"I told you Ron! Of course I'm coming to the Burrow with you and Ginny!!" Ron smiled in relief and Ginny laughed. Hermione leaned back in her seat and turned to Harry. "Are you coming, too?" He shrugged.

"Depends on if the Dursley's decide to lock me up or throw me out." Ginny smiled and patted his arm.

"I'm sure the Dursley's want to get rid of you as much as you want to leave them." Everyone laughed as Harry smiled. Then, Ron stopped, tilting his head to the side.

"Trolley!!" he exclaimed and rushed for the door, throwing it open without paying attention. Unfortunately, he ran right into someone he really shouldn't have.

The black boy swore softly and shoved Ron off of him.

"Watch it, Weasley!" he snapped, standing. The other young man that was with him eyed the redhead critically.

"You can't really blame him, Blaise," Malfoy said. "With those legs, he probably does it all the time. I blame it on bad breeding. Or just the sheer fact that he's uncordinated as hell." Ron leapt to his feet, face red.

"What do you want, Malfoy?" he hissed and Zambini laughed.

"I'm sure that you don't have anything that could possibly tempt Draco Malfoy to want. Well, nothing he wants, but has to have anyway." This earned Zambini an punch to the face. Hermione and Ginny gasped as Malfoy glared at his fellow Slytherin.

"You'd do well not to say anything more, Zambini," the blond growled as the other young man stood, rubbing his jaw carefully. Swearing under his breath, he stalked off. Malfoy's gaze landed on Hermione and his eyes narrowed. "Ms. Granger." Hermione almost fell over from shock. He eyed her again and swept off after Zambini. Ron's eyes were wide with shock.

"Did he just say-"

"Ms. Granger?!?" Hermione cried. Ginny shook her head.

"He is so messed up." They all nodded and the boys headed down the corridor, looking for the trolley.


Blaise entered an empty compartment, still rubbing his jaw. A few seconds later, Draco entered and closed the door. Than he pulled out his wand and waved it at the injured boy. The bruise went away and Blaise scowled at him.

"I resent being hit like that," he snapped. Draco didn't reply and sat down next to the window. Blaise watched him silently. "This whole thing is getting to you, isn't it?" Draco turned to him, still silent. "Well, I don't blame you. I don't believe your father is making you do this."

"Father has his reasons," Draco muttered, turning back to the window. Blaise tilted his head.

"Something happen that I didn't hear?" Silence greeted him and Blaise laughed. "You called her by something suitable, I presume?" Draco turned back to his friend. Sometimes, he didn't understand the way Blaise's mind worked. Somehow, he always knew what happened to Draco even when Draco hadn't said a thing. He had a talent for that. He could tell what happened to a person just by observing them for a few seconds. Snorting, he looked back to the window. "The Slytherin Prince, who knew."

"Drop it, Blaise, before I hurt you again." The blonde and black boy sat in silence for the rest of the trip. There wasn't really much to talk about, anyway.


Stepping off the train, Hermione walked with Ron and Harry through the pillar into the muggle world. She turned to them, bouncing on the balls of her feet.

"Ok, so I go to my house and pack some stuff," she said. Ron nodded.

"Then you floo to my house and stay for the summer," he finished, smiling. Harry coughed and Ron flushed, shoving him nervously. Hermione grinned and hugged Harry.

"Hope to see you soon, Harry," she said. Ginny pulled her into a hug.

"We'll see you soon, Hermione," she said and Hermione nodded. Then she turned to Ron and pulled him into a tight hug.

"See you soon, 'Mione," he mumbled into her ear and she blushed.

"See you soon, Ron," she whispered back, kissing him on the cheek and hurrying off before she could see his reaction. Finding her parents, she noticed a grave look on their faces. "Hi mum!! Dad!!" They hugged her tightly, more than normal. She could tell that they were trying to act normal, but she wasn't fooled. She frowned, standing back. "What's wrong?" Her mother glanced around.

"Let's head home and we'll explain there," she told her daughter.

"Take her home and we'll have to explain," her father grumbled.

"Harold!" Hermione's mother snapped, glancing around. "Not now. You know what he said." Her father grumbled something and, taking his daughter's trunk, he walked off towards the car. Hermione stared after him and then turned to her mother.

"Mum, what's up with dad?" A painful look flitted across mother's face.

"Let's get home, dear. I promise you, everything will be told then."


Blaise looked around his surroundings, frowning.

"Why am I here again?" he asked for the thousandth time. Draco glared at him.

"So that I don't hex everything I see," he snapped. They were standing in the middle of a nicely furnished living room. Pictures hung on the walls and on the mantelpiece. Light shone through the open windows as another, older man entered the room, scowling.

"Where are they?" he snarled, shoving Blaise out of the way so he could see the window. "They should have been here earlier!"

"They'll be here, father," Draco grumbled. "Though I hope not." Lucius glared at his son.

"For your sake." Draco took the hint and backed away from the window, avoiding contact with any of the furniture that might have been touched by the muggles. He shuddered, thinking about what he was about to be thrown into.

Blaise grabbed Draco's arm as his hand began to stray towards his wand.

"Don't do it, Malfoy," he hissed. Draco glared and yanked away, storming out of the room.


The car pulled into the driveway and turned off. Hermione smiled as she got out. She hadn't been here for so long. She glanced at her parents, who were getting her trunk out of the car. Something was wrong with them. They were acting strangely all the way home and were doing all they could to avoid conversation. Normally her mother was asking her all kinds of questions about what had happened but no, she had been silent. Her father had grumbled all the way, saying few words. It was obvious that something was troubling him greatly and it was obvious that her mother was incredibly upset with whatever it was he had done.

Shrugging it off, she headed for the door and pulled out her keys. Opening the door, she stepped in and froze. Something was wrong. Turning around, she saw her parents behind her. They looked like they wanted to pull her out of the house immediately and slam the door. But they didn't. Instead the beckonned her to continue into the house. Something was indeed wrong. Continuing in, she turned into the living room and gasped. The man turned around and smirked.

"Ms. Granger, how nice of you to join us. Please, sit." Someone shoved her forward and into a chair. Reaching for her wand, she found herself face to face withone. Blaise was smiling devilishly.

"Don't even think about it, Granger," he said, motioning downwards with his wand. She sat in the chair, eyes wide with fright.

What's going on! she thought. Lucius Malfoy stood before her, arms crossed over his chest.

"I do believe you know my son, Draco," he said and Hermione's eyes widened even more as she watched Draco Malfoy slink into the room, looking like he would rather be dead than be there at that moment. "You see, I'm here on business. A debt, you see."

"I haven't done anything to you!" Hermione yelled at him. "What do you want with me and my family?" Luciu raised an eyebrow.

"My dear child, who said you did anything? No, the debt is your father's. Harold? Would you come here?" Hermione's father came in slowly, not looking at his daughter. Lucius' smirk grew. "You see, at the beginning of the term, Dumbledore asked the parents of the students to meet each other." The way he said asked implied that Dumbledore didn't ask Lucius. "We were to mingle, if you would. Well, to your father's misfortune, he happened upon a chance game of Wizards' gambling. And, as you know, Ms. Granger, Wizards' gambling is not wagered upon money, but family members. Of course, an argument broke out and your father laid down yourself as a gamble. A bad choice on his part but...he lost, of course and now, you belong to me." Hermione stared at him like he had lost his mind.

"You're joking, aren't you? You're MAD!!" Malfoy actually laughed.

"You wish, mudblood."

"Language, Draco," Lucius corrected, but you could tell he was thinking the same thing. "No Ms. Granger, this is no joke. I would tell you to ask your father, but he seems distraught as it is, so I would rather not. As it is, there were terms that another player made that both your father and I were not aware of until after I won. It seems that not only do you belong to me, but you and my son, which happened to be in on the wager, are to be married." Hermione's eyes widened as Malfoy snorted and stalked to the window, glaring out it.

"You cannot be serious," she said, standing. "All of you are insane. This isn't happening. This isn't possible!! Why would you do something so completely stupid like that?!?!" Lucius' hand twitched but his smirk remained.

"Harold, will you show your daughter the contract made between the players of that particular game of Wizards' gambling," he snapped. Harold, still not looking at his distraught daughter, stepped forward and handed her a piece of paper. She stared at it, eyes wide.

"The following is a contract forged between the players of Wizards' gambling:

As a player in this game, I have placed down my posessions in the following: Housemaid Marie, Daughter, Hermione Granger, and Son, Draco Malfoy.

As a player, I acknowledge the fact that I may lose/obtain said posessions.

One of the players has chosen to place down a Marriage Bet for said Daughter and said Son. The winner of said posessions is responsible for seeing to it that the said Daughter and Son be married after the sixth month of the said Daughter's sixteenth birthday, as the said Daughter is attending Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Signed,

Lucius Malfoy, Alex Smith, Draco Malfoy, and Harold Granger

The afore mentioned are magically bound to the writing and what has been stated must come to pass.

Decree of his most highness ect."

Hermione couldn't believe what she had just read. This wasn't happening to her. She was supposed to go to the Burrow and spend the summer with Ron, not get married to her worst enemy.

She reached for her wand and pointed it at Lucius.

"Get out of my house," she hissed, her heart racing. Lucius shook his head and murmured something. Hermione's wand flew from her hand and into his. He shook his finger at her.

"Naughty, naughty," he said. "The contract is binding. Even you can see that, Ms. Granger. You will pack your things and come with us to Malfoy Manor. You and Draco are to be married tomorrow evening." Hermione was shaking.

This is NOT happening, her mind screamed. Her eyes rested on her mother, silently begging her to reasure her that this was just some horrible joke that Malfoy had just happened to be pulled into. Her mother had tears in her eyes and turned away from her daughter, hand over her mouth in horror. A sob escaped Hermione's lips and she sank down into the couch. Lucius glared and grabbed her arm, yanking her to her feet.

"Look, you filthy little mudblood," he hissed. "I do not have time for your antics. Get Ready!"

"Don't touch her!" Her mother yelled, moving forward but was met with Blaise's wand.

"I wouldn't if I were you," he growled. Lucius threw her forward towards the stairs.

"Get ready, Ms. Granger, or suffer consequences far greater than the ones you are about to face." Hermione stumbled up the stairs, crying silently.

"Death would be better than what I'm about to face," she whispered. Malfoy watched her, no emotion in his face.

"Think of this as a detour," he murmured, grey eyes piercing her chocolate brown ones. "A really bad detour."