As soon as I stepped into Malfoy Manor a tremendous weight of relief descended on me. Although the Slytherins respected me, and were nice, they were nothing like my family. Although many bad things happened at home, the air vibrated with love and happiness to me.
I showed Albus the family room first. Dad was in his dark room, so he could think. Mum went with him, probably to console him. Dad had done a lot of bad stuff when he was younger, and sometimes the memories caught up with him. Scorpius was locked in his room, hiding from our grandparents in case they came to yell at him.
I didn’t know where Lucias and Narcissa were, but thankfully they weren’t in the family room. They like to sit by the fire sometimes, so they could glower at us. I was their favorite grandchild, so I wasn’t scared of them, but if they were here now Albus would sure get a fright.
“What do you think of it?” I said, my socked feet padding on the carpet. I wasn’t wearing my school uniform, and instead wore a pink shirt, jeans, and my favorite grey cloak. The cloak whirled around me as I leapt around on the carpet.
The family room was dark, with heavy red velvet curtains over the windows. We usually did that in the winter, to keep the cold air out. A magic fire crackled in front of the soft black couches and chairs, and bookcases lined the other three walls. There was a door next to the fireplace, that led into a room that we never spoke of in my family.
Scorpius looked around the room, then smiled at me. “It’s really nice,” he said. Then he looked guilty. “Based off of my Dad’s descriptions, I thought that it was going to be cold, with very little furniture.”
“It used to be,” I told him. I gestured to the bookcases on the far side of the room. “There are paintings behind those cases. They’re pictures of all of the Death Eaters, and the Dark Lord.”
“Voldemort,” Albus said immediately. He gazed at me intently, his green eyes strong. “Fear only makes him stronger.”
I shrugged, and thankfully we dropped the subject. The Dark Lord was a touchy subject with my family, and whenever we did talk about it, Dad rubbed his Dark Mark over and over again like it was burning him.
“Anyway,” I said. “Do you want to see where you’re sleeping?” I dashed across, feeling the heat from the fire lick my stockings. I grabbed the stone handrail of the staircase. I turned around, but couldn’t see my friend. “Albus?”
A jolt of fear went through me, and I walked carefully to the black door that stood alone by the fireplace. It was open, and I grasped the handle.
“Albus?” I said again, looking in. I couldn’t see much, but from the green glow of lanterns hanging from the ceiling, I saw the faint shape of Albus darting in and out of the relics on tables, cases, and on the floor. “Albus!” I hissed. He didn’t respond.
I looked back into the family room. I had promised Mum and Dad from a very young age that I would never go into the Hall of Memories, but I couldn’t just leave my best friend in there. Taking a deep breath, I swung the black door open and walked into the Hall of Memories.
Dad claimed he never went into the Hall, but I saw him go into the room once or twice. He had suspended green lanterns from the ceiling, which cast an eerie glow, a lot like the Slytherin Common Room, on the relics.
I knew that Lucias and Narcissa, when they owned Malfoy Manor had many pieces of Dark Magic artifacts and stuff, but I never thought that Dad kept it. I always thought that he had thrown it away, done with his old life. Apparently not.
I stopped looking for Albus and stood staring. On a small, rickety table there was a small, ragged book. It’s leather cover was pierced in a single hole, and out of it oozed green liquid. My breath caught in my throat.
“It’s the diary…” I whispered, and screamed as a hand grabbed my shoulder.
“Hazel!” Albus said. His face was sweaty and his hair was ragged. “Sorry I scared you. Can we go?” He followed my gaze. “Wait— is that that Tom Riddle’s diary?”
I nodded, too astonished to correct him on the Dark Lord’s name. We looked at the diary some more, when a clawed hand grabbed my shoulder. I yelped again, and stared into Lucias’s wrinkled face.
His white hair had greyed, and now had a translucent breakdown. But his eyes were still clear and piercing, and they looked straight into my soul.
“What are you doing here, Hazel?” He rasped. I stepped backwards and grabbed Albus’s hand.
“Um, sorry Grandfather,” I said. The word “grandfather” felt weird on my tongue, but if I called him Lucias he would explode. I felt Albus squeeze my hand tighter.
“We-we were just, um—“ I stuttered, the words stalling.
Albus stared at Lucias. “I got lost, and thought this was the right room. Hazel just came in to find me.”
“And who in Merlin’s Beard are you?” Lucias asked.
Before I could come up with a lie, Albus told him.
A half hour later, Albus, Scorpius, and I were still holed up in Scorpius’s room. Dad, Mum, and my grandparents were still dueling downstairs. Not with their wands, but with yelling.
“The manor is tarnished with the very being of him!” Narcissa shrieked.
“You are being ridiculous—“
“I will not allow it—“
“You do not decide, Father. This is my house, and Hazel is my daughter!”
And then everyone started yelling again, until we couldn't make heads or tails of the argument.
“I shouldn’t have come,” Albus said.
I opened my mouth to reply but Scorpius beat me to it. “Don’t be silly. We like you, and want you here. Lucias and Narcissa don’t count. They have a problem with the wind blowing.”
“You really like me?” Albus asked.
I was speechless. “Really?” I said. “Are you seriously asking that?”
“No.” Said Albus. He grinned. “Can we go downstairs? I want to tell Lucias and Narcissa how I deserve to be here.”
How is it that I’m afraid of my own grandparents, I asked myself, and Albus, the Potter, is going to face them? No wonder he’s in Gryffindor.