Her deep, red robes billowed behind her; almost a perfect replica of Professor Snape himself. Her curly hair that seemed to have a life of its own was swaying from side to side with each step she took. The frizzy hair from Hogwarts had tamed itself years after the war. Instead, it hung down her back; plaited curls that flowed through the light brown locks. You could hear the clicking of her heels, as she strode down the halls of the Ministry of Magic.
"Lovely day, isn't it Miss Granger?" Hermione looked at the old woman sitting behind the front desk. She smiled and replied politely back.
"It is quite lovely, Mrs. Chamberlain. Have you heard anything back from Mr. Malfoy regarding the meeting I wish to have with him?" Hermione had decided that in order to find as much information as she needed, she would have to go as far as to conduct a one-on-one meeting with the ex-death eater.
The woman behind the desk pursed her lips in question and replied back. "I suspect so, if the large white owl that dropped off a letter onto your desk this morning has anything to do with it. Quite fitting for a Malfoy, wouldn't you say?"
Hermione's lips quirked into a small smile, letting out a huffed laugh. "Thank you for letting me know, and yes I would have to agree with you on that one, Mrs. Chamberlain. I'll just be heading off to my office now. Don't forget to eat lunch, that's why such a thing as a lunch break exists!"
Hermione had found out a few days earlier that her assistant was rubbish with time management, and ended up getting lost in her work. She couldn't blame the woman though; she had the same problem too.
"Thank you, dear. Have a good day!" The old woman called out to Hermione as she started walking away.
Hermione waved her hand behind her, signaling her leave.
As she walked into her office, she saw what she had been looking for. Sitting on top of her old, mahogany desk, lay a crisp letter enclosed by a large wax seal, an "M" right on the center. Breaking the seal and sliding out the piece of parchment, she began to read the elegant scroll of Lucius Malfoy.
"Miss Granger," the letter started.
"I am ever so intrigued as to why you are requesting a meeting with myself. As you know, I am quite a busy man, but I will allow some time out of my hectic week just for you."
Hermione scoffed and rolled her eyes at his pompous words. What an infuriating man! Only two sentences into the letter and he has already boasted about himself.
"As I am quite interested in what you have to say, let us have this meeting today. Shall we say, 2:30 pm, this afternoon? Forgive me for being presumptuous, but I am quite certain you have questions that only I can answer. I cannot imagine why else you would request to meet with me. I shall come, and we can discuss your inquiries.
Lord Lucius Abraxas Malfoy."
Hermione scoffed at the letter and dropped it back on her desk. His conceited personality practically oozed through the words.
What an exasperating man. She thought to herself with a sneer. He always knew how to grate on Hermione's nerves.
"Okay, it's about 10:45 right now. That gives me four hours to sort through these reports until that arsehole shows up." Hermione muttered to herself as she sat down to begin her work.
She liked her job. Not always, especially when it came to filling out missives such as the ones she was currently working on, but there were perks to her job as well.
Working in the department of Misuse of Muggle Artifacts came as quite a shock to everyone. Some thought she would become the next Alastor Moody; an incredible Auror. Others thought she would end up becoming a professor at Hogwarts.
She was offered both of these positions amongst others. She nearly took up the job at Hogwarts to become an apprentice for Headmistress Minerva McGonagall, but she wasn't too sure that she was ready for that position; especially with all of the work that would come with it.
Of course, Hermione loved to work hard and come up with lesson plans, but she wanted to take a break from being at Hogwarts 24/7, and instead take up work someplace more low maintenance. She knew Arthur Weasley worked in this department and saw the enthusiasm he had for his job. So, Hermione decided she would try out working for the Ministry, and then accept the apprenticeship from Minerva after a few years or so.
Hours had passed, and it was nearing 2:25 pm by the time she had finished all of her work.
Mr. Malfoy will be here in five minutes, and probably not a second late, thought Hermione.
Always punctual and perfect. How on earth can he keep up his facade for so long? Hermione wondered to herself.
She was startled out of her thoughts as three solid knocks landed on the door to her office.
"Shite..." Hermione swore as she rapidly organized all of the papers on her desk and stuffed them into the right-hand drawer.
She stood up, her hands straightening out her black pencil skirt, and pushing a few stray curls behind her ear.
Wait, thought Hermione. Why am I fixing myself up for Lucius Malfoy?
She stopped herself from righting anything else and walked over to the door to open it.
Standing on the other side was none other than Lucius Malfoy, looking tall and haughty with his cane; the silver snake head clutched tightly in his hand which was covered in a black leathered glove. His hair was still long as ever but was now tied back with a black ribbon. His robes were immaculate: all black, with a single silver snake that held together his outer robe, with insides that were lined with green satin.
Well, Hermione thought to herself. He still looks as opulent as before…
Lucius suddenly spoke in his low timbre voice, shaking Hermione out of her thoughts. "Miss Granger, what a pleasure to see you, and I must say, you truly are a sight for sore eyes..."
Hermione grimaced, giving him a stiff smile at his words. His low-blow insult managed to provoke her anger.
"Yes, good afternoon Lord Malfoy, please do come in." She spat.
Lucius' eyes hardened in contempt as she sarcastically referred to him as "Lord Malfoy." Not that she was wrong, he truly was Lord Malfoy, but he knew this feisty little witch would never call him by such a high title with sincerity.
That's fine; it would mean nothing to me if it was coming from a Mudblood like her, Lucius mused to himself.
He would never let her know this though, not after working so hard to rebuild the Malfoy name after the war. One slip of the tongue, especially around the famous war heroine, would throw away all of the progress that he has made. He'd be damned if he let that happen.
He sauntered into her shabby office and eyed the small wooden chair sitting in front of her desk. Oh for Salazar's sake, the bint doesn't even have armrests on her bloody chairs! She's expecting me to sit in that? He thought to himself.
"Please sit down, Mr. Malfoy," she said, as she gestured for him to sit in the chair that she saw him disgustedly glare at.
"I would offer you some tea, but I think we both know that you would decline. I doubt the Ministry's tea would be good enough for you, Lucius. May I call you by your given name, Lucius? I, of course, offer for you to call me by mine." She smirked at Malfoy. Hermione swore she could see the fire burning behind his cold, silver eyes.
She wouldn't tolerate his sly remarks and contemptuous glares.
"What a privilege I am being given, Miss Granger. Of course, you may call me whatever you please. I would be honored to call you by your name, Hermione." Lucius smiled to himself. Nothing wrong with a little friendly bantering.
He had to give her props; she was playing dirty. But no one played dirty better than Lucius Malfoy, himself.
Hermione smirked at the sarcastic tone that took over his words. "Perfect, Lucius. Now, onto the matter at hand." She clasped her hands together as she began.
"As you know, my work here in the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts department involves acquiring many dark objects that have been cursed or charmed; objects such as rings, medals, even diaries. I'm sure you're quite familiar with artifacts such as these, Isn't that right Lucius?"
She was playing with fire after that comment, and she completely knew it.
Of course, everyone was aware that it was he, who had slipped Tom Riddle's diary into Ginny's cauldron, that day in Flourish & Blotts.
He sternly lifted his head, and his body seemed to go rigid for a few seconds. His eyes were staring icily at her.
"No matter." Hermione resumed her speech. "These incidents are in the past, Lucius." She smirked.
"As I was saying, my job deals with artifacts that have been tampered with, or have any trace of magic on them. Now, in order to acquire these objects, my colleagues and I are involved in raids, alongside Aurors who are originally sent out to conduct these raids."
"Miss Gra-Hermione," he fixed himself. "I am aware of the many departments within the ministry, and their duties. Please, do get to the point." Lucius abruptly interrupted Hermione's explanation.
She shook her head, "Of course Lucius, you are right."
She was dragging this on too much. The quicker she got to the point of the matter, the faster she would be rid of him.
"Anyways, I was called in on a recent raid that was conducted in the Lestrange Manor. As it has become abandoned- because of the extinction of the bloodline, Magical Law Enforcement has decided that it should be cleaned out of all objects that could be dangerous. Many of the Lestrange's belongings were tainted with dark magic, but all have been able to be deemed safe again," she paused. "Except one."
Hermione stood up and walked over to the large cabinet located in the farthest corner of the room. The keys to the cabinet clinked together as she dug them out of her pocket. She slowly unlocked and opened the door, walking out with an object covered by a dirty sheet, cradled in her hands. She carefully walked back to her desk and seated herself with the object right in front of her-a reasonable distance away from Lucius- just to be sure.
As she looked at him, she watched the way his head tilted to the side in wonderment.
She decided to save him the questioning thoughts and began to explain. "This object I have here was unable to be opened and could not be, how shall I put it, 'cleansed' of the magic placed on it."
The witch grabbed the sheet covering the object and tugged it out of the way. She watched Lucius as she did this, interested in seeing his reaction.
As soon as the artifact was revealed, Hermione could see that Lucius was disturbed. His eyes that were previously filled with mirth were now dead. Though, they had widened for a brief second when he had first caught sight of it. His body was taut, and the sound of leather tightening against metal was heard, as his hands clenched onto his cane.
Hermione had gotten exactly the reaction she anticipated.