15: The PastMature

The interior of the room was not decorated in green and silver, as I had expected. Rather, it was warm and inviting. I felt good when I stepped in the room. It made me want to share things. Secrets about myself that I would never want anyone else to know, least of all Mr. Malfoy.
 
"This room," I said. "It's doing something to me . . ."
 
Mr. Malfoy flashed a grin at me, and I felt the sudden need to sit down. "Magic is everywhere."
 
I took a deep breath and made my way over to a squashy, brown leather couch. I sunk right down into it.
 
"No more mind games. I want to know everything. And I want to know now. Can you please just pretend, for however long this is going to take, that we are not teacher and student right now? I want you to look at me as your equal when your explaining this. Don't skim over anything to protect my underage ears. I want to know everything," I said, folding my arms and staring him down.
 
He came to take a seat next to me on the couch, and he was looking at me in a funny way. It made me self-conscious, and I wanted to nestle deeper into the comfort of the couch.
 
"Sid, I'm more than willing to break down the wall between teacher and student, here. You've been shying away from our friendship though," he reached out and placed his hand over one of mine on my lap. "I won't have to do much pretending."
 
Here in this situation, sitting so close to each other, looking into his bright eyes, I felt myself leaning toward him. Then, I had to mentally slap myself, and I gently moved his hand off of mine, placing it back in his own lap.
 
"Mr. Malfoy . . . I'm sorry," I whispered. "I need to know; my parents."
 
He shook his head, looking abashed. I felt like a jerk. He was just trying to be a nice friend, and I was ignoring him.
 
"Right, of course," he said. "This is going to take a while. Make yourself comfortable."
 
I kicked my shoes off and tucked my feet in underneath me. Then, I grabbed a fluffy pillow and wrapped my arms around it. Most likely, I looked like a four-year-old. However, I was comfortable.
 
"Good, then," he said. "Where to begin? I suppose the first thing you need to understand is that there's a lot of your parents' past that would surprise you. They were no ordinary witch and wizard. I don't suppose you've ever heard of the MEC?"
 
"Meck?" I asked. "No, I haven't."
 
"It stands the Magical Espionage Corporation. Your mother and father founded it."
 
I was silent for a moment, trying to process this information. "Are you trying to tell me that my parents were . . . wizard spies?"
 
"More or less, that's exactly correct," he went on. "It used to be a separate branch of the Ministry of Magic, but once the Dark Lord's followers infiltrated the Ministry, your parents knew it wasn't safe for our spies to be connected. They told the Minister that the branch was closing down, but really it was going to develop into its own office. It was like the Order of the Phoenix, I'm sure you know about that? Your mum and dad were the best of the best. I'd never seen anything like them. It was incredible to watch in action."
 
Mr. Malfoy was silent for a moment, and I felt him shuffling around on the couch, as if trying to adjust himself in a comfortable position. I didn't look over at him. This was what I had been waiting for; I was finally getting some answers.
 
"Sid, come here," he said.
 
This made me turn to look at him. "What?" I asked.
 
"We're friends right now, not teacher and student, right? I don't feel comfortable telling all of this to you when we're sitting next to one another like strangers. Sit here."
 
Before I could object, he'd reached over to grab me around the waist and scooted me over until I was sitting in the crook of his arm, all sunk down into the couch and his side. For a second, I thought it was awkward. Then, I realized I was perfectly comfortable right where I was now. The way his arm was draped over the back of the couch behind me, just barely touching my hair in a casual way, seemed normal to me. The way our knees rested against each other made me feel at home. He was right. This did help. I felt a lot less jittery.
 
"Is that better?" he asked.
 
I nodded my head. "It is. Now, what were you saying? My parents were some famous wizarding spies? That's a lot to wrap my head around. The guy at my house - they were trying to catch him?"
 
"Something like that. There's more to the MEC than just espionage and wand-waving." he explained. "How can I put this to you so you'll understand that magnitude of this corporation? Your parents were just unstoppable. They could see every bad spy for who they really were. That's why they had to leave the Ministry. They had identified all of the witches and wizards who were pretending to be on our side, but were secretly relaying information to the Dark Lord. I didn't have the pleasure of working with them until after I had finished at Hogwarts, and by then Harry Potter had already defeated You-Know-Who. After that point in the time, the main job of MEC was to keep any other dark magical forces rising to power again. Of course, that was supposed to be the Ministry's job. Seeing as they failed once already, your parents thought it very possible that they could fail again. Therefore, MEC remained a driving force in the magical world. Azkaban was fuller than it had ever been, and your mum and dad were making some powerful enemies."
 
I couldn't believe what I was hearing right now. Who knew my parents had been so . . . bloody awesome? What they did for a living must have taken so much courage and skill. How come I was so average? The thought made me frown, and I found myself resting my head against Mr. Malfoy's shoulder with a sigh. He looked down at me for a second, but continued with his story.
 
"Certain precautions had to be taken to ensure the safety of your family. Come to think of it, I think MEC was founded the same year you were born. That would make it eight or nine years before You-Know-Who was vanquished. I suppose as soon as they had something more important to worry about besides themselves, they realized that cautionary action was necessary. Actions such as an entire company that would be devoted to keeping our world safe. For years, MEC did exactly that. They kept everything under control where the Ministry of Magic failed. It was all according to plan. Of course, Dumbledore played an important role in the Corporation, too. Your parents went to him for advice on more than one account if they were unsure of what to do. Your name has been on the waiting list since you were conceived. The reason you were attending a wizarding school in America for the first six years of your education is something we'll get to later."
 
"Okay, I think I'm beginning to understand all of this. What I want to know is who that man was. The man at my house the day it was burned to the ground. The same man we believe killed my parents. And how do we find him? How do we kill him?" I ranted.
 
"Easy, girl," he teased. "Don't be hasty. We can't risk you hurting yourself.
 
I was about to object, then he cleared his throat.
 
"What I mean is, this isn't going to happen over night. You're going to need to graduate so that you're a fully certified wizard, and then you'll need more training on top of that. Auror training that the interns at MEC used to have to go through before they were allowed in. That's the only way you'll be allowed to help with this. You'll get hurt otherwise. That's not to say that you're not a perfectly capable witch. But this is going to come down to more than that. If you inherited any of your parents espionage skills, the training won't be too difficult for you." he said. "I believe in you . . . don't frown at me like that."
 
"What?" I looked up at him. "How did you know I was frowning?"
 
Mr. Malfoy laughed. "Sid, let's just say I'm very aware of your emotions."
 
What the bloody hell did that mean? My emotions . . . like my feelings? He could tell what I was feeling, toward him?? That could potentially be extremely embarrassing. After all, I was only human. This man, this beautiful man, had been nothing but nice to me. He was looking after me, and taking me in after I'd lost everything. He was actually concerned about me. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how much I liked him. It didn't matter that he was my professor. Mr. Malfoy was only about eight years older than I was. That wasn't much of an age difference at all, if you thought about it. Maybe, once I graduated, there would be hope. Maybe I could get him to fall for me one day.
 
"Despite that fact, I don't like the idea of waiting so long before tracking this rubbish down. He needs to be brought down now. And I won't stand on the sidelines while my parents' murderer is brought to justice," I said.
 
What was I thinking? A man like him would never even consider a child like me. That's all I would ever be to him, was a child, or a little sister. A young friend. Rafe really would be better for me . . . He was probably so mad at me for bailing on him, though. He was a nice guy. I never felt myself click with him romantically though. There was just something missing between us, I think. He was still a great friend.
 
"I won't risk it. I'm not keeping you here at my house because I like holding prisoners. I'm doing it for your own safety, and you're not going to throw that away. Wouldn't that seem like a pretty poor way to repay me?" He asked.
 
"That's not fair. There's no way for me to argue when you play that card," I said.
 
He brought his arm down from the couch and wrapped it around my shoulder, leaning down toward my ear and saying in a quiet voice, "And why is that?"
 
Goosebumps erupted all over my body. I swallowed the lump in my throat. "It's too cute."
 
My face turned a million shades of crimson, I was sure. I can't believe I just said that. I can't believe I just told my professor he was being cute.
 
"You think I'm cute?" he smirked. Somehow, it just looked like it belonged on his face. Right then, I was sure I wouldn't be the first girl to fall victim to the charms of his infamous smirk.

The End

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