May 2016


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Nano #50: Draco the Storyteller: A Gift of Great worth

Title: Draco the Storyteller: A Gift of Great worth
Author: [info]elfflame
Characters: Harry, Draco, Ron, Narcissa
Rating: PG
A/N: Another day, another visit.

Another Visit

Two months later, Draco's attitude had only lightened a little. But the meetings had become more and more cordial as far as Harry and Narcissa were concerned. He began to stay for tea, then for supper, and by his most recent visit, he found he quite liked the woman.

It was still sometimes difficult to visit the Manor. On bad days, he swore he could hear Hermione's screams.

But today was a good day. Draco'd even answered all his questions without prodding from either of them.

They were sitting in the parlor farthest from the rooms Harry remembered, drinking tea while Harry asked Draco the usual questions. Draco's answers were mostly mono-syllabic. At least, until Harry's questions changed.

"Have you given any thought to finishing your NEWTs?"

Draco blinked at him. "What? Why?" He frowned, and Harry could see the idea made him unhappy for some reason.

"Well, you've got plenty of time this year. I just thought it might…"

"Distract me from how badly I've ruined my life?" Draco asked, scowling. "Why bother? Who'd hire me, anyway? I'm a Death Eater. I'll always be a Death Eater. And no one will ever see me differently. Certainly not long enough to hire me."

"The world is changing, Draco. It's not like that. All you have to do is prove yourself. I think there are more out there who would be willing to give you a chance than you think."

"Yes, well…Malfoys don't beg."

"There are plenty of opportunities…"

"What, sweeping floors? Doing grunt-work no one else is willing to do?"

"Draco," his mother admonished. "You are being unnecessarily…"

"No, mother, you've never had to deal with it. Sure, you had to deal with the staring after the first war…but…this isn't the same."

"But you haven't even tried yet, Malfoy. You don't know what it's like out there."

"I know what it was like when we walked through the atrium, Potter. People looking at me like I had the plague!"

"That doesn't mean there's no one who would give you a chance if you asked. And if you had the right NEWTs, some places would hire you regardless. Gringotts, perhaps."

"Right, because the goblins will look so kindly on us after the way they were treated by the Dark Lord and his followers."

"Look, I'm not saying it will be easy, but at least with NEWTs, you can prove that you have the knowledge, Draco. But since it's not a requirement of your sentence, that's completely up to you. And so is being a prat, but then, I'm used to that."

Harry stood. "Thank you for the tea, Narcissa. I should get going. Friends over tonight."

Narcissa stood as well, and nodded. "Very well. Perhaps you can join us for supper next time?"

Harry nodded, smiling. "I'd like that."

"You're flirting again," Draco said with a scowl, leaning back in his chair, slumped against on side as he looked up at them, refusing to stand.

Harry rolled his eyes. Not that he had any plans to tell Draco, but he'd begun to realize that maybe he wasn't so interested in women after all. "I told you, Draco. It's called being polite. But maybe your mother can explain it to you better."

"If there's anyone here who doesn't understand about manners, Potter…"

"Draco Malfoy, if you cannot learn to hold your tongue…" Narcissa shot her son a look, then turned to Harry once her son had looked away, scowling. "I do apologize, Harry. I had hoped things might improve once he got used to this, but it seems that he has little interest in dealing with this rationally."

"He and I have never been friends, Narcissa. But I had hoped that he might take this chance to actually try to grow up a little…"

"Excuse me?" Draco stood, moving until he and Harry were face to face. "What do you know about me, Potter?"

"A lot more than you think, Malfoy. Just because you don't like me doesn't mean we can't try to be cordial. It's certainly not stopping me."

"Yes, well…too bad I'm not interested in being friends any longer, Potter. That train left long ago." He turned to his mother. "I'm going to go soak before supper. If you need anything, just send an elf." Then he turned and left the room, leaving the two of them alone.

She sighed, then looked at Harry. "I truly am sorry. I do wish he would stop acting so childishly, but he refuses to listen to a word I say."

"It's all right, Narcissa. It's why I didn't want Ron doing this job, and willingly took it myself. At least I can empathize with him. I know if our roles were reversed, I'd likely have as many issues as he does with the arrangement." Of course, Harry would have kept them to himself, only doing the minimum of what was expected, but then, he was used to being treated badly, so it wouldn't have been a great change for him.

"Still…he should try."

"Give him time," Harry told her, reaching out to squeeze her hand. "At least he's not trying to break the rules. It shows he's not a complete lost cause."

"I hope you're right, Harry…" She glanced toward the door, then looked at Harry. "You're a good man, Harry. Most wouldn't give him the benefit of the doubt."

"Well, no one knows better than I do how easy it is to be led into something you aren't even aware of. We were kids. We didn't know. I only hope he takes the opportunity to grow. No one should be branded for something they were pushed into, even if they thought they knew what they were choosing."

She smiled. "As I said…you're a good man, Harry. We'll see you soon?"

Harry nodded. "Probably Saturday, if that works?"

She nodded. "I'll have the house elves prepare your favourites for dinner that night."

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