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Chapter 1: The Assignment
A/N: Edited 12/31/12. This chapter has been revamped with the help of my wonderful beta Voldy Needs a Hug!!
Hermione was swamped with paperwork though her spotless, pristine desk told a different story. Unfortunately this had no correlation to the amount of work she had to complete before the day ended. Hermione Granger was not a fan of clutter in any sense. She placed each file in orderly, alphabetical stacks. She didn't like to admit it, but several of those files were not her own - rather, they belonged to a certain redhead and his famous friend. Despite her constant refusals to write their papers for them, she was still correcting their work after all those years.
Hermione was immersed in the Briggs file when she heard a knock at her door. She didn’t have time to respond when a familiar head of black hair poked around the door.
"Mione, you got a moment?” he asked. Regardless of her response, he would keep talking.
“Actually, I’m sifting through a mountain of paperwork at the moment. Can it wait?” She asked as she motioned to the stacks of files on her desk.
“It looks like you have everything under control in here. Besides it's rather important,” Harry urged.
“Carry on then,” her exasperated voice carried across the room as she motioned to one of the chairs in front of her desk.
“Actually, it’s Kingsley who requested to see you. I’ll escort you to his office. You’ll have to wear this.” Harry handed her his invisibility cloak. “It is of extreme importance that no one sees you enter or exit his office. Do not remove the cloak once you have arrived.”
Hermione was still trying to process the information when Harry secured the cloak around her shoulders. Just before he flipped up the hood, he planted a light, friendly kiss on her forehead. “This is it Hermione. This is your chance.”
Harry strolled out of her office and she followed him closely, attempting to discover what was expected of her. This is not how she had planned her day to go. It was a regular Tuesday afternoon and she had decided to finish one stack of files before going home to her own flat and enjoying a TV dinner while watching her favorite medical drama on the muggle tube.
Harry had said this was her chance. She knew she must finally be going undercover. She had been the top of her class in Auror Training. Concealment had been a specialty of hers. Hermione had dreamed of becoming an undercover Auror as soon as she finished her schooling, but she slowly wiled away the past four years with no luck.
Her mind was blank when she entered Kingsley’s office. There was one other person in the room: the one person she least expected to see sitting in his office at this moment in time. The moment they entered Kingsley’s office, Harry exchanged a slight nod with the minister before Kingsley’s booming voice filled the large space.
“Now that Harry has arrived, we can start the informal interrogation. Harry, the door please,” Kingsley began. Hermione was confused about the events that were transpiring, her eyes darting back and forth between Harry and Kingsley. Harry shut the door with a click and went to stand to the right of the Minister of Magic.
“Please pardon the heavy secrecy, but there is a confirmed spy in the Ministry. Harry, please confirm no listening devices are present.”
Hermione watched as Harry pulled out his wand, swept it across the room, and relaxed when nothing was revealed.
“Please do not remove the cloak under any circumstances. If you understand, please tap my desk." Kingsley's words were directed toward what appeared to be thin air. Hermione assumed the statement was intended for her. With four long strides, she reached the desk and tapped a fingernail on the wood. Kingsley’s features relaxed slightly at her affirmation. Hermione couldn’t help but noticed the building tension in the room. The only person who seemed at ease was the visitor.
“Mr. Malfoy, do you understand what is going on?” Kingsley’s voice didn’t hold nearly as much malice as Hermione assumed should be in his voice when it was directed at the self-important individual.
Hermione focused on the man in the chair. His blond hair was a beacon for his true identity, as was his haughty and cocky nature in which he sat, which gave Hermione the urge to hex him. Draco Malfoy may have wished to change sides in the end, but it did not pardon his past mistakes in her mind.
His cold steel eyes roamed the room freely before settling on the space where she stood. She was invisible, but it sent a chill up her spine.
“Yes, I believe I’m gaining a partner,” Malfoy’s calculating voice clipped out the words before he returned his attention to his manicured nails. Kingsley sighed as Harry’s expression morphed into one of pure hatred.
“Yes, it is time to bring a second operative into the equation,” Kingsley informed the group.
“How do you propose we do that Kingsley?” Malfoy’s body language and sharp tone challenged the senior Auror and Minster of Magic, defiance visible in his eyes. Hermione wished to curse him, teaching him to respect the significant people of the century. Kingsley had earned his position through blood, sweat, and tears; he wasn’t given that entitlement at birth.
“I think it is time for your single life to come to an end. She will be placed as your girlfriend and you will live together. You will respect her. It would serve you well to remember who did not send you to Azkaban.” Kingsley’s voice dropped in timber as he spoke and the threat was clear. Hermione couldn’t believe what she was hearing. This was her chance but it came at a price.
“Message received.” Malfoy’s demeanor took on a presence of ice. “Are we through here?”
“One more thing: be here at 0900 hours on Friday.” Kingsley slid a small piece of parchment across the desk for Malfoy to retrieve. Malfoy’s pale, slim fingers grasped the small piece of parchment and held it briefly before his eyes.
“Do you have it memorized?” Kingsley asked.
Malfoy gave a stiff nod before the paper disintegrated.
“You are dismissed.” Malfoy gave no response as he rose from the chair and turned toward the door. His gait held arrogance. She knew this assignment was going to be challenging, but she also knew if she could prove herself, she would receive a promotion.
“Mr. Malfoy,” Kingsley’s voice rang solidly once more as Malfoy was about to step from the room. “We do not wish to see you around here again. Please do nothing more to warrant visits such as these.”
“I’ll do my best,” Malfoy responded with hostility dripping from every word. If anyone was indeed listening they would be able to feel the hatred pouring freely from the blond man who was making his escape from the Ministry.
A/N: Thank you for reading. I would love to hear your thoughts on this chapter. I know it was short that the following chapters will be longer.