Disclaimer: as much as I wish I owned Lucius (or that he owned me maybe…) and any of the other HP characters, I don't.

This is set kind of around the OOTP and assumes that Hermione is of age. I did try and fit the idea into the end of Deathly Hallows but it wouldn't fit so I'm pretending that I haven't read that bit!!

"But why me?" Hermione asked again as Molly applied liberal amounts of hair smoothing potion and touched up her make up.

"Because dear, he will not be able to resist finding out why you are there. If one of us went he'd be cross about it obviously, all that blood-traitors rubbish and the such, but in his opinion, a muggle-born should not be present at such an occasion. Trust me Hermione," Molly said as she clasped the dainty silver necklace around the girl's neck, "that man will not be able to ignore your presence and that is exactly what Dumbledore wants."

Hermione scowled at her reflection in the mirror, she did, admittedly, look quite pretty but she was not feeling positive about attending this stupid dinner. As she walked down the stairs into the hall she ran over Dumbledore's last instructions to her again.

The Ministry was holding its annual summer dinner and the Order had information that the Death Eaters would have representatives there to gather information and attempt to persuade members of the ministry to their cause. Dumbledore was sending Kingsley along to gather what information he could but then Snape had told him that Lucius Malfoy would be attending. Dumbledore's plan was to send Hermione and, relying on Malfoy's obsession with insulting muggle-borns, that he would accost Hermione and she could then use his interest in her to her advantage. Hermione didn't really see what that advantage was – how could she be of any use to the Order by being insulted by Lucius Malfoy?

She stomped into the gloomy kitchen of number 12 and stood, hands on hips, ready for any final instructions. The assemble members of the Order looked at her from the long table. Nobody said anything. "Well?" she demanded, staring at them crossly. Finally, Sirus spoke, "er… Hermnione, you look… er, well, you look lovely." He stuttered. Hermione felt herself blush but before she could say anything Sirius had got to his feet and was guiding her back into the hall.

"Hermione, there's something I need to tell you before you go ." he said, looking down at her, his face serious but gentle. She waited, he took a deep breath and glanced away from her questioning look. "Dumbledore has not told you everything about his plans for tonight." He looked back down at her, his eyes dark with care for her. He seemed undecided about whether to continue but eventually took a deep breath and, looking away from her again, said "Lucius will try to seduce you tonight."

Hermione goggled at him, "What?! Of course he won't, Sirius he hates me!" she whispered, feeling repulsed even at the idea. Sirius shook his head slowly, "I know Malfoy of old. He has always enjoyed gaining power over others. He uses his considerable charm to seduce those around him and gain power over them Hermione and he will try it with you." Hermione was reeling, considerable charm? What was Sirius talking about? The tall man in front of her continued, "To Lucius, the idea that he could seduce a young, clever girl, who is clearly very much against his master's cause, will be irresistible. And to add to that, it will re-assert his pure-blood authority over muggle-borns."

"Lucius Malfoy is a despicable man Sirius, I would never let him near me in that way. And as for his charm, I have never seen it." Hermione said sharply. She couldn't imagine what had prompted Sirius to tell her this tall story, maybe it was just another sign of his desperation to be out of Grimmauld Place.

Sirius walked with her to the front door where she was to apparate to the country residence of the Minister of Magic and meet Kinglsey. "I understand why you find it hard to believe me Hermione," he said quietly, "but please be careful tonight." She looked at him with what looked like pity on her face and turned into the darkness.

The dinner was sumptuous though Hermione had not been able to eat much due to a sudden attack of nerves at being with so many important people. She had spent the early part of the evening trailing around behind Kingsley, not managing to partake in the conversation and only responding to direct questions. It seemed ridiculous to her that she was here, she felt incapable of doing anything useful and important.

What she hadn't noticed were the many surprised but admiring glances as she moved through the crowd. She didn't hear the whispered comments as she passed, about how different she looked and how surprisingly attractive she was when out of school uniform. And she definitely didn't notice the interested gaze of a tall, immaculately dressed wizard who sat idly at the head table playing with a strand of white-blond hair that fell over his black-clad shoulder.

As the after dinner speeches finished and people started to drift away from the tables into the warm summer garden, Kingsley leant over to Hermione and whispered in her ear, "I've heard that Yaxley is aiming to talk to the minister after dinner, I'm afraid I need to leave you and see if I can join in their little tete a tete, will you be alright?" Hermione shrugged and nodded, "I don't really have much choice do i?" she grumbled. Kingsley got up from the table with an amused smile and she regretted her childish tone.

So, there she sat, alone at the table, feeling useless and disgruntled. Dumbledore had definitely been wrong to send her here tonight, nobody had been remotely interested in her and she hadn't heard anything that the Order didn't know already. She turned her gaze on Kinglsey who was now chatting animatedly with the group of people standing around Fudge. He would have lots to report back to Dumbledore, and she would look like a pointless little school girl she thought, her mood descending further.

She was roused from her mope by a cool, cultured voice that made her jump. "Now, I wonder, what would a mudblood school girl be doing at a ministry dinner?"

Hermione looked round in shock to find Lucius Malfoy standing behind Kingsley's vacated chair, looking down at her, his expression unreadable. To her intense annoyance, Hermione felt her face flush. "Here on your beloved Headmaster's orders no doubt, but to what end, hmm? He drawled, arranging his long limbs in the chair next to her and fixing her with eyes of cool grey.

She found herself unable to think of a reply and looked down at the table in front of her feeling unreasonably cross with herself. A deep chuckle came from the chair next to her, "Now, now my pretty," Malfoy murmured, "surely clever little Granger can think of a suitably cutting reply?" she could feel his cool gaze on her body and her heart rate rose with a feeling of mild panic. "I'm here with Kingsley Shacklebolt." She replied, hating herself for not being able to tell him to leave and stop being so patronising. He did not immediately reply and she looked round at him questioningly.

It was a mistake, the cold grey eyes captured hers and she could not look away. He laughed mirthlessly, "With Shacklebolt?" he said incredulously, "What crackpot plan of Dumbledore's is this?" His sneering voice spurred Hermione to anger,

"It's none of your business, Mr Malfoy, what Dumbledore does." She said haughtily and with that, she stood from her chair and walked away from the table leaving an amused and intrigued Malfoy behind.

As she reached the warmth of the garden, Hermione released a breath she hadn't realised she'd been holding. The relief at being away from him was tangible and she flopped heavily onto a small wooden bench that was surrounded by the heady sent of roses. Although he hadn't exercised any of this 'considerable charm' over her, Lucius Malfoy's presence certainly had a powerful effect on her. She couldn't remember feeling so discomfited by anyone before.

Her relief was short lived.

"Don't think I will allow you to dictate the terms of our interaction like that Miss Granger." Came the imperious drawl. Lucius stepped in front of her and she was forced to look up into his strong face. "What do you want from me?" she questioned, heat rising in her chest. "What do I want from you?" he replied dangerously, "What do I want from you," he mused as he folded himself onto the bench beside her. Hermione couldn't look at him again, he made her so angry at his arrogance and yet so cowed by his command. "I think, for starters, I want you to look at me Miss Granger." Lucius whispered.

Something in his voice made it impossible to refuse the command and she turned to face him as he sat languidly at the other end of the bench, the scarlet roses contrasting startlingly with his pale complexion. Hermione had never really looked closely at Lucius Malfoy before, she saw now that his features were incredibly beautiful and his body gave off an aura of power and strength. His beauty was marred, however, by the incredible arrogance in his eyes and the cruel twist to his mouth as he sat there watching her look at him. He raised an eyebrow and she suddenly realised she was staring and dropped her gaze, blushing.

"I must admit I'm a little disappointed in you Granger," he drawled, " I expected something much more fiery from what I know of your reputation at Hogwarts." He flicked a speck of dust from his sleeve, "I should have guessed a mudblood wouldn't be strong enough to show any spark."

Hermione couldn't believe it, she leapt to her feet, facing him with fire in her eyes. Before she could open her mouth, he smirked at her. He was playing with her and she was reacting exactly how he wanted. Berating herself for being so easily affected by this awful man she sat back down, buttoning her lips and folding her arms tightly across her chest.

"Why so defensive my dear?" he murmured, sitting up straighter and lessening the space between them. "Have I got under your skin I wonder?" he said, almost to himself. Hermione turned on him ready to spit a reply at him. She hadn't counted on him being so close and she was hit by the increased heat in the air and the heady smell of the roses intermingled with a hint of manly cologne coming from Lucius' body. She gasped in surprise and had to berate herself again at the look on his face. "I will never let you get under my skin Mr Malfoy." She almost snarled. He laughed again, a deep, rumbling sound from deep in his chest, "Oh I beg to differ Miss Granger, I beg to differ."