your shoe, dear?
V. The Love Charm
Sunday, Draco learned in Muggle Studies, is supposed to be a
day of rest.
Unfortunately, no one seems to have told that to the Wizengamot
and, after getting up, and fetching the coal, and lighting the
fire, and cooking the breakfast, and suffering his fathers
stony silence, and washing the dishes and drying them, Draco collapses
onto a chair, his tea towel still in his hands.
Are you ever going to tell me what happened at the
Ball, dear? asks his grandmother.
Draco turns to face her portrait. Nothing happened, Grand-mama,
he says. Granger liked her flowers, and we danced, and then...
He shrugs. I came home.
He doesnt intend to say any more, but she tortures him
with one of those expectant silences and, within seconds, he cracks.
She... She likes Ron Weasley, Grand-mama. Shes liked
him since we were all at school. He goes off with other women
sometimes, but they always seem to get back together again, so...
He shrugs again. Thats that.
His grandmother regards him thoughtfully, tapping her finger
against her pursed lips. Then, Suppose I were to grant you
one wish, dear, she says. What would you wish for?
Granger, he says, without hesitation.
Are you sure?
Dracos first thought is that five years buried under a
pile of rubble has damaged his grandmothers brain, and hes
about to say, Of course I am, when an image of Granger,
gazing up at the ginger fuckwad pops into his head.
I want her to look at me like that, he thinks.
Id want Granger to be happy, he says, lamely.
With me. Or with him, I suppose, if that was what she really
wanted. And he slumps in his chair, half expecting the ghosts
of his more typical Malfoy ancestors to appear, and haunt his
Then what we need, dear, says his grandmother, smiling
angelically, is a love charm.
That comes out of nowhere, like a snitch on a foggy day, and
Draco protests. Those dont work, Grand-mama,
he says. They dont create real love. And, besides,
Im not allowed to use magic, and youI know youre
brilliant at Transfigurationbut even you cant brew
a love potion in there.
Im not talking about a potion, dear. Im talking
about a charm. And its Muggle magic, so it doesnt
Muggle magic, he says, imbuing the oxymoron
with all the scorn it deserves.
Oh, Muggles used to use all sorts of charms, dear, for
finding husbands, and removing warts, and restoring hair. Before
they converted to Modern Science.
Draco shakes his head. Shes as mad as a hatter, buthe
has to admitshes really creative when it comes
to getting around the Wizengamots ban. So, he
says, let me get this straight. Were going
to bring Granger and Weasley together for good, and thats
going to make me live happily ever after?
Something like that, dear, says his grandmother.
Now, this is what I want you to do...
The next dayMondayDraco becomes a stalker.
Hes no intention of speaking to Granger, not after the
party debacle so, instead, he lurksbeside the liftbehind
the scroll cabinetsin the little alcove that has a perfect
view of her office doorwaiting until she pops out, leaving
her door ajar, so that he can slip inside, unseen.
His first two attempts draw a blank, but on his third he hits
pay dirtshes left her little, beaded bag lying upon
her desk, and he picks up a quill, and gently teases it open.
Youre far too trusting, Granger, he thinks. You
should have put a Caterwauling Charm on this.
He pokes about amongst her possessions until he spots a handkerchief,
carefully pulls it out, pockets it, and makes his escape.
Weasley proves much more difficult and, skulking around the mens
bathroom for a couple of days, Draco comes perilously close, on
more that one occasion, to attracting some very embarrassing attention
before he spots Weasley leaning over one of the basins washing
his face, and hes able to sneak up behind him, and pluck
a single hair from his ginger head.
Ow! yelps Weasley, rubbing his scalp. What
the hell are you doing, Malfoy?
All Dracos carefully prepared excuses vanish. A w-wasp,
he stammers. Crawling on you. I got it off. He holds
up his hands. No magicyou knowjust...
He flicks his fingers.
Weasleys eyes narrow, but he says no more and, with a sigh
of relief, Draco watches him stalk away.
Take me outside, dear, says his grandmother.
Draco picks up the portrait and, carefully fitting it through
the kitchen door, carries it out onto the patch of barren earth
that used to be the kitchen garden.
Put me down over there, says his grandmother, beside
that little house.
Draco leans her against the coal shed.
Have you brought everything, dear?
He nods. From his trouser pockets he pulls a trowel, and a vial
containing Weasleys hair; from the breast pocket of his
shirt (close to his heart), he takes out Grangers handkerchief.
Dig a small hole.
The ground is hard, and scratching a shallow depression takes
a surprising amount of effort.
Now, says his grandmother, at last, place the
hair on the handkerchief, dear.
With much perseverance, and not a little nausea, Dracos
already tied Weasleys hair into a tiny coil. He spreads
out Grangers handkerchief, and sets the hair upon it.
Now dear, says his grandmother, quoting from memory,
Fold it once, fold it twice, fold it three times...
Frowning, Draco does his best.
Turn it right...
His Grandmother shrugs.
Draco slides his hand under the little parcel, and flips it over.
Turn it left...
Muttering a few choice obscenities, Draco flips it back.
And say the magic words.
A proper spell, at last! What words, Grand-mama?
Well, the Muggles arent specific, dear, so just say
whatever comes into your head.
Draco brushes his fingertips over Grangers handkerchief.
My life sucks without you, he says.
I suppose that will do, says his grandmother. Cover
it up, dear.
Draco takes the trowel, and carefully buries the parcel. Now
Now, we wait and see.
Wait and see? Dracos entire body sags.
Thats how Muggle magic seems to work, dear.
For the next few days, he keeps visiting the patch of ground
beside the coal shed.
At work, he hovers outside office doors, and beside cubicles,
listening anxiously for any gossip about Grangers love life.
But, although hes pretty sure that Weasleys
got something going on, Granger seems to be doing nothing, except
working ridiculously long hours.
VI. The Dragon Hide Slipper
Dracos hanging out the laundry when he hears the Manor
gates demand to know whos trespassing.
(The wards, counting as self defence, are still in operation).
He dumps the sheets back in the basket, and jogs across the patchy
lawn, coming to an abrupt stop when he recognises his visitor.
Shes clasping something to her chest. I think this
is yours, she says, holding it out, and it takes him a moment
to recognise the dragon hide shoe he lost, fleeing from Weasleys
party. There was a cauliflower, too, she adds, but
Ive eaten that.
She waits expectantly.
Then, Can I come in? she asks.
Draco glances back at the smoking remains of his home. Well,
um, its not...
Will you come out, then?
Draco imagines himself walking down Diagon Alley in his worn
shirt and trousers, drawing scornful looks from anyone who remembers
the Malfoys former arrogance. Come in, he decides.
Just walk towards me.
She gives him a brave smile, and thenclosing her eyes,
and hugging his shoeshe takes three determined steps, and
passes through the bars.
She opens her eyes. Malfoy, she gasps, its
Yes, I know.
Oh,she turns to him, looking contriteIm
sorry, Draco, I didnt mean... I just meant... How can you
possibly live here?
He explains about the kitchen block.
But wouldnt it be better to move out? Theyve
refurbished some of the houses
My parents need me, he says, firmly, and theyd
never move. Besides,he shrugsI can live
here for free. And I manage all right.
She nods, thoughtfully, but doesnt reply and, in the silence
that follows, he suddenly remembers his duties as a host. Would
you like to stay for lunch? Ive made some macaroni cheese,
and my parents have gone out
Thats my favourite.
He offers her his arm and, taking the long route, which is safer,
he leads her past the front of the house, around the corner, along
the collapsed east wing, and through the still-standing archway
to the kitchen garden. Um... he says, I was
just hanging out the washing when you arrived.
Granger smiles up at him. Do you need some help?
Granger and his grandmother immediately take a liking to one
another, and they talk, and laugh, and Draco joins in, serving
up his macaroni cheese with roast vegetables, and olive bread,
and a lovely white Bordeaux rescued from his fathers wine
He realises hes the happiest hes ever been.
And, later, when Granger goes to freshen up, he leans
towards his grandmother, and whispers, I dont think
your love charm has worked, Grand-mama.
Dont you, dear? His grandmother glances down
the corridor that leads to the lavatory. Quick, she
hisses, put me in your fathers bedroom!
Granger insists on helping with the washing up. Ive
been looking into the freeze on your assets and the reparations
youre being forced to pay, she says, drying a plate
and setting it on the table, researching possible legal
challenges,and Draco realises, with some disappointment,
that this is the real reason for her visitbecause
I think that, if you could get some of your money back, it might...
Well, you know...
Draco wipes his hands and, gently taking the tea towel from her,
risks taking both of her hands in his. I dont
care about the money, he says.
But I think, Granger persists, that,
if you had your money back, it might restore some of your self-confidence.
Her eyes search his face, uncertainly. Then, suddenly, and to
his astonishment, she bobs up on tip-toe, and kisses him.
On the lips.
No... He draws her into his arms, and they kiss again,
and this time its warm, and tender and, when it ends, he
holds her close, touching his forehead to hers. Thank you,
Come to my office on Monday, she replies, and
well go over
No, says Draco. I mean for this.
She blushes. Well, I knew Id have to make
the first move...
But I thoughtyou and Weasley...
Ron? Ron and I are very good friends, Draco, but...
She shakes her head. No. Besides, Rons spoken
for, and I think its going to last this time. She
smiles. Theyre sneaking around like Romeo and Juliet,
and he thinks hes got everyone fooled, but I know
its Pansy Parkinson.
She hasnt told you?
Pansy and I... We dont... She couldnt possibly
marry a squib, so we dont...
Youre not a squib, she says indignantly.
And, anyway, what if you were? Why would it matter?
He smiles into her hair. Spoken like a true Muggle-born.
She pulls away from him, bristling.
No, Granger! No! He pulls her back. That wasnt
an insult. Honestly. I just meant that you can see beyond
the lack of magic.
Youre not a squib, Draco, she says, firmly.
Youre someone whos received a cruel and unusual
punishment. And Im stupid, because I should have
realised that losing your magic would matter far more than losing
your money. Ill start on Monday...
The only comfortable place to sit down is on his bed, and that
leads to more kissing, and to cuddling and, gradually, to lying
Draco cradles Granger in his arms.
He wants her but, somehow, the desire isnt urgent,
This is enough, he thinks. Just holding her like this,
and knowing that she likes me... I can live with taking it slowly,
I can waiWow!
Is my hand cold?
Draco swallows hard. No, not coldjustjust a
A nice surprise?
Oh yes. Very nice.
She smiles wickedly, leaning over him to watch his expression
as her fingers slide down, inside his shorts, and explore his
length, his girth, and find his most sensitive places, and then...
She nuzzles his neck, and her hand slides down, and cups his
Her hand is not cold.
Her hand is warm; bone-meltingly warm.
Words whirl round his head, dire warnings about men, and what
can happen to girls who tease them but, before he can voice them
Make love to me, Draco, she whispers. Please.
A muddle of swearwords tumbles from his lips, and Granger giggles,
and its the sexiest thing hes ever heard.
Does that mean yes? she asks.
If youre sure.
My parents could come back at any moment.
Do you mind if I use magic?
Only Granger would think to ask that. No.
She withdraws her handand, embarrassingly, he hears himself
whimperand, pulling out her wand, she transfigures part
of the ceiling into a thick curtain that screens off the alcove,
then casts a Muffliato Charm.
All safe, she says.
Draco kisses her gratefully, and she responds, and their kisses
quickly grow heated until, suddenly, theyre unfastening
buttons, and pulling fabric aside, and
Oh, she gasps, oh Draco!
The next morning, Draco awakes with a startling thought.
His life really isnt that badin fact, with Granger
beside him, its good.
He wakes her with a lingering kiss, and shares his revelation,
and sure enoughwith the aid of his grandmothershes
soon devised a plan, which the three of them put into action.
VII. Happily Ever After
The gates of Malfoy Manor stand tall and proud, unaffected by
the building work thats going on behind them. Draco and
Hermione slip through the bars and, hand-in-hand, walk across
The old façades still standingits stonework
still cracked and blackened, its windows still broken, a few wisps
of smoke still rising from somewhere behindbut, to the right,
stretching out from the kitchen block, the walls of a new wing
are already standing two storeys high.
Draco opens the kitchen door, and they go inside.
The kitchennow their living roomis warm and welcoming.
Above the fireplace, Dracos grandmother stirs and, peering
out from her frame, she smiles. Hello dears. Have you had
a good day?
Just the usual, Grand-mama, says Draco, putting away
their few purchases.
Hermione clears her books from the table and, together, they
set to work, preparing supper.
When Hermione had performed a miracle, and persuaded the Ministry
to return part of the Malfoy fortune (including a villa in the
south of France), and his Grand-mama had performed another miracle,
and talked his parents into emigrating, and then he, himself,
had performed the biggest miracle of all, and got Hermione to
marry him, the obvious next step would have been to rebuild the
But theyd resisted, converting his mothers old room
into their own bedroom, and using his fathers room as a
guest room whenever his or Hermiones parents came to stay.
It was as though, Draco thinks, as he chops the onions,
we were both afraid that changing things might somehow break
But two months ago theyd discovered that the guest room
would soon be needed as a nurseryDraco smilesand Hermione
had realised that, as a consequence, the number of parental (or,
rather, grandparental) visits was likely to go through the roof.
So theyd engaged a firm of specialist builders, sincealthough
the Ministry had been persuaded to relax the ban on magicDraco
was still not up to doing the work himself, and Hermione needed
to take things easy, in her condition.
What are you grinning about? asks his wife,
Oh, I was just thinking, replies Draco, that,
if you were to write this story down, no one would ever believe