"Out for a walk, Mudblood?" a cold voice spoke from the shadows of the tree.

"I suppose," Hermione turned around as the shadow pulled itself away.

Draco Malfoy stood before her.

"Not fighting back?"

"What's the point?" Malfoy narrowed his eyes.

"You okay?"

"Don't sound so sincere. It's unbecoming of you."

"Hey! I take offense to that." He sat down beside her.

"You should."

"I'm not that bad of a guy, you know."

"No, I don't know." Hermione stood up and began walking towards the school gates.

"Where are you going?" Draco called after her. He saw something out of the corner of his eye. A group of people were stalking slowly towards Hermione. She had just passed out of the gates.

"Granger!" Draco ran after her. He caught her around the middle and held her to the ground. Just as one of the people raised a wand at the two. In a flash of light, they disappeared.

Draco landed roughly on Hermione. She pushed him off and stood up, looking wearily around her.

"Lovely," she said quietly. "You couldn't have just picked me up in a car!"

"What are you talking about?" Draco asked. "There's no one there."

Hermione narrowed her eyes. She could barely hear the shuffling of feet…the stifle of a cough. They weren't alone, that was for sure. She knew he was there. Waiting for her next move.

She didn't disappoint.

In a blaze, she held out her wandless palm. A bright gold light exploded, revealing about twenty Death Eaters surrounding the teenagers. With her other hand she made a sweeping motion and the Death Eaters on her right were blown back into the wall. The others jumped to defense but she held them back.

"Where the hell did you learn to do that?"

"Shut up, Malfoy." Hermione said.

He caught her eye. The gold light from her hand lit up her face. He realized now here, wherever here was, she wasn't afraid of him. He frowned, it was almost as if she'd been expecting this…

"Be a good girl and let them down nicely." Said an amused voice behind them. Hermione threw the men against the wall, watching them slide down slowly. Draco turned to find the source of the voice, he immediately bowed low.

"My Lord," he said quietly, every word vile upon his lips.

"I said nicely."

"I guess I didn't hear you," Hermione quipped back.

"Show some respect, you filthy little mudblood!" Lucius Malfoy stepped out from behind Lord Voldemort.

Hermione gave Voldemort a mock curtsey.

"Hello, father."

Both Draco and Lucius gave equal sounds of shock.

"You didn't have to hurt them," Voldemort approached Hermione.

"Sure I did." She gave him a look of loathing. "What do you want?"

"I need a reason to see my daughter?"


"Alright then, right to the point. I've asked you before, when will you be coming home?"

"When the war's over."

"I could be dead." Voldemort looked at her suspiciously through his snakelike eyes.

"More's the point."

"Why you little…" Lucius began, starting towards Hermione.

Hermione held up her hand, holding Lucius off the ground. She made a disappointed sound with her tongue. "Now, now, Lucius. That isn't very kind at all."

"Put him down."

"Nicely?" Hermione asked, glaring at the elder Malfoy.

"Oh, I don't really care."

"This is a joke isn't it?" Draco asked, coming out of his stupor. "This is like a test, right? See if I'll believe that Granger's your daughter, it's a joke. Who are you really?" He looked at Hermione. "Did they give you a Polyjuice?" he poked her arm. "Are you Goyle?"

"I most certainly am not!" Hermione slapped his hand. "Don't touch me, ferret."

"Manners, Hermione." Voldemort put his hand on her shoulder.

"He's never shown any to me." She pulled away.

"He didn't know who you were."

"Oh, so that makes it okay then? Because he thought I was muggle-born, it's okay that he was a prat?" She turned back to her father. "Look, dad, you know I love these little visits of ours, but I've really got to be going back to school. So does Malfoy, regrettably."

"All this time? Everything I've said…I've been talking to your daughter?" Malfoy asked stupidly.


"Oh, I'm going to pay for everything, aren't I?"

"Ignorance is not a crime, Draco." Said Voldemort.

Draco began lifting into the air.

"Put him down, Hermione."

"Why can't I make him pay?" Hermione asked, lowering Malfoy back to the floor.

"Because you're going to need him."

"For what? To annoy me to death?"

"No, he's your date toyour ball tonight."

Hermione clinched her fists. All the Death Eaters in the room were thrown against the wall.

"Oh, it could be worse," said Voldemort, amusement in his eyes.

"I doubt it." Hermione remarked.

"You could not have a date at all, how embarrassing." He walked through the door, which slammed shut behind him.

Hermione rounded on Malfoy.

"You're so going to pay for this!"

"I didn't ask to be your bloody date!" Malfoy shielded his eyes from her.

"No, because I'm just Mudblood Granger, aren't I?" She said narrowing her eyes.

"Well, yeah. You think just because I found out you're his daughter I'd grovel at your feet. It won't happen." Malfoy smirked.

"Oh, you won't have to grovel at my feet." She moved her hand and lifted him to the ceiling. "You'll do just fine up there." She walked out the door, leaving Malfoy on the ceiling.

"Granger! Granger, you let me down right now! Hey! MUDBLOOD!"

A Death Eater stirred from the pile of robes and looked up at the boy.

"Hey, Malfoy. How's it hanging?" Goyle asked, removing his mask.

"Shut up."