Author's Notes: This is an Alternate Universe (AU) fic. If you don't know what that means, here's a brief explanation: AU fics simply take the characters and place them in a completely different world/setting from the original works. Either that, or they make a very drastic change to the original universe that the story takes place in. Example: A story about how everything would be if Harry had ended up in Slytherin. Either way, the universe of the fanfic is alternate, hence the name "Alternate Universe". ^_^

This will be a DracoxHermione fic. If you detest that pairing, then you probably won't like this story. But if you at least tolerate it, I'd like to ask you to give this story a chance. Who knows, you may start to like the pairing. ^_^ This idea has probably been done a million times. It's not all that original. If anyone knows of a story like this, PLEASE inform me so that I won't waste my time writing it again. ^^;;

There may be some racy moments and times when things get a little "objectionable", but I will try to control myself. I'll probably end up writing two versions: one more generally appropriate for forums and ff.net, and one for a more adult audience. If you have any comments/questions/suggestions/complaints, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Chapter One:

Draco Malfoy was a privileged young man. In a world where only the most cunning rise to the top, he was lucky to have been born into one of the most cunning families in history. The Malfoys were rich, powerful, and most important of all, Pureblood.

The Muggle population had been completely wiped out, deemed useless by those of the Magical World. Those unfortunate wizards and witches who had been born of Muggles (and therefore tainted) were used as slaves, servants, and other such low-class positions. Their powers were useful, but they couldn't be trusted, or allowed to reproduce. The Muggle-borns were predicted to die out within a hundred years, at most.

Draco stood in front of a full-length mirror in his lavish bedroom. It was his eighteenth birthday, the day he became an adult. He smoothed the folds of his black cloak and pushed the white-gold hair away from his face. He pulled on a pair of black gloves before he headed down to the living room of his family mansion.

It was quite an exciting day for his parents, for today they were to purchase Draco's first slave, the best birthday present they could think of for him. The idea had appalled him. He did not need a Mudblood to tag along after him, making his bed and dusting his room. The family servants were for that. The only possible use he could think of for a Mudblood slave was for practicing curses and spells. But his father had insisted, assuring him that supporting the slave system would keep the Mudbloods in their place.

So Draco left that morning with his father, quite begrudgingly. They walked down a street lined with small glass cells that looked more like cages than anything else. The creatures inside them were skinny, dirty, and clothed only in brown rags. Draco stopped a couple of times to peek in and narrow his eyes at them, but his father continued without pause. "These are the cheap ones," he said to Draco without turning around, "the most disgusting of them all. We will find you a proper slave."

Draco frowned slightly but followed along without complaint. Soon they reached a place where the cells were larger, with silver trim and the creatures inside were not dirty, but still thin and poorly dressed. Draco's father spoke a bit with a merchant, then nodded for Draco to begin searching for the one he would choose.

He paced up and down the street, eying the cells with utter contempt. To think that he would need one of these things to aid him. Useless, hideous, creatures. He paused beside a few that seemed relatively interesting, some were very young, some were fairly old. There were equal amounts of males and females, none more enticing than the others.

Suddenly something caught his eye in one of the cells. A mess of bushy, spiraling brown hair spread out to take most of the space in the cell. Draco strode over, curious to see what hideous face the hair must be hiding. He tapped on the glass, to rouse the Mudblood.

Nothing happened. It made no response. He tapped again. Still nothing. Draco was becoming impatient. He tapped again, harder this time. Receiving no further progress, he walked away. He was not going to waste his time on a deaf and/or retarded Mudblood.

The merchant undoubtedly realized that Draco had little interest in the whole affair, and that the Mudblood he had just looked at had come the closest to piquing any interest he had. He could get far more out of her than another that the customer had just settled for.

The merchant jogged around to the cell filled with brown hair and shook it violently. "Wake up, you bloody wench!" he yelled.

Draco turned around coolly, watching the scene with only mild interest. Finally the Mudblood rolled over in her cell to face the merchant. Suddenly Draco's interest was no longer mild. The girl in the cell was quite pretty. Not exactly gorgeous, but her face was fairer than many a Pureblood he had been introduced to. He was surprised. Most of the Mudbloods he had seen were ugly or just very plain. Perhaps it was because they were not given decent clothes or adequate grooming utensils.

The merchant began working at the latches of the cell. "Want to take a look at her?" he asked.

Draco nodded wordlessly, disguising his intrigue as curiosity. The merchant opened up the cell and grabbed the girl's arm. He jerked her out and she landed in a heap on the pavement. "Stand up, you useless strumpet!"

The girl made no response. "Is she deaf?" Draco asked.

The merchant growled. "No, just bloody stubborn!" he answered, pulling her to her feet by her hair.

Lucius came up behind them. "A Mudblood that doesn't know its place. How revolting. Let's move on, Draco."

Draco started to walk on, but then stopped himself. Suddenly the idea of a challenge, of breaking a slave in, became appealing. "You say she's stubborn?" he asked, stepping closer to her.

The merchant caught this immediately. "As stubborn as they come! She used to be a fighter, always clawing and hitting someone. Used to scream all day on how this was 'inhumane' or whatever. She finally calmed down about two years ago. Now she just won't do anything without being forced."

Draco was now circling her, eyeing her up and down. She only looked at the ground, as if the whole situation were of no interest whatsoever to her. He put a hand down suddenly and roughly onto her shoulder, to see if she would waver, but she stood firmly. "She seems durable," he said, ignoring his father's disapproving face. "How old is she?"

"Eighteen, more or less. We don't keep up with their exact birth dates."

"And has she ever been owned before?"

"Are you kidding? Up till the past two years she was too much of a hassle for anyone to deal with, and now days no one's interested in a stubborn slave." The merchant grinned when he noticed Draco's eyes shown a bit.

Draco paused directly in front of her and pushed her hair back away from her face. He gripped her chin and tilted her face up. He moved it to the left, then to the right. "Not too hard to look at." He muttered. "I'll take her!"

Lucius looked as if he were ready to faint. "Draco, this Mudblood will only cause trouble! We won't get back half what we paid for her if we resell!"

"Who says I want to resell? I think she'll be amusing." Draco said with a strange sort of smile. "Prepare her," he said to the merchant.

The merchant pulled a brown leather collar from his cloak and fastened it around the girl's neck. "This collar is charmed. It puts her in a weak, tired state. I suggest you only use it until you get her home, unless you want a slave that can do nothing but lay around in a daze."

Draco nodded and waited for his father to pay. After that was done, the three of them began their trip back home. The girl followed them like a puppet. Even without the collar, she would've done the same. Though she didn't allow it to show, she was quite shocked that anyone would want her. She had lost count of the times she had been tossed back into the cell after a possible customer had turned away. Not that she particularly wanted to be owned, but somewhere in the back of her mind she always thought that she had a better chance of escaping from an unsuspecting household than from merchants trained in keeping Mudbloods imprisoned.

So the Mudblood now owned by Draco Malfoy remained silent, biding her time and waiting for an opportunity. She would escape from him, and she would flee to an underground free zone. All she had to do was put up with this rich brat for a few days. She was certain that it wouldn't be so hard. She'd probably have to fluff his pillows and shine his shoes. This would be easy, or so she thought.