THIS IS A REPOST. I originally posted this fic a while back, pulled it because all my Dramione-inclusive plunnies died on me. But now they've been stirring back to life, so I decided to give them second chance.
Those who read these works before my mass Dramione Deletion (or who read these works in my Unfinished Dramione PDF), please note that aside from minor changes and editing fixes, the content of the previously posted chapters has not changed. All returning Dramiones will be updated weekly until all previously-available chapters are posted. At that point, the fics will continue until completion, but will fall under my 'sporadic updates' label.
Bound in Silver Fancast: Alexander Skarsgard as Lucius Malfoy; Rami Malek as Harry Potter; Ryan Reynolds as Oliver Wood; Idris Elba as Kingsley Shacklebolt.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Harry Potter, or any affiliated characters, and make no profit, in any from, from this story.
Mistress of the Manor
"I'm not certain I understand," Hermione said, her voice slipping out in a shocked whisper as she shook her head.
Exchanging a quick glance with Harry, she handed him the scroll before returning her attention to the Minister of Magic.
"What is there to not understand, Miss Granger?" Kingsley asked, wiping a hand across his lightly-bearded chin. He was too tired for this, just now, but he supposed she did deserve an explanation, if she felt she needed one.
"I own Malfoy Manor! That's what the bloody hell there is to not understand!"
Harry's brows shot up behind the wire rims of his glasses. "You own more than just the Manor, Hermione. You own—"
"Harry, don't say it! I can't even—"
"Draco and Lucius Malfoy!" Harry barely noticed his best friend's discomfort as she just about squirmed in her seat. "Bloody hell. Why couldn't I get that kind of reward?"
Kingsley held in a chuckle as Hermione turned to face Harry, her jaw hanging open. "Oh, sure! As if you don't have enough rewards and accolades, as it is?"
Smirking, he closed the scroll and set it back atop the Minister's desk. "And here I thought you didn't want all this."
"I . . . I don't!" She shook her head, insisting, "I don't! I just am having trouble understanding this entire thing."
"Spoils of War," Kingsley said quietly as he gave a broad-shouldered shrug. "You are the person most grievously wronged by the direct actions of the Malfoy family, therefore, their wealth, properties, and all worldly possessions belong to you."
Her shoulders slumped as she looked up at the towering man—who appeared, thankfully, far less towering, seated as he was at the moment. "And this explains actual people being included in said Spoils, how, exactly?"
"This is a unique case, Miss Granger, as such, Ancient Wizarding Law was referred to in this ruling."
She nodded, not liking that she was talking back to the Minister of Magic, of all people, but she couldn't help herself. "Ancient? I think you meant to say Archaic and Draconian!"
The world had ended, yet they still stood. Things around them had been rebuilt—were rebuilding, still—but Hermione often felt that this new world order they'd been forced to create was more of a hearkening back to the Middle Ages than it was anything new. The reemergence of an ancient law that gave her control of other people, like chattel, only proved her assertion.
Kingsley offered a tight-lipped grin. War Hero, or not, he was growing a bit weary of her temper. "As you are aware, the Dark Lord's murder of Narcissa Malfoy prompted her son and husband to turn on him, assisting us to win the War. However, their hand in starting the War cannot be overlooked."
Again, she nodded, sinking back into her seat. It had become common knowledge that after the death of Narcissa Malfoy at Voldemort's hands—to punish Draco and Lucius for letting Harry and Hermione escape capture one year prior to the War's end—the surviving Malfoys had begun secreting information to the Light and sabotaging Voldemort's efforts in small, difficult-to-notice ways.
As such, the Malfoys had been the only Death Eaters to escape execution.
"While their . . . change of heart has spared them a harsher punishment, they are still war criminals, Miss Granger. Still responsible for so much of what happened." Kingsley shrugged, once more. "We knew they should be spared, but with Azkaban's destruction, imprisoning them became an issue. I understand if you do not want this sort of responsibility, however, if you do not accept ownership over them, the decision of what becomes of them will be turned over to the public."
Her chestnut eyes widened as Hermione held the Minister's gaze. She knew precisely what that meant. The whole of Wizarding Britain—surviving Wizarding Britain, of course—had felt the sparing of the Malfoys an injustice. They wanted Draco and Lucius dead, and had made no attempt to hide it.
If she refused, she may as well swing the ax with her own two hands. She might despise them, but she didn't think she could live with their blood on her conscience.
Somehow she managed to sink even further back into the cushion of the chair as she let her eyes drift closed and shook her head. "Fine." She let out a shuddering breath as she steeled her nerves against what she was about to say.
Harry reached out, patting a comforting hand over one of hers. "I'm with you, 'Mione."
She forced a smile for his benefit—never mind that he was already running behind for a date with Oliver. "Let's . . . go have a look at my Spoils."
Finally, Kingsley thought, honestly grateful for the excuse this afforded him to escape the confines of the Ministry buildings. As the pair filed behind the Minister toward the fireplace to Floo to the Manor, Hermione met Harry's gaze over her shoulder.
His brows inched upward. "I know that look," he murmured with a playful grin. "What have I done wrong, now?"
She nodded pointedly toward the Grandfather clock beside the fireplace. "You know perfectly well what, Harry James Potter. You can't stand him up, again, on my account!"
"Oh, don't worry," he said with a wink, placing his hands on Hermione's hips and her urging forward to fall into step behind Kingsley with gentle fingers. "I know how to make him forgive me."
She snorted a giggle—he'd become such a flirtatious creature after the War, she wondered how Oliver could stand it! Bad enough the whole of Wizarding Britain whispered that they were in some bizarre, but undeniably enviable, three-person relationship, as it was.
Not that they hadn't extended such an invitation to her—on more than one occasion—but Hermione was relatively certain she didn't need that sort of inevitable complication in her life. After all, she'd just been dealt a rather bizarre complication, and wasn't one enough for any witch's sanity?
Harry watched his best friend as she slipped from his grasp, and stepped through the wash of green flames. She was trying to put on a brave face, trying not to think about it at all, and he'd obliged her.
But he knew she was—at least a little—scared of setting foot back in Malfoy Manor. Even if she'd never admit it aloud.
Hermione swallowed hard as she walked, between Harry and the Minister, through the sitting room of the Manor, where the Network had let them out. As they exited the room, she couldn't help pausing mid-stride.
From where they stood, she could see the entryway to the drawing room.
Harry slipped a hand over hers, giving her fingers a reassuring squeeze.
She tore her gaze away, meeting his eyes, instead. "It's okay. I mean, it's . . . mine, right?"
His brow furrowed as he nodded. "Right?"
"Okay, then." Hermione drew in a deep breath and let it out slow from between pursed lips. "I'm having that room gutted."
"I suppose that is one way to handle things," Kingsley said with a shake of his head.
He led the pair through the house, the silence between the three strangely comfortable, under the circumstances. Miss Granger's declaration of intent regarding the room where Bellatrix Lestrange had tortured her had seemed to lift a weight from the young woman's shoulders. It didn't matter that a year and a half had passed since that night. Healing from traumatic experiences was rarely clean—or simple.
He hoped gutting that part of the house would give her the peace and closure she needed.
"Where, exactly, are we going?" Harry asked, dreading how certain he was that he already knew the answer.
"We have been holding them in the cellar, of course." Kingsley shrugged as they reached the door to the 'handy, in-house dungeon,' as Harry thought of it. "Should Miss Granger deign to allow them rooms, that is entirely her decision."
"Wait, wait," Hermione said, shaking her head as she held up her hands in a sign of surrender. "You acknowledge that they helped us win the War, then just throw them down there?"
Kingsley's mouth pulled to one side as he met the witch's gaze. "We did not throw anyone anywhere, Miss Granger. We placed them there to await your decision as to whether or not you would claim them. I assure you, they have basic comforts. We refuse to become the monsters we protect against."
She nodded, seeming appeased by the Minister's words.
Kingsley lifted a hand, knocking firmly on the cellar door. After a moment, footsteps sounded against stone, and then the door creaked open.
"You are relieved, thank you," he said to the wizard who stepped through.
The wizard nodded, sparing a moment to wedge a ring from his finger. He dropped it into the Minister's waiting hand, before nodding in greeting to Harry and Hermione and stepping around them to make his way to the fireplace where they'd entered.
"This is yours, Miss Granger."
Brow furrowing, Hermione took the piece of jewelry from him. "It's lovely," she said, admiring the way the rounded, purplish-crimson stone sparkled.
"The gem is dragon's breath fire opal. Put it on."
She shared a curious glance with Harry, who could only shrug, his expression as mystified as her own. Slipping the ring onto her finger, she jumped a little at the sensation of the ornate, blackened-silver band resizing itself to fit her, perfectly.
"What is this?"
Kingsley's brows drew upward as he exhaled sharply through his nostrils. "Something you are required to have, for your protection and theirs, now that you have claimed possession of powerful Dark wizards."
"I . . . ." She shook her head as her words slid off; she genuinely had no idea what to say, or ask. Instead, the witch squared her shoulders, turning her attention to the open door before them.
Draco looked to his father as footfalls descended the staircase. The elder Malfoy—somehow managing to look regal, even mired in their current circumstances—lounged on one of the cots the Ministry had been so kind as to provide them.
His hands linked behind his head, Lucius only eyed the barred door with a bored expression. Supposedly this was not worse than execution. Yet, as he noticed the mass of wild, golden-brown hair, half-hidden behind one of the Minister's arms, he begged to differ.
"Death would've been kinder," Draco muttered with a miserable headshake, drawing a grin from Lucius at how the young man's words had echoed his own thoughts so perfectly.
Kingsley unlocked the door, throwing it open with a bit of dramatic flair before he stepped inside. Miss Granger and Mr. Potter followed, because—of course—neither of them could go anywhere without the other one, now could they?
As the Mudblood's gaze moved from one Dark wizard to the other, and back, Lucius heaved a weighted sigh and climbed to his feet. Draco followed suit, folding his arms stubbornly across his chest. The younger wizard was not quite as tall as his father, but they each towered over the witch, and allowing her a moment to recognize that was important.
Hermione frowned as she watched the Malfoys stand from the miserable little cots they'd been allowed. The simple black vests and matched trousers they each wore had seen better days. She supposed it was a step up from prison attire, but not by much.
Their silvery-blond hair was long and unkempt, brushing their shoulders, and they both looked like they could use a bath. Maybe a shave.
If I allow it, she thought, still a bit awestruck by the entire situation.
"Hell-o," Harry said at the sight of them. Though he'd spoken under his breath, Hermione still heard him, so the playful comment earned him a swatted shoulder.
As the pair of Dark wizards moved before her, standing nearly shoulder-to-shoulder, she noticed the chains circling their necks. Thick, blackened silver . . . set with dragon's breath fire opals at the center.
Forcing a gulp down her throat, she looked to her ring, and then to the Minister. "How does this work?"
"Simple, really," Kingsley said, secretly relishing the way the Malfoys' expressions darkened as he explained to her, "You are their master . . . or mistress, as it were. They cannot disobey you."
She felt the breath tremble out of her as she turned her head, meeting the grey eyes of Draco Malfoy, and then Lucius. They were going to fight this with every fiber of their being, but she couldn't say she blamed them.
"I . . . suppose," she started, proud that her voice sounded strong and steady. There was certainly part of her that wanted to let them wallow down here, but she thought that was probably what they expected of her.
And there was nothing Hermione Granger enjoyed quite so much as proving a Malfoy wrong.
"I suppose," she said, again, "I will allow you to have bedrooms. And baths. C'mon." She slipped her hand into Harry's and turned, starting back up the staircase.
The Malfoys tried to hold back, but Kingsley turned suspicious jet eyes on them. The Minister arched a brow, nodding for them to follow their mistress as he tapped two fingers against his holstered wand in a sign of warning.
All that held Draco from snapping at the dark-skinned man was his father's hand slipping over his shoulder. Swallowing angry words, the younger Malfoy turned, following his former classmates up the staircase, Lucius right on his heels.
Once they were away from the echoing effect of the cellar staircase, Draco glanced about. Potter and Granger were deep in some whispered conversation, Shacklebolt was too involved in keeping track of their movements.
He leaned a hair's breadth closer to his father, asking in such a low whisper that he barely heard his own words, "Tell me you have a plan?"
The faintest smirk curved one corner of Lucius' lips upward. "My dear boy . . . of course, I do."