Tock...Tock…Tock...

A flustered Hermione looked up from her paperwork after hearing a faint sound coming from her office window. A tawny owl with outstretched wings and a remarkable determination was desperately seeking entrance into the room but was having a rather difficult time seeing that the window was firmly glued to its hinges and unfortunately wouldn't budge for the insistent nocturnal bird.

Hermione had placed a potent Collatotalus charm on it earlier to prevent a certain red haired intruder from climbing through the window for an afternoon snog session – not that Hermione minded. But it was beginning to take a toll on her career. After an hour of pure euphoria with Ron, the young witch left her office and ran smack into her boss who reprimanded her for her disheveled attire and smeared lipstick.

"Great scott woman! What in Merlin's name happened to you? Very un-Grangerlike of you to waltz around looking like you've just had a romp in you office. I'll let it slide this time because you are definitely an asset to this department. But do not think for a moment that I would hesitate to fire an employee due to their careless appearance. I trust that you will take more caution in the future and that I need not remind you to maintain an air of professionalism. Now, carry on Granger."

Clearly mortified by the thought of losing her job due to her inability maintain an air of professionalism, Hermione warned Ron that their afternoon rendezvous would discontinue immediately. Ron laughed off her absurd proclamation and began to trail butterfly kissing along her collarbone. The thought of his stickler-for-the rules Hermione actually being scolded turned him on and was downright well…naughty. His urges for her heightened but to dismay, his girlfriend did not seem to share his desire. The mere thought of her boss' lecture turned her off to Ron's persistent advances. And he was extremely persistent.

He once Apparated in her lap while she held a meeting with one of her subordinates in Paris via Floo Network. She beamed bright red as she ended the meeting abruptly saying she had to redirect a lost teenage boy who had yet to pass his Apparitions test. He had later Transfigured himself into a bouquet of twelve long stemmed roses, which he had delivered to her door, only revealing himself just as she enjoyed their heavenly scent. He was getting craftier with his approaches the longer she detained him.

Tock…Tock…Tock

The owl's persistence shook her from her reverie. Hastily picking up her oak wand from her desk, she made her way to the rather large moon shaped window muttering the counter spell under her breath flicking her wrist in florid swishes.

Just as the owl the owl's head, which was now sporting a bump the size of a grape, was about to once again collide with the rigid surface, the spell was lifted and the tiny bird whizzed into its intended destination relieved.

"Oh you poor thing," Hermione cooed as she scooped up the small mass from the floor where it had landed with an abrupt thud from sheer exhaustion. Conjuring up some owl treats, she perched the owl on a branch of the mimbelus mimbletonia that adorned her desk and offered him some crispy liver nuggets. As the owl happily munched away, Hermione reduced the swelling of his bump which was increasing in girth. The owl hooted in appreciation and outstretched his leg which was tied to a rather large red letter.

"A Howler? Now who would possibly send me one? Me, Hermione Granger, previous head girl at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, founder of the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare, Junior Undersecretary to the presiding Minister for Magic Rufus Scrimgeour...the list drones on."

The owl settled itself under that plush divan with a look of utmost terror etched upon its tiny features just as Hermione ripped open the red envelope concealing the foul Howler. A loud voice boomed within the four walls of her office and echoed quite loudly.

"Granger! What is the meaning of this absurd decree the Minister for Magic signed? Banning the enslavement of House Elves…you're clearly off your rocker. Kantasio has served the Malfoys for centuries and now one of your pawns from the Department of Magical Creature Welfare has come and carted my house elf. 'Do not worry Mr. Malfoy. The elves are still bound to a confidentiality agreement and will take your family's secrets to the grave.' That stupid git! All my so called 'family secrets' were revealed when I joined forces with Potter to vanquish Lord Voldemort. This is all your doing Granger. How am I to clean Malfoy Manor without a house elf? And don't you dare suggest that I do it myself. I have more pressing matters to tend to than house work. You find a way to solve this problem or I'll have a little chat with Rufus Scrimgeour. Maybe I'll invite him over for dinner, present him with a generous some of gold to finance his projects, and sway him to fire you or at least have you demoted. Do I make myself clear?"

And with that final word, the letter shred itself into smithereens. Hermione fumed. The nerve of that insolent brat. Just because he was voted Witch Weekly's Most Eligible Bachelor for the sixth month in a row and just because he had amassed the biggest fortune known to wizards did not give that pompous jerk the right to undermine her authority. Snatching a quill rather briskly, she summoned a piece of her finest parchment and furiously replied with a courteous tone even though her insides squirmed and threatened to erupt like Mount Vesuvius.

"Mr. Malfoy,

It's rather unfortunate that you do not agree with decree no.9754 under section C. which clearly states that in compensation for the house elves' loyalty to our side during the tumultuous reign of Lord Voldemort, they have been granted freedom and are no longer obligated to serve their family. In response to your concern about the cleanliness of your Manor, you can employ the Muggle, yes I repeat, Muggle way. Hire someone, for pay, to see to it while you tend to your 'pressing matters'. If you choose to do so, the rules and regulations are clearly outlined in decree no.9755 under section C. Please contact me if you have any concerns, which I'm most certain that you will, regarding the legalities of the procedure.

Signed

Hermione Granger

Junior Undersecretary"

A smug smile crept on her face as she imagined Malfoy in disarray. She coaxed the owl from his hiding spot with some more liver treats and tied the letter to his leg as he nipped away.