House Lestrange - Chapter 9 - Minerva394 - Harry Potter (2023)

Chapter Text

Hermione Granger and Rodolphus Lestrange

September 1st, 2003, Holborn, London Review Bookshop

Apparating to a designated spot behind the British Museum she hurried to the book-shop. She’d never been here and the book tables downstairs were tempting but Hermione did not want to make her match wait. Upstairs there were three tables in front of the window, all busy. On the left sat a man alone, watching the stairs. He had dark reddish-brown hair going grey at his temples, brown eyes and a strong chin. Seeing her he stood. Lestrange was wearing a dark blue linen suit and a white shirt.

“Ms Granger.”

“Mr Lestrange.”

They shook hands and sat down again. Hermione ordered a cappucino and a carrot cake. Next to Lestrange’s chair was a tote bag full of books. She smiled.

“You were there early? May I enquire what you bought?”

He answered in the affirmative and unpacked his haul.

“It is one of my favourite haunts in London. I do not think I have ever visited here without buying at least one book.” He put the stack on the table. Hermione’s eyes kept straying to the books.

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“May I?”

Lestrange was blushing, an odd sight on somebody who was supposed to be a seasoned Death Eater, well Ex-Death Eater.

“You’re welcome. I haven’t decided yet which ones to take.”

The first book was “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”. She held it up, raising an eyebrow. Lestrange sighed.

“I was planning on asking you for a walk somewhere not as public as here for talking about my previous marriage and of other sensitive topics. I was raised to obey Pureblood courting customs – they are rather Victorian, chaperones, flower-language etc. – and then married at the age of twenty. At the beginning the novelty of living together, of having sex whenever we felt like it, was enough. There were parties, politics, debates. Then rather suddenly the conflict escalated to open violence. Now I suspect that Riddle made two horcruxes in short succession. Gone was the rising politician, in his place a paranoid madman. I fear all that dark magic awakened the Black madness in Bella. Before I could tell that she fancied him quite a bit, like in the way women swoon over an actor or a singer. Then it grew into an obsession. She lost all inhibitions. Then came Azkaban. I feel that I have very little experience with relationships, hence the book.”

“I have never read it because my mother used to rant about it. She is of the opinion that people are people and that they have to talk to each other and listen to each other. I have been told that I rely on books too much but in that case I would leave it here. From what my mother told me about it I do not think it applies much to our unique situation.”

“Unique in what way?”

“There are no marriage laws at all and very rarely arranged marriages in nowaday’s Muggle world. The Venus-Mars-book gives advise to people who have to try all on their own to find someone they want to spend their live with. We know that we are said to be compatible according to tried and tested equations, how we proceed now is up to us, I guess. And if you have been educated in the ways arranged marriages grow into amiable partnerships I am prepared to follow your lead.”

He sighed.

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“I was told about the usual courtship rituals as part of my education. My own parents did not have a relationship I would want to emulate. The first step is chaperoned informal meetings. That usually happens during the last years at Hogwarts. I think we can skip that step as we are beyond the first throes of teenage-hormones. The rules on propriety in these courtships are outdated in my opinion, and quite sexist as well, as they only apply to the female. If we agree to give this relationship a go I would like us to date exclusively. Would that be all right with you?”

“Of course, I would not want it any other way. You said that you do not have any real experience in relationship. Well, I don’t have either. I dated my Hogwarts sweetheart for a while after the war. We found out that we wished for different things in a marriage. He clung to the ideal of his mother who was a formidable witch but stayed home. I would like to continue working even if we had children. Maybe not full-time and certainly not for the first months after the birth, but I do feel that I would grow uneasy if I would stay at home all the time. I would of course spend time with our children, but I cannot find fulfillment with cooking and gardening.”

Lestrange laughed.

“If we married I fear you won’t be allowed to do much in the garden besides admiring it. That’s my brother’s domain. He and his wife are expecting their first child. They live with me at Lestrange Manor. I would love to look after our children while you are working, I am already looking forward to meeting my nephew or niece, so no, there is no objection from me for you to continue working. I read up on the work you did during the last years, it would be a shame for you to stop now. My stipulation would be that Rabastan and Luna stay at the manor. It would be very hard for my brother and I to separate again. After Azkaban, where they put us on different floors, it is unthinkable. I would ask you to try to get along with them, but the house is big enough to avoid each other if necessary.”

Hermione grew pensieve as she remembered her last meeting with Luna and her husband. She noticed Lestrange stiffening.

“I would not try to separate you from your brother, of course not. But I have met Luna recently and something was off. She introduced your brother but he refused to shake my hand. I will have to talk to Luna. We have been quite good friends during the war and after. During the last years I have drifted away, from my other friends, too. They were all paring up, I got more and more responsibility at work. I do realise that I haven’t made enough of an effort to stay connected to them. I will have to rectify that soon in Luna’s case.”

“Rabastan never shakes hands. Bellatrix used the Cruciatus on him at the Longbottom’s home because he would not participate. He was thrown into Azkaban without treatment. After Riddle broke us out of prison he used dangerous potions to function. Rab is much better now but he never shakes anybody’s hand for fear of hurting the other person when his hand seizes. That happens sometimes, mostly when he is nervous.”

“That is terrible! I feel like the world’s biggest fool for assuming the worst!”

“It is understandable under the circumstances. You do not know Rabastan yet and you plan to talk to Luna, for me that is enough.”

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Hermione sighed. It seemed that her phase of introspection and self-examination would continue on for a while.

“Some people thought that I ought to have been in Ravenclaw, given my love of research. But I guess I was put into Gryffindor correctly. It seems I am inclined to that house’s worst trait, rushing into things or assuming without reflection.”

“Flying a dragon out of Gringotts sounds pretty brave to me, don’t be too harsh on yourself.”

“I still have nightmares, though.”

“Understandable. – Shall I show you what I picked for Luna?”

At her enthusiastic nod at this change of topic Rodolphus rummaged in his bag and withdrew a colorful children’s book.

“There’s a Wocket in my Pocket! I loved that book as a child and I think it is perfect for Luna! I am still on the fence concerning the existence of Nargles and the Blibbering Humdinger as she is so convinced but your sister-in-law will love that book.”

Hermione was about to extrapolate on more of her favourite Dr. Seuss books when she noticed Lestrange glancing at her with an odd expression. She looked at him questioningly. He took his time to talk.

“Please understand that in no way do I want to belittle your intelligence or your upbringing but do you really not know about the meaning of sightings of Nargles and Humdingers?”

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“What meaning? I only ever heard Luna talk about them. At first I thought they were yet another fact about the wizarding world I did not know about but then I saw that other people did not believe her.”

“As you met Luna at school that other people would mainly be your fellow Gryffindors, I guess. And probably none of them Pure-bloods.”

“I did not have a lot of friends in my house. And I have to confess that I was an overbearing little know-it-all then. It hid my insecurity but it did not inspire heart-to-heart talks with fellow Gryffindors. But I was friends with Ron Weasley. The Weasleys are an old Pure-blood family.”

“The Weasleys are a special case. Arthur Weasley is a fine enough fellow but I find his approach to the Muggle world anachronistic, much in the way colonists collected artefacts without ever to attempt to understand the culture behind them. Dumbledore furthered Arthur’s fascination and found a loyal follower when he offered to give scholarships to all of his children. There is one scholarship for one boy and one girl per year. And the Prewetts tried to curb their daughter’s behaviour – she was caught using a love potion in her fourth year – which led to her resenting everything they ever taught her. Molly can hold a grudge and is prone to prejudice as I guess you can attest to. The combination of those two led to the family giving up all traditions which is why their relationship to their original families is so fraught with tension. I know they are your friends. I guess it is unlikely that I will ever be invited by them if we marry but I would not want Molly cause discord in our home either if she belittles our family at a naming ceremony for instance.”

He worded it differently but Rodolphus brought forth quite a few arguments of her own concerning the Weasleys. Professing to love all things Muggle was one thing, thinking of a fourteen year old Muggleborn as a harlot after a slanderous article was another. And Ron still could not be bothered to pronounce electricity correctly.

“It is early yet for us to worry about the Weasleys at our table. I obviously did not know all that background information but I agree with your reasoning. George and Bill are all right though.”

Over a second pot of tea they proceeded to compare different expectations – when it came to relationships they were not so different thankfully - and mapped out a tentative plan for their courtship. There was a six month deadline for a marriage to occur so Hermione and Rod agreed on coming to a decision after three months at the latest. They parted ways in the early evening with a kiss on the cheek.

At home Hermione remembered that Rodolphus had never told her about any hidden meanings behind Nargles and Wrackspurts. After penning a letter to Luna with a request for a meeting the young witch fell asleep with a smile on her face.


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