Losses beyond imagining

Chapter 12

“You were just in time… interrogating Malfoy…” Stirgood said, as she came into the office, throwing the Daily Profet in Harry’s lap.

“Mourning Malfoys” the healine said. According to the paper, no-one had attend except his wife and child. No-one? Harry thought this extremely odd.

It appeared that with most Death-Eaters rounded up, and the remaining ones in hiding and pretty angry with the Malfoys for their last-minute betrayal, they had been reluctant to come… yet other pure-blood families seemed to have distanced themselves from the Malfoy family too.

“How… I don’t see how that happened…” Harry mumbled. “I thought he was still a man of standing in his own circles at least…”

“Apparently not..” Elphaba said. She couldn’t care less. It had been bad enough visiting that manor, that eerie sense of evil lurking behind every corner, hiding in every shadow…

“We don’t have to…” she started hesitantly, “do we?” A crumpled look on her face.

“Have to what?” Harry asked puzzled.

“Pay our respects? Since we are dealing with his case… I’m not really inclined to… but..”

“You do have a point, there… We still need to sort out most of this though…” Harry gestured at their office filled with Malfoy’s books. Some of them were pretty nasty…

He wondered if he had to… Harry wasn’t too inclined to visit them either, yet if they expected him to and he didn’t show, it wouldn’t help with Draco’s further assistance in the case… On the other hand, visiting a grieving family so soon… especially ones you don’t feel all that close to in the first place…

He sighed. Where was wisdom when you needed it?

At that precise moment, Hermione stepped through the door.

“I’m not sure, Harry… I’m not even with the Auror Deparment…” Hermione sighed.

“Please…” he begged. “I can hardly take Ginny. She’ll trash the place whether they are mourning or not…”

“Bringing back some of the books, right now… I’m not even dressed appropriately,” she let slip.

“I don’t think they’ll care much for that now…” Harry assuaged. “That’s what first comes to mind though?” he grinned, winking at her. “Perhaps you do…”

“Shush..!” she punched him in the ribs. Elphaba wondered what that little discussion had been about.

According to her, Hermione looked fine in jeans and a t-shirt. They were just here to read books, not going to a party or something… But the Malfoys did have a way of making you feel less than them, and clothing was one way in which they radiated that quite eloquently…

“Very well,” she gave in. “If you think it is wise…”

Harry sighed. “I have no idea, Hermione. It’s not as if I ever socialized much with them, unless you count fighting them…”

Elphaba giggled. Harry threw her a stern look. “It’s not to late to bring you, you know…” he threatened.

“Shouldn’t we have brought flowers…?” Hermione said worryingly when they were walking up towards the house.

“It’s too late for that now,” Harry grumbled, dealing with a stack of unruly books hovering in the air before him.

“Just wait a second…” she called out as she quickly used her wand for a lovely bouquet with a condolence card.

“What are you going to put on the card though?” Harry hissed. “Everything will sound hypocritical anyway…”

“You’re right…” she said as her face fell, and she quickly removed it. “Flowers will simply have to do.”

A house elf let them in and they were left in the hall, waiting nervously. An awkward silence fell as both Narcissa en Draco entered from different directions.

Harry rasped his throat and finally said: “I wasn’t sure if this was a good time… but we would like to return some of the books and offer our condolences.”

“We’ve brought some flowers as well,” Hermione added as she gave them to Narcissa. Both she and Draco were too shocked to utter a word. After a long silence she whispered “thank you.”

“You better follow me to the library,” Draco said, as his voice returned. Harry followed him and so did the two women.

“Were they any help..?” Narcissa asked.

“O yes, a great deal,” Harry replied. “The history of the Jennings is recounted as well as many historical spells. We’re still going through the rest of them though…”

“It is quite a task…” Hermione added.

“One you’re well suited for, I would have thought.” Draco said.

Hermione didn’t reply; she couldn’t tell if he was being friendly or sarcastic… It was hard to say.

“It must be very personal to you too…” Narcissa said, in an attempt to be friendly to Hermione.

She swallowed hard. “Yes, it is… Ron always wanted to be an Auror, but still… We survived the war…. Only to… And I have a little daughter, so..”

Narcissa nodded understandingly. Death being the great equalizer after all.

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