Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter (that magic belongs to J.K. Rowling).
August 19th had finally arrived and the Malfoy family was preparing for their shopping trip to Diagon Alley. Isabelle was still in trouble with Lucius about her visit to Derry Hill, the Muggle village. She had avoided being around him as much as possible the last week, not only because she had snuck out but because he still seemed to be in a sour mood. Iz hadn't tried to eavesdrop at her father's study doors again, afraid of getting into more trouble or one of the house elves seeing her. She hadn't told Draco yet, either, of the supposed secret their parents were keeping from them. Instead, she was looking forward to their trip to Diagon Alley and seeing many of her Hogwarts classmates.
"Izzy! Your friend's here!" Draco called up the stairs from the entrance hall, too lazy to climb them to tell his sister. Iz had just finished packing the Muggle books to give back to Hermione, whom she hoped to see today at their planned secret meeting point. She had decided to add one more magic novel, just in case her mother asked what she was carrying as well as giving her bushy-haired friend another story to enjoy.
"Coming!" Racing out of her bedroom and down the main staircase, Isabelle found just Draco and Jett standing there in silence. Jett was once again dressed in a plain wizarding robe, her arms crossed as she glared at her friend's brother. "Hey. All set?"
"Sure. Do we /have/ to bring him along too?" The blonde-haired Gryffindor asked, still staring him down. Draco had not forgotten that she had beat him last month at Quidditch (despite his attempt at a few dirty tricks to knock her off her broomstick).
"Unfortunately. But he and Father are probably just going to go on their own, I think." Izzy smirked at her brother, knowing both he and Jett were holding grudges with each other. Narcissa appeared moments later, placing a coin purse in her pocket.
"Your mother has wired you money to Gringotts's, Jett, is that correct? We will have to stop at the bank anyways, it appears we will need to get some of our own." Narcissa kissed the top of Draco's head lovingly before smiling at the two girls, who enjoyed the blonde-haired boys' annoyed frown at the motherly affection.
"I have my own side trip to make as well, Narcissa. A few items to…take care of." Lucius entered the hall, glancing at Jett with caution so as not to say too much, but tightly fastening his robe. "Have you asked Daisy to take care of the garden and deliver the notes from my office? Dobby – that wretched house elf – never seems to be where I want him to be." The severe-looking man scowled, tapping his walking stick on the stone floor in annoyance.
"We will have a word with the house elf when we return from shopping – for now, Daisy is taking care of it. Let's get going," Narcissa responded, expecting Dobby was avoiding her husband for fear of his wrath and retribution. No one suspected the house elf's visits to a certain boy who lived on Privet Drive.
Apparating just outside of the looming structure of Gringotts's Bank along the alley, the Malfoy family and Jett entered through the main entrance to retrieve their spending money for the day. All traveled down into the caves to reach the Malfoy vault. Jett and Draco stayed in the cart, uninterested in getting up. Isabelle decided to follow her parents, staying close to Narcissa as the goblin led them past the vault's security measures. As the door opened, Izzy was always amazed by the sights inside. There were plenty of shining, gold items reflecting in the torchlight – including plenty of wizarding money as well as Malfoy family heirlooms.
After returning to the surface, Narcissa got in line with Jett and Isabelle so as to retrieve the "wired" money from France. Lucius and Draco finished their business and came to check on the three before they left the bank.
"Draco and I are going to finish my side trips. I have also promised him a present. We will meet you at the potions shop, dear, agreed?" Lucius stated, glancing at the doorway to the bank as if in some sort of hurry. The line in which they stood seemed to be moving fairly slowly.
"That should be alright. Isabelle needs a few new quills – why doesn't she join you and Draco and you can stop on your way back? That will save us some time. Go on, sweetie," Narcissa added, motioning for Iz to join her father and brother. "Jett and I will be fine. And here, get one of those new inkless prototypes – I know you were wanting to try it." Smiling at her daughter and handing her a couple of Galleons, Izzy quickly putting the wizarding money away before following an unhappy Lucius and a distracted Draco back out to the street.
"Both of you stay near me. We are making a quick side trip down Knockturn Alley. Follow me," Lucius instructed sharply before moving smoothly through the thickening crowd. As soon as the three had turned off of the main alley to the side – and somewhat eerie – alley, the crowd thinned to be much more manageable. Izzy's attention was caught by a pair of witches on the other side of the road, chattering away and cackling in front of a window displaying shrunken heads. She was so distracted that she full-on ran into her brother as they stopped suddenly in front of a large glass storefront. Glancing up, the eleven-year-old read its name: "Borgin and Burkes"
Entering the store cautiously, staying close to her brother and father, she found the inside empty of all but the shop's wares. Peering around the dimly-lit store, Isabelle had little interest being there. The severed, withered hand on the pillow, the blood-stained pack of cards, the human bones on the counter, the masks, and even the staring glass eye all made her nervous. Draco, on the other hand, seemed fascinated and promptly reached out to pick up the motionless fake eye.
"Touch nothing, Draco," Lucius commanded before ringing the bell on the desk and turning his cold, gray eyes to the back of the store, impatiently waiting.
"I thought you were going to buy me a present," Draco whined, pulling his hand back but moving closer to stare at the glass eye.
"I said I would buy you a racing broom," their father replied, drumming his fingers on the counter.
"What's the good of that if I'm not on the House team?" Draco replied, looking sulky and bad-tempered. "Harry Potter got a Nimbus Two Thousand last year. Special permission from Dumbledore so he could play for Gryffindor. He's not even that good, it's just because he's /famous/…famous for having a stupid scar on his forehead…" Isabelle rolled her eyes, having heard her brother's complaints multiple times that summer. She stayed right where she was, watching as Draco bent down to examine the shelf of skulls near the counter. Wanting to jump in to voice her own distaste for the beloved Potter, she remained silent knowing her father was already annoyed enough and her opinion would be unwanted.
"…everyone thinks he's so /smart/, wonderful /Potter/ with his /scar/ and his /broomstick/…" Draco continued, looking ready to smash one of the skulls.
"You have told me this at least a dozen times already. And I would remind you that it is not – prudent – to appear less than fond of Harry Potter, not when most of our kind regard him as the hero who made the Dark Lord disappear – ah, Mr. Borgin." Lucius commented, giving Draco a quelling look before turning to the shopkeeper. A stooping man with greasy hair had appeared behind the counter.
"Mr. Malfoy, what a pleasure to see you again," Mr. Borgin practically bowed, his voice raspy. He turned his eyes onto Draco and then Isabelle, continuing, "Delighted – and young Master and Mistress Malfoy, too – charmed. How may I be of assistance? I must show you, just in today, and very reasonably priced –"
"I'm not buying today, Mr. Borgin, but selling," Lucius interrupted smoothly.
"Selling?" The smile faded from Mr. Borgin's face ever so slightly.
"You have heard, of course, that the Ministry is conducting more raids," their father stated as he took out a piece of parchment and unraveled it for the shopkeeper to read. "I have a few – ah – items at home that may embarrass me, if the Ministry were to call…" Mr. Borgin took out a small pair of reading classes and set them on his large nose, holding the list close and scanning it. The senior Malfoy peered behind him to look at the two children, Draco not paying much attention and Isabelle quickly looking away and pretending she was not listening. Maybe this was the secret? Were her parents hiding something illegal from the government?
Glancing up and over the glasses, the store owner commented, "The Ministry wouldn't presume to trouble you, sir, surely?" Lucius huffed in annoyance, his lip curling as he leaned closer over the counter in an almost menacing way.
"I have not been visited yet. The name Malfoy still commands a certain respect, yet the Ministry grows ever more meddlesome. There are rumors about a new Muggle Protection Act – no doubt that flea-bitten, Muggle-loving fool Arthur Weasley is behind it – "
Isabelle jumped in surprise as she felt something tap her shoulder. Turning to find a skeleton hand resting there, her eyes widened as she gave a short yelp before glaring at her brother who had been holding the human bones. Missing the end of the adults' conversation from Draco's prank, she calmed her breathing and crossed her arms so as to appear cool and collected once again. In truth, the entire shop freaked her out – she much preferred her potions and bookstores to these old and creepy wares. Draco seemed to be enjoying himself, though, as he was once again drawn to the withered hand on the cushion near the counter.
"Can I have that?" the blonde-hair boy interrupted his father's conversation, pointing to the object. Isabelle stepped out of the way as Mr. Borgin made his way around the counter to try and sell it to him.
"Ah, the Hand of Glory! Insert a candle and it gives light only to the holder. Best friend of thieves and plunderers! Your son has fine taste, sir." Turning back to Lucius, who was now scowling in more annoyance than before, the shopkeeper returned to the list.
"I hope my son will amount to more than a thief or a plunderer, Borgin – "
"No offense, sir, no offense meant – "
"Though if his grades don't pick up," their father continued coldly, glancing over to Isabelle – who smiled proudly – and settling on Draco, "that may indeed be all he is fit for."
"It's not my fault!" Draco retorted, "The teacher's all have their favorites. They like Isabelle and that Hermione Granger – "
"I would have thought you'd be ashamed that a girl of no wizard family beat you in every exam," snapped Lucius. Isabelle's smile faded, as Hermione had also beaten her in some exams and she didn't like how hard Draco was being put down. Her brother looked thoroughly unhappy and even angry at Lucius' comments.
Hearing a hissing noise of some sort from the nearby cabinet, the dark-haired girl turned curiously to glance at it. It appeared one of the doors was even cracked open, as if something or someone could be hiding in it.
"It's the same all over. Wizard blood is counting for less everywhere – "
"Not with me," Lucius replied, nostrils flaring as he stood taller, prouder.
"No, sir, nor with me, sir," Mr. Borgin quickly replied with a deep bow.
"In that case, perhaps we can return to my list. I am in something of a hurry, Borgin, I have important business elsewhere today – " He replied shortly, turning his back on Draco. Isabelle continued to slowly approach the cabinet, trying to see if she could see anything inside of it. Her brother took an interest in a few other objects near the counter – including a cursed necklace – before trying to figure out what Iz was doing.
"I thought I heard a noise. And the door is slightly open – " Isabelle glanced at him before stopping in front of the cabinet to admire its ornate decorations. Even the handles appeared to be well-crafted. A small saying ran above the doors, which Izzy attempted to read. Draco came to stand next to her, reaching out towards the handle to open the door –
"Done." Lucius tapped his walking stick on the store's floor before turning to the two curious children. "Come, Draco, Isabelle – " The two turned away from the cabinet, Izzy especially glad to be leaving the shop.
"Good day to you, Mr. Borgin. I'll expect you at the manor tomorrow to pick up the goods." With that, Lucius led Draco and Izzy back out into Knockturn Alley. Not saying another word, the three made their way to the now-even-more-crowded Diagon Alley. They almost forgot to stop at the quill store, Izzy offering a quick yet quiet reminder. Her father still seemed annoyed and stressed and she had no interest in being on the receiving side of his wrath.
After acquiring a new set of quills – plus the prototype for an inkless quill that Narcissa had shown Isabelle in the Daily Prophet – the three Malfoys made their way to the potions shop near Gringotts's. Narcissa and Jett were waiting outside the store, the latter looking sufficiently bored.
"Successful, dear?" Narcissa asked, looping her arm through her husband's. He simply nodded, glancing around as if unsure of who may be nearby. "I have already sent Deke home with the required potions ingredients. We still have to buy Draco's present, I assume," she said, noticing they did not have a broomstick with them, "as well as all of their books. They each have sufficient robes and all the other supplies."
"On to the bookstore, then," Lucius responded distractedly, still glancing around.
"Mother? May Jett and I meet you at the bookstore?" Isabelle chimed in, glancing at the clock above Gringotts's to notice the time. "Perhaps you can buy Draco's present first while we go to get some ice cream. I promised to show her one of the best shops – "
"Of course, sweetie. Don't wander too far, and be at the bookstore within an hour. We want to be in and out before the crowd forms for the event they are holding there today. Understood?" Narcissa gave her daughter another look, as if to be sure she understood that no rule-breaking would be tolerated.
"Yes. Thank you!" Izzy grabbed Jett's hand and ran off before they could change their minds.
AN: Hi all! Sorry for the absence, a few life changes that required some attention and delayed my writing. Hoping to be back in action with regular updates. Thank you for your support so far – enjoy!