A/N: Everything but Lexie and Max belongs to J. K. Rowling. I claim no ownership and am not making this for profit, only fun.
Later that night was the tea with Narcissa, but it passed silently, both women had other things on their minds. It felt to Lexie that the tea was more of a formality of being the only other female than Narcissa Malfoy in the Manor. Draco and Lexie were to leave for the Hogwarts Express the following day to begin school, something that filled Lexie’s stomach with nervous butterflies. Draco had immediately disappeared to his room upon returning from Diagon Alley after imparting that bit of information and a farewell until dinner.
Lexie was alone packing later on that evening, making sure to add her new school supplies as well as the new clothes that were waiting for her on her bed. She made sure to add plenty of pencils for sketching and what she could use for Max, before finally collapsing upon her bed to reflect on the day.CRACK!
Lexie shot up to see a different house elf than the one before who curtseyed in greeting, shaking nervously, why she didn’t know.
“Evening miss, Starr was wondering if miss would like dinner now.” The house elf stated, glancing at her and back to the floor.
“Yes please, thank you.” Lexie answered kindly. “Starr was it?” The house elf nodded, “how many house elves live here?”
“Four miss; the Malfoy’s have much to take care of.” Starr answered and Lexie thought the information over. “Does miss require anything more of Starr?”
“No, just dinner. Thank you and it was nice to meet you, please call me Lexie.” She smiled at the house elf that seemed not to know how to reply, finally settling on another curtsy.
Lexie looked down at Max, who’d climbed onto her bed beside her, “I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to this world Max.” The feline meowed and turned back to her bedspread where he was pawing at a corner of the pillow.
Moments later a table appeared loaded with dishes of food and a type of juice, so she set aside all thoughts of magic and Hogwarts to sample the dishes and what turned out to be pumpkin juice. The meal was brief and quiet, since Lexie ate alone leaving her full and satisfied.
Once the table had been cleared away, Lexie went to stand at the window to look at the grounds, still in awe at Malfoy Manor. She wondered if she would be able to sleep at all that night, in her excitement for tomorrow, wondered if she’d make friends, what House she’d be sorted into. Her mind was a whirl of questions and daydreams, making her stomach turn into knots.
Lexie couldn’t take the silence anymore and quietly crept out of her room and into the hallway, trying not to wake the sleeping portraits, until she reached her destination. She knocked softly but loud enough for Draco to hear and after a moment he opened his door, allowing her inside.
Draco too was packed, his hair messy around his face, dressed in a dress shirt and slacks, the coat and bowtie from that morning gone. She took a moment to look at his room, which was a little different than hers, and noticed a black owl with white spots on a perch near his trunk.
“What is it Lex?” He asked, clearly tired.
“I couldn’t sleep yet, I wanted to say goodnight first.” She replied, now rethinking her impulsive decision to come visit her brother. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have bothered you.”
Draco sighed and stopped her as she turned to leave, “You’re not bothering me, I’m just tired.”
“I can’t stop thinking about tomorrow. What if we’re put into separate houses? What do you think the sorting will be like?” Lexie rambled on, but thought to herself, what if I don’t make any friends?
“Tomorrow will be fine; the sorting will just be a silly old hat putting us into our houses. And I’m sure I’ll be in Slytherin, you will too.” Draco answered as they both sat on the bed.
“Will we still be friends if I’m not? If I’m in Gryffindor?” She asked, suddenly afraid to lose her only tie to a family.
“We’re family now, so I guess I’ll have to tolerate you won’t I?” He drawled with his usual sneer but it had little effect on her. “I don’t know though, if you were a Ravenclaw I suppose you wouldn’t be too bad. Hufflepuffs are just so wimpy, yell boo and they’ll fall over themselves I bet. But Gryffindor.. No sorry, I forbid you to be my friend if you become one of them.” His comment was half hearted, meant to make her at ease instead of nervous. He had no intention of writing her off, no matter what house she was placed in. He was finally not alone in this humongous manor, he finally knew what it was like to have a sibling, and he wasn’t letting that go for anything.
She worried her lip, uncertain if he was joking or telling the truth, “Relax, I’m not serious.” Draco didn’t like being all soft and caring towards anyone, but she’d wormed her way in and he couldn’t be the cold hearted Draco Malfoy he was used to being. Never before would he have cared enough to make someone feel at ease, or allow them to lie on his bed, or even in his room. Yet here he was now, lying at the end of his bed, her next to him, both thinking about the following day.
“I’ll still be your friend, even if you’re a Gryffindor.” Draco assured her, “Although I can’t be your friend in front of other people, I have a reputation to maintain. I’ve been a Malfoy from the start, we aren’t nice or anything but cold, which is the way I have to be.”
“But why?” Lexie asked, “I don’t understand why you have to be that way.”
“It’s just how I was raised,” he answered, devoid of emotion once again. “I don’t expect you’ll be forced to though, mum and dad expect it of me.”
“Right,” she sighed, “I’m just here for the publicity.”
Draco winced, knowing it was true, but hating that she knew it. He hated that she had to carry the burden of knowing that she’d gained a family not because they really wanted her, but because they needed the pat on the back taking her in brought. He sat up, and she followed suit, looking at him sadly, “Look, I won’t lie and say that’s not the case but I won’t let you think you’re not welcome here. You’re a Malfoy now, whatever the reason got it?”
She nodded, and he felt like a complete arse, he hadn’t meant to sound so rash. He shouldn’t even be here trying to make her feel better, yet he was. His father had placed her in his care, a responsibility he intended to carry out, and that included putting her mind at ease. Even if he was not used to the action and had no idea how to make girls feel better, even if it was completely out of character.
“I’m just saying that I won’t act how I am now. But don’t take anything personally, and I’ll try to not be that way towards you specifically.” He tried again, knowing that once at school he’d be a different person and might not be able to keep that promise. He might end up saying something that would hurt her and make her angry at him, he might have to be the worst person she knew, and still do it without an ounce of regret.
“Well thank you for the warning, I’ll keep it in mind,” Lexie replied. She was a little baffled as to why he had to act that way at all, but knew he was expected to. All she could do is hope he kept his word that he wouldn’t be that way to her. “I’m tired now, you’ll wake me when it’s time to go?”
“Of course,” Draco agreed as both sat up. He looked at her for a long moment, hoping that she wasn’t more upset and nervous now than she’d been when she knocked on his door. He silently walked her back to her room, hiding his surprise when she hugged him and whispered a goodnight, yawning as she did. “Sleep well Alexis,” he said to her now closed door.
The next morning went in a blur, starting with Draco waking her and their departure from the Manor to King’s Cross Station using the Floo Network. He was relieved when she stayed close to him, glad he wouldn’t need to keep track of her. He searched for Blaise, his friend since he was a child and also beginning his first year, trying to spot him among the mass of people. As they neared the platforms 9 and 10, he stopped to look around once more, finally deciding that Blaise was most likely on the train already. Draco turned to Lexie, who was also looking around, her face pale. “We have to get to platform 9 ¾, so all we have to do is run through the barrier right here,” He explained.
“Are you sure?” She asked, more nervous than ever.
“Father told me what to do, so just close your eyes, and then follow me at a run. Do you understand?” Draco clarified, and she nodded in confirmation. Draco faced the platform wall, gripped his cart tightly, glanced around to ensure no one was near and ran straight into the wall.