Chapter 10: Looking for His Precious.

Disclaimer: The copyright to Harry Potter characters belong to J. K. Rowling. Any other characters are purely work of fiction and any resemblances are co-incidental. No money or profit is being earned from this story.

Chapter 10: Looking for His Precious.

Ever since the night Audré massaged his head under the pretence of touching her British nephew and he fell asleep in his couch under her gentle spell, Draco could sleep quite effortlessly, without the help of sleeping potions. Nowadays he would sit in the same couch, hum Audré’s words inside his head and like a Sleeping Charm, they would put him to a sleep. His dreams were getting better; they comprised mostly of some of his happy memories twisted with imagination. Astoria was always present in them with their son, Scorpius.

But tonight Draco was too preoccupied to even think about sleep, let alone try to invite it. Dinner being over, he was now sitting with the rest the family: Narcissa, Audré and his cousins, and discussing about various ways to find out who that Adrian was. This boy was the sole concern of his life now.

Julian had gone to his office at the Ministry after he left Draco outside the Orsay Museum and returned to Château for his hearty lunch. He was the Second-in-command in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and Draco was wondering if he could use his powers to help him find the boy. Audré has already briefed her son about the incident in the Tuileries and Julian now sat beside his sister, Lillian, brooding like an old owl.

“Finding this boy, Adrian, can’t be that difficult, Draco.” he said after a while, looking pensive, “Any Underage wizard or witch has the Trace on him or her. There are two departments who take care of it: the Department for the Protection of Young Magical Citizens and the Department of Improper Use of Magic. We could go there and see if they have a boy named Adrian enlisted in their Trace Directory.  But…” he paused and looked up at Draco, “…it would have been easier if we had his surname too.”

Draco snorted irritably. Here he was having procuring the first name of the boy from that hawk like woman and now his cousin was asking him for a surname. What the heck was he thinking? As if that hawk-woman would have happily provided him with Adrian’s surname had Draco asked her.

“But what if this Adrian is a Muggle boy?” Lillian countered, taking the issue very seriously. She sat beside Narcissa, their features almost alike for she also had blonde hair and blue eyes, just as Draco’s mother had. Those didn’t know might mistake them as mother and daughter. “He won’t have the Trace on his then.”

Draco shook his head in despair. He just could not bring himself to think that Adrian was a Muggle boy. He just could not. From head to toe, that boy was surely a Malfoy, that much was clear to him and there has never been a squib among the Malfoys, let alone a Muggle.

It was Audré whose words finally brought him some relief.

“If the boy is a Muggle, Lillian, we can search him using Muggle methods. And if he is magical, then I think it will be better if we check St. Joan’s.” she said confidently, “Julian’s idea of using the Trace is good but since we don’t have Adrian’s surname, or a valid reason to track him, it would mean a lot of paperwork and explanations as to why we are looking for that particular kid. The ministry takes these issues very seriously; they may even notify the boy’s parents that their son is being tracked and if they sue Julian, he might lose his job for malpraxis of his powers.”

Draco nodded bitterly, realizing the gravity of the situation and deciding not to press the point anymore. These French people! All they knew was lecturing on rules and rules! Had he been in England, he would have found the boy in a snap of finger, the Malfoys were that influential.

“What’s that place you said, St. Joan’s or whatever?” Narcissa asked her sister-in-law, her features concerned. “And why is it safer to look for Adrian there?”

“Because…” Audré smirked mysteriously, “…every single magical kid in France goes to St. Joan’s, Narcissa, whether they are purebloods, half-bloods or Muggleborns.” She crossed her legs and sat comfortably, as if readying herself for a long tale.

“St. Joan’s is a very old and prestigious institution for pre-school magical kids in France.” Audré started, “I believe you know that just like you go to Hogwarts for magical education, we, the French, go to Beauxbatons. But before we go to Beauxbatons, we are sent to St. Joan’s.”

“St Joan’s was founded by a famous French Sorceress, Eugène Thirion in 1432. At that time witch-burning ritual was at its peak. Anyone suspected of witchcraft was tortured and burned to death in a haystack. While adult witches or wizards were not affected by that burning, the children were. Young kids can’t control their magic and are more prone to accidental magical outbursts. And if that happened, it would either mean death or using a lot of Memory Charms to modify the memories of the concerned Muggle authorities. So to avoid that, St. Joan’s was founded especially to train our kids to control their magic and as I said, every single witch or wizard in France has attended St. Joan’s.”

“But why St. Joan’s?” Narcissa asked, sounding skeptic about the name of the school. “I have never heard of a famous witch named Joan.”

“Because St. Joan’s Joan is not a witch, Narcissa.” Audré replied patiently, “That Joan is the Joan of Arc, a Muggle woman and a warrior. She is one of our national heroes for her outstanding courage during the Hundred Years War between France and England.”

“I don’t understand.” Narcissa shook her head, frowning. “Why should the French name a school for magical kids on a Muggle woman?”

“Because that name, Joan, is an epitome of perished innocence.” Audré replied with a sad sigh, “I don’t want to bore you with my History lesson, I am pretty sure Julian did that to Draco this afternoon when he took him to that museum.” She added with a smile, “But it is a well known fact that Joan of Arc was not a witch. During the war when the English realized that it was becoming difficult to win against her, they purposefully framed her on Witchcraft. I already told you that Witchcraft was considered a punishable crime then and Joan was executed by burning. After she died, the English raked back the coals to expose her charred body so that no one could claim she that escaped alive and then burned the body two more times to reduce it to ashes and prevent any collection of relics. They, then, cast Joan of Arc’s remains into the Seine River.” She sighed sadly, “The amount of violence the English used to literally destroy Joan of Arc touched everyone – Magic and Muggle alike. She was our hero, the hero of France and she was innocent. We mourned her death and to honour her memory, the following year Sorceress Eugene founded St. Joan’s and named it after her. St. Joan’s, by its name, reminds us to take care of our magical children so that they don’t perish as Joan of Arc did.”

When Audré finished everyone except Draco was feeling sad for what had happened to Joan of Arc. Joan was dead for six centuries now and he couldn’t care less for her. His brain was revolving around the one question Lillian had asked. What if Adrian was a Muggle boy? Or a magical kid who still hasn’t come to his powers? By the looks of it, kids wouldn’t be sent to St. Joan’s unless they displayed their magic first. Right?

“What about the Muggle methods you said, aunt?” he asked Audré, keen to learn her point of view. She was proving to be an invaluable advisor when it came to solving such delicate matters.

“That’s pretty simple.” Audré shrugged. “We have to draw a sketch of that boy and show it to the people near the place you first met him.” she uncrossed her legs and sat straight, supporting her chin on her palm. “Not to everyone, of course. To people or places where children go most frequently, like in your case, vendors who sell ice-cream, candies or chocolates near the Tuileries Garden.”

Draco leaned forward in interest, drinking Audré’s words like a man walking on a desert searching for water.

“When I watched your memory, Draco, I noticed a few things.” Audré, it seemed, sensed the palpable tension in the air that followed her words. “Like Adrian had a colouring pencil in his left hand. It was green. That’s not something unnatural because kids his age love to draw. But the point is…” she held an index finger in the air, “…most kids don’t take the trouble to carry their colouring pencils with them. But this boy did. Why?”

“Because he loves drawing.” The answer came automatically from Draco’s lips. “It means that Adrian knows to draw well enough to carry his own colouring pencils.”

“Right you are, nephew.” Audré nodded, as if delighted that her pupil was slowly learning. “But why the Tuileries?” she arched an eyebrow at her breathless audiences.

Draco was waiting for the rest to follow when Julian replied.

“Because, maman, everyone at Paris knows that there is no better place to draw than the Tuileries.” He announced, his grey eyes lighting up. “It’s a very beautiful garden. The famous Muggle painter Claude Monet used to go and draw there…”

“Which means Adrian goes there regularly.” Lillian cut into her brother’s lecture on famous painters and finished the rest of the sentence, her blue eyes lighting up, “Oh, maman, that’s brilliant!”

“So nephew,” Audré smirked, clearly enjoying herself, “…while enquiring about Adrian, you should ask the vendors about a boy who visits Tuileries and draws.”

Draco was stunned. Literally and irrevocably stunned! That was the second time this evening that Audré has amazed him with her power of observation and deduction. He saw her under a new light now. Audré Chombrun Malfoy certainly wasn’t an ordinary woman. Behind those blue eyes and smirking lips was a brain, sharper than the cutting edge diamond. Draco has rarely come across such intelligence!

“Okay, maman, I’ll call one of our sketch artists and see…” Julian nodded and offered but Draco cut in.

“There is no need, Julian.” He said confidently. Now was the time to act, now was the time to find out who that boy was. “I will make his sketch.” Draco declared.

You will make the sketch?” Julian repeated, sounding half-skeptic and half-astonished. “Really, cousin? Do you draw?”

“I do.” Draco nodded solemnly.

“But in the museum…” Julian still looked unconvinced, “…you behaved as if nothing is more boring than paintings.”

“That must your boring lectures, Julian, not the paintings.” Lillian supplied, yawning mockingly, “I am pretty sure those painters were turning in their graves, hearing you talking about them.” she said darkly.

Just as they had done in Draco’s suite that very evening, when Audré said she and her daughter were the most amazing women on earth, everyone laughed.

“Draco is very good at art.” Narcissa said proudly, once the laughter died out, “Lucius and I were so proud when we found that we have an artist in the family. Even his drawing master was very impressed with his work.”

Draco was never a modest man but today he didn’t feel like bragging about his drawing skills. He, indeed, was good at drawing, a skill he has mostly employed in making funny cartoons of his arch enemy, Harry Potter.

“Your French is also very good, cousin.” Julian commended, seemingly convinced that his aunt and cousin were telling the truth. “But why would you learn it, when according to Aunt Narcissa, you never planned to visit France?”

Draco sighed. This man had so many questions! “I learned French because it is a tradition among aristocratic purebloods to be able to talk in at least five languages: Italian, French, Spanish, German and Latin. I could not learn them all so learned just three: Italian, French and Latin.” He replied patiently and looked at Audré. “Aunt, where is this Joan Institute you said?”

St. Joan’s, Draco.” Audré corrected him, “It’s in Paris, just beside the famous Notre dame cathedral.” She replied, “But the school is closed now, for summer vacations. So we should first concentrate on that sketch.” She advised him. “The boy was there just this afternoon. Chances are that he might visit that place again, tomorrow.”

Draco smiled at the thought. Yes, Adrian might visit the Tuileries again and if he did, Draco Lucius Malfoy wasn’t going to let that hawk-woman to take the boy away so easily, not without an answer.

•••••

One might think that rich housewives had no work except eating, sleeping and spending their family fortune on expensive clothes but that concept was wrong when it came to Audré. As the Lady of the Château, Audré Chombrun Malfoy had numerous duties to perform. The fifteen house elves she had assisted her in it but she was the one who oversaw everything, ensured that every single member of the household received their share of service. The discussion about finding Adrian being over and her nephew now safely tucked in his suite, making a sketch of the said boy, Audré was talking to one of her elves about the current food storage status of the Château when Narcissa came.

“I see that you are quite busy, Audré.” She commented, standing on the threshold of Audré’s parlour entrance but not entering.

Audré looked up from the long list of things that needed to be bought to replenish the pantry and rolled it up. She would talk to her elves later. “Not anymore.” she nodded at the elf, who deciphering her signal, disappeared immediately, leaving her mistress and the guest alone.

“Can we take a turn of the garden, Audré?” Narcissa seemed keen to talk and Audré stood up with a smile.

“Sure.” She walked to her sister-in-law and offered her hand. “Let’s go.”

Hand on hand the ladies left the Château and reached the gardens. It was a moonlit night and the beauty of the exotic flowers was enhanced manifolds by the silvery glow the moon cast over them. Audré and Narcissa walked in the garden for some time, none of them talking but enjoying the beauty, the moonlight and the solitude.

“Audré, I wanted to thank you for everything you have done for us.” Narcissa finally broke the silence, sounding thoughtful.

“You are most welcome.” Audré replied graciously. Somehow, she sensed that giving her a word of thanks wasn’t the sole reason behind Narcissa’s sudden desire to take a walk with the woman she knew not more than two weeks.

“I know, it sounds odd but I don’t think what Lucius did to you and Morpheus was right.” Narcissa admitted bitterly.

“Indeed.” There was a tone of slight skepticism in Audré’s curt response.

“No, Audré, really!” Narcissa seemed to recognize Audré’s tone of doubt, “Just as Draco said this evening, that he doesn’t share his father’s idea towards the French, I don’t share Lucius’s ideas towards his brother’s family. I love my husband, Audré but that doesn’t mean that I’ll support him in everything he did. He was a Death Eater. I wasn’t.”

“I know, Narcissa.” Audré patted kindly on Narcissa’s hand.

They continued walking until Narcissa suddenly stopped by a rose bush, seemingly lost in her thoughts. “The circumstances in which Lucius and I got married were not very pleasant, Audré. It’s a long story. Maybe I’ll tell you that another day. But Morpheus’s leaving his family affected the Malfoys. They were looked down upon by many pureblood families. Lucius certainly didn’t like it. I remember, he once told me that at that time, he was hoping that his brother would return home, defeated and embrace the Malfoy norm of living. But Morpheus got married to you instead and never returned. Maybe that’s the reason Lucius resented you two so much.”

Audré remained silent and let Narcissa speak her mind.

“Lucius used to say that his brother was charmed by a French seductress, that your family used you to create a liaison with the Malfoys. He never let Draco visit France thinking that you might use your charms on him or use Lillian instead.” Narcissa looked mortified by the idea.

Audré shook her head and sighed. “I can still let loose Lillian after Draco, you know.” She said matter-of-factly.

“Please Audré!” Narcissa cried softly, “Don’t misunderstand me! I just stated what I was told to believe. I mean no disrespect to your daughter. Lillian is a wonderful witch and I am sure she’ll have a great life partner.”

“I hope so too.” Audré sighed again. There was a hidden resentment in that sigh that she knew Narcissa was unaware of. But now was not the time to share all the truths behind the two brother’s animosity. It was Narcissa’s time and Audré was interested to learn what explanation she had to offer her.

“Lucius was my husband, Audré, and I love him, trusted him and his judgments.” Narcissa said sadly, “After he, Scorpius and Astoria died, the Manor kind of became like a haunted house. There was no reason to wake up in the morning because I knew I will be the only one in the breakfast table. Draco would spend his days in graveyard, beside Astoria and Scorpius’s graves. He wouldn’t talk or eat or sleep. It was so suffocating! And I had no other family members left. They all died in the war. Then one day, I was going through some of Lucius’s old photos and saw a very old one. It was him and Morpheus, standing on either side of their mother, Medusa. As far as I knew, all of Morpheus’s old things and photos were destroyed when he left home. Then how come this one survived? I removed the photo from the album and decided to see if he was still alive. That’s when I wrote you the letter, Audré, and found out that Morpheus was no more.”

Audré suppressed a sigh and waited for the rest of the story to follow.

“I must admit that Lucius was terribly wrong about the entire affair.” Narcissa confessed soberly. “Morpheus Malfoy’s wife certainly wasn’t a seductress. She is a respectable woman.”

“I am happy, Narcissa, that you came here and helped us to clear the misunderstandings.” Audré smiled and taking Narcissa’s hand, resumed their walk.

“I did not do it all by myself, Audré. You and your children helped us.” Narcissa professed openly, “Especially the way you dealt with Draco this evening, Audré. Draco is my son. I know him. I know how stubborn he can be when he wants to. And he kind of melted like a butter before you!”

“You flatter me, Narcissa.” Audré chided her sister-in-law. “I did nothing but listened to what he had to say.”

“But I didn’t do that.” Narcissa countered, “And I am his mother, Audré. When you said that you wanted to find out what happened in the real, I thought you were playing tricks with Draco, to calm him. I do that too, when I sense that he doesn’t want to listen to me. But when you brought that Pensieve, I realized that you were serious from the beginning.”

“I was serious from the beginning, Narcissa, dear. How could I not be? What if it was a real hallucination and Draco needed better treatment?” Audré asked and felt Narcissa shudder, “But as it happens that it was not the case. Draco was not hallucinating. That boy, with that looks, is somehow related to Draco and I’ll not rest until I find out what that is.” she said determinedly.

“But…” Narcissa looked doubtful and apprehensive.

“Don’t worry, Narcissa, dear.” Audré smiled at her sister-in-law, assuring her, “Morpheus might not be with us but his brother’s family is and I’ll take care of our extended family.” she smiled mysteriously.

•••••

The last time Draco drew something or anything that could be qualified as a drawing was before Scorpius died, which was almost two years ago. Now, as he sat down by the reading table with a piece of paper and a pencil, he discovered, to his pleasant surprise that his hands were still in perfect working condition. He could still draw a face and soon Draco was lost in his work.

If he had thought that drawing a sketch like this could be a challenge, it was nothing compared to the mixture of feelings he experienced while he made Adrian’s sketch – awe, tenderness and a deep craving. Drawing Adrian was like making a self portrait for the boy was a miniature Draco Malfoy in a pair of blue jeans, a red and white striped T-shirt and a blue cap. Occasionally, Draco looked up and checked his own reflection in the windowpanes, trying to remember every single detail of that innocent feature with great care. He worked all night and by the time the first rays of sun were visible in the eastern horizon, he was done.

He presented the sketch to the rest of the family at breakfast. His mother seemed relieved that her son was slowly getting out of his grieves and praised the sketch whole heartedly. Audré, on the other hand, admonished him slightly for not sleeping at night but otherwise praised his work most earnestly. Lillian looked awestruck and Julian simply nodded, impressed.

“You should start drawing again, cousin.” He said, buttering his baguette bread amply and shoving it into his mouth, earning a reproachful glare from his sister, Lillian, who watched her brother eating like a walrus. “You…will…be…fam…ous…” he talked between chewing, “…in…no…time…”

Armed with his sketch, Draco soon left for the Tuileries Garden and tried to find out the exact location where he had met Adrian. It was somewhere outside the one of two entrances that led to the famous French garden. Carefully, he followed his track from the Orsay Museum and after twenty minutes of walking, stood on the spot where he and Adrian had bumped into each other.

Draco crouched and touched the pavement where the boy had been lying after colliding with him.

“Scorpius! Adrian!” He murmured, gently caressing the spot as if trying to reach the boys through time and space.

Their names somehow gave Draco a strange strength and he stood up after a while, determined to scour the place thoroughly. Tuileries was a vast place with lots of visitors and it wasn’t an easy job. But nothing would stop a Malfoy like himself from getting what he wanted. The sun rose and appeared in the mid-sky, the crowd in the garden grew larger but Draco displayed no signs of tiredness. He went from shop to shop, vendor to vendor and showed them the sketch, asking about the boy. Most of them shook their heads and mumbled that they haven’t seen the boy. Draco was wondering if he should spend the afternoon outside the entrance and check every boy that went in and out when a vendor, selling baguette sandwiches, told Draco what he needed to know.

“That kid comes ’ere with ’is mother.” He told Draco in heavily accented English, as most French couldn’t pronounce the English ‘H’. “They usually sit around the Round Pond.” he showed him a round pond inside the garden.

Draco looked at the direction the vendor had pointed. Tuileries, with its vastness, had two large ponds, one of them being round and the other, octagonal, on its two entrances. The Round Pond or Grand Bassin Rond was at the entrance where Draco had entered the garden from the Orsay Museum.

“Give me a baguette sandwich.” Draco asked the vendor and paid him with a fairly large bill from the Muggle money he carried. The vendor was about to return him the change when he indicated him to keep it. Both the sandwich and the bill were part of subtly worming out more information on Adrian.

“So…” Draco, like his cousin, took a large bite from the delicious French sandwich and gulped it down, “…he comes here with his mother.”

“Ouai! (Yeah!) The vendor nodded. He was a simple looking man with a good natured smile on his lips, “The boy draws nice pictures.” He commented happily.

Draco’s heart beat faster. Adrian could draw nice pictures! So his aunt was right in her assessment and he was on the right track.

“Why do you want to know about this boy?” the vendor asked Draco this time. The crowd of his customers was slowly thinning out.

“I am looking for a child model to draw a portrait.” Draco lied flatly and took another large bite from his baguette sandwich. “I met him yesterday and he’s perfect. Can you tell me where I can find him?” he asked the vendor.

“You won’t find him ’ere now.” the vendor shook his head and continued making more sandwiches with fresh tomato and cheese slices.

“Why?” Draco demanded, his eating stopped abruptly.

“Are you English?” the vendor asked Draco instead, frowning now.

“Yes.” Draco tried hard not to lose his patience with the vendor. Why were these French people always so curious about other people’s business? Besides, he was a Malfoy and they never talked to Muggles; it was hurting his dignity a lot.

“You drew that picture?” the vendor indicated at the sketch.

“Yes, I did.” Draco gritted his teeth, “Now tell me why I can’t find the boy?”

“Well  ’e went to a ’oliday with ’is family.” The vendor seemed to sense Draco’s impatience and replied this time. “To Brussels. For two weeks.”

“How do you know?” Draco’s throat went dry. The vendor, surely, couldn’t be right. Draco was so close to getting Adrian.

“ ’e came ’ere yesterday and told us. In fact, ’e told everyone.” The vendor replied simply, as if it was obvious, “ ’e was so ’appy!”

“Brussels?” Draco whispered and bit his lips, “Can you tell me where he lives?”

“No.” The man shook his head. “But they call ’im Adrian and ’is mother is Jean.” he added.

“Jean?” Draco repeated after the vendor, “You mean the woman who was with him yesterday?” he asked feverishly.

“No. That’s his mother’s friend, Eva.” the vendor said. “She’s strange, you know. Does not know how to use a cell phone.” He laughed at his own joke.

Draco knew better not to ask what a cell phone was. It was something the Muggles used to talk to each other.

“What about his father?” he asked the vendor next, holding his breath, “I mean I should ask for his father’s permission if I want to use the boy as a model.” he explained with a convincing smile.

“ ’is father?” the vendor frowned and turned to a man who was selling ice-cream next to him. “Jacques, ’ave we met Adrian’s father?” He asked him and other vendor shook his head. “I don’t think ’e ’as a father.” He turned to Draco and said, “ ’is mother, Jean, is a single-parent.”

“Merci.” Draco broke the Malfoy tradition and thanked the Muggles before leaving for his uncle’s Château. Before he left, he bought two baguette sandwiches for his cousins, Julian and Lillian.

•••••

Hermione was feeling relaxed as she took her hot bath. It was afternoon and they were finally in Brussels.

A happy Adrian with a slightly irritable looking Eva had returned to the Delacour Residence the previous afternoon, from their excursion at the Tuileries. Hermione was too busy to enquire anything from Eva and she soon left for her home. Mother and son then had a nice evening talking about the upcoming train journey and after supper, went to bed early that night. It took Hermione quite some time to lull Adrian into sleep, so excited was he!

The journey from Paris to Brussels would normally take an hour and twenty two minutes in Thalys and Hermione arrived at Brussels with her companions in due time. Adrian, on his first ever journey by train, spent it all by almost gluing his little face to the compartment window to watch the outside scenery. He was going to recount it all to his best friends, Louis and Gina, with detail. Hermione read a book on Cursed Diamonds while Eva, Edmound and Gabrielle chattered happily.

Gringotts Belgium has already invited Hermione as their Guest of Honour and they arranged for her stay in the most luxurious hotel in Wizarding part of Brussels. The hotel- ‘le Trône Royal’ or ‘The Royal Throne’ was housed in a former Royal Palace and Hermione could not but appreciate Belgian Gringotts’s choice any better.

Adrian and Gabrielle spent the rest of the day exploring the palace hotel while Hermione left for Gringotts to present herself to the Chief Goblin. On her arrival, the Belgian Gringotts honoured Hermione beyond her imagination with the Chief Goblin presenting her with a diamond studded small knife, which she kept safely out of Adrian’s reach. Later, she returned to the hotel and decided to take a bath to clear the tiredness of the journey from her body.

Hermione smiled. Everything was fine now, everything was perfect. They were out of the Malfoy’s reach and she was never going to meet that man again. Ever.

Hermione lifted her left hand from the water and looked at the writing. Mudblood, it said.

Bellatrix must be turning in her grave now, seeing a Mudblood being honoured like this, she thought. Contended, Hermione finished her bath and left the bathroom. She and Gabrielle were staying in a double bedroom suite with Adrian while Eva and Edmound were sharing another double bedroom suite just opposite theirs. Her son was back from his little visit around the hotel and was now lying on their bed examining a tourist book. As Hermione entered their bedroom, drying her hair with a towel, Adrian looked up, his eyes round and sparkling.

“Look, Mama!” he jumped out of bed and came running to her, clutching the tourist book. He showed her a picture of a large palace, “When are we going here?” he asked her.

Hermione knelt down and kissed her son tenderly on the cheek. “We’ll start from tomorrow, little rabbit.” she smiled at him.

“I love you, Mama!” Adrian declared happily, hugging and kissing his mother. He seemed very relieved that his mother was giving all her time to them and not to her work. Hermione was happy too as she saw her son’s eyes twinkle with unspoken excitement and glee.

She would do anything to keep him that way: innocent and happy.

•••••

Back to his uncle’s Château Draco covered the distance between the Apparition Point and the building, running and burst into the parlour. His mother, aunt Audré and cousin Lillian were seated there, talking idly.

“I am going to Belgium!” he declared to the astonishment of the occupants.

“Belgium?” Narcissa looked scandalized, “Why? What happened, Draco?”

“His name is Adrian, his mother’s name is Jean and she’s a single parent. They left for Brussels this morning, for two weeks.” Draco slumped in a sofa and said in a hurry, breathing heavily. He gave Lillian the baguette sandwiches he had bought. She took them with a puzzled look.

“How can you be so sure, Draco?” Narcissa demanded, exchanging alarmed looks with Audré.

“The vendor who sold me those sandwiches, told me.” Draco rubbed his forehead and indicated at the sandwiches Lillian was holding with an incredulous look. “Aunt was right.  This vendor was a huge help. He told me that the woman you saw in my memory was actually Adrian’s mother’s friend. Her name is Eva.” He let out all the information he has collected, “Adrian can draw very well, mother. I am going to Brussels, mother. I am going there.” Draco stood up and paced impatiently, “Adrian is my son, I am sure now. I just want to know ‘how?’.”

“But how are you going to find him there?” Audré spoke at last, her voice calm. “Brussels is a large city, Draco and we still don’t know whether Adrian is a Muggle boy or not.”

“He is not a Muggle.” Draco declared triumphantly, “That woman, Eva, she doesn’t know how to use a cell phone. The vendor told me. That means she is a witch and Adrian is a wizard. ” He proclaimed.

“Well, supposedly, Adrian is a wizard, Draco. But that does not answer my question. How you are going to find that small boy in that big city?” Audré rephrased her earlier query.

“I am Draco Malfoy, Aunt Audré.” Draco turned to his aunt and declared proudly, “And Malfoys always get what they want. Don’t worry. I have a very good plan.”

Audré eyed Draco for a moment. “Very well, nephew.” She nodded solemnly, “But you are not going alone. I am coming with you.” She announced.

“Audré?” Narcissa exclaimed, shocked.

“Maman!” Lillian dropped the baguette sandwiches.

“You are most welcome.” Only Draco grinned. “You and I, we’ll make a decent team together.”