"I really don't have a good feeling about this Draco."
The blonde wizard continues walking, not replying the brunette who was trudging hurriedly behind him to keep up with his long strides.
"I mean, even if he hates your father, that doesn't mean he's against Voldemort. What if he's working for him? What if he plucked up the courage to become a Death Eater?"
Again, Hermione received no response, and she was getting really fed up with talking to the back of Draco's head. All she wanted to do was grab him and turn him around so that he was facing her and she could talk to him properly. But she knew that would cause too much of a ruckus. They were already barely disguised on the crowded streets of New York with just her sunglasses and his hat.
"Why does he even hate your father anyway?"
From in front, she could hear Malfoy groan quietly, which made her rather annoyed seeing as to how she was the one who was supposed to be frustrated that he was not bothering to answer her questions, not the other way around.
"Where are you even going? We've been walking for-"
Suddenly Draco whipped around, causing Hermione to crash into his chest and stumble back a bit, whereas he just remained unfazed.
"Will you shut up already! Merlin's beard you really can't stop talking can you!"
"I'm asking questions, Malfoy. Valid questions which you're not even bothering to answer! How am I supposed to work with you if you don't even answer my questions!"
"You and your goddamn questions." Draco muttered under his breath, pinching the bridge of his nose.
Hermione had a furious reply on the tip of her tongue, but she chose to hold it back, knowing that it was not the time to argue.
She took in a deep breath to regain her composure, looked down for a moment, and then looked back up at Draco with a calm face.
"Just, tell me where we're going."
"We're not going anywhere."
Hermione frowned, and Draco smirked.
"Because we're here."
He turned to his right where an empty alley was, and Hermione just continued watching him in bewilderment.
He muttered something, so softly that even from her position next to him Hermione couldn't hear anything at all.
Slowly, right before their eyes, a little apartment appeared.
But this was no ordinary apartment. This was an apartment that was the epitome of the Wizarding community. It was crooked, sticking out like a sore thumb, with bold orange and purple hues splashed all over. The door was rounded and wooden, and there was a chimney that was pumping out red smoke. It reminded Hermione of an illustration of the Mad Hatter's house she saw when she was younger.
Hermione was, for once, speechless, much to Draco's relief.
"Close your mouth, Granger, or you'll catch flies."
She didn't even realise her jaw had dropped, and she sheepishly shut her mouth, giving Draco a glare.
Suddenly Hermione realised that they were still on the busy streets, but everyone was just walking on, completely unbothered by the magical apartment right there on the side of the pavement.
"Muggles can't see it. And now that we can see it, they can't see us either."
How did he always manage to read her mind?!
Draco walked up to the apartment, and Hermione followed suit after 2 seconds.
She must have still had a look of confusion on her face for Draco chuckled when he glanced at her.
"And you call yourself a witch?"
Hermione shot daggers at him, scoffing indignantly.
"I just so have you know, the only reason I'm shocked is because this kind of magic is very, very, very rare and old. Not to mention extremely dangerous because of its high instability, which might lead to its appearance being known to Muggles any-"
"Bloody hell again with the talking!"
Hermione shut up, though she tried her best to give Draco the dirtiest look she could muster, her eyes narrowed and determinately portraying all the nasty things she was thinking of saying to him.
"Good, keep it that way."
With that, he turned back to the obnoxious-looking door and knocked it 3 good times.
They waited, and waited, yet no answer.
Draco knocked again after a few moments, this time harder.
"Maybe he's not home."
Draco was just about to berete Hermione for opening her mouth again when the door creaked just a bit.
"Who is it?" An old, haggered voice huffed out.
Through the tiny gap between the door and the frame, Hermione could spot a pair of dull grey eyes peering out, faded and tired.
"Hi Uncle Dignon."
The door creaked open a little more, enough for the little old man to be fully seen as he stared up at Draco, his wrinkled eyes widening.
His voice came out as a bare whisper, and he looked like he had just seen a ghost.
Draco smiled and nodded, and Hermione was rather taken aback at the genuine look on his face- it was indeed a rare sight. But it was nice to see, there was no denying that.
"Oh Draco!" the elder cried out, sticking out his arms and hobbling forward. Draco bent down slightly and hugged the old man tightly.
"It's been so long, my boy!"
Hermione felt rather awkward just standing there as the reunion took place, but she had to admit, it was very touching and quite emotional- 2 words she never thought would have anything to do with Draco Malfoy.
When they finally let go of each other, the old man turned to Hermione at last, and she smiled and bowed her head slightly.
"Hello, nice to meet you."
The old man smiled at Hermione and looked to Draco, smiling even wider before looking back at Hermione.
"This is my…schoolmate, Hermione Granger."
Hermione had quirked a brow at Draco's choice of words. True, that was what they were. But still, it felt rather weird being referred to like that.
"Hello dear. Oh come in, come in! What is wrong with me, making you 2 stand out here like this!"
As Hermione looked around the little home, she couldn't help but smile. Only one word came to mind.
It looked like a little child's play-home. The color scheme was completely off, with blue clashing with red and yellow, and there was odd-shape furniture and knick-knacks lying all over the place. Here and there, portraits of old wizards hung, but the rather loud, goofy-looking frames ensured they fit right in with the rest of the décor.
"Draco, my boy, what finally made you decide to visit me after all these years?"
Hermione turned around to find Draco and Mr Dignon sitting on the couch. She headed over and sat opposite both of them in an armchair that was, to her amusement, covered in polka dots.
"Uncle Dignon…Hermione and I aren't here for a casual visit." Draco spoke in utter seriousness.
Dignon's smile faded away, and all that was left was a look of deep thought, which slowly morphed into one of fear and worry.
He didn't speak for what seemed like eternity, and the tension in the air was thick. He just kept looking at Draco, and Draco just looked back, as if letting Dignon examine him. Once again, Hermione felt awkward as the 2 shared the silent exchange.
Finally, he spoke.
"Show me your arm."
Draco gulped and didn't move at first, while Hermione unconsciously started chewing her lip. Draco would have scolded her if he had seen it, but he was too busy looking panic-stricken at the old man in front of him.
Slowly, he rolled up the sleeve of his shirt, revealing the ugly tattoo that Hermione abhorred so much.
Dignon took in a deep breath as he looked at the mark, his eyes turning even mistier than before.
"That bastard did it," He muttered with a clenched jaw, "He made you one of them."
His hands were balled into fists, and he was shaking just a bit. Draco immediately rolled down his sleeve and leaned forward, trying to get Dignon to look him in the eyes.
"Uncle Dignon, I'm not working for Voldemort. Yes I became a DeathEater, but I'm also a spy for the Order of the Phoenix. Hermione and I are on a mission, we're going to bring down Voldemort, and we need your help."
Dignon finally looked up at Draco.
"Promise me. Promise me you're not following that snake."
Draco reached out and placed his hand on Dignon's, looking him square in the eye.
Dignon nodded, though he still seemed rather upset.
"So, what do you need me for?"
"It's a rather long story, but basically, we need three objects to destroy Voldemort, and we think there is a man who has one of them, who lives in New York. We were hoping you might know him."
"My boy, I'm not a very social person, you know that."
"Yes but, still, there is a chance you might know this man."
Draco paused, and Dignon nodded for him to go on.
Dignon froze, his body completely stiff. Draco and Hermione dared not move as they watched Dignon's face fill with fear.
"I-I've never heard such a name," He finally spluttered out, his eyes darting around the floor, "I-I think it's time for you 2 to leave, yes yes, you must get going now, I have uh, I have things to attend to-"
"Uncle Dignon," Draco and Hermione could only watch as the old man started to freak out, getting up and walking around, muttering incomprehensibly under his breath.
"Draco," Hermione nodded towards Dignon, gesturing to Draco to do something. Draco stood and grabbed Dignon by his shoulders, shaking him a bit.
"Uncle Dignon! Please, tell us, what's wrong? Why are you panicking?"
Dignon refused to look at Draco, he just kept his head down, continuing to mutter to himself.
"Uncle Dignon," Draco had lowered his voice, trying a more soothing, tactical approach, "Please, we just want to put an end to Voldemort. I'm sure you want that too right? Please, if you know where he is, just tell us. We can handle it, we've been trained."
Dignon finally looked up, though he continued to shake.
"I'm sorry Draco, but I cannot help you."
"Please," Dignon's voice was strained, and he couldn't look Draco in the eye, "it's time for both of you to leave."
Draco held him a few moments longer, thinking of some way to convince him to open up, but it was to no avail as Dignon just shrugged him away and hobbled towards the door, holding it open for them.
"Mr Dignon, with all due respect, it is imperative for us to find out where this man is, he might bring us one step closer to destroying Voldemort." Hermione finally spoke as she stood up and faced the scared wizard.
"I am truly sorry, but I cannot help."
Draco and Hermione glanced at each other before Draco walked towards the door begrudgingly, Hermione following close behind.
"All I can say is…"
The two young wizards turned around to face the much older one, who was clutching onto the door frame.
"It would do both of you good to stay away from Peter Grimgory."