Year 1 - Hermione Granger and The Notorious Man
Hermione was in the library one late afternoon, as had become her routine, when she heard some voices disturbing the precious silence.
"I'm sorry young man, but only those with permission from the headmaster are allowed in the restricted section." The librarian said, her voice raised in an uncharacteristic manner.
"But why?" An all too familiar person questioned irritably. "I just want to take a look."
"You do not have the clearance, Mr Malfoy, and thus shall not be permitted entry." She explained firmly. "If you want to go in you should try and talk to your Head of House."
Draco mumbled something Hermione couldn't quite catch and then said arrogantly."My father will be hearing about this." Which had to be at least the tenth time that year he had said those same words, and it was still only the first term. He then stormed from the library, fortunately not noticing Hermione at her desk as he left. She could do without the tormenting today.
Who was Draco's father anyway? Hermione wondered, and why did it matter if he heard about any of the stupid situations his son got himself into?
Curious, she put aside the large volume on charms that she was reading, and went to find a book on wizarding families. She already knew the Malfoys were an old pureblood family of some note, but was still surprised to find several whole books dedicated to their family. Taking the most recent volume back to her dorm that night she found it to be an unexpectedly captivating and informative read. Apparently the Malfoys had played an interesting role in the muggle history she knew so well.
Theirs' seemed to be a most accomplished family, its members seeming to always be intelligent, cunning, proud - decidedly Slytherin, yes, but she couldn't help but admire them somewhat. It was evident throughout the book that the Malfoy's views on Muggles, not to mention muggleborns, had changed to suit the times. According to history, they had clearly had no problem with them, or working with them, before the wizarding world began to reject them out of fear. Clearly Draco's prejudice was nothing too new then...
Finally, she got to the end of the book and reached a section on a man named Abraxas, presumably Draco's grandfather. He was described as a powerful, vicious and ruthless man, someone who was something of a business tycoon and a more than proficient wizard, a revered man until the first wizarding war. It could not be proved, but the book suggested, albeit very subtly, that Abraxas' sympathies were with Voldemort, funding his cause, helping him to infiltrate the ministry, and many said it was his downfall. His wife, little that was known of her, was rumoured to have died during the war, the circumstances most suspicious. Abraxas had followed not long after his wife, far before his time, from dragonpox, leaving their young son to inherit everything.
He had been a student at Hogwarts, Slytherin, prefect, very bright, star chaser, and, by the look of his seventh year school picture in the book, very handsome. Lucius showed great talent in almost everything he attempted, being particularly skilled at potions and duelling, and was said by his professors to have a calm, studious, and serious demeanour. Lucius went on to marry the youngest of the Black sisters, Narcissa. Hermione had read about her before, she was apparently a much more powerful witch than many thought her to be, a master of long distance apparation, not to mention a beautiful woman, an ideal wife for a man such as Lucius.
Lucius followed his father's footsteps into the business and political world, some suggesting he did so with more skill than his father before him, but it was also suggested that he followed Abraxas into more unsavoury things too. He was exonerated from his involvement in the war due to claims of being under the effect of the Imperious curse, something which Hermione doubted was true, and now had a high position in the ministry, his own business empire, and was one of the Hogwarts governors.
Finishing the book, Hermione could perhaps understand why being on Lucius Malfoy's bad side would be somewhat, if not very, daunting, but she found herself more intrigued than afraid of him. Such an interesting man, magnetic, she wanted to know more about him, and could not understand how a man like that had brought Draco up to be as he was.
Yawning, and looking at her clock, Hermione decided she should probably get some sleep, so closed the book and dimmed her wand.
Perhaps one day she'd meet this Lucius Malfoy for herself, find out what he was truly like...
Year 2- Hermione Granger and the Curious Stranger
Hermione had insisted to her parents that they go early to Diagon Alley. She wanted to go to visit Flourish and Blotts before the crowds got there, to have time alone to browse through the books.
So, at 8am, when the doors opened, there she was, ready to search for something special. Her parents had gone to get breakfast, so it meant she would have ample time to look through all of the shelves undisturbed.
Hermione scoured through the rows upon rows of books, marveling at all of them and frustrated that she could not simply buy them all. She had only saved enough to buy five books, well, that weren't strictly academic anyway, it really was torturous.
Hermione had picked out the first four, very happy with her choices, but was currently torn as to which book to get for her fifth.
The shop was completely empty except for her and still she barely registered the bell of the door chiming as it opened, another customer come to browse the shelf next to her.
The smell of cologne suddenly hit her, somehow strong yet subtle at the same time, warm, welcoming, yet cold.
"I would recommend that one." Said the owner of the scent, his voice deep, eloquent, but not patronizing as one may have expected from his words.
He had pointed at one of the books she was holding, 'Origins of the Dark Arts.' Hermione had been intrigued by the old looking book but, after flicking through the pages, had thought it perhaps a little too advanced for her, quite a feat indeed.
"Don't be put off by the subject matter." The man added, clearly noticing her apprehension. "In order to properly understand the dark arts, to defend correctly and proficiently against them, one must have a proper understanding of what they truly are, where they came from."
She looked up at him now, to where he stood at her shoulder. He was tall yet still broad of frame, his features hard, strong, oddly familiar. His hair was long and so very light, to Hermione he looked as if he could have been an angel, if angels were to truly exist of course.
"Thank you." She said, not forgetting her manners. "But it was not the subject which deterred me, more the complexity." She admitted, somewhat embarrassed.
"Ah, but here you see, this is a good thing." He explained, his words surprising her. "If it is a challenge to you, if you truly have to think, to push yourself, you are likely to gain a greater understanding of it."
"I hadn't thought of it like that before." She said, smiling.
"Besides, I can tell that you must be an intelligent young witch, I'm sure it will not provide you with too greater challenge. If only my son shared your enthusiasm for books..."
"Don't worry, I'm sure he will come around eventually." She found herself reassuring him, this man she'd only just met but felt as though she already knew. "For some people it just takes one book to get them interested. Here, you should give him this one." She said, handing him one she'd picked out earlier, an autobiography by a wizard who'd gone on a dangerous quest in search of a potions ingredient. It was a fairly easy yet riveting read, delving into the protagonists inner struggles as he tried to fight the darkness within himself, the one he needed the potion to cure, and Hermione had yet to meet anyone who hadn't enjoyed it.
"I couldn't possibly." He insisted. "That edition is rather rare and I don't wish to deprive you of it."
"No, really, please do." She smiled. "I've actually already read it and I'm sure your son, however old he is, will enjoy it."
The man gently took the book from her hand, inspecting its pages. "Yes, I think he would like it." He concluded after skimming some of it. "Thank you."
"You're welcome." Hermione said, spotting her parents waiting for her outside. "Right, I better go and pay for these." She explained, levitating her books to the counter, leaving the man to continue his business.
Once she'd paid for the books and shrunk them down she made her way to the door, pausing as the man called after her. "Thank you again...Sorry, I'm afraid I don't know your name."
"Hermione." She replied, pulling open the door, not missing the way his brow had furrowed when she told him her name. Unperturbed, she continued. "And thank you."
He gave her a curt nod, acknowledging her thanks, but did not tell her his own name, simply disappearing back amongst the shelves.
How curious she thought. He seemed so nice, courteous, interesting, and there was something familiar about him, something that made her feel oddly unsettled.
The book signing with Lockhart had been fun although Hermione was very glad she had come to the shop earlier when it was a bit more peaceful. She still had one more book to buy, considering she'd given one away to that man, so she was looking over some other titles when she heard Harry's raised voice.
Malfoy was there, the annoying ferret that he was, and seemed to be causing trouble.
That's when she saw him, the man from earlier, but no, it couldn't be.
He was Draco's father?!
She both could and couldn't believe it at the same time. On the one hand, they were both physically similar, although Lucius was far more handsome, but the elder Malfoy had been so refined, polite, and, even though Hermione could see now he was a man who often hid behind a facade, genuine.
He saw her, acknowledged her distantly as if their encounter this morning had not occurred, and it stung her somewhat, more than it should have.
"And you must be Miss Granger." He said, looking to Draco for confirmation, as if he needed it. "Yes, Draco's told me all about you, and your parents..." He trailed off, the insinuation igniting a rage within Hermione that she barely managed to keep subdued. "Muggles are they?" He stated as a question he clearly already knew the answer to.
Getting little reaction from Hermione, Lucius jabbed at the Weasleys but, despite his obvious views on muggleborns, left her mostly unscathed after that, ignoring her until the topic of Voldemort was brought up.
"Fear of a name only increases the fear of the thing itself." She said, her words more for their encounter earlier, the way he changed when he heard her own name. He looked somewhat taken aback and she knew that he saw the double meaning of her words, had the decency not to argue what she said, and Hermione revelled in it.
Hermione was glad now that she hadn't told anyone what had happened that morning though, would have felt foolish to have expressed a fondness, an intrigue, in this man who she was supposed to despise, who no doubt despised her. It would explain his reaction to finding out her name after all...surely Lucius Malfoy wouldn't talk to a muggleborn, especially not the insufferable Miss Granger.
After a long and difficult year, Hermione had finally recovered from being petrified and was out in the grounds walking, trying to get her strength back.
She heard raised voices coming from the castle and could have sworn one belonged to Harry so decided to make her way slowly but surely towards the commotion.
Rounding a tree, she crashed straight into someone storming from the building.
"Watch where you're-oh, it's you." Said the man, angrily at first but his voice calming as soon as he recognized her. Lucius.
She hated him, it bubbled inside her whenever she thought of him and what he'd done, what she knew he had just caused to happen to the school, to Ginny, to her...but being with him again she found her rage dissipating.
"Hello, Mr. Malfoy." She greeted, managing with a little difficulty to sound somewhat cold.
He nodded in acknowledgement and looked about to continue walking but, after taking a step, he stopped abruptly. "Thank you again, Miss Granger, for that book, I, that is to say, my son, very much enjoyed reading it." He said, his words sounding so truthful that even if Hermione had wanted to call them lies she would have been unable to.
"I'm glad." Was all she replied.
He smiled tightly, as if his muscles were resisting the action. She made to move on but this time he stopped her.
"Miss Granger." He called. "I am pleased to see you have recovered, it would have been a tragedy to have lost you."
Hermione couldn't quite tell if he was mocking her or not. She stared blankly at him and was about to leave once more when Lucius pulled a package out of his pocket.
"I brought this here for Draco, but alas, he did not want it, apparently it didn't look in as good condition as the last one, so here, you can have it." He said, passing what was clearly a book to her. "And don't worry." He added as he began to walk away. "This one is completely safe."
That should have made her angry, there he was almost admitting to what he'd done, but for some reason it didn't, it just made her even more curious about this strange, mysterious man.
Hermione did not open the package until she was up in her dorm alone and was shocked at what she found. It was the book she had given him in the shop, the autobiography,
She couldn't help but smile.
Year 3 - Hermione Granger and the Lost Boy
Buckbeak had just knocked Draco down, and Hermione's first instinct was to laugh, her second, strangely enough, was to think of Lucius. The situation had 'my father will hear about this' written all over it and she knew that if they didn't get Draco some medical attention immediately, the consequences would be even worse.
Hermione had thought about why the elder Malfoy responded so extremely to things as he did, like how he had behaved with Dumbledore the previous year, and had come to the conclusion that it must have something to do with pride and reputation.
If Lucius, not to mention the Malfoy name and family, was insulted or slighted in any way, and he did not react, he would lose some of his integrity, his authority, and that was something that simply could not happen to him. The Malfoy name had been held in high regard in the wizarding world for centuries and it was on Lucius' shoulders to maintain that. Of course, if he was more pleasant, if he accepted that most of the time Draco was a little goblin, then maybe people would think far better of him...
Hermione was struggling a little, believe it or not, with a concept in one of her books 'Origins of the Dark Arts', so had asked Professor Lupin to help her with it. She had wanted to ask someone else about it, someone she expected was far better informed on the subject, but, unsurprisingly, the opportunity had never arisen.
So, one Saturday afternoon, she found herself in the defence against the dark arts classroom, waiting for Remus to arrive, who was uncharacteristically late. Ten minutes passed and Hermione was considering leaving when the door swung open and the professor rushed in.
"Sorry, sorry." He apologised as he dropped a large pile of books onto one of the desks. "I got held up dealing with this whole Buckbeak fiasco."
"What's happening with Buckbeak?" She asked, dreading the answer.
"Draco Malfoy is blowing the whole thing out of proportion." He explained with exasperation. "Next thing you know we'll have Lucius to deal with too."
"Do you know Lucius?" She questioned, sensing from his words that perhaps he did.
"Hm, oh what, yes, sort of." He replied distractedly, laying out the books. "He was a prefect when I joined Hogwarts, wasn't at all how he is now though."
"How so?" Hermione asked, hoping her curiosity didn't seem peculiar.
"Well, he wasn't so hot tempered that's for sure. I don't think he even cared so much about the blood purity issue, not until, well, the war came around." Lupin pondered. "I mean, we all changed during the war, but Lucius, well, I think it changed him more than most, and not for the better."
"But anyway, enough of that, let's see this book then shall we." He said, taking a look through the pages. "This is advanced stuff Hermione, I'm surprised you have it, not to mention that there's only one part you don't understand. Where did you get it?"
"In Florish and Blotts, a frie-, someone recommended it to me." Hermione explained. "They said that if I found it a challenge I was likely to gain a better understanding of it..."
"Ah, well, wise words, wise words indeed..." He mused, an odd look on his face. "I think someone said a very similar thing to me once...regarding a book on advanced potions, but, it can't have been the same person, no..." Lupin trailed off. "Right, let's get on with this then." He finally said, leaving Hermione curious as to who he was talking about.
"Yes, let's." She agreed, pushing the thoughts of the boy Lucius once was to the back of her mind.
Hermione punched Draco hard.
It was a punch for all the years of insults and torment he had given her, for calling her a mudblood, but most of all it was for Lucius, that is, she wished it were Lucius she was punching instead.
Why did he have to do this? To get Buckbeak killed? He made it so easy for her to hate him, made her feel so awful about almost liking him, having some strange sort of interest in him, and it made her feel foolish, and stupid, and she hated him for it all the more.
Lucius Malfoy, the man she was meant to hate, who she did hate, who she hated herself for liking...
Lucius Malfoy sat at his desk doing paper work, a most tiring but necessary role he had to attend to, when there was a brisk knock on the door, his son entering before Lucius could say anything. Some may have seen Draco's actions as bold, normal even, but all Lucius saw was a lack of respect. How had he gone so wrong with his son?
"Father." Draco called as he marched into the room, his hand over his face. "You have to do something about that mudblood bitch!" He demanded, revealing his broken, bruised and slightly bleeding nose. "Look at what she did to me!"
Lucius laughed, something he didn't do often, a laugh of exasperation, but also some strange irony, Draco's face dropping in confusion.
"I can't get her killed like that poor hippogriff, can I Draco." He joked darkly. "Perhaps, next time, you will learn to hold your tongue." Lucius warned, guessing his sons brutish ways had lead to the girl accosting him. She may be a muggle born, but at least she had some, well, many, of the redeemable qualities his son, and regrettably many other purebloods, seemed to lack, not that he would ever admit to have thought so of course.
"Enough Draco." He said firmly, standing to his full, not to mention, impressive, height. "I have had to spend enough of my time dealing with the situations you manage to get into, I do not have the desire nor time to do so further for such a trivial matter."
"But she's a mudblood, she shouldn't-"
"I said enough!" Lucius shouted, his anger steadily building. "Your nose can be easily healed, no doubt Miss Granger herself knows the spell." He added, knowing his words would sting Dracos pride. "She may be a muggleborn, yes, and there is a time and place for... dealing with her kind, but that does not excuse your inability to protect yourself or keep your tactless tongue in check. Now leave me, I have a lot to attend to." He said dismissively.
Draco looked about to protest but, grumbling, he left the room, shutting the door just a little too loudly as he left.
Lucius sat back down with a sigh. He tried to tell himself that he would have acted the same with his son if it had been any other mudblood, but perhaps he had been harsher on his son as the assailant in question was Hermione. He was intrigued by the girl, wished his son was more like her, and couldn't help but think Draco deserved what he got. It had been an odious enough task dealing with the hippogriff incident. He'd been fond of the creatures in his youth, even ridden one once, but when a Malfoy is slighted like that in front of so many people he couldn't simply ignore the incident. Lucius would have been happy with the oaf Hagrid being suspended, or the creature relocated, but things had, regrettably, gotten out of hand.
He got back to his paperwork, trying not to think too much on his son or the Granger girl. T
hings were starting to take a darker turn once again in his life and he had to focus on that, try and stop things from going back to how they were all those years ago.
Year 4 - Hermione Granger and The Positive Parts of Quidditch
It was the day of the quidditch world cup and, despite not being a huge fan of the sport, Hermione couldn't stop the atmosphere from exciting her.
It thrilled her to see how diverse the magical world was at times like these, all the different cultures, races, people, here to celebrate and compete together.
The Weasleys and Harry were bounding up the steps ahead of her, shouting and singing the anthems of their favourite sides. Up and up they went, eventually having to stop to catch their breath.
"Bloody hell dad, how far up are we?" Ron complained, straining his neck in an attempt to see how many stairs were left.
"Let's just say you'll be the first to know if it rains." Came a haughty drawl from below them. At first Hermione liked the sound of it, deep, powerful, erotic, familiar. That is to say, liked it until she looked down and put a face to the voice.
"Lucius." Arthur greeted coldly, not forgetting his manners despite his clear hatred for the man.
"We'll be up in the Minister's box." Draco gloated, appearing at his fathers side. "By personal invitation of Cornelius Fudge himself. "
Hermione could feel the boys bristling beside her, having to bite their tongues.
"Now, now, Draco. It is rude to boast." Reprimanded Lucius after a roll of his eyes, obviously exasperated by his sons lack of tact. Hermione smirked at seeing Lucius' frustration, something he clearly noticed and, much to Hermione's surprise, he sent her a sly smile, unseen by the others.
A warmth spread through her at the silent exchange between them, most curiously settling at her core, an ache building seemingly of its own accord. She chastised herself, she should not be reacting to Lucius Malfoy like this. Despite the immaculate way he dressed, his broad shoulders, strong jaw, breathtaking hair and clear high level of intelligence...
"Come, we don't want to be late." Said Lucius, urging Draco forward.
Harry and the Weasleys continued up the stairs ahead of her, muttering to themselves. Hermione however, was slow to move on, loitering as she watched the platinum head of Lucius move through the crowd, people seeming to move apart for him as he did. He turned just before he disappeared out of view, catching her gaze, and, if she was not mistaken, he inclined his head towards her in a nod before carrying on.
Shaking her head slightly and letting out a sigh, Hermione managed to take one step before she heard someone call her name. Her first thought was Lucius, but no, the voice was not anything like his.
She looked down to see Cornelius Fudge waving at her. "Miss Granger." He called again.
"Are you coming?" Ginny asked from above her.
"I'll be five minutes." She said with a tired smile.
Hermione made her way down the steps towards Fudge. "Hello Minister, to what do I owe this pleasure?" She asked, forcing herself to be polite with the imbecile.
"Ah, Miss Granger." He greeted, his chin wobbling in a most unpleasant way. "I've been hearing great things about your work at Hogwarts, great things, and I think it's time we talked."
It was obvious to Hermione that Fudge had decided she'd make a great Ministry employee and was buttering her up for the future, something Dumbledore warned her he might do, and she didn't want to stick around for that.
"We shall have to organise a meeting sometime then." She said, taking a slight step back to make it obvious she wanted to leave.
"Yes, yes, we must." He agreed, oblivious to the social cue. "Actually, how about now? You should come up to the Ministers box with me, we can talk at half-time."
Any other day, even five minutes ago, and Hermione would have declined, gone to sit with her friends, but, before she got the chance to register what she was doing, she found herself saying. "Yes, why not?" The thought of a long haired man seeming to be the only thing occupying her mind.
"Excellent." He boomed. "I'll have my aide notify your friends. Come now, let's get up there, best not be late!"
She followed him through the crowds to the box, hoping her friends wouldn't think her actions too odd. They arrived, and even Hermione could tell that these were the best seats in the house, feeling a little guilty that she was here instead of Harry and Ron.
"Looks like they're letting any old riff raff in." She heard Draco say just that little bit too loud for it to be called subtle.
"Hm, I don't see the Weasleys here." Lucius responded distractedly, seemingly oblivious to who his son was referring to, but Hermione knew he had seen her, had caught her eye as soon as she entered the room.
"Come Hermione, here, take a seat." Cornelius said as he gestured to her the only one available, front row, next to a wizard she could understand people wanting to avoid, Lucius.
She took her seat quietly, thanking Fudge as was due, and sat looking resolutely forward, attempting to ignore the venomous look Draco was no doubt sending her way.
She couldn't ignore HIS presence though, not Lucius, could feel the heat radiating from his body, could smell the cologne she remembered all too well from Flourish and Blotts, and it was almost torture not to even glance at him.
Much to her relief, the match started soon after she arrived and it was easier to focus on the game happening in front of her, the impressive way the teams played. Viktor Krum truly was as impressive as her friend had said he would be, yet still, her mind strayed to the man next to her.
Half time arrived, and thankfully, the Minister seemed far too busy to talk to Hermione, Draco still persistently attempting to get his attention none the less.
"Hello Miss Granger." Said Lucius, finally acknowledging her now that his son was elsewhere.
"Hello Mr Malfoy." She replied, returning his searing gaze.
"Are you enjoying the match?" He asked civilly, as if he knew her, almost as if they were friends.
"More than I normally do." Hermione admitted. "I like to see the magical world like this, it really makes me feel a part of it."
Lucius looked at her, a curious glint in his eye that she couldn't quite place, and it unsettled her slightly.
"Are you?" She asked, trying to move on.
"I suppose, although I'm not particularly interested in who wins."
"Neither am I, it's more the skill of the players I enjoy, the way they move so fluidly through the air." She said as she looked out to the field.
"My sentiments exactly." He agreed, the look in his eyes still not gone, yet she still could not place it.
"I hear Viktor Krum may be coming to Hogwarts this year, I believe he goes to Durmstrang does he not."
"Oh, I didn't know, that would be very nice." She said, smiling ever so slightly, not missing the small furrowing of Lucius brow at her words. "I mean, it would be great to have all the other students there." She added. "To see more of the magical world." And it seemed to appease Lucius somewhat.
He looked about to say something else but suddenly Draco returned, coming to sit back down with a huff, complaining that the Minister was rude for not talking to him. Hermione rolled her eyes and returned her attention once more to the field, somewhat disappointed that her talk with Lucius had been so short, curious about his peculiar reactions to her words. He shifted next to her, turning to face Draco, his leg now brushing against her own, and she couldn't quite bring herself to move it away, it was as if all her feeling was now focused on the small part where they touched.
The second half started not long after, yet Lucius still did not move his leg from her own, seeming content with the fact that it was touching a muggleborn. Hermione tried to ignore it, knew it meant nothing and that it shouldn't be invoking the feelings it was within her, but found it hard none the less. She could feel his eyes on her from time to time, and occasionally would catch them when he was not quick enough to look away, found herself smiling at him, apparently unable to stop the reaction to him.
All too soon, the match ended after a very close chase between the two seekers, Hermione finding herself slightly disappointed that Krum had missed the snitch. Everyone was standing to leave, bustling out of the room, but Lucius waited, blocking her way out. He turned to her, offering her his hand, gloveless she noted. "Goodbye Miss Granger." He said, sounding far less formal than usual. "It was, good, to see you today." He added, knowing Draco was out of earshot.
"Yes, it was." She said, another one of those smiles coming unbidden to her lips, the corner of his own curling up ever so slightly. "Perhaps we will see each other again soon."
His face faltered slightly at her words, but he quickly regained control of his expression. "Perhaps." He said courteously. "Tell me, Miss Granger, are you returning home now?" He asked.
"No, I think we're camping here for the night." She replied, not thinking too much of the question.
"Ah, I feel sorry for you then, the weather is supposed to be atrocious tonight, if I were you I'd head home." Lucius suggested.
"I sort of wish I could." Hermione admitted. "I've never really enjoyed camping all that much, but unfortunately it's not up to me." She said with a shrug.
"Hm." He said, that small frown once again returning to his brow. "Well, I must be on my way now, goodbye again, Miss Granger."
"Goodbye ." She said as she shook his outstretched hand, so warm clasped in her own.
He walked away a few steps but suddenly stopped, turning to her once more. "Miss Granger." He called above the noise. "Stay safe." And with that he left, leaving Hermione confused and, suddenly, very lonely.
People were screaming and running all around her, spells flying and fires burning.
She was following the Weasleys as they pushed their way through the crowd, trying desperately not to lose the beacons of red hair with all the people jostling around them.
Suddenly she could run no further, her jumper had snagged on something and she was pulled backwards, letting out a cry for it only to be lost in the myriad of voices around her. Using a spell she was able to free herself and relief flooded over her, that was, until she ran around a tent straight into one of the masked assailants.
Hermione stood still, frozen, all sense escaping her. Surely this was it, after all these years doing dangerous things her time was finally up, her luck run out.
The death eater raised his wand, clearly preparing the final blow, but stopped, his head cocking slightly. He leaned in close, his face mere inches from her own, and suddenly she could smell it, him, the scent she could still remember from Flourish and Blotts those few years ago, but no, it couldn't be. Lucius.
"Run." He whispered, turning from her and marching into the frantic hoards.
Hermione ran, ran as fast as she could, until finally she found the Weasleys, huddled in a group far from the mayhem.
"Hermione!" Ron shouted when he spotted her. "Thank Merlin you're ok. What happened? We looked back and suddenly you were gone."
"I got caught on something but when I freed myself I couldn't see you anymore." She explained, not wanting to mention Lucius.
No, not Lucius.
She didn't want to believe it but knew it to be true, had known it ever since second year, but she still found it so hard to accept. He was a death eater, he should despise her, and yet...he'd let her go.
The Yule ball.
Why did Ron have to ruin everything?
Tonight she had had so much fun, felt happy, beautiful, and he'd managed to take all that away from her with one of his stupid comments.
Tears were falling down her cheeks, she knew they were, and she didn't want people to see her like this. Hermione Granger was stronger than this, wasn't she...
She walked quickly away from the ball, not entirely sure where she was going, until she was outside, away from everyone.
Hermione decided to go and stand out on the bridge, she'd always liked it there, but when she arrived she could see someone else was already standing in the middle, her favourite spot.
She was about to turn and leave when the moon came out from behind a cloud, the light illuminating the figure, his hair shining as it fell down his back, uncharacteristic lose strands covering his face.
Her breath caught. Lucius.
She should run, just as he'd told her to back at the world cup, but she couldn't, no, he was magnetic, and she silently made her way towards him.
He didn't even glance at her when she came to stand next to him, leaning on the railings as she took a deep breath of the fresh air.
"Miss Granger." He greeted, still staring out to the lake.
"Lucius." Hermione replied, finding it hard to call him Malfoy.
They fell into an oddly comfortable silence, simply taking in the moonlit scenery around them, until Hermione started to shiver in the cool night air.
"Here." Said Lucius, giving her his coat. The gesture struck Hermione, he could have just used a warming spell, completely ignored her, but no, he'd offered her his own jacket.
"Thank you." She smiled, draping the long cloak around her shoulders.
"You didn't tell anyone." He stated after a few more seconds of silence.
Hermione did not have to ask what he meant, she knew he referred to their encounter at the world cup, knew she can't have mentioned it to anyone.
"No, I didn't."
"Why are you here, Hermione?" He asked, for the first time using her first name.
She looked away, embarrassed to answer, and, in truth, not entirely sure why she'd even come out onto the bridge in the first place.
"Whoever he is, I'm sure he will regret his error one day." Said Lucius, seeming to already know the answer to his question. "Boys often don't appreciate the value of someone like you until it is far too late and, some day, you will meet a man who is worthy of you."
His words warmed her, restored and exceeded the happiness she had felt earlier that evening, but found herself thinking 'but I'll never find anyone quite like you...'
"Why are you here, Lucius?" She asked back, not knowing how to respond to his words.
"Governors business, and visiting an old friend."
Karkarov, Hermione thought, the old death eater...
"Severus." Lucius corrected her thought. "I never liked Igor." He admitted, surprising her at his openness, freely admitting what he was, what he still is.
"But, as to why I'm on this bridge, I just like it here, the view, the solitude, I often used to come here when I was a student."
Hermione almost laughed at how strange the situation was, how similar this man seemed to herself. Here he was, in her spot, well, his spot, getting away from everything, seeming to forget the man he was these days, the views he held.
"What? " He asked, seeing the peculiar smile on her face.
"Nothing." She said, still smiling. "I just find you to be a very intriguing person, Mr Malfoy."
"And I you." He said, standing and preparing to leave as he noticed some other students approaching the bridge. "I believe that, perhaps, you are the exception." He explained, referring to her muggleborn status.
She did laugh this time, a single dry laugh. Handing him back his coat, she too made to leave, giving him a nod of farewell. As she reached the end of the bridge she turned back to look at him, as he was doing to her at the other end and said. "Perhaps, Lucius, I am the rule."
And walked away smiling, leaving Lucius once more, alone, on the other side of the bridge, a great rift between them again.
Well, hope you liked it. Part 2 (years 5-7) might take me a few weeks to write but I have them planned so perhaps a little less.