I don't own any of the Harry Potter characters
The Leaky Cauldron was busy, full to bursting with lunching witches and wizards, and so Lucius steered her away from the old inn, towards Flourish and Blotts, where he found all of her spell books and piled them up in his arms without speaking to her. She was certain that the allowance with which Dumbledore had provided him was not enough to warrant first-hand editions, yet when she suggested as much, he rolled his eyes. "Since when do you know what Dumbledore does and doesn't do?"
And she didn't argue, because arguing would have been tantamount to saying that she did know Dumbledore, as well as the amount of money that was provided for children at the school with no income. So she let him pay at the counter, putting all of the books into a bag and carrying them for her, in a highly gentlemanly manner which unnerved her, until she realized that perhaps he was worried that, now she had a wand and had proved she could use it, he might be simply buttering her up to prevent her repeating the experience.
When they finally went for lunch, he found a table in a deserted corner, piling the bags up beside their chairs before flinging himself into his own, flicking a strand of platinum hair out of his eyes before nodding to the chair in front of him. "I'm not holding it out for you," he grinned, and Hermione decided that he was being his usual sarcastic self, simply because he was not alone with her nor out in the open any longer.
She slipped gracefully into her seat and picked up the menu, looking down the page to select the King Prawn Salad for starter, the steak and ale pie for main, a glass of champagne and, for pudding, a cookie cheesecake. He looked at her in amusement, before ordering the same starter, a sirloin steak with two sides of salad and chips, a firewhiskey, a pint of mead, and a chocolate fudge cake. She tried to hide the mild disappointment that she experienced on realising he was not going to rise to her bait, but then decided to simply enjoy the food, albeit that the starter had passed by in silence. Only when Lucius cut into his steak –medium rare, to Hermione's disgust when she saw the pinkish colour of the meat- did he break the silence.
"You don't trust me, do you Granger?"
And though he said it as a question, she knew that he already knew full well that the answer was no. She said nothing, looking at her plate and picking half heartedly at the pie, feeling her appetite drain as he looked at her.
"Pardon my asking, but I think I'm within my rights to know why?" His voice was surprisingly soft, and she looked up to meet his grey eyes – almost silver, now that she really looked at them- with a small quirk of her lip.
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you."
He snorted, "That is true. You don't have a record of being the most truthful person I've ever met... but if I don't believe you, then you'll have nothing to lose in telling me, right?"
Hermione realized, at that moment, just why the man before her grew up to be so very influential; whilst his money was sure to play a part, he had an uncanny ability of twisting things to his own advantage and personal point of view, and as she averted her eyes she wondered why he hadn't become something more honourable than a Death Eater- he could have made Minister For Magic; with a voice and face and influence like that nobody would question it.
"You really... it's better that it remains... secret."
He clenched his jaw briefly, then replied. "I don't really like secrets."
"That's not true," she replied without thought. He frowned.
"And how would you, of all people, claim to know that?"
Hermione sighed, taking a mouthful of pie and hoping he would change the subject. When he didn't, just continuing to look at her with great expectancy, she sighed, swallowing her food and resting her fork on the plate. "Why do you need to know so much?" She asked, knowing that there was hypocrisy to her question that Harry and Ron would have scolded her for.
"Because you intrigue me," he said honestly. "And because it's been a long time since I've been this intrigued about any one thing or person, and I'm interested."
She raised an eyebrow, and Lucius knew that that argument would not suffice. "And because," he voiced, his volume falling considerably so that she had to lean slightly closer in order to hear him properly, "I don't like to think of someone disliking me when I have no clear knowledge of what I have done to them." He raised an eyebrow to match her own and she smiled despite herself. "Will you tell me?" He asked gently.
"I really shouldn't," she replied, voice soft and timid. "It could change so many things... I have no idea how things are meant to be..."
"That's the beauty of life, isn't it?" Lucius asked, a grin spreading across his lips. "Nobody should have the knowledge to know how things turn out; it's unnatural. We live by our own causes and we hope they're the right ones for the future we want..." He waited a few moments before whispering, "Tell me, Hermione."
And the use of her first name shocked her. She looked at him so fast that her neck cricked and she groaned in pain. He couldn't stifle the laugh that left his mouth, and it was such a happy sound she was surprised it came from him at all. "You don't understand," she said softly, "if I told you, so much could change... things could go wrong..."
"Like what?" he asked. "Like, people dying, wrong?"
She looked at him for several seconds, watching his brow crinkle briefly, and then his eyes widen. "Are you for real?"
She nodded her head, but then, a small, nagging part of her brain interrupted, and she wondered... She had been told in third year that letting anyone see her a few hours in the past could change the course of the future for the worse, and yet, looking at Lucius now, with his eyes so untainted and full of life, she wondered if, in telling him, she could change the course of the future for the better. What if she warned this young, would-be Death Eater of the path he wrought for himself? What if she told him of the murders and crimes he would commit in the future, and let him make the choice as to whether or not to continue on as he was destined to... and then she reasoned, that in her own time, this meeting was twenty two years in the past; she had already had this meeting, and she reasoned that whatever the outcome, it was the right one, surely?
And then she scolded herself mentally, for of course, that could not be right. The fact of the matter was, she had the choice as to making this man's life more humane, and whether it was wrong or not in the matters of time and magic, she didn't care, because deep down, she knew that when it came to it, there was no debate; she could save countless lives, including Lucius' himself, if she just told him the truth... and in that second, her decision was made, and whether it was the right one or not, she would not know.
"I've met you before," she said softly. "A few times, in fact.... only... you're not the same now... not the way I remember you at all in fact."
He watched her intently, pushing his plate aside to listen. "When? I don't remember you."
She breathed deeply, and then said, almost imperceptibly, "We haven't met yet."
He blinked. "What?" His face was that of a confused man and she didn't blame him. She sounded as though she was an escaped patient from Saint Mungo's, and sure enough, he frowned and asked. "Are you feeling alright?"
"I'm fine!" She snapped. "Look, the thing is... I don't belong here... I'm not... I'm sort of..."
"Crazy?" He supplied, and she smiled but shook her head.
"No, I'm not crazy, unfortunately."
"How can we not have met? I'm sat with you already! That's pretty evidential of the two of us being acquaintances, and so there is no way we can't have met!" It clearly bothered him, and Hermione saw, for the first time, Lucius Malfoy in a state, and found it to be incredibly humanising for him.
"Because..." she looked at him and said softly, "you might want another drink, actually..." And he took a deep swig of mead before looking at her.
"You're confusing me Granger, and I don't like it. Explain, because I don't understand any of this, and I want to know why you seem to despise me quite as much as you do. I admit I'm not the most openly friendly person, but I haven't really done anything to merit you constantly giving me the cold shoulder, and trying to evade me when I attempt to talk." He took another swig and looked expectantly at her, taking in the caramel eyes, the soft curls in her hair, and feeling an odd pull at his stomach.
"I'll tell you," she said softly, "but it's... it's important that you realize that it doesn't have to come true... you might not be... it could be better." She breathed in deeply for a few moments, then began to tell him everything.
"I met you when I was twelve. You were about thirty-four, I'd imagine, and... Things were hostile between us because of certain... differences that you deemed unforgiveable. I was with a family of people you'd never gotten on with, and I suppose that in that respect, you classed me as bad as them anyway. But there were other things too, and you... you took an instant dislike to me, and in return, I did the same to you."
Lucius looked pale and sweaty, and he croaked, "thirty-four?" in a harsh, throaty voice that grated on her ears and completely contrasted with his usual silken tones. She nodded, allowing him time for the information to sink in. "So... when you say you don't belong here... you mean you're from... from the future?" She nodded again, running her finger around the rim of her empty glass. "And, I didn't like you?" He sounded genuinely confused, and she wondered how much information he could take in at once.
Another nod, and then she said quietly, "you deemed me unworthy of... of witchcraft." She felt tears burning at her eyes and tried desperately to blink them away. He noticed, looking suddenly uncomfortable, but inquisitive at the same time.
"Why would I do that?" Lucius whispered. "You're clearly worthy... admittedly I haven't met you when you were twelve, but... why would I say something like that?" There was something scared in his eyes, and she wondered if perhaps she would have done better to simply go on believing she didn't like him for no reason.
"Think," she said eventually, "of what you would consider the lowest form of witch or wizard..."
"A squib?" he said instantly, then frowned. "But you're clearly not a squib... you can do magic and you..." he stopped, looked at her, then at the table in front of him, then back at her, with recognition dawning in her eyes. "You're not... are you?"
"Yes," she said, "I'm a Mudblood."
Silence stretched between them for many minutes, and then he let out the breath of air he seemed to have been holding in. "But... you're in Slytherin!" his voice was indignant, and Hermione nodded with glumness.
"Yes... but only because I chose to be... I'm.... I'm not supposed to be in Slytherin."
"Are you a Hufflepuff?" He said, clearly attempting to bring some humour back into the conversation.
She did laugh, shaking her head. "No... I'm a Gryffindor."
She saw a flash of something on his face; disappointment, perhaps? But it was gone before she could really note it in detail. "I see." He said quietly. "Right..." Another few minutes of silence passed before he quietly said. "You're having me on, aren't you?"
She shook her head again, cheeks red in embarrassment as he scrutinized her completely. "No. I'm not at all. I'm not of wizarding blood... I just got lucky."
He eyed her, then closed his eyes briefly and counted to ten, and she could see his lips forming the words and hear a slight release of breath every second. When he opened them again, he looked confused and disappointed, and she didn't know why.
"Why do you hate Mudbloods so much?" she asked softly. "I could never understand it, at all, from anyone. I still don't..."
He looked at her, shifting uncomfortably in his seat as he did so before leaning forward and clasping his hands together until his nails drew blood. He was hunched over and looked to be nervous and shifty, as though he had something to be afraid of. "I'm Pureblood." He said softly.
"I know that," she quipped back. He managed a weak smile.
"I should have known that you would..." with another deep breath, Lucius went on. "I've grown up on stories of Muggles and Mudbloods," he said quietly. "I've heard how you come in our sleep and steal our wands so that you can claim entrance to our world, and how you all become so studious so that you can overthrow us..."
"We don't steal wands." She said quietly. "And even if that were true, I'd say that the fact I just spent two hours trying to find a wand that would work for me would be evidence enough to say that it wasn't exactly an easy thing to achieve in claiming a wand that would actually make us look even remotely magical in this world."
Lucius' eyes darkened. "My family's spent years, generations even, keeping the bloodline pure, because Muggles corrupt it. They make us seem inferior and can claim rights that no person of the pure blood can."
"Such as what?" Hermione snapped, wondering instantly if she would live to regret it.
"Such as..." Lucius said softly, "such as..." he seemed lost for words, and he slammed a fist angrily down on the table. "It doesn't matter what! You all lie and cheat and steal to get to a place that you will never belong in because it wasn't made for you, not in the same way it was made for us!"
"Where do you think the first wizard came from, Lucius?" Hermione said softly. "Do you think they just popped out of the ground like a bloody plant and started waving a stick around and turning people into animals? They were probably a Muggle to begin with, and just happened to possess a power. Just because they found another person with the same powers to go and shag and make babies with doesn't mean that they were any less of a Muggle than I am."
"Well, if you didn't steal your powers," he sneered, clearly insinuating that she had, "how did you get them?"
"I don't know," she said honestly. "I was in my bedroom one morning, playing with my toys, and then one of them came to life and began moving in front of me. That was when I was about five. After that I could make them move when I wanted them to... and when I turned eleven, I got my Hogwarts letter, asking me to come the next September. I don't know how, or why, and I don't suppose anybody does. But I didn't steal anything, and I won't listen to you suggesting as much."
He looked at her for a few moments, then stood up abruptly and headed over to the bar, where she saw him order two firewhiskeys in a row, which he downed with speed, then he returned with ale and a glass of wine, which he shoved across at her unceremoniously before plonking himself back down. "My mother was killed by a Mudblood." His voice cracked, but there was no mistaking the sincerity of his words. Hermione could only stare, trying to make sense of what he said.
"Your... your mother was killed?"
He nodded. "She trusted him. He was her replacement for my father while he was away on business in my youth... And though I suppose it serves her right for being so unfaithful, he had no right to kill her. He was a filth ridden piece of vermin and my father made sure he was dealt with in the same way." The darkness in his eyes was terrifying, and the usual handsome set of his jaw was menacing and chilling to the eye. Hermione felt tears in her eyes as she began to understand some of the Malfoy family's detest for Muggleborns.
"I'm sorry," she said softly. "But not all of us are like that."
He rounded on her with anger burning in his eyes. "You don't get it do you? He stole her wand! He stole it, and he killed her with it! Do you have any idea what it's like, to hear your mothers screams while you're locked in your room, four years old and unable to get out? Can you even begin to comprehend what seeing another one of his filth-ridden brethren sat in front of me makes me feel? It's repulsive! Have you ever had to listen to something like that? Listened to someone you loved being tortured repeatedly, simply because they had something some swine couldn't have? He was a good-for-nothing pile of shit and anyone that has that sort of blood running through their veins is filth to me!"
Hermione's eyes were burning, and she blinked ferociously, before meeting his eyes and saying softly. "I've never had to listen. I've been tortured for something I was, just because people like you –and when I say like you, I mean your friends and family, and you yourself- couldn't get their own way. You act like spoilt brats and you have no sense of anything but your own self-importance!"
He looked at her in a mixture of rage and horror, and she wasn't sure which unnerved her more. She wanted to talk, but at the same time she was terrified he would turn his wand on her and she would be sent to an early grave. Then suddenly, his whole body sagged in his chair, as though the support of his bones had simply disappeared, and he looked a more broken man than she had ever seen. "I wouldn't..." he said softly. "I couldn't..." his eyes were filled with pain, and she couldn't help but feel a desperate inner need to reach over and touch his cheek. She didn't do so, but she looked at him with heartfelt sympathy.
"You didn't... not as such... it wasn't you torturing me..." she looked at her hands, only to see them shaking. "But you did... not to me... but to... a friend..."
"But... I don't understand why I would... to anyone... I couldn't... it wouldn't happen. Nobody could convince me to do that!" And his eyes and expression were so sincere that, if she hadn't heard and seen evidence to contradict it, she would have easily believed him.
"You... this was a bad idea... I shouldn't have told you any of this... I was stupid... It was a bad idea... I can't let you remember it... I'm sorry, you're just..."
"Tell me." Lucius demanded. "I need to know. I won't let it happen. I can't let it happen."
"You have to," she said softly.
"DON'T YOU DARE TELL ME WHAT I HAVE TO DO!" He roared, and suddenly he was every bit the man she knew. Her heart pounded and her body shook as she recoiled from him. The few people remaining in the Inn looked their way, but Lucius ignored them, striding around the table and gripping her chin in a vicelike grip. "If you think I'm going to let a Mudblood dictate my life you have another thing coming!"
She met his cold glare evenly, with one equally as cold and level, saying softly, but with great intent, "you don't need me to dictate it for you. You're enough of a maniac to dictate it for yourself."
His hand fell away, his jaw gritted as his face seemed to drain of what little colour he had. He looked to be bordering on sickness, and she looked at him worriedly despite herself. "Don't look at me Mudblood!" he hissed.
Hermione felt hot tears begin to trickle down her face, leaving dark tracks as it dragged her mascara away from her eyes and towards her chin. "You haven't changed," she whispered softly, tears burning. "You're still as cowardly and evil, and everything I was beginning to think you weren't." She got up and left, negating to pick up her bags and running out of the front entrance, right into the heart of Muggle London.
It was different; the buildings were older, the fashion was shocking and the looks she received were embarrassing as anything, but she didn't care, and submersed herself instantly in the mundane world that was Muggle London itself. She heard a woman talking to her friend about putting a red sock with the whites and turning her white negligee a dulled down pink that her husband disliked; she heard a man complaining to his wife that he had left his cigarette lighter at home, while she admonished him for being so careless and expecting her to carry around a spare at all times. It was so different to the wizarding world; if she turned around, ten metres away she would hear people discussing potions, Quidditch matches, Goblin Wars and Chocolate Frogs. It worried her how tame the Muggle world had become for her, and yet it was her home. Was Lucius right? Had she somehow come into contact with a wizard or witch and stolen their powers in her youth? She shook her head, admonishing the thought. She was born to be a witch, whether or not the pureblood fanatics agreed with her on the matter.
She walked for half an hour, immersing herself in the streets of London, walking past toy shops, art galleries, an abandoned warehouse, a funeral parlour... Everything rushed by and she took in everything and nothing at the same time. She could understand him being angry, she could even understand, to some degree, the way he'd made a misguided assumption based on personal experience, but she simply couldn't understand how he could accuse her of stealing her powers, accuse every muggleborn witch or wizard of theft when there was no proof at all to suggest that was so, except for the fact that they weren't 'worthy' of it by birth. She thought up countless arguments now that she was alone; you weren't born with the right to be famous, you simply happened across a chance and you took it. You didn't have to be born into the Royal family; you could marry and be considered Royal without any question of it. It angered her that he had proved her right, proved that he was as cold and bitter as he ever had been. It angered her that she had been foolish enough to believe otherwise, and that she had wasted time in Slytherin, when from now on it was bound to be miserable and her secret would be out in no time. And this, she reasoned, was why she was told not to meddle with time when she used her time turner back in third year; there was no control, and she had no idea whether, in a few moments, she might simply disappear because something she had said had changed the course of life and she wasn't even going to be born... Fresh tears fell and she didn't bother to try and hide them, for nobody knew her, nor would they remember her. She sobbed, continuing to walk, feet moving habitually, taking random turns at any opportunity, trying to lose herself in the complexity of the past. She was walking, on and on, with no idea where she was any longer, but not caring, as long as she could escape, and then...
"Hermione!" She heard, and her stomach sank. His voice was slightly dry, though it had regained some of its silkiness. She didn't bother to turn around, but kept walking, picking up speed to try and lose him. Unfortunately for her, she had never really exercised, and her fitness was questionable, but when being pursued by a well-built, toned, regularly exercising male, it was hopeless to believe she would get away. She managed to stay ahead for a few minutes, but he was closing in on her all the time, and very soon he was an arms length away and had reached out a hand to grab her wrist. When she tried to jerk it away, he held it firmly and twisted her around to face him.
The cut on her cheek, which had scabbed over and been covered with makeup before they left Hogwarts, was clearly visible, the thin red line stark in its contrast to the pallor of her skin. Black lines had traced down to her chin and her eyes were slightly puffy and red. She was sniffing and crying, and despite the run of her makeup and the sight of the cut against her skin, he didn't think he had ever seen anyone so beautiful.
Lucius brought one hand up to cup her cheek, his movement tentative as he waited for her to pull away. He felt her tense as the tendons in her wrist contracted beneath his fingers, and he stroked a flyaway strand of hair away from her face. "I'm sorry." He whispered.
When Hermione didn't reply, he let go of her wrist, bringing his other hand up to join the first, cupping her face between them. The irrelevance of the thought surprised her, but Hermione couldn't help but notice how large they were, how masculine and strong, yet still graceful. His fingers teased against the skin of her temple as he traced them gently up and down over a space of only a few centimetres. Her sniffling died down slightly, and her breathing calmed so that she simply stood there before him, arms at her sides, looking completely helpless. He continued his gentle caresses until she drew in a shuddering breath, after which he spoke quietly. "You're not a Mudblood." He whispered.
"I am," she whispered in reply.
"No..." he closed his eyes briefly, then met hers again and spoke softly, "you're muggleborn. And that's not a bad thing." He moved closer to her, lowering his forehead so that it rested against hers, feeling her slightly hitched breath on his face, closing his eyes to the vanilla scent that wafted into his nostrils and filled his entire system. She was trembling in his arms, and it reminded her vividly of the moment in which she had been thrown to meet him, and she was both terrified and comfortable at the same time. His arms were not wrapped around her back, holding her in place like a prisoner, but instead they consoled her, tenderly caressing her hips until she was no longer a jibbering wreck.
"Hermione?" he whispered tentatively.
He took a deep breath, shuddering slightly before speaking again. "Please... make me forget. I can't... I don't want to remember this. I don't want to live differently because of what you've said..."
He felt her frown, heard her question of 'why?' and replied softly, "Because I don't want to stop you coming here."
She managed a shaken smile, "you won't... I'll come... I've already come..."
"But what if I change things?" he whispered. "I can't do it Hermione, I can't... not while knowing I'll never meet you..."
"I won't let you forget."
"Then make sure I don't lose you," he implored. He stopped, closed his eyes briefly then said, "I mean... make sure that I can still meet you..."
She nodded, and he swore quietly as her skull knocked his. They looked at each other, then laughed as he nursed his bruised forehead.
They returned to Hogwarts too late for dinner, having taken their time re-entering the Leaky Cauldron to collect her school books, then using the portkey to return to the school. They landed just beside the lake, and Lucius, rather than lead the way up to the castle, placed the bags on the floor and sat facing the water, which reflected the sunset in its surface. For several moments, he stared at it, then looked to the side, smiling at her briefly before patting the grass beside him. Hermione joined him, pulling her knees up to her chest and resting her cheek on them as she looked at him. His platinum hair blew lightly in the breeze, his grey eyes reflecting just a hint of the orange sky, while the lines of his face seemed more relaxed than they had been all day.
"I still can't believe it," he murmured softly. "You're not... you're nothing like I'd have imagined. I mean... I wanted to hate you, when you told me... but I didn't... it doesn't make sense anymore. I thought all Mud- sorry, Muggleborns, would be the same... but you're not and it's..." he frowned. "It's strange."
She only nodded, looking away to the gentle ripples of the dark mass that was the lake.
"Hermione," he said softly, "where you know me from... do you hate me?"
She stiffened, feeling a shiver go down her spine that had nothing to do with being cold. "I... I don't really know you," she said, and in truth, she didn't, and so it was not too much of a lie... but he sighed and rested his head in his hands.
"Yes then..." His voice was full of distress, and she felt sympathy tugging at his heartstrings.
"No," she said, moving ever so slightly closer and placing a hand gingerly on his arm. "I don't hate you... I hate some of the things that you've done, and I hate some of the things you've said, but I don't know the real you... I don't know anything of the man you really are... I don't know how you feel about people, or why you believe the things you do... and yes, if the fact I disagree with some of the things you believe in amounts to hating you, then I do, but I haven't ever... we've never spoken. Not properly. It was always... one-sided..." She fell away, feeling as surge of pain. She had never really considered the fact that her hate towards him was based only on opinion. Yes he was spiteful towards her, but then, so were Harry and Ron initially, and now they were her very best friends...
"So I was... cruel. Is that correct?"
Hermione blinked. "Yes." She replied, reasoning that there was no point in lying when he evidently knew the outcome. She closed her eyes very briefly, but when she reopened them, his face was only inches from hers and his hand was reaching out to caress her hair.
"But in being cruel to you... I brought you here... is that correct?"
"Stop asking me if it's correct," she smiled briefly, but nodded, "I think that has something to do with it, yes."
His eyes locked on hers and she felt herself melting in his gaze. "In which case... can you forgive me, for being so cruel to you in my future, so that I know you'll be here?"
Hermione frowned. "But if you don't mean it, it might not work..."
"Trust me Hermione," he whispered, "at this specific moment in time, I have the single, select intention of being as cruel to you as possible, until the night I find you looking as you did the other morning, when I'll tell you exactly what happened... why I am the way I am..." His voice was quaking. "Is that... do you... would that be alright?"
Hermione reached her hand up to cover his own. "Why do you want to?" She asked softly. "What makes you want to meet me that badly?"
Lucius edged even closer to her, his breath hitching slightly as he whispered to her, "because Granger," he murmured, "if I don't meet you, I fear I'll end up as the man you've described, but for real, with no remorse, no guilt... I'll do whatever it takes to meet you Hermione... but I promise, once you return from this time, assuming you return to my arms... I promise I'll give it all up... for you."
"Selfish as it will later reveal itself to be, I want that, too." Her voice broke and cracked, but he seemed to take confidence from her words. Her fingers traced the cool skin of his wrist, soothing him greatly. "Do you really mean anything?" She asked.
Lucius nodded. "Anything. With no exceptions. Whatever it takes to ensure my meeting with you, Hermione." He moved to close the gap between their mouths, his lips briefly brushing against the softness of her own, before they both jumped apart, startled, at the sound of a soft, yet somehow cold voice.
"Lucius, there you are," the feminine drawl sent uncomfortable shivers down Hermione's spine, and she looked around to see the familiar blonde hair of Narcissa Malfoy, held neatly in place by an emerald green headband. She was as beautiful as Hermione had ever known her to be, and she carried herself in a way that said she knew as much. She was tall, with long, slim-toned legs that stretched out before her as she approached. She looked at Hermione with distaste, but disregarded her as her own gaze fell on Lucius. "I thought you were going to meet me for dinner? Thankfully for you, Zabini was kind enough to escort me, or you might well have been witnessing a much less calm demeanour." She smirked and held out her hand insolently. "Come along now, I don't have time to be waiting on newbies when I could well be devouring you!"
Lucius glanced sideways at Hermione, a question lingering behind his eyes. She simply nodded her head, flashing him a false smile. He sent her an apologetic frown, briefly squeezing her hand before gracefully rising to his feet. Hermione sighed as he took Narcissa's hand and walked with her back to the castle. With a brief wave of her wand, shrinking the bags down to a more manageable size and sticking them in her pockets, she followed slowly, feeling her legs quake with a mixture of amazement and sickness. What if Lucius took 'anything it takes' too far?