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The Quest For Pandora
Draco M. & Harry P. & Hermione G. & Ron W. - Words: 105,554 - Rated: K+ - English - Adventure & Romance - Chapters: 57 - Reviews: 307 - Updated: 11-09-2018 - Published: 27-10-2017 - by michellej8 (FFN)

Chapter One

Stormy grey.

That was the only word she could think of to describe the color of the eyes that she was currently looking into.

Stormy grey and devoid of any and all emotion. Whoever had said that the eyes are the windows to the soul obviously never looked into the stormy depths of Draco Malfoy's grey irises.

Hermione Granger was never one to be without words but at the moment she was suddenly and inexplicably speechless. As she sat across from one of her oldest enemies (the melodrama inherent in the word not lost on her), Hermione found herself momentarily forgetting what exactly it was that she was doing at the newly rebuilt Malfoy Manor, sitting in front of a large mahogany desk with her wand clutched in her hand and a ministry issued leather bound file in her lap.

As she continued to stare, Malfoy's eyes shifted a fraction of an inch towards the large antique wall clock directly behind her and then settled back on her, his face a blank slate giving nothing of his thoughts or feelings away as he sat waiting for her to speak.

The infinitesimal movement of Malfoy's eyes brought Hermione crashing back to reality. Coloring slightly at having been caught up in her thoughts, she cleared her throat and began.

"Mr. Malfoy, as I hope you know, I work for the department of law enforcement at the ministry and I am here on official business". She paused here, waiting for some kind of reaction from the man sitting across the table but received none. He continued to look at her silently, seemingly with a mixture of boredom, weariness, and hauteur all rolled into one.

Hermione looked down onto her lap as if to gain some strength from the heavy file embossed with the seal of the auror department gleaming up at her in bright silver. She didn't understand why she was so at a loss; Hermione was one of the top aurors of the country, second in rank and reputation only to the great Harry Potter himself and yet, here she was rendered mute and feeling almost apologetic for interrupting whatever it was that Malfoy was doing when she arrived unannounced through the floo and plowed into the seat in front of him. She quite thought her current predicament had something to do with Malfoy's demeanor. He had a way of holding himself with such confidence and arrogance that could only have come with his pure blood breeding and that he seemed to have grown more into with age. He little resembled the frightened and battle scarred teenager she saw walking away from the ruins of Hogwarts after the final battle; head bowed and defeated, slumped between his parents. It may also however, have much to do with the way he had bullied and tormented her all throughout school, his condescension of her blood status and so on.

From what she knew through a quick perusal of the file on the Malfoy's at the ministry, Draco's father Lucius was given a lifetime sentence in Azkaban where he died a little over three years ago. Draco and his mother were pardoned but with hefty fines and released. The two had disappeared from wizarding London for a few years before resurfacing at the Manor which they promptly tore down and rebuilt. Rumor had it that Malfoy had completed his schooling in Durmstrang and had taken over the family business ventures which had passed onto him at his fathers demise.

At present, the Malfoy's were quiet on the public front. To everyone's great surprise (and quite a lot of derision and suspicion), Malfoy had opened his own defense school just outside London. It later became known that while at Durmstrang, Malfoy had pursued studies in defensive magic; both theoretical as well as physical training. It was whispered about that his training and education in the defensive arts were almost as extensive as the knowledge that ministry trained aurors had. Minister Shaklebolt had even gone so far as to tour the school and then later offer Malfoy a position at the auror training facility as a consultant but had been politely turned down. At present, apart from overseeing his training school, Malfoy also lent members of his academy to occasionally help aurors with their missions. The Malfoy's donated generously to various worthy causes and were slowly climbing back up society ranks although most of their former allies had abandoned them. Hermione however, despite working at the auror department, had only seen Draco sparingly over the past years; accidental sightings at Diagon Alley or slight glimpses at various functions. As far as she knew, the man sitting across from her was as good as a stranger on the street.

Sighing imperceptibly, she continued "we are hoping to get your assistance on something we are researching at the moment".

At this, one aristocratic eyebrow lifted fractionally. Inwardly pleased at this indication that he was at least listening, Hermione rushed on "have you heard about the attacks on muggles in Egypt recently?"

She was left to ponder whether he had actually heard her when the silence stretched to snapping point between them following her question. She was about to repeat herself when he spoke "yes I have, although I do not know how I can help with that". "I've already spoken to Shaklebolt about sending out a team and it is quite impossible considering many of mine are currently in Albania with Seamus Finnegan". "The ones I have left are not trained enough to help you in Egypt".

"We don't need your team Malfoy, just you". "And this isn't a team mission, it's much bigger than that". Hermione opened the file on her lap as she spoke, glad that she finally had his attention. When she looked up at him again with papers clutched in her hand, she saw that he had pursed his lips and was watching her again, stormy grey eyes blank once more.

She sighed again, louder this time. "Have you heard of Pandora's box?"

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