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Draco Malfoy and the Summer from Hell

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Summary: A response to Challenge 834 - Aunt Buffy: Following Narcissa Malfoy's untimely death, Draco's summer before sixth year is about to get much, much worse.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > General > MysteryMirielleFR15918,82646833,87816 May 055 Jun 08No

Not in Kansas

Draco had never been in a Muggle city on his own before.

Even when his parents had still been around, visits to London had been strictly supervised and restricted to the Wizarding World. His mother had often taken him on excursions to Diagon Alley and he now wished that they had more of their time together. Narcissa Malfoy had never been a warm woman, but she had loved her son, of that he was certain. She just hadn’t been particularly good at expressing it.

Malfoy Manor’s location in Wiltshire was not particularly close to any Muggle habitat – a situation carefully maintained by generations of the Malfoy clan. Draco’s ancestors had valued their privacy. The combination of these factors meant that Draco was somewhat taken aback by the sheer volume of people out and about in Cambridge on a seemingly normal weekday morning.

* * *

In his haste to get away from the van and its infuriating driver, Draco had not taken much notice of his surroundings. He knew they had parked along a long shady road Faith had referred to as the Backs. She seemed to have picked up on the fact that he was too proud to ask questions even when his natural curiosity had him itching for information and had provided a running commentary seemingly for her own amusement. This stretch of road ran alongside the river Cam, onto which several of the city's colleges backed – thus earning the road its name. Safe in the knowledge that Faith had left in the opposite direction and soothed by the pleasant late morning sunshine, Draco slowed his pace and began to take in the scenery. He felt almost liberated and more at ease than he had for days.

If the Rectory had been a bit of a surprise to him architecturally speaking, it was no comparison to what he felt as he went slowly trotting past the high wrought-iron gates surrounding a shady wood area through which ran a narrow road. The buildings on the other side of the river were simply fantastic. They didn’t hold a candle to the magical magnificence of Malfoy Manor of course, Draco lied to himself, but still these buildings were rather more sophisticated than he had imagined any Muggle would ever be able to accomplish. How did they build on so large a scale and with such intricate detail without magic? Was it done with eclectrics, he wondered? He was even more surprised to see two elderly men in black robes standing on either side of the gates, who engaged anyone approaching the gates in conversation before letting them pass. Were they wizards? Why would wizards be wearing their robes in broad daylight, in the middle of a Muggle city, and why did he seem to be the only person to find this odd?

Unable to figure them out, Draco drew nearer to the two men, one of whom was currently engaged in conversation with a middle aged couple.

“Why are you wearing that robe?” he burst out before he was able to stop himself.

“Kings College porter, kid,” the grizzled old man currently not scowling at a pair of tourists replied as if this were an explanation and added, “Got to wear gowns. ‘s traditional, innit.”

“So, you’re like a servant?” Draco asked.

“Well, I wouln’t say that…I wouln’t say that at all! Bein’ a porter’s very important. Got to look after the students, see? Make sure everything’s in order, everything done right and proper, see? Much more important than bein’ a servant!” he exclaimed, seemingly peeved. “’Course, don’t have the same powers we used to, not with modernisation an’ everything, but still. College’s got to have porters, see?”

Draco gave a soft harrumph in confusion and walked off. It seemed these men were the Muggle equivalent of Filch – minus the vile familiar.
He continued along the road, pausing to eye a punt that had capsized in the river to the general amusement of all, until he came to a bridge. There he crossed and continued along a narrow cobbled road between crowded buildings that reminded him of Hogsmeade village, until he came to a suddenly busy road. Shops lined either side of the pavement and a steady stream of people passed in either direction – walking, running, cycling, but very few cars as Draco noted with interest. He drifted along the road in the direction he had come (he told himself it was easier to go with the human traffic rather than against it, but really, he wanted to see whether he could catch a glimpse of the college from the front) curiously looking into the many shop fronts as he went along.

Some seemed to be restaurants though he saw signs advertising a cellar bar or two– but most were clothing shops of some variety or other. Not before long, the road curved around a plaza, on the left side of which he saw an open air market next to a large church and to the right….to the right were the buildings that had so impressed him earlier. They were almost more astonishing from the front, though now that he was closer up, he noticed the discoloured and weathered façade.

Standing and staring at the buildings was all very well and good, but Draco suddenly realized that he probably didn’t look terribly dignified, gaping like a tourist. Having arrived at this conclusion, he shoved his hands in his pockets and ambled off in the direction of the market, curious as to what sort of macabre Muggle practices he might stumble across there.

It wasn’t overly exciting, he decided after a while. Most of the stalls sold either farm produce or a mixture of garish clothing and tacky jewelery. He saw a stall crammed with books next to one hawking pottery and eventually stumbled across a stall selling jar after jar of Muggle sweets. Seeing the numerous pots of shiny colourful titbit's reminded Draco that he had passed up the chance of breakfast.

* * *

The Muggle in charge of the sweet stand had never heard of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans and seemed bemused by Draco’s enquiry after chocolate frogs, but when Draco grumpily questioned him about what he did have, he was only too happy to help and sent Draco off with a tin of blackcurrant and liquorice as well as a bag of assorted chocolate covered nuts and dried fruits for later. These choices had seemed fairly safe to Draco (who had become highly alarmed at the offer of sherbet lemons and had had to look around to assure himself that Dumbledore was not hiding behind a fountain out of sight, twinkling at him). Momentarily sated, Draco sauntered off to investigate the area around the market square; almost merrily sucking on a boiled sweet.

His forays yielded much the same as before, on the more central streets Draco came across shop after shop selling books, clothes or games, with the occasional wine bar or restaurant in between. A shop selling televisions held his attention the longest and he watched entranced at the happenings on what he soon learnt was a plasma screen, as two groups of sweaty men in differently coloured shirts proceeded to kick the snot out of each other. It seemed to be some sort of sport involving a ball, but whether the object of the game was to keep the ball or to get as far away from it as possible, he could not say.

Heartily diverted by the sight of senseless violence, Draco almost skipped out of the shop to investigate a passage he had not walked down yet. It was very narrow, with the buildings on either side leaning inwards, like elderly men who’d had too much to drink, and though it was dank and smelled suspiciously like cheese, Draco’s sense of adventure did not abandon him.

He soon discovered the source of the smell – a dairy shop nestled between one selling hideously gaudy jewelery (clearly, Muggles had no sense of style whatsoever) and another selling hilariously over-priced chocolate. Wrinkling his nose at the fumes emanating from the dairy shop’s front door, Draco watched for a second as the fat shopkeeper enthusiastically waved a hunk of stinky green cheese in the face of a customer, mouthing something about nimble goats. Disgusted, he continued on.

The alley was longer than Draco had thought it would be, and he mused on what he should do with the remainder of his Muggle money. He had a few gallons on his person, a Malfoy was never without money, but wizarding money would be precious little good if none of the Muggles took it. Then again, they seemed utterly obsessed with shiny things, if the wares in most of the shops were any indication. Even some of the clothes had been distinctly on the sparkly side. Clearly, Muggles had no-one sensible to point out that less really was more.

Draco was quite caught up with musing why a person would actually want to wear trousers that were positively effulgent, when something caught the corner of his eye and he did an inelegant double-take.

Before him was a rather run down and drab looking establishment hawking used books; as far as Draco could tell it was just one more like all the others he’d seen that day, the ridiculous city seemed positively bursting with old bookshops! This particular one was so unremarkable that it took a moment until Draco realised what had caught his attention. In the window, on one of the display shelves – cramped and disorderly as they all were – was a book most definitely familiar to him, so familiar in fact that he had just recently made a note reminding himself to ask his godfather to get it from Diagon Alley for him as he would not be able to finish his essay for DADA without it. What it could possibly be doing in a Muggle bookshop though…

Caught up in this line of thought, Draco pushed open the door and entered the shop. It took a while for his eyes to adjust to the gloom – whoever owned this establishment clearly thought that it might be in their favour if the customers couldn’t quite see what it was they were buying. The general décor matched that mood lighting, and those rare bits of bare wall or floor not covered by precariously balanced stacks of books were stained with age and mildew. All and all, the place held abut as much charm as a Hufflepuff’s knicker drawer.

The shopkeeper matched the décor down to a t. He had probably been a tall man before the ravages of age shrunk his muscles and bent his spine in a painful looking fashion. The remainder of his dirty grey hair was brushed to cover a gleaming bald crown, and a scraggly beard seemed to be engaged in a deadlocked battle with his nose over dominance of the entire face. The old man was dressed in wrinkled corduroy trousers and a stained cardigan and shirt, and Draco thought with distaste that this man’s apparel pretty much summed up his summer experience so far. As if his unkempt appearance weren’t enough, the man looked mean to boot. His little weasely eyes had fixed on Draco as soon as he had stepped through the door and never left off.

Born the scion of two of the most powerful British Wizarding families, Draco was used to patronizing only the right sort of establishments, and for their proprietors to fall over themselves in order to sell. He was most decidedly unused to being scowled at by a dirty wretch of a Muggle shopkeeper, and found that he did not particularly relish the new experience.

“What do you want boy,” the old man snapped before Draco had even had a chance to properly peruse the contents of the nearest shelves, “We don’t carry any children’s books!”

Draco was incensed. He was no child!

“Actually, the copy of ‘Vampire Clans of Europe 1205-1960’ by Frieda Blutfall you have in the window. I want it,” Draco sneered.

“That’s no book for a kid like you,” the shopkeeper answered with a knowing glint in his eye. “It doesn’t even have any pictures. Why don’t you just run along to Waterstones and get yourself a nice colouring in book.”

Draco was speechless. How dare this disgusting Mudblood second guess him! He was a Malfoy! He should just hex the disgusting creature right here and now. Draco had half pulled his wand out of his sleeve before he caught himself. Yes, the Muggle absolutely deserved a thorough cursing, but if Draco broke the statute of underage wizardry now, the place would be swamped with Aurors within minutes, and Fudge would have even more ammunition to bombard the Malfoy estate. So, as much as he regretted it, Draco could not curse this Muggle now.

“I’m quite sure it’s the book I want,” he managed to spit out between gritted teeth, wand clenched tightly inside his sleeve.

“We don’t take returns,” the old man said suspiciously. “No taking it home to look at and then bringing it back when you’re bored with it. You buy it; you keep it, that’s my policy.”

The End?

You have reached the end of "Draco Malfoy and the Summer from Hell" – so far. This story is incomplete and the last chapter was posted on 5 Jun 08.

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