This story is "the challenge" which, for those of you who don't know, was something I posted in my last fic, "Iris". I asked my readers what they wanted me to write, basic things for a story and such, and I chose two people's suggestions which I thought would be not only a challenge, but fun to read. I will be following everything to the best of my ability.

StormMasters—

Three things to be included: Death of a main character, the Fourth of July, and A Pair of Black Leather Boots.

Three things not to be included: Ron is not there (can be mentioned, but will have NO dialogue), Pansy Parkinson, and cannot use the word magic (Don't know how I'll do this, but I'll try my best).

Kaylerose—

Three things to be included: A difficult choice, a close call, and a battle scene.

Three things not to be included: A character that was not created by J.K. Rowling, Pansy Parkinson, and Hermione crying all the time.

This story will be completely different, plot wise, from any of the stories I have written before and I'm looking forward to starting this. There is suppose to be ten chapters, but that is subject to change - in a big way. With that, happy reading everyone!


What They Didn't Realize - Chapter 1

Hermione was sitting in the dark outskirts of the murky forest behind the Burrow. She was dangling her feet near the edge of the stream which flowed throughout the countryside mountaintop. The place was positively serene and the perfect local for a witch to think properly, away from the chaotic jumble in the Burrow, and in her mind altogether.

The dark blue, pellucid-like water was swaying from the cool breeze, spraying her unfeeling feet with droplets of icy water.

She did not want to be there.

Not at all.

Nobody could understand her there. It was plausible given what had just happened to her. Harry himself—Merlin himself, for that matter—could not imagine what had happened to her in there. So many nights she laid awake screaming and sobbing in hopes of getting home, to get back to her family, but to no avail. She had spent so much time there, away from the people she loved, to the point where she lost a true sense of reality and of herself.

It all started one day a year ago when Hermione, Ron, and Harry were enjoying the crisp December air of Hogsmeade, their sixth year venturing by with so much pandemonium. It was enjoyable for the three of them to get away from the wizarding world, in a certain sense, and just be free to be alone. The devoted friends chatted pleasantly with one another, playful banter mixed with laughter brought smiles from onlookers and envious listeners who dreamed to be involved and a part of such a friendship.

Nothing could come between them.

Right?

It was at the Shrieking Shack when everything went horribly wrong. The affable friends were staring at the abandoned building before Hermione chucked a snowball at the male duo. After a few minutes time, the three of them were sprawled on the ground, covered head to toe in snow, laughing wholeheartedly.

It was ironically a warm moment.

Their laughter had been one of the many problems Harry would later recognize for it drowned out the approaching footsteps. How many, none of them could quite remember. All Hermione would later recall was laughing until all went black and she awoke in unfamiliar territories with several faces she would never forget.

Hermione had been taken to his lair, a place she hated so much at the time. All the dark figures and creepy statuaries made her feel as though she was literally beneath ground in the fiery pits of Hell. What was worse? Harry and Ron, the two people she remembered being with last, were nowhere in sight.

Mudblood.

She remembered hearing the horrid word numerous times in the mixture of muddled and random voices surrounding her on all sides; some voices female, most male. Everything was happening so fast to the point where she lost track of time, like she felt the moments constricting. It wasn't until she saw him herself, for first time in her life, that time stopped. For the briefest of ticks, she stared at the man without any regards to where she was, who was surrounding her, what was going to happen, or any of the mess she was in; she just stared, blankly as well.

The first time he spoke, her entire being clenched with fear and a bitter chill plagued her body by running up and down her quivering spine. If death had a voice, the Dark Lord possessed it in physical form. She was scared, more scared than she had ever been in her life. Unlike other occasions where she had at least her boys with her, fighting along her side, or the countless of other times when she had the Order members fighting next to her, she was alone.

Utterly alone.

In a room full of dark wizards.

The darkest one speaking to her.

Yeah, it was safe to say that she knew death was imminent. So...why didn't she end up dead?

It actually had been heading in the death direction. Voldemort never had any intentions of keeping her around when he sent those death eaters to nab the three of them. One could imagine his disappointment and frustration when he realized only two of them had come, the one in particular he wanted not part of the pair. He disposed of the redhead quickly, the boy's face a mixture of dread and foreseeable acceptance, a look which just said 'well, bugger me' painted on his expression. He was about to kill the next one, the bushy-haired girl, until a stroke of brilliance hit him.

If he could not bring Harry Potter to him then he would send himself, in a way, to Harry Potter. He would learn from her how to get to him. Get her to trust him so she would spill out the deepest and most personal of Harry Potter's many secrets. The plan was perfect. All he had to do was mold the mudblood a little bit.

But, alas, another factor of the situation he needed to consider. Who would mold her precisely? As much as he would have loved to do it, he was a busy wizard and could not be with her every second of every day. No, it had to be someone who could break her down entirely. But who?

Draco Malfoy.

Perfect solution, no? She already knew him on a level she did not know anyone else in his circle of followers, all of whom would have loved to spend some quality time with her. They had to admit that she was a rather pretty girl and unlike most of the women belonging to the dark arts, most of whom possessed an insane-like quality about their appearance, Hermione was young and beautiful. Voldemort was the cruelest and would not have cared any other time what they did to her physically or any other muggle-born creature, but he could not do that in this occasion.

On top of it all, the Malfoy kid was the same age as the mudblood. He would be able to relate to her through age and possibly on a better degree than anyone else. Perhaps, given the chance, he could engage in a few activities to sway her opinion altogether. After all, he did have a reputation with the ladies.

It was not to say Draco immediately jumped for joy over this assignment. His father had been the one to inform and he threw a tantrum to match a three year old in Ollivander's wand shop. Draco had refused the assignment stating, this being a direct quote—

"I am not going to devote my precious time to some mudblood swine! She is nothing more than filth and I refuse to be a part of such a ruse on the grounds of it involving her. I simply will not do it!"

Needless to say, he caved into the demands as soon as Voldemort breathed a word of it. Draco had no other chose. One never disobeyed the Dark Lord and lived to tell the tale so he had to do it. He was forced to seduce the mudblood bitch Granger.

He didn't want to...at the time, at least.

Their first meeting had been far from ideal. Hermione had been tossed into a room, an extremely gorgeous room filled with lavish furnish and fine linens and lovely mirrors and—okay, it was beautiful to say the least, and been told to wait for instructions.

After several failed attempts to get out, bad attempts too given there were no windows and only one door, she merely sank onto the bed and waited. No tears. She would not give them the pleasure of knowing they had made her cry so she remained strong and refused to let any tears spill down her cheeks. No. None would fall. Never.

All the while she continued to reassure herself of all the emotions she would never let leave her body, Draco Malfoy entered the room and surveyed the situation before him. The mudblood was on the bed apparently talking to herself. Oh yes, he was dripping with excitement to deal with the situation. He mentally slapped himself knowing all of this was about duty and honor, nothing more, so he needed to start focusing rather than just spitting on the scene before him...

"Granger," he said distastefully, the pain her name brought nearly burning his tongue.

Hermione's head shot up and she stared at him in bewilderment. The confusion soon left to be replaced with malice and vengeful anger.

"You! Oh Merlin, he was bloody right! Harry always knew you were involved with...with...with this and nobody would ever listen to him! Curse me for being one of the many..."

"Calm yourself Granger. Right now, well, let's say that I come in peace–"

"Oh shut it you bloody git! Why are you all doing this to me?!"

"First I'm told to shut up and then asked to speak. What exactly do you want from me Granger?"

"I want to know what's going on. No patronizing, no games, no nothing, but just tell me. What is happening?!"

Draco fell silent. As he listened to her heavy panting, built up from her lack of breathing during her moment of fuming rage, he thought about what he was going to say. He knew he had to choose his next words carefully if he was going to start this off right.

"Granger, look I know you're scared and I would be too," he said, his voice uncharacteristically gentle, "but you need to calm yourself. Getting mad the way you are will not solve anything other than piss us both off more. Do you want that?"

"At this point, I don't know what I want. I was thrown in here without the knowledge of so much as the time of day let alone why I am bloody here so please, please, do me one small favor and have the tiniest amount of mercy by just informing me as to why I am here."

The blond boy sighed before he replied, "You're here because you're Harry Potter's best mate. What better way to hurt him than to go through one of the members of the Golden Trio?"

Draco was rather proud of himself, coming up with a truth through a lie, knowing full well there was more to the story. He chose to leave out how Ron had already been taken care of, permanently, knowing how much it would affect her. He also chose to leave out what this would mean and in the future what she would have to do. He was smart enough to know how the blunt of the truth would have sent her into a whirlwind of hysteria to the point of possible assault on him and the last thing he needed was another punch from the bitch Granger.

"Why me? Why not Ron or even Harry himself?! Don't you dark wizards ever bloody think?"

"Don't you? I mean even if they were our targets, why point it out to us if you even had the slightest idea we would go after them? Come on Granger, I thought you were smarter than that."

Hermione looked away and Draco could see the flash of bitter anger behind her facade of sadness. It was this flash which confused him. He would have expected her to hide behind anger while masking her fear rather than the other way around. He had a feeling and most likely anyone who would understand her current predicament would have had the feeling, she was already in the midst of planning something. However, unlike the ones who did not know her, Draco would not underestimate her.

"Granger I know you're scared, but–"

"Leave me alone," she whispered sadly; "Just leave me. I know I'm stuck here at this point so just leave me."

And he did.

As soon as he left, she entranced herself in deep thoughts of how to get out of there. He had been right. She had chosen to hide behind her sadness while she silently plotted through her anger. She thought the technique would bring about her escape through time given nobody would notice her otherwise. They would expect her to be sad. They would expect her to be homesick and calling out for her family.

And she would.

At the same time, none the less, she would be plotting. Who would notice a silent mourner, right?

Wrong.

Draco Malfoy had caught on and right quick. It wasn't long before he was reading into her, hard and deep, on a more personal level than maybe even Ron and Harry had ever read into her. This would lead to her downfall. This would lead to her demise.

Do not think for one second it was an easy accomplishment. Hermione built a wall in front of her which was to keep death eaters, like Malfoy, away from her inner thoughts. She did not want to be corrupted for she knew it was precisely what they wanted.

It was her kindness, her good-natured side, which led the corruption to commence.

One must remember, the good are more likely to forgive and forget than the dark side. The good side always wants to believe in people, believe they have a warm center beneath the icy coating of their dark hearts. Hermione sure as Merlin knew Voldemort was beyond any reasonable help. Come on, the girl did have some common sense and was said to be the smartest bloody person of her age. No, it wasn't the Dark Lord she started to have faith in.

It was Draco.

For months upon months, December to April, she fought with him nearly everyday until her voice went raw and hoarse. She hated him—a fiery type of passionate hate. She was starting to get the feeling through his patronizing and snarky remarks that he was just a mean spirit in a body.

"Horrid bloody creature!"

The name was always ringing in Draco's ears, long after he had left her room for it was her favorite thing to call him. At first he enjoyed hearing those words about him roll off her tongue. It meant that there was nothing, but mutual hatred between them. It was the way he liked it.

Once the Dark Lord informed him to make better progress or face the consequences...well, let's just say he no longer wanted to hear the name. He had to figure out a way to get the mudbl—Granger to trust him.

Never in all of his years of living did he expect to...love her.

Love.

The concept was foreign to the blond boy having had little experience with the subject. Sure there had been Slytherin girls who feasted on him and vice versa, but never had he loved any of them. There was a family bond one could call love which he felt for his parents, but even that was a bit sketchy. So falling for her was not something he had planned on.

Love was precisely what had happened. Initially, Draco denied he had feelings for her rationalizing simply that, "I'm just getting closer to her. It's nothing more than my attempt to get close to the bitch. For my seduction to work, I need to get closer to the mudblood."

Yes, his reasoning was simple enough. He had to do this and there was no other thing to it. In so dealing with this game of seduction, his plan leapt forward into full force on one particular day in April...

"Granger...I swear it, you're becoming more insufferable by the day. Can't you just try to look at the bright side? I mean you're being held captive and not only are you in perfect health but living in luxury. I would think you would be grateful."

"Grateful? Grateful?! How dare you say such a thing. I should be grateful to have friends and family who are surely looking for me. I know they are. Can you say that? Who would care if you were taken, Malfoy?"

"I know a great deal of people who would care. Have you not noticed the place you're in? Aside from the Dark Lord, has not everyone shown an extreme amount of loyalty and devotion to one another? Just because our reasoning and cause goes against yours does not mean we're not one in the same. We all care about each other just as your Order does."

Hermione fell silent immediately. There was always another side to every story, but for the first time in her life, someone had confronted her on those grounds. It didn't change how mad she was, but still hushed her which Draco took to his advantage.

Slytherins always took such things to their advantage.

"Why can't you just try Granger? Why can't you just attempt to lighten up and perhaps see things from another angle?"

"Would you? If the situation were reversed, completely disregarding how we would never keep someone against their will like this without probable-bloody-cause, would you pretend to be happy and pretend to believe in something you were completely against? Would you?!"

It was Draco's turn to fall into an utmost silence, her words somewhat chafing him. It chafed him because he did not really know the answer. Would he? Would he pretend to be happy? Hell no! No, he'd be hostile to the extreme and go down fighting before he ever succumbed into the radical thoughts of the Golden Boy, Potter. So, in a way, he was on Hermione's side in this.

He would never admit to this out loud, but he suddenly felt acutely sorry for the girl.

"You have yet to answer which is answer enough."

"No, it's not. Perhaps I'm just choosing my words wisely so why don't you stop judging so soon."

"Then answer, Malfoy."

"I think you need to remember Granger just how big this is. It's not–"

"Completely irrelevant and you're just brushing on some broad thing regarding it. Answer the question. If you were in my position, would you not speak out for your cause?"

"I would. Alright, I would speak out, but only to a degree. You're practically begging for death!"

"Then you're just proving you're a coward if you would only speak out and then halter to avoid death. I do not fear such a fate!"

"Perhaps you should fear me!"

Draco lunged forward expecting her reaction to be blank, to just stare him down as she always did, and he was greeted with just as he predicted; Hermione's gaze was harsh, odious. Their breath was mixing for their anger had brought about an exhilarating excitement; his hot, hers sweet.

Without anymore coherent and rational thoughts, Draco pressed his lips to hers. It was not a kiss she returned nor did she appear to have any feelings about it other than bewilderment; she was truly perplexed. Draco pulled back quickly, smirking when he watched her skin change from a heated crimson to a ghost-white pale.

Seduction.

Oh, how sweet it is, he thought.

It would be a few moments before Hermione broke her gaze which alerted Draco immediately just how tight she was wrapped now about his finger. When one is involved in the battle of the eyes, dance of the gazes, the first person to break the gawp is the one who loses the control. Draco had made Hermione break his gaze, thus winning the small battle. She was his.

His plan was working and working well.

Muddy blood aside, she is quite the cute girl. Fuck—she did have soft lips. I love girls with soft lips. Perhaps this whole seduction thing won't be so bad. Maybe killing two birds with one spell wouldn't be so bad. I should figure out a way to gain something in all of this myself.

Yes, his reasoning was logical. It was all about the game of seduction.

Right?

Well, his seduction did continue as time progressed through the long months Hermione was forced to stay there. During certain junctures of her stay she had thought about trying to escape. Without a wand and knowledge of her location, well, she was downright screwed. What was she to do?

All she could do was spend time with Draco. Time. Lots of time. Time to get to "know" him. Time away from what she had grown accustom to. Time away from her world of love and kind hearts. Time away from Harry, Ron, and the people she cared most about.

Time away from good thoughts.

So you see, Draco's seduction of her was working. You see, one must remember what happens when a person is constantly surrounded by bad thoughts. Eventually those bad thoughts become routine and it becomes easier and easier to submit into them, to let the good and kind thoughts drift away. Hermione was silently plotting and bottling up her anger in hopes of getting free. So much time encompassed with nothing other than these malicious and hateful thoughts started to take a toll.

Just as Draco, along with the Dark Lord, wanted; she was giving into the darkness.

For months and months she just...was with Draco. It took several of those months for him to coax out of her the ability to use his first name. Strangely enough, the first time his name left her lips, he had not initiated it that time; she chose to say it...

"I just love the winter," said Draco cooly, his eyes scanning over the book laid out in his lap.

Hermione was seated on the bed and looked up upon hearing his voice start up a casual conversation. A sly smile played on her lips, urging the upper corners to lift ever so slightly. Most would have missed it, but Draco didn't.

"I like the chill the snow brings. Something about freezing until numbness takes over is just appealing."

"I think I'm starting to feel numb, Draco."

He lifted up instantaneously, his ice-blue eyes locking with her dark orbs. First off, he was dumbstruck, an expression foreign to him, at her use of his first name. Second, her words seemed odd, as though he could not exactly place what she meant by 'feeling numb'.

"Granger–"

"I know. I must sound mad, but I'm not. I'm not crazy. I'm not losing it. I just feel...numb. I can't even recall the last time I heard a familiar voice. Well, other than yours and it's not exactly the familiarity I mean."

"Potter and such, right? Granger you need to let them go. As of now, the chance you'll ever see them again is slim. You have a new family."

"I...I'm starting to understand."

Bloody Hell! It only took her until fucking May to realize it. Well then...perhaps she is ready.

"Then are you finally ready to meet your family?"

For a long period, several passing minutes, silence besieged the room while Draco waited for an answer. He could see the war in her eyes, wondering whether she should take this step, to meet the people who had kidnaped her, taken her away from her life. She was suppose to be in her sixth year of Hogwarts, preparing herself for the N.E.W.T. exams which would be held the following year. She should have been dully watching quidditch matches and helping, more like actually writing out herself, Harry and Ron's potion homework.

She was suppose to be Hermione.

"Granger?"

"Y-yes...I'm ready to meet to meet them."

Draco smirked. He'd gotten the upper hand and Hermione was feasting out of it. Oh yes, his seduction was working. The Dark Lord, as well as his father, would be pleased.

And they were.

Hermione had been taken out of the room by Draco for the first time in the middle of May. It was not at all what she had expected. Aside from the dark scenery and frightening images hung all over the walls, the place looked similar to how the ministry was. Everything was in order; the people, what appeared to be desks, the rooms, and so forth. Hermione actually liked it for it was the opposite of the Order's headquarters. Grimmauld place was nothing more than a dirty house with vast quantities of disordered equipment, papers, and belongings. At least the Dark Lord was organized.

She liked organized.

Already Hermione was starting to relate the place to what she knew, what she could remember, of her life at the headquarters. It was as though she subconsciously knew she had to make the most of the situation. She was mentally slapping herself at the time for saying it was better, but for Hermione's taste and style, it was.

The people of the castle were intensely unalike the Order members. When one walked by an Order member, usually light conversation was exchanged or at the very least a smile was presented to the other, but the Death Eaters were far different. The whole place reminded Hermione of a beehive; Voldemort was the queen, and oh how she loved thinking of him that way–inwardly giggling to herself, while the Death Eaters were the workers, completing whatever tasks they had silently and dutifully.

All of this struck her anomalous. Somehow she expected them to all be like Crabbe and Goyle; stupid cronies incapable of doing anything other than pummeling those weaker than themselves and nodding dumbly when somebody, like Draco, asked them a basic yes or no question. Never did she expect everyone to be so...devoted and respectful.

Hermione had completely misjudged everything about the place. Well, in her defense, most people of the wizarding world expected Voldemort's castle to be more like a cult worship; all of his followers would drink blood as they honored him for all he was worth.

This—this severe loyal way of conducting everything just seemed astonishing.

Even Hermione would be one to admit when she was wrong. Okay, maybe it wasn't in her nature to say it aloud, but she would say it to herself none the less. During that moment, she certainly was.

Further into the honesty, Hermione could say the place suited her personality better.

While she watched the various death eaters work on their own private tasks, Draco kept his gaze on her. Again he saw the type of war battling behind her bronzy eyes, glittering with gold specks of anguish. He could tell the sight before her challenged her beliefs. She was raised to not underestimate the enemy yet she somehow managed to do so, well, considering everyone did; good or bad. There was always a reason to doubt in the others and believe more in yourself; Hermione was no different. Draco loved seeing this in her.

On her first night outside of the room, a room she had literally been in for months upon months, she was just quiet.

She was observing.

Draco observed her.

Oh, how the silence seemed to be working in both of their favors.

With the passing weeks, Hermione spent a considerable amount of time just listening and watching with profound interest. Draco could not help but think it seemed as though she were like a wild flower in a patch of grass. There was something about the girl which captivated him.

Somebody else noticed this...

"Young Malfoy," drawled the long, snake-like voice of the Dark Lord.

"Yes Master?"

"It appears the girl has finally come out on her own terms, correct?"

"Sir I did not lure her out. She wanted to see the place on her own free will after I made the suggestion. I did not force her in any way."

"Good," concluded Voldemort, "That is very good. You've done well."

"Thank you, master," said Draco quietly.

"What do you think about the girl?"

Draco lips immediately pursed and his muscles clenched in every part of his body. It was one thing to be asked questions about how he was handling the situation, but directly asking his opinion on a girl he grew up hating was something different. He did not like it.

"Um..."

"Calm yourself, Draco, this is not a life or death question."

Hearing those words was a good thing; for on occasions, certain questions could result in life or death.

"Well um, I guess she...what exactly are you asking?"

"Is she smart? Do I need to spell it out? Is this too bloody difficult for you?"

Draco gulped before he said, "She's a genius, sir. Not only is she naturally smart, but she has the ability to just take on anything and grasp it."

Voldemort's face contorted into a sneer which Draco could only assume was the closest thing to a smile he could muster. His red slits were blazing with ideas and it actually bothered Draco to be so close to him, in the same room that is.

"She'll be perfect for our side."

"Wait, I-I thought you just wanted to take information from her. Learn from her on how to get to Harry Potter."

"Oh that was initially my plan. Now I've got other things in mind and refrain from asking me things when you're not fucking spoken to."

Again, Draco gulped; thickly.

"No, I think we're going to keep her around for a long time. Aside her being a mudblood, she would do well here. Looking at this logically," he emphasized, seemingly talking to Draco when he was really talking to himself; "I see her as something not to be wasted. We can't let her go back to Potter because she would be an advantage to them. We kill her, then she is just a waste. We keep her and use her, well, then I think we could benefit. Screw getting information. I think we should send her out."

Draco's eyes widened. Had he heard correctly?

"We can't send her yet. We need to get her completely on our side and after seeing her these past weeks, it's possible. We can get her to shift."

Draco was fidgeting and Voldemort noticed.

"You may speak."

"Um...with all utmost respect, sir, Granger is more stubborn than anyone I've ever met. The chances of her being that corrupted are highly unlikely. I...I—I see her choosing death before that."

"Which is why you'll continue what you're doing." The Dark Lord spoke with a malicious tone as he continued, "I've watched her and I know she likes what she sees. She may not exactly agree with us, yet, but she does like how we conduct our business. We've already pulled her in and now it's time to finalize it. Make-this-happen. Clear?"

"Yes, master."

After the meeting, things started happening very fast. Draco was doing anything and everything to gain Hermione's trust and ignite more fuel for the fire in regards to her viewing of the dark side. What was crazy was it appeared to be working.

Hermione still was locked in the room during all other times, Draco her only companion really, but her demeanor was changing.

Especially with Draco.

The two of them were fighting infrequently, over the most insignificant of things, and sitting in awkward silences more than ever. Aside from the little kiss they shared (Draco had really kissed her more than she kissed him), the two had not engaged in anything more. Draco found this amusing given any time it even so much as looked like he was thinking about it, her cheeks would blush incessantly until a change of subject was brought up.

It would not be until a hot summer day in July, the fourth to be exact, when everything would change. That was the day when Draco had kissed her and Hermione had kissed him back.

It was all over now.

She had given herself to Draco.

Her mind was now his.

So as their relationship progressed, Hermione became more involved with the dark side than she was even realizing. Her comments only went to Draco's ears, at least so she thought, and they were generally about remarks on handling certain situations.

Before she knew it—before any of them knew it—Hermione was far darker than any of them could have expected her to be. It had been their methods of handling their business which had struck her attention, but Draco had been the one to win her over.

When William Shakespeare, surprisingly the son of a rather intelligent and crafty wizard of the 16th century whose abilities had disappointedly not been passed over to the most famous of play writers, claimed 'love is blind', he must have foreseen this particular occurrence.

Hermione had fallen for Draco. It was not to say her love wasn't returned for it was acutely so a mutual admiration and love for the other. Draco had tried to deny it, but the more he thought about it, the more it seemed wrong to question his feelings.

She was the prefect counterpart for him; she was brilliant and capable of challenging him on an intellectual level, he himself very bright; she was exceptionally stubborn, again much like him which kept him from winning all the time–something he actually happened to like; she had to have been blessed by Merlin for her beauty just seemed to outshine all the rest. Draco thought her even more appealing when their was mischief and darkness in her eyes.

Hermione was positively perfect for him. He may have been a supremacist, still believing in his superior above all others, but he would make the exception for her; for he loved her.

So when the time came for them to separate and her to take on her first assignment, thus proving whether she could belong with them, it was hard on them both. Draco did not want to part from her for even the briefest of times. He had been attending Hogwarts for his sixth and seventh years, moving back and forth through late night and weekend portkeys and much help from a certain potions master, doing well to keep people from thinking he had anything to do with Hermione Granger's disappearance; he had a feeling she would be attending there as well, but it surely would be much later. Knowing the Order and given she had been taken during December of her sixth year at Hogwarts, returning the following December...well, who the hell would send her back immediately?

Draco had a feeling it would be hard on the both of them. Neither wanted to part.

However, Hermione had made it clear it was necessary for her to prove herself. She wanted to be with him, to let people know how much she loved him, but she would have to endure this first.

They had parted with a kiss and she had been left near Diagon Alley, battered and bruised to give the allusion of the physical trauma she had to face in order to escape.

It was how she had been found; by Tonks no less, something the Order was thankful for. This kept Hermione out of the press, for a while, and free from the hassles of the wizarding world. Hermione was free to be with them, to be healed and nursed back to health, and to be herself for the briefest of times.

Which was why she was at the Burrow.

To heal.

Only in her mind, she was alone. The Burrow was no longer her home nor did she want anything to do with it. She wanted to be at home, with Draco; with the rest of her family.

"Hermione?"

Hermione was brought out of her reverie by the sound of Harry's voice, a sound she loved once upon a time.

"Yes Harry?"

"It's rather cold. Why don't you come back inside and for Merlin's sake, put some shoes on! How can you be in the snow without any shoes on?!"

As Harry fussed over her, taking off his own jacket to place around his friend, she smiled at him. He took it as nothing more than a friendly gesture when really it was the most cruel smile she probably had ever displayed.

For what Harry and the others did not understand about Hermione's recent arrival back to their warm embraces was that Hermione did not escape from Voldemort's evil clutches...

She was released.


A/N: Alright, so what do you guys think? I know, I know---lots of information in the chapter, but I needed to build up the back story. The following chapters will have much more interaction with the present time. This plot is unlike anything I've done before so I hope it's up to par with surprising you guys. Oh and I'm sure the readers who have read my prior stories know that I ALWAYS have surprises and twists up my sleeves. Don't ever expect anything with me.

READ AND REVIEW!! If you can read it, then you can review it.

Evil's Mistress is the work of fanfiction. The characters belong to J.K. Rowling, but the featured story is mine.