What Lies Beyond the Garden Fence

Chapter One:

Draco peeked out from behind the curtains of his father's office and squealed "boo!". His father looked down at him and smiled coldly.

"Not now, I have work to do."

Draco skipped out from his hiding place and plopped down on the carpet, wiggling his pale toes and brushing his long platinum bangs out of his steely grey eyes.

"Like what?" He asked, looking up at Lucius in wonder.

His father flipped through a large, black, leather-bound book that lay on his neat desk. "Ministry business" he stated, dipping his quill in a pot of ink and writing something down carefully on a sheet of parchment.

"Like what?" Draco repeated, laying back and putting his head on his dog.

Lucius sighed, setting down his quill rather forcefully and turning to face his son.

"Important business that you will not understand until you are much older, and possibly, at the rate you're going, not ever. So please, Draco, leave me in peace." He walked over to the door and opened it, gesturing for Draco to leave.

He did so, sniffling, and padded up the grand staircase to his bedroom. It was a large room with an ensuite bathroom and three tall windows with a balcony opening up to the extensive backyard. The walls were painted a deep emerald and the floor-to-ceiling curtains were silver. He had a king sized bed with black satin sheets and as many pillows as he could ask for. His walls were lined with ornately carved bookcases that he had yet to fill, and a small desk sat in front of one of his windows. In the bathroom he had a large tub that, to his enormous pleasure, was big enough for him to swim in.

He locked his bedroom door to make sure his mum wouldn't come wandering in (not that she would, but you never know) and opened his glass doors to the balcony. He had learned early on, when he was six or seven, that he could easily lower himself over the size and drop into a bush that lay directly below his room. He did this now, but not before grabbing a towel.

Ten minutes later he was nearly to the edge of his property. He had cut through the hedge maze to the very center where there was a small pond. It was a warm summer night, and Draco undressed, folding his clothes neatly, before stepping into the cool water.

He swam out to the middle of the pond, giggling quietly as he felt the small fish nibble at his toes. He hummed a classical piece that he had heard when he attended a ball at the Greengrass manor. The milky way above him glittered, and he smiled to himself. Draco liked to be alone outside. He liked to be away from his family, his nagging mother and his father, whom he could never seem to please. He liked the silence, the room to think and breather. The fresh air helped him clear his head. He had a surprising amount to think about, for a nine year old.

He heard a rustling behind him, and turned, treading water. One of the hedges was moving! Draco called out into the darkness "Hello?" and began to swam toward the shore.

He stepped out toward the hedge, his feet sinking in the squishy mud, and stopped as a small figure emerged. It was a girl about his age with a mane of bushy brown hair and a rip in her t-shirt.

"Who are you?"

She jumped, tripping over a rock and falling.

"Ow." She yelped, clutching her knee.

"Are you alright?"

"I think so, I scraped my knee."

"You're bleeding."

"I think I'm okay."

"We should get you a plaster."

She looked wary. "I don't know you. This isn't the Forrest of Dean, is it?"

"No, this is the Malfoy Manor. I'm Draco Malfoy. Who are you?"

"Hermione Granger. I was camping with my parents, have you seen them?"

"No, I was just swimming. There hasn't been anyone here. How did you get in, anyways? There's a fence."

"Get in? I was walking away from the campsite to go to the restroom and I fell into a hedge. When I came out, I was here."

Draco's eyes went wide. "You must have apparated. How'd you do that?"

Hermione looked at him, confusedly. "What is apparated?"

"Apparation? Aren't you a witch?"

"A witch? Like in fairy stories?"

Draco squirmed, wrapping his towel around his shoulders. "If you're not a witch, you must be a muggle."

"What's a muggle? Are you mental or something?"

He frowned. "No, of course not. I just mean you must not have magic blood. What do your parents do?"

"They're dentists."

"What's a dentist?"

"You are mental!"

"No, I'm not. I'm serious. What's a dentist?"

"They clean people's teeth."

"That sounds horrible."

"Not really."

"You're still bleeding, you know."

"I think it stopped."

"I think we should clean it and get you a plaster, though."

"Okay. Where's your house?"

He nodded in the general direction of the manor. "Other side of the hedge-maze. "

She began walking in that direction, bearing most of her weight on her left leg. They walked back to the manor in silence, and he helped show her how to climb the stones in the wall to get up to the balcony. She almost fell, but he caught her and boosted her up the rest of the way.

He took her into his bathroom and cleaned off her knee with a cloth. She winced.

"Are you okay?"

"I'm fine."

She was brace, he had to admit that. He also thought she smelled faintly of lavender. It was nice. Soft and sweet, like she seemed to be.

"I still don't know how I got here."

"Neither do I. And I don't know how to get you back." He put the plaster over the scrape on her knee, went into the bedroom, and sat down on the edge of his bed.

"I think we might have to talk to my father."

"Is that a problem?"

"Well, if you're a muggle, yes. He doesn't like muggles."

"I need to go home."

Draco sighed uneasily. "It's not like you can live here. And I don't know how to get you home. And I can't just throw you out… so I guess we'll have to. He's probably in his library."

Her eyes lit up a little. "Library?"

"Yes, come on."

He grabbed his hand and pulled her into the corridor and down the staircase to the library. He knocked, timidly.

His father's voice came from within. "Enter."

Draco pushed open the door, stepped inside, and pulled Hermione in with him.

His father looked up from his desk. "Well, well. What do we have here?"