A/N: Soooo, this story isn't dead.
Chapter 3 - Lady Smallwood
Draco had started to believe that all black, messy haired blokes were all complete and utter idiots. Yes, Harry Potter's version of idiocy was typically the jump in like a headless lion, Gryffindor type. However, this muggle was on a completely different spectrum idiotness. Which he concluded, to the point of insanity.
"This is insane," Draco seethed through his teeth in a more than vexed tone, "You are insane."
The other man all but ignored him as they climbed what seems to be a less than sturdy metal ladder. Draco's palms scraped against the rusty handles as he pushed himself up, already having difficulty getting air into his lungs.
With absolutely no clue as to how had gotten dragged into his current predicament, the young Malfoy had cursed every choice he had made in the past couple of months.
One regret was the fact he simply left his wand back at his flat on his nightstand.
When did he start leaving his wand around like an unsensible wizard?
Breathing out unflattering curses under his breath and mentally kicking himself repeatedly, Draco stretched out his arm above him to grab another rung on the ladder then pulled himself up.
As if he were a child entering Diagon Alley for the first time again, Draco's mind momentarily was attempting to take in the new sights and sounds all at once.
It was like a step to an alternate universe, where everything was distantly different but familiar all at the same time. Shops and stores stood open for business with bright windows advertising their sales and wares. Each building are seemly uniform as well as unique with a complementary mix of modern and historical muggle architecture.
And instead of packed cobbled stone streets, there were crowds rushing through their daily activities on smooth sidewalks and roads made of hard even pavement.
Despite the blanket of ash grey clouds, the air felt rather cool like his days spent on the streets of Hogsmeade. Within the air, the young wizard could smell the scent of rain through the light mist that was setting in. Although, Draco also smelled a bit of smog mixed in the air that made his nose slightly scrunched up a bit. He mainly ignored it.
He had smelled things much worse before.
In the middle of it all were metal machines of various sizes on wheels that were rushing pass by, which the young wizard would assume were automobiles. There were more of the metal boxes on, if he recalled correctly, tires then he had ever seen in that moment than all his seventeen years. They were noisy against the background. Though, it strangely fit in alongside the busy streets of muggle London.
Draco never actually observed the muggle world closely before. When he was younger, he had occasionally caught glimpses of the other world before his mother pulled him away on those rare shopping trips. Even in the event that they go to Diagon Alley, he and his mother usually entered through the fireplace in the Leaky Cauldron.
The wizard shook his head. He could observe his new surroundings as he walk. At the present time, the young Malfoy wanted to get his meeting over and done with so he finally meet the woman who had somehow convinced his mother that he was better off in the Muggle World.
Draco had took a brief moment to search for street corners from the alley to find any signs of where exactly he was. Once he had caught sight of the street signs, he compared them to his map. And after mentally pinpointing the location and route into memory, Draco folded the map up and made a clip to the left. He was then quickly enveloped in the ever moving crowd.
The young blond kept his eyes straight forward and did not acknowledged the muggles around him much out of habit. He avoided any and all eye contact. Though he still kept hyper awareness of his surroundings. After all, one does not lose their sense of paranoia after being kept on their toes during a war with the Dark Lord and his unsavoury company that crept in the bowels of his own home.
He did not know how had he felt exactly. Weariness was one possibility he could identified at his overall situation. As well as another emotion.
Out of all of the emotions he could have felt at the same time, Draco, somehow, felt lighter. Not content.
He was able to walk out in the open without seeing faces with the miniscule intent of sending curses or hexes at his direction when he accidentally make eye contact. Freedom to move without scrutinizing or hostile eyes that somehow bored against the back of his head. He had seen people's hands twitched towards their wands whenever he Draco had walked by or even flinched whenever he got too close.
There were no Aurors 'coincidentally' bumping into him and then somehow be happened to be walking in his direction as well. As if he had not noticed them following him around for the past couple of weeks.
Draco could have laughed at the notion that he was finally free to do what he wanted. True freedom. Not the kind that is handed to him on silver platters. Not the kind that was meant to be an exchange. Not the kind that had him mentally chained.
Mundane conversations of muggles' daily business sweep passed the wizard like a river sweeping around a rock. Very little registered as he tried to push thoughts of the previous recent years back into the dark dept corner of his mind once some had seeped through his barriers.
Forcing himself back to awareness, Draco's silver like eyes widened when he noticed a blur fast barreling towards him. The blond sidestepped with an abrupt grace as the person sprinted past him like a werewolf was on his tail. Draco watched as the runner rushed through the sea of disgruntled muggles. A bit peeved of the stranger in passing, Draco push the short event out of mind. Whatever was of concern to that person, it doesn't affect him. So it was not his problem nor his concern.
Before Draco could return back towards his set path, something suddenly felt off. Draco knew the familiar feeling. It was similar to the feeling of watchful eyes pinning directly behind his head. He knew it so much so that he had developed a sort of sixth sense.
He took a breath to keep his heart from racing and a panic attack to arise. Keeping his mind from clouding his judgment, Draco calmly did a clip turn and kept his walking pace steady as he swiftly gaze around nonchalant like. He didn't need whoever was watching him to be aware that he suspected something.
Though as quickly as Draco sensed the feeling, it was gone. With that event coming to pass, Draco picked up his pace.
"It is nice to finally meet you in person, Mr. Malfoy. It could have been under better circumstances, but it cannot be helped. Tea?"
Draco nodded slightly in agreement. "And you, Lady Smallwood. Of course."
The older woman hand took hold of the teapot and poured out the tea into two cups with delicate precision. Even by doing the basic procedure, the air around her felt intimidating. Like the tipping of the pot was a decisive act. It felt similar to being in his mother's presence whenever she was on a business meeting representing the Malfoy family or simply entertaining guests.
"How is your mother? It has been a long time."
Draco paused, "She has been well enough."
Lady Smallwood gave Draco a neutral look, her facial features giving no indication of her emotions.
"Would you like any milk or sugar?"
"Just a bit of sugar will do."
After adding the sugar, the older woman handed the cup to him. Draco reached for the warm cup and noticed that she was watching him with her striking blue, grey eyes. Analyzing him as if everything he does has some sort of meaning to her.
"Are you often asked about your resemblance to your father?"
"Often enough," Draco took a sip from the tea.
"He was always an egotistical man"
The young wizard did not disagree.
Lady Smallwood still sat watching as she sipped her own cup. There's just an uncomfortable feeling sitting across a person that was at a point close to his mother.
She then spoke again after she had lowered her cup, "As you may have been informed by your mother, I have arranged for you to enroll in a university to further your education in the Muggle world was well as expand your knowledge about muggles in general. I'm certain that you have read the books I have sent you some time ago." A single eyebrow delicately raised up.
"There are also arrangements made for you for where you'll be staying throughout your studies. I also need to mention that you are required to get a job."
Draco froze, "A job? As in a muggle job?"
"Yes, a muggle job. You would be given some funds to start off with. Other then that, you would be supporting yourself. Even though your family do not lack the currency to back you, your mother and I saw that it would do you well if you started working for it. Do you have any issues with that?" Lady Smallwood, nonchalantly eyed him.
He back peddled, "No. I-I just was not aware that I am required to do so."
"I will be straightforward with you Draco," Lady Smallwood placed her cup on the plate in front of her. "Before the Dark Lord's first reign, witches and wizards have already looked down upon muggles as if they were some sort of animals that lacks any form of intelligence or emotion. Those who thought of this are the ones who never considered what it is like to be without magic. They never once think about what they could do with themselves without magic."
Pursing his lips in a frown, Draco absorbed her stinging words. His magic is apart of him and to go on living without it would be like living through hell for him. He honestly for the life of him could not fathom it. Magic was always around him. He grew up with it and lived with it his entire life. It is not something to handle lightly. He understood that. But to never experience it, to never sense it, to never have it dance within one's soul is like not knowing they are missing a piece of themselves.
Who would I be without magic?
He stopped his train of thought as he felt warm liquid slipping against his fingers and onto his thigh. Draco looked down as he realized he was still holding his cup of tea and his hands were shaking.
Draco's head immediately snapped up and he felt himself immediately flushed in mortification at the realization that he had split tea on himself in front of his mother's childhood friend who also happens to be in a high position in the British government.
"I-I apologize for the mess I've made!"
Draco quickly lean forward to place the cup of his remaining tea on the desk then fumbled for his wand.
"There's no need."
The young wizard paused as his fingers tip grazed against his wand. Draco's eyes shifted up to notice a handkerchief waving in front of him. Grey eyes then continue moving upward to see Lady Smallwood was smiling at him.
Still felt his face flushed red, Draco slowly reached forward and took hold of the handkerchief.
"T-Thank you, La-"
"You may call me Aunt Alicia."
"Thank you, Aunt Alicia."
Welp, took me 3 years, but I did it. I have updated this story.
Kind of experienced creative burnout in general, but it can't be helped. I just suddenly had a spark of inspiration for noticing a few of my stories again since I'm still actively consuming fanfiction rather then writing them. Most of my fics have been collecting dust and cobwebs, so might as well clean it up.
Draco still has some ways to go.
Until the next time! Maybe, don't know when. Hopefully sooner rather then later.
Reviews, comments, critics are appreciated! ^^
P.S. This chapter hasn't been proofread yet so I apologize for any errors.