I never thought that a day like this would come. If you had told me that there would come a day that I would be apologizing to a, yes I will say it, Mudblood, I would have laughed.
But I am not laughing now.
I believe Pansy wanted to come with me, to show her support, but the last thing I want is for her to see me apologizing.
Malfoys do not
But when I am faced with the choice between apologizing and the possibility of going to Azkaban, I find that I have no choice. Sitting in that cell in the Ministry was bad enough.
The stage is set for our meeting. Miss Bell will be meeting me in exactly half of an hour at the Leaky Cauldron.
Thirty minutes and it will all be over.
I have never
apologized to anyone in a station lower than mine. Yes, I have apologized to Pansy, but she is worthy of my apologies. She is a Pureblood, and she is my chosen bride to be.
But I am apologizing for something for which I had no control.
Twenty nine minutes.
I take a look in the mirror. Though I can feel my heart pounding in my chest, my face is a facade of calmness. I look confident, strong, stoic. My immaculately pressed robes have sharp creases - I have chosen blue for this meeting. The robes I wear are very similar to those that I wore to my trial.
Today is a trial of a different sort.
Twenty five minutes to go.
I check to make certain that I have everything I need: the receipt that I was given for my donation to St. Mungo's, and the letter.
The letter I never thought that I would write to anyone.
Why do I have the feeling that my life will never be the same after today?
I leave our bedroom and head out into the main part of the flat.
The time has come.
|2007-10-06 17:50 (UTC)
I've been sitting in the Leaky Cauldron for nearly an hour. Draco said to meet, I glance at my watch, any time now but I wanted to be here first, I wanted to see him enter, to walk with him into whatever private room he requests to make sure he's had no time to set a trap for me. I also have a tight grip on my wand, although it isn't out yet. Maybe too tight a grip, I realise, loosing it a bit as the wood begins to bite into my palm. The door opens and from where I'm sitting I can see the flash of blonde. This is it. I stand and make my way towards him, with what I hope is a polite but business-like expression.
"Mr Malfoy." The greeting is short, but as polite as I can manage with my guts screaming hex him, hex him and run!
He nods courteously at me. "Miss Bell." Turning to Tom, the barkeep, he says, "Tom, if you please. I have reserved a private chamber."
The usually friendly barman frowns as he nods, motioning towards a small door and leading us through, out of the bar into the more private rooms. His eyes are on me as I pass and I give him a grateful smile. He's not alone in thinking this meeting may be dangerous.
"If you need anything Miss..." he nods, "Sir..."
The 'Sir' seems to be an after thought, an attempt to pass his comment off as requiring refreshments, but I catch the meaning. He means if Malfoy tries anything, I just have to scream loud enough...he nods again as he leaves.
Draco watches as Tom leaves, and then closes the door. He studies me thoughtfully. "Miss Bell, I had considered having this meeting at my club, but I thought that you might prefer a more neutral setting." He seems to sense my unease and smirks slightly. "You do not need to worry about me attacking you, Miss Bell."
"You were most considerate to concern yourself with my setting preference Mr Malfoy...but I have no fear of you attacking me. I'm not exactly powerless to defend myself, my concern was more for walking into a trap." I sigh, "but Tom is an honest man, even if those who rent his rooms are not. Would you mind if I opened the window? I know you want this meeting private but it's boiling in here."
He appears to think a moment, then shakes his head. "You can open it a bit if it makes you more comfortable."
"Thank you." I make my way over to the window to open it. Sometimes I forget I have a wand to do these things, but based on my current state of nerves it might be better to open it manually instead of blowing the glass out totally.
"Please, have a seat," he says, gesturing to one of the chairs. "I imagine you want to have this taken care of as quickly as possible." He sits down in the chair opposite mine and lays a piece of parchment on the table in front of me. "This is the receipt from St. Mungo's. I am certain you will find that it is quite in order."
I examine the parchment closely, maybe a little closer than I need to but I'm enjoying this just a little. Draco Malfoy made a lot of people squirm; it is good for him to taste his own medicine.
"That side of our arrangement does seem in order, yes." I say finally, folding the parchment carefully and slipping it into my bag.
He takes an envelope out of his pocket, and I see that it is sealed with the Malfoy seal in wax. "This is the letter that you have requested. I hope that you will find it to your liking."
I pause for a moment making sure my hands aren't shaking as I reach for the letter. Carefully break open the seal and take out the parchment to read it.
Dear Miss Bell,
I hope that you will accept my apologies for what happened during your final year at Hogwarts. I did not mean for you to get injured, and it's most unfortunate that you did. I sincerely hope that there are no lasting problems associated with the injury.
I thank you for not going to the Daily Prophet, and I hope that the two of us can put this matter behind us.
|2007-10-06 17:51 (UTC)
I look back at him, he seems calm but there's something in those cold eyes that I'm not sure I've seen before. Part of me wants to make him squirm a little longer, but the majority of me just wants this over with. I nod and try to smile. "Thank you, I accept your apology. You have my word this will go no further, and we can put this behind us."
He appears to relax. "There's one other thing." He says, handing me an envelope. "This is to prove that I am trying to change and that I didn't just do this to avoid court."
I open the envelope to find a voucher for the Crystal Chamber. I frown slightly, but only briefly. Club vouchers like this are usually expensive, not that expense matters to a Malfoy but still...
"How did you..." I stop myself and smile, "Thank you. I hope other people give you a chance to prove yourself as well. It would be a shame to try and change if people weren't willing to give you a second chance."
He almost, almost, gives me a smile in return. He stands up from his chair and turns to me. "I hope you enjoy the Crystal Chamber. The food there is very good." With that, he walks towards the door and opens it.
"I'm sure I will...how did you get the voucher?" I wasn't going to ask but my curiosity is getting the better of me.
"This isn't known by the general public, but I own the Crystal Chamber," he says quietly.
I nod my understanding. Maybe Hannah was right, maybe he really is changing. Everything I'd seen today indicated as much, and owning a club which welcomed all blood-backgrounds was as good a proof as I was ever going to get--Short of him actually fighting to protect the "mudbloods" he used to loathe, and I doubt I'll ever see that.
I follow him out the door and head towards the bar. I need a drink, unfortunately a combination of habit from Quidditch training, and the fear of turning out an alcoholic like, well never mind, I don't drink alcohol. "Lemonade and make it a double." Tom grins at me, he knows by now the whys and wherefores of my tee-total reasoning.
|2007-10-06 17:54 (UTC)
I glance at the clock which is hanging on the wall in the back room, wondering how Draco's meeting with Katie Bell is going. I wanted to go with him, but he certainly seemed against the idea. Not that I can blame him. Apologizing in such a way is not something we are used to.
I sigh and after tucking back a strand of hair for the tenth time, I put down my quill. Taking pins out of one of the desk drawers, I pin my hair back to keep it out of my face as I go over paperwork, specifically orders and bills. It is an annoyance, but necessary. Once my hair is in place, I pick up the quill again, comparing the various pieces of parchment, making specific notes of some items.
I hear voices coming from the store, and I recognize one of them as Draco's. A moment later the door to the back room opens and he walks in. His expression doesn't reveal anything, but I didn't think that it would. He closes the door behind him and sits down in the chair that I have in there for him.
"It's over," he says flatly. "She has accepted my apology."
"That's good news," I answer. Why does he still look unhappy about this?
"I know that it is," he says quietly, "but nothing in my life is simple. She told me that she wouldn't do anything further about it, but maybe I'm just being paranoid. I know that if this ever got out my life would be over."
"One thing to be said for Gryffindors, they often keep their word. You donated the money and apologized. That was all that was necessary," I remind him.
He smirks. "True. Besides, I think she's scared of me," he says with a laugh. "After all, I am a former Death Eater and should be feared."
"Careful," I warn him. While he was a Death Eater, now that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is gone, being a Death Eater either before or now, is something to be careful with. Besides, I don't like to think about what we dealt with while Draco was serving him.
He looks at me and shakes his head. "I know that I don't use it very often, Pansy, but I was being sarcastic. Besides, I gave her something that should prove to her that I was sincere about what I said."
"What was it?" I ask.
"A voucher for the club. I thought that she might think that I wrote the letter and made a donation simply to stay out of court. I hope that by giving her the voucher that it proves otherwise."
"So you went beyond what was necessary," I respond. "It was a wise decision."
"Thank you," he says with a rare, true smile. "I can't tell you how nice it is that it's behind me, even if it was the hardest thing that I ever had to do." He looks at me thoughtfully. "Do you think that you can get away from the store for a couple of days?"
"A couple of days?" I repeat. "What do you have in mind?"
"I thought maybe we could go to France for a couple of days. I think you and I both could use a holiday."
"That sounds wonderful," I smile, remembering our last trip to France.
"I will need to let Mother and Hannah know that I have taken care of my obligations, but that shouldn't take long. Do you want to meet back at the flat? I can have the house-elf pack for you if you like."
"You want to go right now?" I ask. I had thought it would take days to plan such a trip.
"Why not? We're a wizard and a witch, we can do things spontaneously and I feel like living dangerously," he says with a smirk. "I just feel like getting away for a couple of days, that's all. The past couple of weeks haven't been easy on either one of us."
I nod. "At least we haven't had to be concerned about others using polyjuice potion," I comment. I glance at the parchment in front of me. A few days in France sounds much better than going over paperwork.
"Very well, then. Why don't I go home and get everything done that needs to be completed and I'll meet you there in an hour. Will that be enough time for you to wrap things up?"
"It should be. If not, I'm sure some of it can wait until we return."
He grins slyly at me and bends down to give me a kiss. "I'll see you in an hour then." With that he leaves the store.
I turn back to my work bench and start to pack up. The day is really looking up.