Hermione smiled nervously at her mother and settled her mug of tea tentatively down on the coffee table. She had brought Draco to her parents' home to stay for a few days over her birthday and, despite herself, she had been feeling apprehensive about the visit. It was the first time her parents would meet Draco since they'd started going out five months earlier and, as far as Hermione was aware, the first time Draco had been to a Muggle home.
Hermione and Draco had arrived at the Granger household an hour or so earlier and had settled in the living room for a cup of tea with Helen, Hermione's mother. A few moments ago - quite a few moment ago - Draco had excused himself to use the bathroom, and Hermione had started to wonder where her boyfriend might have got to.
Suddenly, a loud bang and an even louder crash came from the direction of the kitchen.
Hermione’s heart stuttered, and she exchanged a look of bewilderment with her mother as both women abruptly rose from their seats. They moved instinctively towards the door to investigate, but Draco appeared in its frame, wand in his hand. His clothes were dripping with water and his hair was decorated with what looked like an array of soap suds.
Despite his appearance, he looked typically self-assured, although Hermione recognised a flicker of uncertainty in his eyes.
"What’s happened?" Hermione demanded.
"Erm, nothing to worry about. It was - you had a Boggart, Mrs Granger, in one of your kitchen cupboards. But I got rid of it!" Draco declared triumphantly.
"A bogged what?" Helen queried tentatively.
"A Bogg art ," Draco repeated definitely. "In that white cupboard with the round, transparent window. The whole thing was shaking and vibrating and making an increasingly awful racket. Seemed like a very agitated Boggart. Although – " Draco shifted uncomfortably and looked questioningly at his wand. "I thought I'd performed an expert Riddikulus charm, but an odd thing seemed to have happened as a result – all the clothes you kept in the cupboard burst out of it and I seemed to cast an Aguamenti at the same time – a gush of water shot out – I got things a bit wet..."
"The cupboard with the round, transparent window?" Hermione repeated, trying to contain her dismay as she realised what Draco had done.
"Yes?" Draco answered weakly.
"You mean the washing machine ?" Hermione asked, incredulous.
"The what-ing machine?" Draco's lips turned down, and Hermione knew that was a sign he had realised he had ballsed-up.
"Oh, Draco," Hermione sighed and hurried past him to the kitchen, Helen in tow.
The washing machine's door had burst from its hinges and soapy water was seeping across the floor of the kitchen, pooling around sodden items of clothes, including, Hermione noted with embarrassment, her mother's rather adult lingerie.
Hermione hastily explained to her mother about Boggarts, whilst also trying to explain to Draco about washing machines – that they often shuddered and made a ‘racket’ during cycles – as the latter attempted to undo the destruction he’d wrought. Draco had been hoovering up the water with his wand, but, along with the water, the pull of the magic seemed to have sucked up a rather lacy pair of Helen's knickers, which were dangling precariously from the end of his wand. Hermione blushed as Draco's eyes widened in apparent horror at the sight of the underwear, before he quickly shook his wand and the knickers fell to the floor.
“Sorry,” he mumbled sheepishly.
Helen's smile had increasingly broadened as she’d listened to Hermione's explanation and observed Draco's attempt to undo the damage he’d caused, and she let out a delighted chuckle.
"Oh, well, the bloody thing was on its last legs anyway. Just gives me an excellent excuse to get a new one! Now, don't worry about that." She waved her hand dismissively at Draco's continued attempt to clean up, and smiled fondly at him. "I appreciate you trying to get rid of a Bogie if you thought there was one here, they sound like nasty things...why don't you go upstairs and get into some dry clothes, I'll sort this out and then we can finish our tea?"
Hermione’s shoulders sagged in relief. The worst of the crisis was over. As she led Draco up the stairs to the bedroom they'd be sleeping in, she took his hand and gave him a short but tender kiss on the lips.
"See," she said. "You had nothing to worry about - I told you she'd like you."