Who: Draco Malfoy and Ignatius Winglemuck-MacLeod
Where: Black Loch Cottage, overlooking Loch Ness in Scotland
Summary: Draco visits his mother’s cottage and finds a curious object from his past
Draco sighed tiredly as he watched Ignatius Winglemuck-MacLeod fumble with his numerous keys outside the front oak door of Black Loch Cottage. Calling the place a cottage, though, was very misleading, for in reality, the ‘cottage’ resembled a small-sized wooden villa. Built on top of a small hill near Loch Ness, it was rather a cozy establishment and had a very panoramic view of the loch, but Draco had never been much impressed by the place – in fact, he rather despised it (so much so, for reasons he'd rather not speak of, that he'd chosen to live with Potter instead). He remembered spending a couple of horrible summers here back when he was a very little boy, with his mother and her sister, Bellatrix. The cottage was a family estate of the Blacks, after all; Narcissa had inherited it when her grandfather died, before marrying Lucius. Draco reflected that this turned out to be rather fortunate for him – because it was passed on to Narcissa when she was still a Black, it didn’t comprise the stock of Malfoy assets and in consequence, was spared from liquidation by the Ministry. Because Narcissa was deceased, Draco now had full rights to the cottage and up until the present had been using it as a storage venue for his belongings from the Manor.
“Ignatius, I am cold and weary, and the wind is clawing on my skin like a hungry lion. Do you want me to catch pneumonia or do you enjoy seeing my skin freeze?” Draco inquired the old caretaker of the estate harshly as the latter fellow shakily searched for the right key to the cottage.
“Nay, sir, not indeed. I apologise, Master Draco, I was not expecting you, so I did not prepare the keys,” Ignatius replied subserviently. Draco never found the aged caretaker much useful. He was a Squib, firstly, and just as forgetful as Neville Longbottom; had his family not been working for the Blacks for generations, Draco would’ve had him fired a long time ago.
“Just hurry up. I’ve just come from a very hot place and this drastic change in temperature isn’t suiting me very well,” Draco said and Ignatius nodded hurriedly. He knew his young master's temper well.
It was another five minutes before Ignatius finally got the right key in and the cottage door opened. Draco made a mental note to cut Ignatius’s wages if the man ever kept him out in the blearing cold this long again. After dismissing his servant, Draco lit a fire and dropped himself onto the velvet sofa in the den. He was beyond exhausted. He had just spent two whole weeks negotiating with goblins and Arabian merchants who were just as cunning and full of trickery as he was, and he had to use every ounce of his Slytherin skills to end up on the advantageous side.
Draco cast a peering eye around the room and sighed even more. The inside of the cottage was filled with trunks. Most of the cottage’s furniture had been sold off to make room for Draco’s trunks (and to add to his needy accounts). Everything he could salvage from the Manor before it was ripped from his rightful hands was stowed here and he had a bit of work cut out for him if he wanted to find some of his personal stuff again. But that was why he had come here. Now that he wasn’t adventuring abroad and living in hotel rooms, he planned to retrieve as much of his personal possessions as he could. He calculated that the task would take up half the night and he’d spend the other half sleeping. Then, in the morning, he would set off for Grimmauld Place, back to irritate Granger, Weasley, and of course, Potter. That thought left him feeling a bit more pleased, and he swallowed down his tiredness.
With some determination, Draco maneuvered to the nearest trunk and opened it, only to slam it shut in the very next instant. It contained his mother’s things. He cursed himself loudly for not being organized enough to label the trunks in the first place. He knew he had saved some of Narcissa’s favorite possessions but he didn’t want to see them just yet. He detested the state of vulnerability that he always experienced whenever he thought of his mother and seeing her things so soon after she…well, just so soon didn’t help.
Draco shook his head and moved on to the next trunk by the fireplace, relieved to find upon opening it that its contents belonged to him and not his mother. However, it was mainly old school things – books, folders, quills, parchment, and all of that sort. He was just about to shut it and shove it aside when something caught his eye. A black, leather-bound book, sealed with a lock, with his name engraved in beautiful gold script on the cover.
Strange, thought Draco. It was obvious that this book had to have been a diary or journal of some sort, but Draco couldn’t recollect ever owning a journal back at Hogwarts. Sure he had one now, which he wrote into periodically, but that was because he wanted a place to keep his thoughts while he took his solitary trip abroad.
Furrowing his eyebrows, he fingered the book curiously and picked it up. He tried opening it, but of course, it was locked. Well, if he couldn’t recall ever having a journal, then there’d be no way he could know the charm to unlock it.
Odd…why can’t I remember it? My memory is brilliant, I surely could never forget something so personal, he thought.
His inability to recall ever owning the journal only fueled his curiosity even more. He hated being in such a state. It bothered him that his memory had failed him when it seldom did. He hoped its failure now wasn’t due to some sort of bad karma from all the times he had insulted that poor-witted Longbottom.
Draco was suddenly jerked from his thoughts by the chimes of the old grandfather clock in the hall of the cottage, informing him that it was now nine o'clock in the night. Another hour had passed and still hadn't gotten much done. He originally wanted to sleep before midnight but he still had the rest of the first floor and the whole of the second to rummage through for the things he needed to take back with him to London.
Looking back at the journal in his hand, he decided to keep it for awhile. He’d find a way to open it and kill his curiosity later -- time wasn't something he could waste at the moment. Whispering the shrinking charm, he shrunk the book and carefully placed it in the pocket of his cloak, then moved on to open the next trunk.