Hermione was quite happy when she arrived at work, the whispers and sympathetic comments she’d expected to hear were absent. Apparently the people in her section knew her better than she thought. She smiled softly at the sight of her hot chocolate and a fresh croissant on her desk. Draco knew Hermione often forgot to eat breakfast so it had become his mission to make sure she didn’t go hungry.
Hermione and Draco managed the magical creatures section at the Ministry. They worked with werewolves, mermaids, centaurs, house elves, goblins, talking dragons, unicorns as well as many others. They were the only Ministry sector to have changed countless laws, form many successful charities and be making a profit. The fact that they could even provide homes for unicorns spoke highly of their excellence, though it was only Hermione, being of a pure heart, who could help the unicorns.
She ate her second breakfast while looking over her schedule for the day. She had a meeting with the centaurs in the afternoon and some house elves that needed work were arriving this morning. Draco and Hermione also had some new legislation to work through to make sure everything was in order before it was passed.
Draco popped in several times during the day, smiling to himself when he saw that Hermione had chocolate in the corner of her mouth. She blushed prettily when he told her. Hermione’s day was going well, she’d managed to find work for all the house elves, two of which actually wanted pay and days off. Granted one wanted to be paid insilk scarves but it was an improvement.
Draco was out for lunch when Hermione assumed the person storming into her office was an angry client, it wasn’t.
A whirling angry redhead shouted “How dare you!”, “It was none of your business!”
Hermione’s temper immediately spun to the surface. The only emotion she felt wasextreme anger and for a second she wondered why this was.
In a dangerously calm voice she replied, “You made it my business when you brought it into my house!”
Ronald snorted and spluttered indignantly.
“You’re supposed to be our friend, how could you out us like that” asked a dejected Harry.
“I don’t believe this! You’re kidding right?! We aren’t friends. Friends don’t betray each other like this. I was with Ron for seven years and you were making love with each other behind my back. Were you ever going to end the charade?”
They had the decency to look slightly uncomfortable but at the same time defiant.
“Why did you propose to me Ron? And why did you congratulate me Harry? Why hide it? Who were you afraid of? Family? The press? Adoring fans??”
“You don’t understand, I love you Hermione but I love Harry more” moaned Ronald.
“If you loved me you would never have proposed in the first place” she muttered.
“You’ve ruined Harry’s career you know. No one will talk to him in his Auror department. They all whisper behind his back and give him filthy looks!” said Ronald.
Hermione sighed, “Why are you here?”
“We came to hear you apologize” said Ronald arrogantly.
Hermione was so shocked she couldn’t speak.
Harry took a step forward but before he could say anything an imperious voice cut in -
“You have some nerve. How dare you come here and harass my partner at work. Leave instantly before I call for security!” said Draco acting every bit the Pureblood supremists.
For a moment Ron and Harry looked as if they would make a fight of it but Draco heldhis ground and they slowly turned and left with eyes full of hatred and anger. Hermione guessed this wouldn’t be the last she’d see of them. She fell into Draco’s friendly embrace and willed herself to stop shaking. She wondered briefly why she only felt relief, she’d spent seven years of her life with Ronald and strangely she only felt peace now that it was over. Surely that meant something.
“Come to dinner with me” said Draco.
“Come to dinner, go on we’ll have fun. Have some food, drink and relax” he continued.
She smiled it did sound tempting and she always had fun with Draco.
“I’ll pick you up at seven then” he said knowing he’d won.
She childishly stuck her tongue out at him.
“Go home” he told her.
“But it’s not even lunchtime” she said.
“It’ll take you the rest of the day to look beautiful for me” he teased.
“Maybe I’ll go see your Father and tell him how you insult me” she said in response.
“You wouldn’t” he paled; she could be vicious when she wanted.
“Try me” she replied, “I might visit them anyway. I haven’t seen your Father since I burst into Sirius’s house and I feel I owe Severus an apology for snapping yesterday”.
Draco smiled at her knowingly and sent her on her way.
When Hermione arrived in the Manor all was quiet. She began her leisurely walk to the library where she knew the two men would be. There was one part of her journey to the library that Hermione hated. Passing Narcissa’s portrait where it hung in a deserted part of the hallway was always an unpleasant experience. The portrait had never spoken but always stared at her with barely concealed hatred”.
“They don’t want you here” her ice cold voice cut through Hermione’s tough exterior.
Hermione stopped to look at the portrait in disbelief, “And of course you were so loved by them” she retorted.
“Don’t talk about things you don’t understand” hissed Narcissa’s portrait.
“I understand more than you think”.
“Stay away from my Draco!”
“You can’t tell me what to do!” replied Hermione curtly.
“If you don’t stay away from him…”
“You’ll what, continue to shout at me?” mocked Hermione.
“You stupid pathetic girl, no Malfoy would willingly associate themselves with you. Malfoy men would only keep a Mudblood like you around for sexual favors other than that you’re useless just like trash” flashed Narcissa triumphantly.
Hermione glared at her, she should know better but after her clash with Ron and Harry that morning her control was decidedly thin and she already felt her magic swirl around her.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING? WHAT’S HAPPENING? NO, STOP IT, YOU CAN’T DO THIS!!” the sound of Narcissa’s screaming brought the thudding footsteps of Lucius and Severus running just in time to see Narcissa’s portrait burst into flames and become a pile of ash. Hermione sighed in relief and felt her increased magic fade away. Lucius saw the look on Hermione’s face and filed the event away for later.
“Lucius I’m sorry I don’t know how that happened” Hermione stuttered.
“Hush child if anything you did us a favor” replied Lucius.
“Why are you here Pet?” inquired Severus.
“Draco sent me home” she whispered.
“Such a punishment, why did he do that?” quipped Lucius.
“Because two angry people decided to visit me at work” she said, “And Draco asked me to dinner” she mumbled not looking either man in the eye.
Both Lucius and Severus declined to comment but they both shared a secret smile. They were just about to send her on her way when they realized she had nothing to wear for dinner that night. Lucius promised to have something sent over for her and Hermione had no choice but to accept. Malfoy men did love to spend money on family – which is what Hermione was to Lucius.
Sirius had struck gold so to speak. He’d found proof that this Isabella Knight did exist. He’d taken Hermione’s advice and widened his search to include muggle aspects. It was easy to pose as a private investigator and it certainly saved him money (not that he was in any danger of running out). He’d found her name recorded in a muggle hospital but what was shocking was what she was there for. It seemed that Isabella didn’t just run away from his brother out of some misguided reason but took their unborn child with her!
True to his word Lucius had sent Hermione a burnt orange sun dress to wear that evening. Shortly before Draco arrived Hermione found she was strangely nervous for reasons she couldn’t understand. Sirius laughed at her inability to sit still, Hermione had hung out with Draco many times before but somehow the way Draco had asked her to dinner earlier had sent her into a flutter.
As it was, she needn’t have worried; dinner flowed superbly from start to finish. Not an awkward pause in sight. It was so easy to live without expectations when they were together. They argued wholeheartedly on matters relating to new Werewolf legislation and laughed about how Lucius and Severus behaved in public. Draco complimented Hermione on her outfit, chuckling softly when she mentioned his thanks should go to his Father. Draco had the wonderful ability to make Hermione forget everything else and actually have good fun.
After dinner Draco persuaded Hermione to continue their night of fun with a couple of drinks at The Irish Firebang, which was Diagon Alley’s biggest bar/club and run by the ever cheery Seamus Finnegan. Seamus always had a table for Hermione and had developed a strong manly friendship with Draco over the years.
“Hermione!! We haven’t seen you in a while. Well done mate for getting her out again” said Seamus slapping Draco on the back and winking at Hermione.
“What can I get ya?” asked Seamus leading them to a private booth.
“Firewhisky” said Draco.
“A Tequila Sunrise please Seamus” added Hermione.
If Wizards were under the impression that they had the best alcohol on offer they were sorely mistaken. Surely they had good whisky, brandy and elf wine but muggles had so much more. Seamus’s club had popularity like no other because it served both muggle and Wizarding alcohol.
Hermione’s drink was mostly orange with red juice lacing the top. Seamus always added a cherry to her straw. Hermione even managed to persuade Draco onto the dance floor. His dancing had improved since she first introduced him to muggle dancing. She was sure that if Lucius or Severus ever saw her muggle dancing they’d die from shock.
Seamus smiled knowingly as he looked at Draco and Hermione. Sometimes those with the most history were better suited. Oh no!Here comes trouble thought Seamus; he motioned for one of his bigger security guards to go over and stand by Draco and Hermione. Seamus didn’t want any trouble in his club tonight and if trouble started he would side with Hermione, after all he owed her a lot and certainly never would have opened this club without her help.
Ron and Harry just wanted a quiet night out away from all the negativity and were used to being welcomed with open arms into Seamus’s club but tonight he didn’t seem pleased to see them. That’s when they saw Hermione, the one person who had turned the world against them, never for one instant blaming themselves for their own selfish behavior. Ron moved quickly towards Hermione.
“You’ve got some nerve coming to our club”, he said.
“Oh you own it then do you Ronald?” said Seamus softly.
“Why should she be welcomed in and not us?” demanded Harry.
“Probably because she owns half of it” replied Draco.
“What?” thundered Ron.
“You didn’t know?” said Draco.
“No they thought they were welcomed so nicely on their own merit” said Hermione her eyes spitting fire.
“Still hanging out with Malfoy then” said Harry, turning on her.
“Well, he is a better person than you two ever were” she replied sweetly.
Harry felt angry and raised his voice “I want you to leave Sirius alone” he said, trying to gain the upperhand by changing tactics.
“Excuse me?” said Hermione, somewhat gobsmacked.
“Move out! I don’t want you poisoning Sirius against me anymore!” thundered Harry.
“You poisoned his image of you yourself Harry when you lied, cheated and betrayed me” replied Hermione stiffly.
“What would your mother think of your behavior Hermione?” questioned Ron.
“Don’t you dare mention my Mother” warned Hermione.
“Touched a nerve have I?” mocked Ron, “I bet she wouldn’t agree with the company you keep. Fraternizing with Slytherins! They’ll only leave you, just like your Father did all those years ago” said Ron maliciously.
Yet again Hermione felt her magic increasing without warning and concentrated solely on Ron, drawing her magic to her in great waves; she wanted to hurt them, to make them suffer, like she’d suffered under them. It was easy to call upon what she wanted; she knew their inner- most fears and projected them forcibly into their mind. Ron was the first to fall under her stare, his screams and twitches drawing the attention of many other people.
“What’s wrong Ron? Where does it hurt? What did you do to him?” shouted Harry.
Seamus had acted quickly, opening the second part of his bar up and allowing his security guards to herd people into the other room. A few people remained behind, those who knew Hermione well or were indebted to her. They’d all wanted to hurt the boys of the Golden Trio themselves but they were content with watching Hermione exert her own magic. There would be no witnesses to this.
“I did nothing, it isn’t my fault his mind is so easy to enter” replied Hermione. She didn’t need to enter Harry’s mind, his greatest fear was losing the people he loved, for all he knew Ron was dying right now.
Hermione felt her magic slide away once her job was done, she was so close to castrating the two of them but she couldn’t bring herself to cause that much pain.
“Seamus I think you have some rubbish to take out” she said smoothly.
Seamus laughed at her comment and ordered his guards to whisk away the offending objects.
Though not much is yet posted, I am halfway through writting this story. I think it's going well and like where it's going. I still don't have a job (boo!) so I'm writing a lot more and will probably end up with a lot of completed stories to post! :) Anyhow, if you like...tell me what you think. ~ Zyii
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