Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or anything recognizable to the HP-Universe, JK Rowling does. I'm not making any money off the writing of this fanfic.
Warning: This work of fanfiction is rated Mature because of language and adult content. If you are not of the appropriate age to read this fic, please do not read any further.
The tent flap wrenched back abruptly as Harry stormed in, one hand pulled angrily through his hair, the other clenched in a fist. I stayed quiet as he railed and gesticulated wildly to Ron about whatever lackluster grievance he'd been stewing over. Unending days of mind-numbing tedium were reaching a critical boiling point, I could sense it in both of the boys, hell, even I wanted to do something even if just for the sake of doing something, but at least I had the good sense to realize the futility of such draining thoughts. One should never go off half cocked about their mayhem; it only results in piss poor bedlam. And really, if you're going to court disaster and chaos it should be done in a proper and seemly manner. In a 'steal big or not at all' world it made no sense to muck things up just a wee bit.
I cleared my throat mid-tirade and interrupted Harry's rant with something that sounded suspiciously like 'hem hem.' Dear gods was I channeling pure evil as well? "Harry, give me the locket."
He spun, his darting eyes drinking me in, seemingly surprised by my presence in the room, his mouth was still twisted open from his rant.
"The locket," I repeated in a bored tone, stretching out my hand to receive the offending artifact.
He grumbled and shuffled annoyed at having to give up his 'precious,' but nevertheless handed it over with ill-disguised bad grace. I pocketed the soul-infused antique, calmly retuned my book to its place on the makeshift shelf and faced the boys.
"I'm going out to fetch us some dinner." I held up a hand to delay any protests, but none came. Mushy berries and shriveled mushrooms made for a most unappetizing meal, the boys must have assumed that whatever I brought back to the hovel would be a feast in comparison.
Grabbing my bag as I pulled back the tent flap I gave the boys one last tender parting glance. A mental snapshot in case my plans for utter anarchy and revolution died a horrible and ignoble death. I did not want to remember them this way. Half starved and at each other's throats, but it was our grim reality.
Walking briskly past the outer wards I concentrated on disapperating. And arrived with a wince at my loud 'pop.' My arrival would have been much quieter had I been here before, but as I've only managed to find pictures of this place in a twenty year old wizarding genealogy book, the fact that I arrived in one piece at all was miraculous.
I crouched low before running for a bush. The entrance to the Malfoy Manor hadn't changed much in those decades, the stone wall surrounding the property was still impossibly high, and the wrought iron gate revealed a long meticulously manicured lawn that ended with a disgustingly pretentious home. I snickered when I saw it. Mum had always pointed out that therein laid the difference between old and new money. The old guard lived comfortably away from prying eyes while the nouveau riche wanted their status symbols to be seen from the streets. How tacky. I was heartily amused that once again the Malfoy family had proved that money did not equate class. But then I was also of the opinion that Severus Snape, the welder's son, had more class in his non-wand hand than the whole bloody lot of 'em.
As for the Malfoy eyesore itself, I of course didn't need a book to tell me that the place was heavily warded, or that there would be ugly little traps for ugly little muggleborns like myself. Although, to put a blunt point on it, there were probably traps for all interlopers regardless of bloodstatus.
God only knows what my fate would be if I tried to actually knock. I can see the headline now, 'So-called Cleverest Witch of her Age Hermione Granger Dies a Bloody Death after she Stupidly Attempted Breaking and Entering' by Rita Skeeter. Editorial: Muggleborn Menaces; are they natural born thieves and criminals? See Page Four for a Shocking Exposé on Granger's Love Life!
I cleared my head of such inanities, pinched a pebble, and lobbed it at the stone wall. Twenty stones later a house elf appeared.
"I'd like an audience with Draco," I announced, dusting my hands off on my jeans. The brown elf gave me a jeering frown, apparently disgusted with my presence. Who knew elves could be shits on their own? Maybe the Malfoys just rubbed off like that. "Please let Draco know that Granger awaits his arrival, that he should come alone, and if he doesn't cooperate there will be serious repercussions."
It was a silly threat, but one that I knew Draco would respond to. He always gave me too much credit, and seemed to think that I held more sway than I do. Merely stating 'there will be serious repercussions' was much better than an actual threat that he could actually counter. Not that I had anything on him, mind you, but the imagination is a powerful tool. I waited patiently and was rewarded when I didn't have to wait too long.
Draco arrived wearing casual faded quiddich robes, his obligatory poncy sneer, and a curious gleam in his eye. And saints be praised, he didn't bring the cavalry… yet. Ah, so curiosity wins the day where threats do not. An interesting piece of information about Mr. Malfoy to tuck away for later.
"Granger," he greeted tersely. I returned the greeting with a cold nod. "What brings you here, and without your Gryffindor posse to back you up?"
I rolled my eyes, I just couldn't help myself. I mean seriously? Was this the best insult he could manage?
"I need Snape." The startled look that crumpled his disdainful features was worth the trip. Malfoy is so easy to throw off balance, it's no longer sporting. "You either know where he is, or I suspect you're hiding him. Regardless, I need to meet with him."
"Yeah right," he chuffed coolly running his hand through his perfect tresses, but his subtle shift in weight from one foot to the other betrayed his nervousness. "Like I'd hand him over to you even if I knew where he was. How stupid do you really think I am?"
"I don't think you're stupid. I've never underestimated you Malfoy, so let me spell it out for you. And when you come to the correct conclusions, you'll get Snape for me." I challenged him with my eyes, but already knew I had him hooked. He was hooked the moment I arrived. Sworn enemies just don't show up unexpectedly without perking any interest.
"I am working on a way to destroy your beloved Dark Lord," I began in my most annoyingly Gryffindor voice because he expected blunt stupid honesty. And really it was something they already knew. It wasn't any secret that we'd been trying to kill the evil bastard since before he even became corporeal. "I need Snape's help. Now either you'll send him in my direction because you wouldn't mind seeing your big bad lizard-wizard gone, or you'll send him to infiltrate and report back. I'll leave it up to you to decide why you're going to help, but you'll do it."
He sneered which was to be expected, and was it just me that the sneer didn't seem quite so sneerful? "Really, I'm just going to help you like that, just because you asked? Turn him over to you lot to hex, you must be joking, or perhaps you're the stupid one. Tell me Granger, is fucking a Weasley like injecting stupid?" He chuckled at his own joke as if it were funny.
"I can threaten you if you prefer."
"I don't see how," sniffed ever the prissy boy.
I shrugged casually before deadpanning, "You shed."
"Shed," I repeated slowly as if he was slow himself, which in a way is true. "You know your hair."
"Geez o' flip Malfoy, do I have fucking spell everything out for you? I have samples of your hair. I'm a witch. I can brew polyjuice potion, in fact I brewed it successfully back in second year. I'm not sure what I'll do with it yet, but I'm a creative gal, I can come up with lots of ideas. Maybe I'll circulate photos of you snogging Harry, or eating at McDonalds, or maybe I'll just pitch a hissy fit in the middle of Hogsmeade and cry uncontrollably. Honestly I don't know, but I will make it as public and humiliating as possible. Now, are you going to get Snape for me or not?"
Malfoy was standing stock still and quiet. Again, the imagination is a wonderful tool.
"I'll talk to him about it," he mumbled.
"Good." I held out a small round mirror, "give him this."
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