Author's Notes:

1) Diverges from canon at the point of the Snatchers bringing the Golden Trio to Malfoy Manor.

2) Chapter lengths will vary (some will be close to 5k, some will be under 2k). Updates will be sporadic.

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, or any affiliated characters, and make no profit, in any form, from this work.

Chapter One

He could still hear the sound of Narcissa's body hitting the floor even as Draco's shocked screams echoed in his ears. In a state of disbelief so profound he could not find words, Lucius lifted his head from the still, unbreathing form sprawled at his feet.

He met the Dark Lord's enraged gaze unflinchingly. He knew he should feel fear in this moment. Rage. Sorrow. He should be scrambling to comfort his son and pull him away from the ghastly sight. Yet, he could not identify what he truly felt in this moment, as all three emotions seemed to vie for his attention in equal measure.

"I warned your family," the serpentine wizard said in a lethal tumble of sound. "It was not enough that you lost me that prophecy, or that your son could not end Albus Dumbledore, himself, but now, now, you had Harry Potter and that troublesome Mudblood of his in your grasp and you let them slip away!"

Lucius still could not dredge up words to form a response. He was far too busy trying to rein in a sudden desire to raise his wand against his master. That was what Voldemort was, after all, wasn't he? Not a leader, or former friend—ever, on that second count—but the one who controlled them all.

For whose benefit but his own? He wondered.

It was true. They'd had Potter, one of the Weasleys, and that Granger girl here . . . . And in some commotion, his former servant had popped up and the next thing he knew, Weasley and Dobby were dead on the floor, while Potter and Granger were nowhere to be found.

And somehow, regardless of how many of the Dark Lord's servants were present at the time, he and his family were the ones held responsible.

The blinding unfairness of it only added to the haze of red he was forcing himself to keep thinking, and seeing, through clearly. It was all he could do just now to control the pace of his breath and keep his features schooled so he would not betray his feelings to the thing before him.

"Rodolphus, restrain your nephew!"

With an apologetic look that went unnoticed by the secretly fuming Lucius, Rodolphus did as commanded. The young man didn't bother fighting him, still screaming so hard his entire frame shook with the force of it, but by now the cries had muted some, just the harsh sound of air scraping against his vocal cords.

"Greyback, he's yours."

Lucius' eyes flashed wide at that—at the words, at the sight of the werewolf smirking as he pulled himself up to his full height from his usual slouching posture. The beast laughed, making a show of gnashing his teeth as he stalked toward Draco. His gait quickened, step by step, as he closed the distance.

Rodolphus winced but held the younger wizard steady, afraid Greyback might miss and catch him in those dangerous jaws, instead.

Lucius watched in a mingled shock of horror and disbelief. "No!" In a move no one expected—least of all, himself—he was bolting toward the altercation before he was even aware he was moving.

She was in shock, she had to be. As Hermione stumbled through the wooded area that ringed the outskirts of the Malfoy property, she tried to make sense of what had just happened . . . . Bellatrix Lestrange shrieking . . . Dobby appearing like that . . . wand blasts tearing through the air.

Her stomach felt about ready to turn itself inside out, but not from the myriad of emotions running amok inside her—well, not just that, anyway. Hunger pangs? Now? Oh, Lord, that could only mean she'd been out here much longer than she'd thought. How much time had passed since she'd stood inside Malfoy Manor? She couldn't be sure, perhaps she'd been disoriented for a time, there. Hours could've passed before she managed to get herself moving. That certainly seemed the case, given how dark it was, now.

God, what could be happening in there, now?

She remembered watching Ron fall. One of her best friends in the world, yet there was no luxury of time to process her grief, now. She remembered . . . . Bracing herself against a tree as she caught her breath, she remembered Dobby grabbing her and Harry. The dizzying pull of Apparition started, but then Dobby fell, too.

She remembered his hand slipping off her wrist as she was ripped from the room. And then she found herself here. The interruption had clearly dropped her out of travel too soon.

But she was alone. She thought she'd seen Harry, too, pulled into Apparition from the corner of her eye, but even he didn't seem to be anywhere close by.

Wincing, she pushed up to stand, once more. The side of her throat ached from where Bellatrix had managed to catch her with that stupid blade of hers. Honestly! Who the hell brought a knife to a wand fight? Well, clearly Bellatrix Lestrange, that's who.

Hermione could still recall the flash of silver in the dull light of the drawing room. She touched her hand to her neck as she moved, calling for Harry while she went. Pulling her fingers away, she was not at all surprised by the wash of crimson on her skin.

Her heart sank as her shouts were met with silence. But perhaps that was not such a bad thing. After all, she was in a forest after sundown. A forest surrounding the very place where those with whom the werewolves—all but one that she knew of, anyway—had aligned themselves currently lurked. Small saving grace the full moon wasn't until tomorrow, then.

Then, the most hope-draining sound she could imagine hearing at that moment started—the patter of rain on the leaves overhead. With a sigh, she searched for somewhere out of immediate sight. She didn't have the energy to erect the wards she normally would; simply getting the tent set up to wait out the storm would be a miracle with how utterly bone-weary she was after all this.

Finding a spot nestled in dense thicket of trees, she set to work. Keeping to the basics of necessity, and with the use of a wand she'd managed to nick during the commotion, she managed a no-fuss tent with a basin and a cot.

Nodding to herself, she tried, anyway, setting an uncomplicated ward around the perimeter. By the time she was finished with it all, she thought she could fall asleep standing up.

Hermione dragged her feet through the tent, collapsing into the cot. Licking her wounds—physical and emotional—could wait 'til later. She would just get a few hours . . . . Just sleep until the sun was up and the rain had stopped. Then, she thought as she drifted off, yes, then she'd be on the move to find Harry.

Lucius bellowed in agony, falling to his knees as Fenrir stepped back. The werewolf looked to the Dark Lord, a puzzled gleam in his amber-eyed gaze. Everything had happened so fast, by the time he had his teeth in someone's flesh, it was the wrongbloody Malfoy!

Fucking wizards. If he got in trouble for this shit, someone was going to pay dearly!

Draco was kicking and thrashing in his uncle's hold, screaming threats and curses at Greyback. Apparently, watching the murder of his own mother right before his very eyes and his father's life being endangered had given the young man a long overdue dose of courage. At least that mad bat Bellatrix wasn't here, conveniently sent off to handle something immediately following the fight. But then, she was so devoted to seeing Voldemort's every whim fulfilled that whether or not she'd even care her own sister was dead by his hand was anyone's guess.

Flicking his gaze in Rodolphus' direction, the Dark Lord said with a dismissive wave, "Put Draco in the cellar, for the time being." This earned an enraged, wordless shout from the young man's father, despite his currently agonized state. "As for Lucius . . . ."

Fenrir arched a brow as he turned his full attention to the wizard crouched on the floor in pain. Under the sounds of Rodolphus wrestling Draco away from the scene—the younger Malfoy was putting up an impressive fight considering how slight he appeared—he could detect the faintest sound. A quiet rumbling was emanating from Lucius Malfoy.

Was the man growling? Really? He decided to keep the curious sound to himself.

"Tell me, Greyback," Voldemort said, his bony fingers stroking his chin in thought, "the young ones are most likely to survive the bite, but . . . what say you on the likelihood of a man of forty living through this transition?"

The man in question had fixed the Dark Lord with a glare so withering, he knew there was no hope of masking how he felt in this moment.

Fenrir shrugged, wiping the blood from the corner his mouth with the back of his wrist. "It's not a wager I'd place money on, that's for sure. I've never heard of someone his age surviving the bite."

As though on cue, Lucius let out an anguished scream. He doubled over, all but crumpling to the floor.

Voldemort frowned. To think he once had such high hopes for the Malfoy family. Oh, well. Perhaps once Draco's sensibilities had been hardened by this war, he'd see that the loss of his parents was a good thing. He could be the one to bring the Malfoy name into the new world order. He could be the loyal Sacred Twenty-Eight soldier his father had failed so very miserably at ever becoming.

With a flick of his wrist, he gestured toward the doors. "Dispose of him. When you've finished with that, come back for the other bodies sullying the floor."

Fenrir bit back a growl of his own—he didn't mind a little murder and mayhem, in fact, he lived for it, but being treated like a servant was not at all what he'd signed up for—and nodded. The Dark Lord was all riled up, right now. The werewolf knew everyone in this room considered him no more than a stupid beast, but even he knew not to test Voldemort's patience. "Yes, My Lord."

Grabbing Lucius by the collar of his robes, he started dragging him through the house. Just as Fenrir thought might happen—though, he'd imagine the accelerated rate at which the bite's lethal effect was taking hold was, in fact, due to Lucius' age—the pain overtook the wizard, and he passed out before they were even at the Manor doors.

Too bad, that he was already growling at things had almost seemed interesting. Now, what to do with the body? Voldemort hadn't quite specified where to stash Lucius while he died.

Eyeing the tree-line that ringed the rear and sides of Malfoy Manor, Fenrir took a deep breath. The rain gave the air a crisp, earthy quality. Well, if the poor bastard couldn't at least live like a wolf . . . .

"C'mon, then," he said as he turned and started around the imposing building. "Let's find you a nice, mostly-dry, little spot to draw your last breaths."