Lucius laughed with disdain at Hermione’s explanation of her job at the Ministry of Magic. Draco had invited her to visit her parents for the very first time and she had been dreading it ever since his request…
“House elf rights?” he sneered. “I suppose you’d want to run a large manor such as this all by yourself… spare the little elves..”
“It’s about the way they are treated,” she began. “How they are supposed to punish themselves when…”
“And how else would you propose they find their motivation to do a good job..?” Lucius asked rhetorically. “Pay them?”
Hermione began to get irritated. “Pain is not the only motivation out there!” she stated boldly. “Even you should know that by now! You would have done anything for your family… wouldn’t you? That isn’t motivated by pain… but by…” she faltered briefly. “By love instead.”
“You’re preaching Hermione…” Draco whispered, out of the corner of his mouth.
Lucius didn’t like being preached at one bit but before he could respond Hermione continued her rant.
“Harry survived the Killing Curse because of love… and Draco’s mother lied to Voldemort because of love… even Kreacher was a more obedient house elf to Regulus Black than he’d ever been to Sirius because of love…” she said trembling with anger.
And then she made the mistake of accidently quoting Albus Dumbledore at him: “It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.”
“Don’t you quote that filthy Muggle loving poor excuse of a Wizard at me, young lady…” he spat angrily.
“Your dead house elf, Dobby, has done more to deserve respect than you…” Hermione retorted.
“And this is what you want to be with…?” Lucius addressed his son, sneeringly, “this person is truly your choice?”
“I think…” Draco swallowed, “considering that Hermione has been tortured in this very house, under this very roof, that she has a right to speak her mind this time around…”
“Thank you,” she mumbled.
“Let’s have a cup of tea…” Narcissa said, sounding remarkably like Mrs. Weasley and very unlike herself. It was a desperate attempt to get the conversation into more quiet waters…
“Let’s!” Draco agreed.
When Lucius kept murmuring, Narcissa spoke up. “Lucius, my dear, we could move to the kitchen…”
Hermione didn’t know if it was meant in her favor or in Lucius’… As Draco had told her the kitchen was portrait free, Lucius would not be able to visit it, and it would keep them both of them out of each other’s hair.
“Don’t you dare…!” he hissed at his wife.
“Very well…” Narcissa complied. “Tea it is then…”
A horde of house elves came in bringing the best High Tea Hermione had ever witnessed. Scones and sandwiches in many different flavours, and a wide range of tea to choose from.
“Will you be able to drink it without poisoning yourself…?” Lucius sneered. “Surely drinking something that has been prepared by house elves would drown your ideals…?”
“Not eating or drinking wouldn’t be respectful towards them either…” she replied calmly, causing Draco to snigger.
Lucius sighed. If only he was still alive… If only he had a wand to use on her… since his words were not chasing her away….
“That went well…” Draco said as he walked Hermione out of the grounds. “Sort of… anyway…”
“Your mother did try…” Hermione conceded, “but your father…”
“He will never change… I think…” Draco sighed. “I’m afraid you’re just going to have to get used to it. We are… Andromeda is… She just ignores him and when it gets too bad, she and my mother move to the kitchen…“
“It’s not the best solution though… It would be far better if… There’d be a truce somehow…” she replied, “Even if I could get used to it… There’s still Rose and my parents..”
“Perhaps they could get used to me first…” Draco begged, though trying to sound as if he wasn’t.
“Maybe…” she said before she apparated out of sight.
Draco returned slowly back to the manor where another fight would begin…
“She insulted me in my own house!” his father boomed. “Comparing me to that horrible house elf!”
“She has a hard time loving me, because of you!” he shouted in return. “Her parents still remember you!”
“Do they now…” Lucius’ eyes narrowed. “If she cannot love you because of me, she’s worth even less than I thought…” he said, crushing Draco’s heart with his words.
“Draco?” his mother asked soothingly, but he gnashed his teeth as he left the living room for the quiet of his own wing.
“Lucius…” she began tentatively.
“Cissy?” he said with his eyebrows raised.
“I don’t want…. I don’t want Draco to leave us over this…” she said. “I’m appalled, just like you, but still…”
“You aren’t nearly as hurt as I am,” he snorted. “You’re befriending your sister again, despite her marriage to a Mudblood. It isn’t your line that has ended! It isn’t your family name that will be defiled if they truly succeed this.. nonsense…”
“He is my only child!” Narcissa said. “I will not lose him… not even…. Not even over this!”
She stormed out of the room as Lucius tried to make her see sense…. He couldn’t fight two fronts!