First impressions Pt. 2
A/N: Anything recognizable belongs to J. K. Rowling, only Lexie and Max belong to me.What in the world?
Draco thought at the high pitched scream and entered Lexie’s bedroom to see her looking scared out of her wits by the house elf, Dobby.
“Dobby is sorry mistress Malfoy, Dobby is not meaning to scare mistress.” The squeaky elf said, trying to calm her.
Draco walked up to Alexis and lightly shook her once to gain her attention. “Alexis!” She stopped screaming and focused on Draco in front of her, her eyes wide as saucers. “I don’t suppose you’ve seen a house elf before.”
Lexie shook her head vehemently, her mind still working to understand what the creature in her room was and how it’d arrived. And was that a tea cozy? Something wasn’t adding up, that something she could tell Draco knew about, judging by his lack of emotion for the thing.
Draco sighed, he hadn’t counted on this complication, that she had never been introduced to the Wizarding world and how to explain. Why should he though? It wasn’t his job to take care of her after all, a small selfish part of him remarked but he knew it wasn’t that simple. His mother and father weren’t likely to have much interaction with Alexis, which left him between a rock and a hard place.
Examining her closely to be sure she was calm now, he turned to the house elf, “Alexis isn’t used to magic, go away.” He sneered dismissively at the servant as it bowed deeply; eyes lowered and disappeared once more.
Lexie stared at the place the ‘house elf’ had just stood, a million and ten questions spinning in her mind, unsure which to ask first. “Why do you do that?” She muttered without thinking.
“Sneer at everything like it’s beneath you.”
“Because it is, that was a house elf, the servants I mentioned before.” Draco answered casually, as if it had never occurred to him to do anything different.
Scowling, she turned to him, “Just because it’s a house elf doesn’t make it inferior.”
Draco gave her a long look, “A house elf’s purpose is to serve a wizarding family, how are they not inferior?”
“They’re still living things, with dreams and opinions and hopes. Who did they serve before you? What about family, do they have one? I’ll bet you haven’t even cared enough to ask.” She argued, annoyance shining at his arrogance.
“Of course not. They serve the Malfoy’s, which is an honor and you’d do well to remember it yourself.” Draco huffed and then watched as her scowl turned absolutely cold.
“You know what; I think I’m rather tired. Good night Draco.” Lexie stated coolly, and then looked pointedly at her door and back at him.
Huffing once more, Draco left the room only to stop once she shut the door rather forcefully. He sighed. ‘Wonderful, I’ve managed to get on her bad side her first night here.’ Draco groaned and glanced down to see Max staring up at him reproachfully.
“I didn’t mean to make her angry,” he told the cat. “She just…” He let out a breath. Lexie sure had a temper, one that met his in a very difficult way. He had to get along with her though, he was aware of his family‘s social standing and that she was supposed to be the turning point. That required a little effort on his part to seem like a decent guy. “What do I do now?” He asked himself.
Max meowed and started off down the corridor, stopped and looked back at him expectantly. Curious, Draco followed, still trying to figure out how to explain to his parents that the girl they’d just adopted already hated him and was in her room for what would most likely turn out to be the rest of the night.
The cat continued once he was sure Draco was following and entered what the blond recognized as the second floor library. Now he was definitely wondering what the feline was up to and watched as it jumped onto a couple of shelves, knocking over some books before it pawed at one until it fell. Max looked at the fallen book and meowed once more and Draco picked it up. The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland it read on the cover, and Draco looked at Max once more, confused. Why had the cat knocked over the book, and why in the world did they have a muggle book in Malfoy Manor?
Seeing no answer to either question, he once again followed the cat back to Lexie’s room, where Max sat at the door, tail swishing. Draco looked at the cat, then the book and back for another moment and shrugged, placing the book on the floor beside the cat and knocking. He moved down the hall to watch without being seen as Lexie opened the door, picked up the cat and the book, an odd look on her face. She glanced around before entering her room once more.
Draco let out a breath as he headed back to his own room, wondering as he went what the deal with the book, and the cat, was.
Draco gave her a couple hours to cool off before listening for her footsteps, and sure enough he heard the door open as she left her room. He stood, composed himself and went to meet her in the hall where she was looking at the portraits. She didn't really pay him any mind, solely focused on the paintings.
"Do all the portraits move here?" She asked thoughtfully, intrigued.
"They do in the wizarding world." Draco replied, wondering how much he would have to explain.
"Am I a wizard?" She asked back, and Draco smirked.
"No, not unless you're a guy." He answered, and then explained. "Girls are witches."
Lexie nodded, taking this in. In her head she was mentally going over all of the odd experiences that led her from one house- and family- to another. "Can you stop being one?"
Draco looked at her, shocked as she continued down the hall, her gaze still on the portraits as she watched them move and observed every detail. Some smiled or greeted her and, after her initial surprise, she returned the greeting.
"Why would anyone want to stop being a wizard?" Draco finally found the words to ask.
Lexie turned her attention from the paintings to examine him instead, debating what to reply. Should she try to explain how the 'witch' incidents had ruined her life up till now, how they'd ruined her chances of being accepted and loved? He wouldn't understand, she realized. Draco Malfoy was a spoiled rich kid who lived and breathed magic.
"I'm just trying to wrap my head around it I suppose." She said eventually and then brightened as a thought occurred to her. "Does this mean I get a wand and can do spells and stuff?"
"Not yet, we have to get an acceptance letter from a Wizarding school first. Hogwarts is probably going to send one soon." Draco replied. "Mother and Father will be home shortly, I should take you back downstairs."
With that they walked in sync down to the first floor, Draco pointed out rooms on the way, leading her to their Father's study. Lucius Malfoy always flooed in from the ministry into the study and spent most of the evening there. Narcissa usually did the same unless she was in the master room. Draco often wondered if his parents even shared a room anymore, much less loved each other.
He doubted it though; both were too focused on power to make time for little else. They stopped outside the door, and Lexie smoothed her clothes and hair nervously as Draco raised his hand to knock. "Come in," came the curt reply and both children entered, preparing for the next moment.
Lexie and Draco entered to see Lucius sitting in an arm chair, their two dogs at each side and a glass of something in his hand. They studied each other for several moments, Draco's expression completely and deliberately blank. His father wasn't skilled in Occlumency for nothing, anything he knew about the girl, his father would know. He hid his initial reactions to her and the argument earlier in the evening, showing only how she had looked as she got out of the car and her reactions to the manor. For the strangest reason he was beginning to grow protective of his foster sister, not that she would ever know.
Once he finished sifting through Draco's mind, Lucius smiled at Lexie, but it lacked any kind of warmth she'd hoped to see. "Welcome Alexis, I trust my son has given you a proper tour and greeting?"
Not wanting to get Draco in trouble, Lexie curtsied politely, "We were getting to that sir. I requested a moment to change and a short rest first."
Lucius nodded and sipped from the goblet, his eyes boring into hers. She felt a force pushing on her mind and frowned slightly, but then it stopped. A smile, a slightly scary one at that, crossed the man's face as he examined her. "I see you're skilled at Occlumency as well, just like your father was."
"My father?" She started, surprised to get this bit of information from the man. She knew nothing of her father, save for the necklace hung around her throat beneath her shirt.
"He was a strong wizard, very useful to have as an ally." Lucius drawled and Lexie stored the information away, along with her questions. "I don't suppose you know much about the Wizarding world?"
"She doesn't Father, Dobby startled her earlier although I've told her a little." Draco commented, reminding them both of his presence. Inwardly, Draco too was curious, he wasn't aware that his father knew who Lexie's parents were. To hear him say 'ally' he knew meant that her father must have been a Death Eater as well. His Father would never tolerate an ally that was pureblood and not a Death Eater.
"Filthy vermin," Lucius said as he sipped his drink again and Lexie frowned slightly, only to catch Draco's eye who gave her a small shake of his head, warning her not to show any outward sign of disagreement. Foster daughter or not, Draco knew without a doubt that should she show any sympathy for the house elves like before that his father would not hesitate to Crucio her.
Lexie schooled her face into a blank mask, wondering why Draco had warned her, but decided it was better to trust him this once. "You're in charge of her care then Draco, be sure not to fail me." Lucius announced, not entirely oblivious to the exchange between the children but not caring enough to comment. "Explain what she is to know, understood?"
Draco bowed, "Yes Father." Great, he was stuck with her now. Just then the fireplace glowed green as a woman stepped out, straightened and brushed herself off. Lexie's eyes widened and Draco hoped she wouldn't start screaming again, but she remained silent beside him. It was the woman from the photograph; her hair pulled half back, the top blond while the rest was black. Her robes were black as well and she tucked a long stick into a pocket before noticing the presence of the children and her husband in the room.
Narcissa studied the girl beside her son; she didn't look much like her father but for the eyes. No, the girl was her mother's image through and through, the blood traitor. Mother and foster daughter stood gazing at one another, the men forgotten, before Narcissa smiled a little more kindly than Lucius had.
"Welcome, I'm Narcissa and you've met my husband Lucius?" She greeted, making an attempt to welcome the girl. She never made the mistake to show affection or kindness around her husband but she loved her son dearly and had always wanted a daughter.
"Yes ma'am, I'm Alexis but everyone just calls me Lexie." Remembering her manners, Lexie curtsied in greeting.
"Well Alexis, welcome to our home, and family." Lucius replied to the girl's greeting, refusing to call her by the despicable nickname.
"I thank you for allowing me to be a part of it Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy," She returned, hiding her dismay at the use of her first name. Once more she felt a brush against her mind and once more she locked her thoughts away. It wasn't intentional; it was something she'd had to learn in order to cope with the many foster homes in her life.
"Mother, Father," Draco cut in, "Alexis hasn't eaten today, I was about to give her a tour and get dinner."
Nodding, Narcissa smiled at her son and Lucius went back to ignoring them all, his interest lost. "That sounds like a good idea Draco, and your letters arrived as well, they're in your bedrooms." She turned to Lexie, "I would like to have tea with you tomorrow, at 3."
Determining that it was not really a question, merely a fact, Lexie agreed politely, "Yes ma'am."
"Please, call me Narcissa, and I'll have a house elf collect you when it's time." Narcissa replied and Draco took that as their leave and caught Lexie's eye. He turned and she followed him out, neither saying a word until they reached the foyer.
"Would you like to eat outside?" Draco asked suddenly. Sometimes the manor felt too restricting, and he thought she might appreciate the change of scenery; also he had yet to show her the grounds.
Lexie's blank expression changed to a smile as she nodded and they walked toward the terrace together, where he pulled out her chair, attempting to be a gentleman. The whole situation caused conflicting emotions within him, Draco Malfoy didn't pull out chairs or care what people thought. He cared what he thought and what directly affected him. But for some reason, one he still didn't understand, he wanted to be polite to the girl. Perhaps because she was an outsider, someone who wasn't used to how he'd been raised, someone he could try to be different with, just to see if he even still could.
They sat and a moment later plates of food appeared, and Draco spent the remainder of the meal answering questions about the Wizarding world, oddly content.