A Black Tie Affair

Chapter Two: Unexpectedly Acquainted

A/N: No, I haven't forgotten about this story. I've had exams to deal with! Expect fairly regular updates from me now, as I'm done school until September. Now would be a great time to put this on your alerts list.

Draco flopped onto his bed. It was a purposeful lunge, forceful. He had thrown his weight into it. He didn't ricochet from the bed to the floor. He didn't even bounce. He just sank into the down and goose feather. He sighed, lifting his head from the pillows. He briefly contemplated whether he was going crazy, but quickly banished the thought from his mind- his father had taught him that one. The first step in the descent into madness was admitting that one was insane.

He had been home a whole of three days, and already the house was driving him up the wall. He had hardly left his room, having the house elf bring him meals. He hadn't spoken to his mother since getting home. What he needed was to get out, but he had nowhere to go. He could go to Diagon Alley or somewhere and spend money, but he knew it wouldn't make him feel better. Not for the first time, Draco Malfoy found himself completely at a loss. Usually his summers were spent with his father. Every day, almost every hour. He went everywhere with him, and learned all sorts of things along the way. He used to resent having to follow Lucius around everywhere, but now he saw how valuable it had been.

Draco groaned and got out of bed. It took more effort than it should have. "Bloody hell..." he muttered to himself, and tried to clear his head by shaking it. He decided that what he needed was a shower. A blindingly hot shower, one that would wake him up so he could think properly.

He exited his room silently and padded down the hall, the polished wood flooring cold and uncomfortable against his bare feet. He strode into the bathroom, turning on the taps as he began to undress. By the time all of his clothes had made it to a nice heap on the floor, the water was suitably hot, and so he stepped in and let it pour down his back.

It was painful at first, but as always, his body adjusted to it, and soon it was like the most relaxing massage he had ever gotten. And suddenly all of his lethargy dropped away, like a veil being torn off. He knew exactly what he would do next.

Draco finished his shower and stepped out, towelling himself off. He managed to quite literally run into the house self, Kaisa, on his way back to his room, and had to be careful not to drop any of the clothes he held on top of her. He strode into his room and changed into fresh clothing, all black, naturally, before heading down the stairs to find his mother.

Draco found her in the library. She was sitting at a large oak table, holding a mostly-empty glass of red wine. The curtains were all pulled shut, and even though the morning sun was shining brightly outside, it was only visible through the gaps. Narcissa looked a mess. Draco couldn't tell whether she had slept at all since returning home. It didn't seem as though she had. She hadn't even registered his presence. He didn't like the way she was just staring off into the wall, the wineglass perfectly still in her hand.

"Mother, we're going to see a lawyer today," Draco said slowly, but not with a trace of warmth in his voice. It was an ultimatum, not a request.

He glared at her until she looked his way. She opened her mouth, as though she was about to say something, and then she slumped against the table. Draco snorted in disgust, and summoned the house elf.

"What is Master's bidding?" Kaisa asked, and then her little eyes went wide as she saw past Draco to his mother, passed out with her face in the table.

"Oh!" squeaked the elf. She wasn't sure how to react. Draco sighed, "Kaisa, find some way to sober her up. I want her presentable to the public, and we're leaving in an hour."

"Yes, Master Malfoy! Right away!"

Draco nodded his assent and then left the room. He felt slightly strange being called Master Malfoy now, but the elf had adopted the title as soon as he'd returned three days ago. He supposed that as far as Kaisa was concerned, he was the master of the house now. I guess that tends to happen when the actual Master is locked away in the most fearsome prison on the planet, Draco thought.

Draco reconsidered as he walked. Perhaps Azkaban wasn't the worst place to be. He had heard stories of Russia... terrible things. And besides, now that He was back, Azkaban wouldn't remain a prison much longer.

The thought of some of Azkaban's more notorious inmates walking the free Earth once more sent shivers up Draco's spine. There were people in there who had committed unfathomable crimes. Things he had nightmares about. The only thing he could count on was his allegiance to the Dark Lord, and the protection afforded by his Father.

Very slim protection, indeed. But there were more pressing things to worry about. For one thing, he needed to get his mother back in shape, at least for now. No lawyer would be foolish enough to see the 16-year-old Malfoy alone, even if he was throwing money at them. For another, he needed to find a lawyer. Wizarding law wasn't exactly one of his chief interests (since he tended to be on the wrong side of it more often than not), and so he wasn't sure who they would go to. He was confident that his mother would know, though.

And so he waited for her, reading the latest issue of Quidditch Quarterly. He was just skimming through an unfavourable review of the Nimbus 2004's (apparently the Nimbus series had gone downhill), when Narcissa came in. She was dressed lightly in black and white, fitting for the July heat.

"Do you know anyone who would be... suitable for our needs?" Draco asked. She didn't object to his bluntness or even seem to notice it.

"Yes, I have a contact that might be of use to us."

"Good." Draco stepped up to the fireplace and stood to the side, waiting. Narcissa came forward and grabbed some floo powder from a small pot on the marble hearth. She strode into the fireplace and, in a clear voice called out "Diagon Alley!" before throwing the handful of powder into the fire and disappearing.

This surprised Draco. He didn't know of any law offices in Diagon Alley, but then he supposed he'd never looked before. He grabbed some of the powder himself and repeated the location. Draco found the sensation of travel by floo powder disorienting, but he couldn't apparate, so it was the only option he had for travel, at the moment.

Draco stumbled out of the fireplace in the Leaky Cauldron, catching his balance and correcting his stride as gracefully as possible. He scowled at the patrons of the bar, who were looking curiously over their glasses at the new entrants.

"Come along, Draco," Narcissa said, not looking at him. Her eyes darted across the patrons of the bar. One could never be too careful. Especially not now.

Draco's scowl deepened, but he followed his mother out of the back of the tavern, to the brick wall that separated Diagon Alley from the pathetic Muggles. Narcissa tapped the bricks in the proper order, and Draco looked on, bored, as the wall peeled back before them, revealing the magical haven beyond.

Really, the novelty wore off after the first three or four times.

His mother stepped through, her heels clicking against the cobblestone street they had just entered. Draco didn't turn around when the wall rematerialized behind him. Draco shoved his hands in his pockets and reluctantly followed his mother, seeing as he didn't even know the name of the place, let alone where they were going.

He looked on with a smirk at the various criminal merchants attempting to hawk their wares on the people walking by. Charms, amulets, potions; as long as it had a name like 'Stringio's Defensive Elixir,' people would buy it up. It was sad how easily people could be fooled.

He trailed behind a ways, though his mother didn't seem to notice. He glanced in to the shop windows, failing to find anything to interest him as he walked. It was far too early for school shopping, and beyond Knockturn Alley, there were few places of interest to him.

Curiously, it seemed as though they were headed toward that very place. Draco didn't know Knockturn Alley as well as he should, mostly because of his father's watchful eye, but he didn't recall seeing any sort of law firm there. Perhaps this place was new. He couldn't actually remember the last time he'd been able to wander around Knockturn Alley.

His entire train of thought was derailed, however, when his mother turned right, taking a side street off of the Alley, rather than proceeding straight down the stairs. This threw him off, and he sped up until he was walking alongside his mother.

"Where are we going?" he demanded.

"Whimsic Alley," she said, without looking at him.

Draco had never been here before, and he scoped the place out. There was nothing terribly interesting here; it was more like an extension of Diagon Alley than anything else. He saw exotic food markets, a few of the choicer clothing stores in Britain, and a never-ending chain of the carts full of merchandise clogging the streets.

They were a nuisance at first; Draco had to step around them, as his shoes were likely worth more than the merchant's entire wardrobes. Combined. But then they started to approach him. He waved the first one away, but they started getting more insistent.

"'Ello, young master! Fancy yourself protected from You-Know-'Ou? Well, a lad like you may one day be the target of dark fowces! An' it so happens that right here before me is the famed Amulet of Samarkand! Nothing wards off dark magic quite like this beauty, and its fetching price is only 15 galleons!"

Draco waited until the man had finished, and then reluctantly slammed him into the cart he was standing in front of. The man let out a cry of terror, and all of the eyes in the street turned to them. Really, touching him was not something Draco wanted to do again, so he pulled out his wand and pointed it beneath the man's chin.

"You're lucky there are people watching. If the circumstances were different, and I had met you alone, perhaps your tongue would be missing now. Get out of here. Run. Go. Run like you're training for Quidditch season," Draco barked, and pushed the wand into the man's neck so hard he yelped and began to choke. The man ran off, coughing and cursing.

"Reducto!" Draco shouted, pointing his wand at the cart. It was reduced to splinters. Draco noted with satisfaction that none of the other merchants would even make eye contact with him. Good, he thought. Being a thief is respectable. Being this desperate is not. He stepped carefully over the debris and strode on, to find his mother waiting for him.

"Really, Draco?" she said, at last turning her hard gaze to him.

"What?" he snapped.

"Have you satisfied your ego yet?" she said coolly.

Draco scowled at her. "He was in the way."

She just glared at him. He glared back. They carried on their way.

At the end of the street was a pale sand bricked building with a green sign hanging in front of it, reading "Greengrass & Greengrass." Draco read the sign and then did a double take. Greengrass. He gave his clothing a once-over, and then smoothed his hair down. Never hurts to be careful, he thought.

They stepped through the green door into a spacious waiting room with a desk at the end. Sitting behind that desk was none other than Daphne Greengrass. Draco's heart skipped a beat internally, but he was perfectly still on the exterior. Too still. He remembered that breathing was sort of important, and resumed doing that.

Daphne looked up, and he couldn't help but notice the way her hair caught the sunlight, twisted it. It was a golden brown in the light, almost like a halo around her pale face. She smiled at him, and he returned it with another careful smirk.

He stepped up to the desk. Ignoring Narcissa, she said "Hello, Draco. What brings you here?"

Narcissa made to speak, but Draco cut her short. "I could ask you the same thing. I'm looking for legal counsel for my father before his trial."

She nodded. "I'm doing secretary work for my parents this summer. Mr. Greengrass is currently in Belgium on business, but I'm sure my mum would be happy to see you," she said, smiling at Narcissa. The twitch at Narcissa's lips caused the smile to drop from her face.

"I'll... just go see what she's doing," Daphne turned from her paperwork and walked down a hall into the back, presumably where her mother's office was.

Draco and Narcissa waited in front of the desk in silence. He ignored his mother to have a look around the office. It seemed fairly nice; he assumed that Daphne's parents must be rich, especially if both of her parents worked as lawyers, as the sign indicated. He found himself wondering why he had never known this about her before. He sighed internally. He didn't know anything about her, and that was the way it should be.

Several minutes later, Daphne came back, followed by her mother. It was amazing how Daphne barely resembled her. Everything about her mother was... darker. Her hair was coloured ambiguously between black and brown, her skin a more olive shade than Daphne's. She also wore her hair up in a tight bun. All business, thought Draco. Good. We're not fucking around, here.

"Narcissa," said Mrs. Greengrass, clasping her hand by way of greeting. "So nice to see you again."

"Esme," Narcissa smiled coldly, and released her hand.

Draco looked curiously between the two. Daphne had never told him that their mothers knew each other, but then, by the look on her face, she hadn't had any idea, either.

Esme turned her gaze to Draco and smiled, genuine warmth showing this time. "And you must be Draco. I'm Esmeralda Greengrass, Esme for short. Long ago I was at school with your mother here. I do believe she was a year above me. Anyway, it's so nice to meet you," she said, shaking his hand. Draco noticed that her grip was rather firm. Still, she seemed sincere enough.

"Nice to meet you, too," Draco said with a nod.

Esme clapped her hands together. "Well, what can I do for you two distinguished Malfoys today?"

Draco smirked. All Malfoys are distinguished. "We're looking for..." he cleared his throat, "a special sort of legal counsel for my father."

"I suppose you've heard all about our situation?" Narcissa said.

"Yes, yes, in all of the papers. A dreadful business, no doubt. I suppose he gets a trial? I don't imagine you'd be here if he didn't."

"It's set for the 15th," Narcissa said shortly.

Esme looked thoughtful. Draco could almost see the glint of galleons in her eyes. Of course she'd be imagining all of the money she could make out of this. Draco would do the same in her place.

While she stood there, Narcissa pulled a slip of parchment from her pocket and spread it smooth on the counter. "This," she said, pausing for emphasis," is a receipt of the advance transferred to your account. Esme's eyes went wide at the figure. Narcissa smiled. "I trust it will tide you over for the time being."

"Perhaps we should return to my office to discuss this further," Esme suggested. Narcissa nodded her agreement, and her heels clacked on the hardwood floor as they retreated down the hall, leaving Draco alone with Daphne.

"Hey," she said, waving at him. Draco smirked. "What?" she asked.

"I hope they pay you well to sit behind a desk all summer," he snorted.

"Pays a lot better than following your father around every second, I imagine." It was her turn to smirk.

"Not really. Sometimes it pays to be around. You ever been given the employees-only tour of Borgin and Burkes?"

"Gross! I think I can live without it," she laughed. "But I guess you've got a bit more freedom this time around. No daddy to tail, and no Pansy to shake off, either." She wriggled her eyebrows and grinned.

"Yeah, thank Merlin for that. Still, she had her advantages. Like anyone." He looked pointedly at her.

"That's the Slytherin way," she said, rolling her eyes. "See the good in everyone. Way to go, Malfoy."

Draco leaned in. "Regardless," he said, his voice full of mock-seriousness, "It must get pretty boring working here all summer long."

"There must be some way for you to make my summer better, then, Mr. Malfoy."

Draco leaned further. He was only murmuring now, he was so close; "And how do you propose I do that?" He heard the clack of his mother's heels on the hall floor. Already?

Daphne jumped about a foot in the air and turned sharply to look at the hall behind her. Narcissa and Esme came up to the desk. "Come Draco, we're leaving." She turned on her heel and strode out of the office, holding up her hand in a parting wave as she strode out.

Draco noticed Esme rolling her eyes. He felt his own smile returning. "I'll see you later, then," he said to Daphne, and then nodded goodbye to Esme.

"Bye, Draco," Daphne said, smiling sweetly.

He turned and walked out of the office, quickening his pace to catch up with his mother, who had already set off back toward The Leaky Cauldron.

"What was that about?" he hissed.

"Oh, Esme and I have decided it would be best if we handled this business... outside of her usual office hours. I'll be having a meeting with her at the Greengrass Estate on Saturday. I suppose you want to come along?" she shook her head.

"I'll be there," Draco muttered.

A/N: And that's it! Things are sort of starting to heat up, yes? Well, we haven't even gotten started yet, so just wait! Expect another update soon! Reviews would be lovely. "Unexpectedly Acquainted" is actually a wonderful Dracofic by my girlfriend Mandamedieval. I highly recommend it if you like Draco. Whimsic Alley is a beautiful store that sells HP-Style merchandise like robes and scarves and such. They're also awesome!

It's also prudent for me to note that the name 'Esme' actually has zero relation to the Twilight character. Just so you know.