Continuing Tales


A Harry Potter Story
by MizSphinx

Part 4 of 12

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How are you? I'm sorry it's taken me so long to respond. My uncle – Uncle Vincent – passed away, so for the past week I've been to visit my family.

I don't know why, but my uncle's death really hit me hard. I'm not a stranger to death for I've faced it on many occasions, and have witnessed people dearest to me succumb to its finality. And yet, even though I've hardly ever seen him for the last twelve years, I cried shamelessly at his funeral. I suppose I felt so depressed because he was one of the few remaining ties I had to my previous life. My parents suffered memory loss and don't even know I exist, and because I've been away from 'my world' – the Muggle world – for so long, I'm no longer in touch with much of my family.

I'm Muggleborn, by the way. A 'Mudblood'.

Mudblood. How innocent that word sounds, but how evil it is. Had I heard it whilst living in the Muggle world, I'd have not realised its hatefulness, its ability to contradict the idiom that 'words cannot hurt'. No. It hurt. It hurt every single time it was directed my way. Like stones and whips hurled simultaneously at me. Often times I've wondered about its origins. Who invented this horrid word? Was it used in the same context in the past as it's used in the present?

I don't know. I don't care to know. It's the first time I've ever felt disinclined to learn something new.

Forgive me, Legolas. I suppose I'm not feeling myself today, but I just felt the need to share this with you. I've had second thoughts about sending you this letter but I've decided that I want to. Is it selfish of me to hope that you'll say nice things to cheer me up?


"So, Harry, is it true?" Hermione asked, a mischievous smile curving her lips.

At present, she, Ron and Harry were seated in a warm, inviting restaurant that had recently opened in Hogsmeade. It was jointly owned by George Weasley and Lee Jordan, and in homage to Fred Weasley, they'd named it simply: Fred's. Hermione wouldn't call it posh, but it was certainly above average quality. The big windows invited natural light, the burgundy and gold décor was reminiscent of her Hogwarts days as a Gryffindor student, the music was unintrusive and pleasant, and the waitstaff were cordial and accommodating. She had yet to taste the food, but she had little doubt it would be fantastic.

Harry looked up from his menu. "Is what true?"

Hermione covered her mouth with her menu and waggled her eyebrows at Harry. "Well, a little bee told me that one Harry Potter was seen asking one Luna Lovegood out on a date."

Ron chuckled. "I didn't know bees could talk."

Harry rolled his eyes. "No, Ron, they buzz. And her little bee should be buzzing around somebody else's business. Or squashed."

Hermione placed her menu down on the table and leant closer to Harry. "So it's true, then?"

"Hermione, I thought you weren't interested in that type of stuff," Harry protested, his cheeks a bit pink. "I never pinned you as a gossip."

"Or maybe she hid it well, mate," replied Ron. "I think I'll get the steak. I wonder if George'll let me off without paying?"

"I'm not a gossip, I just thought it interesting. Luna's a good friend, too, you know," huffed Hermione. Then: "So is it or is it not true?"

"Merlin, you haven't changed a bit," sighed Harry. "Fine. Yeah. I did ask her out. She's nice. Pretty. I like her." And he blushed a bit more as he roved his fingers through his hair, looking very self-conscious.

Ron snorted. "I don't know where your eyesight's gone, mate, but Loony is not – OWOW! What did you that for?"

"Because you were being an insensitive prick," answered Hermione, glaring at Ron.

"You mean he was just being himself," said Harry, and both he and Hermione laughed.

"But you didn't have to pinch me. You've sharp fingernails, woman," Ron grumbled. "Now I remember why we ended things. You always abused me!"

Hermione smirked. "And you always deserved it."

Their waiter came and took their orders, and as they waited for their food, they caught up with each other's lives. Hermione couldn't remember when she'd last felt so contented. How delightful it was to just sit and relax with old friends and celebrate in life and gain, instead of wallowing in death and loss. When she'd told them about her uncle's passing, they were very supportive and understanding. Actually, they had been the one to orchestrate this outing.

They've matured, but they're still the same in a way, she thought as she watched them. They had managed to turn the conversation to Quidditch, and Hermione, comfortable in the fact that she did not know head from tail between bludgers and beaters, just sat and let them be. While listening to them jabber on about some amazing 'wronsky faint' (although what was so amazing about a wronsky – what was a wronsky, anyway? – fainting baffled her), Hermione remembered the last letter she'd sent to Legolas. She then grew excited about telling Harry and Ron about her wonderful penfriend, and was just about to do so when she heard a sudden and loud vibrating sound.

"Shite," said Ron and Harry simultaneously.

Hermione looked questioningly between them, realising that the vibrations were emanating from them both. "What? What is it?"

They rose swiftly to their feet.

"Our wands. We're being summoned to the Ministry," said Harry, face grim.

"Auror duties," explained Ron. "I think it's something big."

"Be careful," she said quietly, eyes wide with worry.

"We're sorry, Hermione. We'll catch up again soon," said Harry, and both he and Ron Apparated away.

When the waiter returned, bearing a tray with their meals, Hermione apologised for Harry and Ron's absence, and asked for their meals to be bagged as a takeaway. Once she'd received the meals and paid, she got up and was making her way to the exit when, to her surprise, she spotted Lucius Malfoy.

He was seated in one of the furthest corners of the room, in an advantageous position where he could look out onto the streets but where passers-by could not easily see him. The weather was unseasonably warm today, so he'd taken off his outer robes. Dressed in a charcoal waistcoat over a light-blue shirt with the neck opened, he appeared less formidable, and much more human than Hermione had ever seen him. His hair was pulled back into his usual ponytail, and elbows propped on the table, he intertwined his fingers in front of his chin and stared out through the window nearest him, looking relaxed and contemplative.

Hermione stared. Inexplicably transfixed by Lucius Malfoy in this rare moment when he was seemingly unguarded. She wondered what he was thinking about that made him look so calm, even content. Was he pondering happily on the vastness of his Gringotts vault filled to the brim with gold? Was he reminiscing on days of old when he was simultaneously feared and respected? Or could it be something a bit more innocent and heart-warming? Like remembering his wedding day, or Draco's first baby steps?

What made a man like Lucius Malfoy happy, anyway?

The world may never know...

As if aware that someone was watching him, he suddenly turned his head away from the window and caught her gaze. She inhaled sharply, cursing herself for not turning away fast enough. As if he knew her thoughts, the corners of his mouth lifted in a smirk, and, furthering her astonishment, he turned his left hand up and summoned her over to his table with a crook of his index finger.

Don't go, said Sensible Voice immediately. Just wave, smile apologetically, and move on. You've a bookshop to run.

Oh, come on, Hermione. How could you resist such handsomeness? Just look at that man. Mmmm! refuted Not So Sensible Voice.

He's a wicked man who has done wicked things. Stay away from him!

No doubt he'll do wicked things to you too, eh, Hermione? Very wicked things!

Shut up the both of you! screamed Hermione in her own head.

And it was then she realised that she was crazy.

In any case, not willing to appear impolite, she nervously made her way to Lucius Malfoy's table. She was nearly there when her own special kind of karma kicked in.

Because it was planned that she, Harry and Ron would have lunch, Hermione had taken extra care to dress today. Wearing a lovely, lavender dress and tiny pearl earrings with a matching tiny pearl necklace, she looked girlish and pretty, and the boys had even said so, too.

And she wore heels. A new pair of nude slip-on shoes she'd been dying to wear. The soles were a bit slippery but they were manageable to walk in. So, there wouldn't be a prob—

A man at a nearby table abruptly rose to his feet, and Hermione was forced to swerve out of the way. Her right foot came partly out of the shoe, and with this imbalance, the shoe sole's slipperiness made itself known. Down Hermione went, hands grasping at nothingness before catching hold of a tablecloth. Not able to withstand the sudden and forceful pull, the tablecloth and all the contents upon it went down with Hermione as well with a magnificent, crowd-drawing clatter.

Crash! Ping! Splat!

And the awful, sorrowful sound of Hermione's mortification climbing levels of epic, unmatched and historical proportions. She was so embarrassed that when questioned frantically about her welfare by both waiters and guests, she was unable to speak.

When she was finally aided to her feet by the very same man who'd caused her predicament, she didn't even bother looking Lucius' way. No, she decided, she was never, ever going to look at Lucius Malfoy again. The day she did so would be her last. As a matter of fact, as soon as she got back to her bookshop, she was going to post a sign on the front door specifically asking him never to patronise her establishment again.

Yes. That ought to do it. No more Lucius Malfoy, no more embarrassment in her life. Everybody had a quota of humiliation to suffer in their lifetime, and she damn well knew she'd gone way beyond her fill. Way effing beyond.

Merlin, she wanted to cry. She was going to cry. But she was not going to do it in front of him.

So, she Apparated away.


My deepest condolences to you and your family. May your uncle rest in peace, and may his new journey be far more enjoyable than the one he encountered on this earth. I've sent you a small gift, and though it's not much, I hope it will bring a smile to your lovely face.

You are of Muggle heritage? Were you not fearful of sharing this with me? What if, despite my obvious elvish charm and amicableness, I am genuinely a Pureblood supremacist who despises all things Muggle?

I respect, admire, and am flattered by your trust. Therefore, I shall return it by admitting that, unfortunately, I was a Pureblood supremacist who despised – no, not despised, misunderstood – all things Muggle. I didn't (and still don't) hate Muggles, I just did not understand or respect their culture. They seemed weak, worthless, greedy, unmannerly and completely without honour. And when I considered their history of murdering hundreds of wizards and witches purely out of fear, I grew further disgusted with them. What kind of beings hated and wanted to destroy a whole race of other beings similar to them in almost every single way just because they did not understand them?

And my distaste for Muggles kept on growing until I met one remarkable Muggleborn. A powerful being. A selfless, beautiful, honourable soul who contradicted my entire philosophy, who showed me that I was doing the very same to Muggles as the Muggles had done to Wizarding folk. Because I did not understand, I destroyed.

I yearn to show this person how much I've changed, but I am unsure if they will ever give me that opportunity. I can only hope.

I do not know who you are, Athena, but I know who I used to be. Therefore, as someone who may or may not have insulted you with that word, I sincerely apologise and hope that you can find it in your heart to forgive me.


Placing the letter on her desk, she focussed her attention on the little parcel before her. It was a small white box with Athena inscribed in black, cursive print on the lid. When she opened it, she discovered a small pile of wrapped sweets cushioned by green silk. By taking one look at the wrapper's inscription (it read: Giavaro) and the amount of sweets in the box (20 at least), Hermione knew that it was quite an expensive gift. One Giavaro sweet cost (and she would know this since she visited the shop on the rare occasion) at least 2 galleons. And, because she couldn't help herself, if there were 20 sweets at 2 galleons each, that would be 40 galleons, which converted to…

Bloody hell, he did not just pay two hundred pounds for sweets.

Gobsmacked, Hermione replaced the lid on the box of sweets and pushed it to the side where she could not directly look at it. Merlin knew how she longed to open it up and feast on the sweets, for not only were the fact that they were expensive so alluring, they were also her favourite: chocolate mints. How did he know that? Or had it been a coincidence?

Between discovering he was a wealthy man – or at least she assumed so – and discovering he once disliked Muggles, she did not know what surprised her the most. Still…those sweets. Should she eat them or should she send them back? It was far too expensive a gift to be taken slightly. What if he expected something in return? Something she couldn't or didn't want to give? Was she reading too much into a simple gift that was obviously meant to make her feel better about her deceased uncle?

The wind chime jingled. Awareness came over her.

No. No, no, no. Please, Merlin, Circe, God, Potatoes, Milk no. Please, I'm begging –

"Good afternoon, Miss Granger," greeted Lucius Malfoy.



A Harry Potter Story
by MizSphinx

Part 4 of 12

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