Chapter 20 : The End of the Tour
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“Oh, silly me, I forgot to tell you!”
“Forgot to tell us what Mother?”
“There’s a charm on the house, and the secret keeper is… where is she?” she asked as she put her hands on her hips. Suddenly they heard someone Appaperate behind them.
“Sorry we’re late Narcissa. Oh, umm, here.” She approached them and handed everyone a piece of paper with an address on it.
“You're their secret keeper?” Harry asked incredulously.
“Oh, yes, yes. We met up in Hogmeade about a week ago. Tightened security on the house and the land, so you should see the house right about now.”
A moment later, a palace of sorts appeared in front of them. Hermione, Harry, and the two Weasleys stood in amazement as the pieces of paper they held smoldered away.
“That’s your house?” Ginny finally managed to get out.
“Yeah. We can go inside now you know,” Draco said, self-consciously rubbing the back of his head. The adults were nearly inside the house by the time they started moving.
“It’s beautiful,” Hermione murmured. He simply nodded as he maneuvered the trunks in front of them down onto the ground in front of the door. A moment later, the trunks had disappeared leaving everyone else wide eyed.
“Where did they go? I’ve never heard of a spell that makes what ever lands on it, let alone something specific, just up and disappear!” Hermione exclaimed only to hear Draco chuckle.
“I don’t think there is Granger. There’s a small button there that allows the house elves to know that they need to take whatever is there and bring it in. They snap it to them and then decide where it goes. Simple as that,” he said with a smile on his face.
“Oh,” she said, “How many house elves do you have? I thought, Dobby…”
“We have three others. Mainly one cooks, one cleans, and the other does whatever it is that needs to be done otherwise. I think this fortnight it’s Delia who’s cooking, Ellie who’s cleaning, and Devon who’s doing the other stuff.”
“What other stuff would he be doing?” she asked as he opened the door for her, waiting patiently for the other three who were a few feet behind them. Once they had all entered the house, he picked up his conversation again.
“What ever Mother asks of him, retrieving your luggage, dressing your rooms, putting the correct trunk in the correct room, other little things.”
“Oh,” she said, still stunned at the interior of his home. After a minute he called the house elf.
“Would you please show the Weasleys and Mr. Potter to their respective rooms?”
“Yes sir.” The elf bowed and motioned for the three teenagers to follow him.
“You,” he said as he turned back to Hermione, “Have two options.” He didn’t tell her what they were as he moved up the opposite staircase as her friends. After a moment a shock, she followed him, sharing confused glances with Ginny across the room. When they arrived at the top of the staircase, he veered down the hallway to his right while her friends and Devon moved to the hallway on the left, seeing as they had come up the right staircase and the others had come up the left one.
“Malfoy? What exactly are my options?”
“Oh, well, you actually have three. You can stay in the other room down this hall, you can go to the one right next to Ginny, or...” He suddenly became embarrassed, not that she could figure out why as he mumbled her other option.
“What was that?” she asked as she brought one hand to lift up his chin so that he wasn’t looking at his feet anymore.
“You could stay with me, in my room.” His words were quiet as he looked at a place above her shoulder. When she didn’t answer him, he looked back at her in confusion.
“Well, you don’t have to decide right this minute, I just thought, maybe-”
“What if I stayed with you? Could Ginny move down to the other room down here?”
“Oh, yeah sure. If you don’t think she would mind. Your parents, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, and my mother are around here. Well, actually they're on the floors above us. Actually, my room and the other one are on the top floor, the Weasleys are on this one along with your parents. Mother is the one above them. Then there’s another floor that we never use and then my room.”
“Why in the world would you have that many floors? And one you don’t use?” she asked as she continued to follow him up the stairs, laughing.
“Well, if you want a floor plan,” he chuckled with her. Then he decided to give her one.
“The main floor has the large entrance way, the large and small formal dinning rooms and a regular dinning room, as well as a large living room, and a smaller one. Both complete with a bar area of course, the tea room, breakfast room, and a couple lavatories.”
“Of course.” She smiled as they continued their way up the never ending staircases. She wondered if there was a shorter way.
“The floor beneath that is the kitchen as well as the house elves quarters. Beneath that is an extensive wine cellar with a storage room for my father’s not-so-good items, but only the three of us know how to get into it. Above the main floor, which is the second floor, by the way,”
“I can do math Malfoy,” she grinned.
“Are four bedrooms, four bathrooms, and these balconies at either end. They show into the living rooms. And a couple unimportant rooms that I don’t know what they're called. Pretty much every floor has them.”
“Ok, then what?”
“The third floor also has four bedrooms, four bathrooms, but the right side ends in a den and the left into a recreation area. Father never went in there, thank Merlin.”
“Why thank Merlin?” she asked, confused as to why he was glad his father had never been into the room.
“It’s basically Muggle games, there’s a foosball table, a pool table, a poker table with a bunch of chips, and more than a few board games. If he’d’ve ever seen it, I’d be dead.”
“Oh.” That seemed to be her word of the day.
“The fourth floor, which were just about to pass, has mother’s room, Aunt Bella’s room, on the rare occasion she chooses to stay here with her husband, another large guest room which I don’t think we have ever used, and Father’s office. It’s nearly as big as the bedrooms. And three bathrooms, basically every bedroom has its own bathroom.”
“Got it, shall I just assume that from now on?”
“I guess, but there are really only two rooms left.”
“So what’s on this floor?” she asked as they moved from the staircase they were on, up to the next one.
“Oh, the ballrooms,”
“Rooms? As in multiple?” she asked incredulously.
“Yeah, they each have different acoustics, so it depends on what sort of party we’re having.”
“Oh.” Yep, it was definitely her favorite word today.
“And there is another room, but I’d rather show you later. If that’s ok?”
“Oh, yeah, sure. Why wouldn’t it be ok?”
“Just making sure. And now, the top floor. My room is this one here,” he motioned to the door on their left, “And the other bedroom is the one down there on the very end.”
“What are the other three doors?” she asked knowing that they weren’t the lavatories.
“Oh, well the one next to my room is where I do all my school work over breaks and such, basically it’s my amateur office. The one next to the other bedroom is another storage room. Granted I could never find anything if I tried, but Father always could.” He shrugged.
“So then what is the other door for?” She watched him glance at his watch for a moment before he grinned. Perfect she could almost hear him whisper.
“C’mon,” he said excitedly as he grabbed her wrist and pulled her with him. Wondering what could be this exciting, she followed and he dropped her arm. When the door opened she saw another set of stairs and almost winced. He hurried up them as if he was used to walking so many stairs in one trip.
“Where is this taking us?” she very nearly panted. Never once, not even being at Hogwarts, had she walked this many stairs without a long break in between.
“Just a minute!” He said as he stopped, “Close your eyes.” She glared at him for a moment before following his command. He moved behind her and slipped his hands over her eyes.
“What are you-?”
“Just be quiet Granger. It’s worth it, I promise.”
He gently pushed her forward and she thought she felt a door open before a cool breeze hit her. Gasping in surprise, she opened her eyes. All she could see were his palms and she couldn’t help but smile. He had definitely known what her instant reaction would be to the cool.
“Sorry, I forgot it would be this cold up here.” After a moment it hit her. Merlin how stupid could she be?
“We’re on your roof?” But her question sounded more like a statement.
“Yep.” She had never heard him so peppy; she wasn’t sure if she should be afraid or not.
“One more minute,” he said as he guided her further away from the door. “Okay,” he said as he pulled his hands from her face. She barely noticed the cold stinging as she looked around.
The sun was setting over his land, a million different colors blending perfectly together. Trees stood in the way of the sun itself, causing their shapes to be seen as shadows. She stood captivated by the beauty for a few minutes, as they both stood in silence. When the sun had finally disappeared beneath the horizon she turned back to him.
“Thank you,” she whispered and, at his confused look, she continued, “For sharing that with me.” He simply nodded. They stayed there for another minute before a sharp crack brought them out of their world.
“Sir? Mistress would like for Devon to alert you of dinner. It shall be ready in five minutes and you two are expected to join.”
“Thank you Devon.” She wondered what had caused him to be so polite to the house elf. After a moment his eyes widened.
“Five minutes! We have to go, now!”
And then her wrist was in his grip again, pulling her across the roof and down the stairs.
“Is there no shorter way up and down?” she asked as he continued to follow him quickly down the five other flights of stairs.
“Well, there is a shorter way up, but it isn’t up yet so we can't take it down.”
“Oh.” Two minutes later they were on the second floor, and he slowed. She nearly ran into him as she came down behind him.
“We’ve still got two minutes and we really shouldn’t be out of breath and look flushed when we get there. Mother doesn’t like me being on the roof.”
“Oh, yes, yes.” They paced themselves down the stairs, arriving just as the twins did, into the large formal dinning room.
As they sat down in between Ginny and Charlie, Draco whispered, “Normally we eat in the casual one but this was better for how many people are here.” She nodded in understanding.
It was certainly odd to see so much casualness in a formal room. Granted nearly every room she had seen was formal, but this was also an odd grouping.
Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Mrs. Malfoy, both of her parents, Bill and Fleur (she was expecting), Charlie, Fred and his fiancé Angelina, George, Ron, Harry, Ginny, herself, and Draco.
Sixteen people gathered together (Percy hadn't really been invited as Mrs. Weasley decided that as long as he chose to ignore them, he would be ignored. Stupid prat.), from so different backgrounds, so different lives.
And yet dinner was delightful, fun, happy, and Hermione could never remember being so content as she was here and now. Draco and Charlie were wrapped in a conversation. She didn’t know what about exactly but it might have something to do with dragons. After all, Charlie worked extensively with them, and Draco did mean dragon…
Mrs. Malfoy and her father were in an in-depth conversation and her mother chatter heartily with Mrs. Weasley. It seemed they had rekindled their old friendship without hesitation. Although, with very much surprise.
The only one who was having a bad time was Ron. Harry, the twins, she and Ginny, had all tried to bring him into their separate conversations but he just sat and sulked. Fleur wasn’t even able to distract him.
When everyone had finished eating, Hermione grinned at Draco, who grinned back at her. Then she yawned.
“Aw, too tired for dessert?” he teased.
“No,” she laughed as he yawned. “Are you?” He just playfully crossed his arms and stuck his tongue out at her.
“Draco Malfoy!” they heard his mother exclaim from the other side of the table.
“Don’t you ever let me see you do that again at the dinner table!”
“Of course Mother.” When his mother looked away, he glance back at Hermione and both could barely contain their laughter.
Dessert was served and everyone chatted after they had finished. The buzz of noise was starting to cause Hermione to nod off. Draco gently touched her arm and asked, “Ready for bed?” She nodded before she turned to Ginny remembering something.
“Did you want to stay in the other room up there with us? I suppose you could stay on the second or third floor, whichever you're on, but just so you know. The room’s open for you.” Ginny nodded tiredly back at her. She didn’t know if that meant Ginny was taking the room or not but then she looked back at Draco who smiled back at her.
He looked at his mother who called for bed. Everyone else sleepily agreed and headed off to their rooms.
“No, no this way Granger,” he whispered as she moved to follow everyone else out of the room. Confused she followed him instead. He lead her into another hallway, connecting what, she wasn’t really concerned about. He tapped on a wall, in a pattern she would never remember this tired, and the wall shimmered away.
“After you,” he motioned, and she moved into the compartment.
“It’s an elevator. Brings you to any room in the house, but it takes a bit for it to get to my room when it’s here. That’s why we had to come down the stair cases. But we can use this from now on if you’d prefer.”
“Why are there so many buttons? Should there be only,” she paused, attempting to count the floors, but he interrupted her thoughts.
“It brings you to any room in the house, even the roof. Well, not any room, this excludes the storage rooms, but it’s pretty cool. It goes upways, downways, sideways, frontways, backways and pretty much any other ways you can think of to get to what ever room you want.”
“It’s the Great Glass Elevator! Only it's not glass,” she said with a yawn.
“The Great Glass Elevator?” he questioned, repeating her slowly.
“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” she posed, trying for understanding and when he still looked at her confused she sighed.
“Muggle fiction book. Roald Dahl.”
“Oh, I know him: Mother read some of his books to me when I was a child. But I don’t remember that one. I thought he was a wizard.”
“Really? Well that’s interesting. He’s one of my favorite authors, even though most of his books are for little kids, I still enjoy them.” The elevator stopped and she stumbled into his bedroom for the first time.
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