A/N – Welcome back and Happy New Year to all my readers. I thought I'd start the year by explaining about my posting schedule for the coming year.
Like last year, Mondays and Fridays are going to be dedicated to my dark stories. However, I haven't currently got any dark stories finished (although I do have a few heading towards the end). That includes the Goddess of Vengeance sequel, which means I can't give a start date for when it's going to be published, but I am still hoping to get it out during the first half of the year (but that's not to say another story might be finished sooner and is published before it). I can promise that the sequel will be published this year – people might just have to be patient. But until I have a dark story either finished, or near enough to be finished that I'm happy to start publishing it, Mondays and Fridays will be when I'll post the odd one shot and collection piece.
Tuesdays and Thursdays will be the days I post my other longer stories which aren't dark. That will start next week with a mystery story set in the same universe as Femme Fatale. And Wednesdays will be for the publication of this story – Shattered Trust.
As for Shattered Trust, it's a four part story which will build into one long story. I decided to split the story into four parts so I could give it more depth, and deal with each part of the story in it's own right. I've already finished the first three parts, and am working on the last part. Updates will be once a week, with a couple of weeks gap between each part. It means that the story will take the entire year to publish, so if that is going to be too drawn out for people they might want to wait until all four parts are published before they read it.
However, I do hope people will read as I publish Shattered Trust, and I hope people enjoy it. This story is probably not for fans of the Order. It also features a quite dark Draco in later parts, and there is even an element of Dark Hermione – although it is very different from a Dark story as Hermione's loyalty is not with the dark. The story is rated M for some violence and some sex – both of which feature more heavily in later parts, but I wanted to keep the entire series at the same rating. This part has 10 chapters, and as I said it will be published weekly on a Wednesday evening. The story starts in seventh year – meaning some events have run differently from the original books, but they're explained as the story goes along. Enjoy and thanks for reading.
"You know you can still come with us," Ron Weasley said to his best friend, Hermione Granger, as he shoveled another sausage into his mouth.
The pair were eating their breakfast in The Great Hall, alongside Ron's sister Ginny, and their other best friend, Harry Potter. In less than an hour, Harry, Ron and Ginny would be heading home for the Christmas holidays, whereas Hermione had opted to stay at school.
"Don't talk with your mouth full, Ron," Ginny scolded her brother, sounding spookily like their mother, Molly.
Ron pulled a face at his sister, but didn't argue as he turned his attention back to Hermione. "Even if you don't have time to pack, I'm sure Dumbledore would let you pop back for some clothes."
"I'm sure he could," Hermione agreed. "But it won't be necessary, Ron. I've made my decision, and I'm staying here for the holidays."
"But we're really going to miss you," Ron pouted.
"Yeah, it'll be no fun without you," Ginny added. "Without you, I'm surrounded by boys."
Hermione knew for Ginny being surrounded by boys wasn't really a problem, except the fact the boys she would be surrounded by over the holidays would be her brothers. Harry was the only exception, and while Ginny quite fancied Harry, he was oblivious to the redheaded witch. For Harry his priority was Voldemort, and working with Dumbledore and the Order of the Phoenix to make sure he was defeated for good this time.
"We will miss you, Hermione," Harry said, smiling at his best friend.
"And I'll miss you guys," Hermione replied. "But I really want to stay at school this year. Our exams start just after Easter, and I want to be fully prepared."
"You could pass your exams now," Ron snorted. Hermione had aced her O.W.L.S in fifth year, and Ron had no doubt she would do the same with her N.E.W.T.S this year.
"I doubt it," Hermione chuckled. "We're likely to be tested on stuff we haven't even started to learn about yet."
"Bloody hell, I'm never going to pass these exams," Ron wailed. He knew he would have trouble remembering the stuff they'd already learnt over the last six and a half years, without adding even more magic to the mix.
"You'll be fine," Hermione said with a warm smile. In her opinion Ron was smarter than he gave himself credit for, he just needed a bit more confidence in himself.
"Yeah, don't stress yourself yet, Ron," Harry said. "Let's just enjoy the holidays."
"If we can," Ron replied seriously.
Everyone knew Ron was referring to Voldemort and his Death Eaters. Since his return to full strength at the end of their fourth year, Voldemort had been an ever growing presence in the wizarding world. Initially the Ministry had tried to deny he was even back, but they'd had to admit they were wrong when Voldemort launched an attack on the Ministry of Magic in broad daylight. That was over a year ago, and since then Death Eater attacks were a regular occurrence. It was just luck that they hadn't yet managed to infiltrate the Ministry and take over at Hogwarts.
"I refuse to have my holidays ruined by that monster," Harry announced forcefully. "I suggest we forget all about him, and concentrate on having fun."
"You all do that," Hermione said as the foursome got up from the table and slowly headed towards the doors. "And have a great holiday."
"You too," Ginny returned, pulling Hermione into a hug as they hit the front hallway. "Don't study too much. You have to have fun as well."
"I'm sure I'll squeeze in some fun," Hermione replied as out of the corner of the eye she spotted the Slytherins in their year emerging from the Great Hall.
Ron and Harry had also seen the Slytherins, and they moved Hermione and Ginny down the hallway so they wouldn't come into contact with the students from the rival house. However, that didn't stop Harry and Ron watching nosily as Draco Malfoy said goodbye to his friends, and went heading off up the main staircase.
"Is Malfoy stopping behind?" Ron asked with a frown as the Slytherins headed out of the front door towards the carriages that were starting to take people down to the train station.
"I don't know," Hermione replied, even though she knew full well the Head Boy was remaining at school for the holidays.
"Maybe you should come with us," Harry said thoughtfully. "I don't like the idea of you being stuck with Malfoy over the holidays."
"I share dorms with him every day, Harry," Hermione pointed out. She wished her friends wouldn't be so judgmental when it came to the Slytherins, Draco especially, but years of trying to get them to be more open minded had fallen on deaf ears. Harry and Ron hated Slytherins, and nothing she could say or do could change their minds.
"Yes, but everyone else is in the castle," Harry argued. "Practically everyone's leaving, so it'll be harder for you to find anyone if something happens."
"Nothing will happen," Hermione insisted with an exasperated sigh. "Honestly, you should really give Draco a chance. He's not that bad when you get to know him."
"I wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw him," Ron sneered. "Just be careful, Hermione. Malfoy and his family are bad news."
"I'll be careful," Hermione conceded, with a weak smile. "Shouldn't you three be going? You don't want to miss the train."
"No, we don't," Harry agreed as he checked his watch. Luckily their bags had already been transported down to the train, so they didn't have to go back up to Gryffindor Tower and risk getting left behind. "You be careful Hermione, and if you need us, just write. In fact if you need us, find one of the Professors in the Order and they can contact us."
"Just go and have fun," Hermione urged as she gave the three a hug. "Enjoy yourselves, and have a great Christmas."
With more goodbyes and best wishes exchanged, Harry, Ron and Ginny finally departed the school. Once she was sure her friends had gone, Hermione turned and headed up the stairs to the Head Dorms which were on the third floor. Entering the common room, she found Draco lying on one of the sofas, a book in his hand. The second she entered the room, he slid a bookmark in his book and placed it on the coffee table.
"All gone?" He asked.
"All gone," Hermione confirmed with a smile as she walked over to the sofa and let Draco pull her down on top of him. "There's just you and me for the rest of the holidays."
"Just the way I like it," Draco replied, pulling Hermione into a deep kiss. Smiling happily, Hermione melted into her secret boyfriend's embrace.
Initially the pair had become friends in fourth year when Draco had approached Hermione in the library and asked if they could put the past behind them. After years of listening to his father's beliefs on muggleborns, Draco had come to the conclusion that Lucius's views were wrong and muggleborns were just like any other wizard or witch. Hermione had been slightly hesitant about Draco's offer, but he quickly proved to her he was serious.
By the end of fourth year they were fairly good friends, and despite Voldemort returning at the end of that year they remained friends. In fifth year Draco became increasingly aware of Hermione in a romantic sense and by the middle of the year he was totally infatuated with his friend. Luckily for him, Hermione felt the same way and by then end of the year the pair were dating. The couple's relationship carried on throughout sixth year and they were both thrilled at the beginning of seventh year when they were named head students and given their own private accommodation.
The only problem in the pair's relationship was the presence of Lord Voldemort in the wizarding world. Draco's family had been well-known supporters of the Dark Lord when he'd been around the first time, and as a muggleborn Hermione was a natural enemy of Voldemort and his followers. Draco himself had promised Hermione he wanted nothing to do with the Death Eaters, but they both feared he'd be dragged into things because of his family. As an alternative, Hermione had suggested that Draco join The Order of the Phoenix.
Actually Draco had no major problem with the idea of joining the Order. He fully expected Hermione's best friend, Harry Potter and their headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, to defeat Voldemort and he had no objection to being on the winning side of a pointless war. He also wasn't that worried about his parents and their involvement with Voldemort. Lucius and Narcissa had been very crafty with The Dark Lord's return and on a whole they had remained neutral. Draco was in no doubt that if they Order won, his parents could claim to have done nothing to aid Voldemort, whereas if Voldemort won they would be more than happy to pledge allegiance to him.
Draco's only hesitation to agreeing to join the Order came from the fact he didn't think he'd be welcomed by them. Hermione's two best friends hated his guts, and while he'd given them reason to when they were younger he no longer bothered them and yet they still hated him. Draco knew the hatred partly stemmed from the fact he was in Slytherin, a house untrusted by most people, and the fact he was a Malfoy. Draco's family had a particular nasty history with the Weasleys, not to mention their previous associations with the dark. Then there was the fact that Dumbledore led the Order and he despised Draco. Draco knew for a fact the only reason he was Head Boy was because the four heads of house backed his appointment and Dumbledore was unwilling to go against his four most senior Professors.
However, despite his reservations Draco had come to the conclusion that he would be joining the Order. At the end of the day he didn't want to lose Hermione, and since she would be heavily involved with the Order once they left school it made sense for him to also join. Draco wasn't particularly happy with the idea of Hermione getting heavily involved in any fighting, he knew she was a capable witch that could look after herself, but it wouldn't hurt if he was close by just to ensure she was safe. When all this was over he had plans for the future, and they definitely included his girlfriend.
"I'm really looking forward to these holidays," Hermione muttered, breaking the kiss and settling herself beside Draco on the sofa.
"So am I," Draco replied, twirling a strand of his girlfriend's curly brown hair around his finger. "And I've made a decision."
"About?" Hermione asked warily. Considering the obstacles they'd overcome just to be together, Hermione didn't think Draco would be dumping her any time soon, but she was aware that her boyfriend's life would be much easier without her in it.
"The Order," Draco replied. "I'm going to join."
"That's fantastic," Hermione said, beaming at her boyfriend. "When do you want to do it?"
"I was thinking the end of the year," Draco answered. "Given how my parents are playing things, I don't think I'm in danger of being recruited into the Death Eaters before the end of the year. However, I don't suppose my parents will be pleased about my choice. Joining at the end of the year, means I can just bypass going home, and then there's nothing they can do about it. But if I join now, they might hear about it and Father will likely storm the school and kick up a fuss."
"I think waiting until the end of the year is perfect," Hermione agreed. "Plus it gives us plenty of time to work out what to tell people about us."
"How about the truth?" Draco suggested.
"I guess it's the only way to go," Hermione said with a sigh.
She knew telling the truth was the right way to go, but it would mean revealing to Harry and Ron that she'd been lying to them for over three years. Hopefully they would understand why she and Draco had kept their friendship and subsequent romance a secret, but something told her they wouldn't. More than likely the pair would kick off and cause trouble, which ironically was one of the reasons for keeping things under wraps in the first place.
"Don't worry about it now," Draco urged his girlfriend, noticing how preoccupied Hermione had become the second they'd started talking about informing her friends of the situation. "We don't need to deal with them until the end of the year. For now, let's just enjoy our holidays. I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to spending Christmas together."
"Me too," Hermione replied with a smile. "I've got a very special present for you to unwrap."
"Hmm, I hope you mean yourself," Draco said, smirking wickedly at his girlfriend. "Although, I could always practice the unwrapping now. As usual, you're wearing far too many clothes."
As things got heated with Draco, and they started to remove each other's clothes, Hermione forgot about her potential problems with her friends. Draco was right, she didn't need to worry about what was going to happen at the end of the year. She could deal with that when the time came, but right now, she was content to relax and enjoy her Christmas with Draco.