The Deal.

Thursday, January 29th, Year 1, 4:13pm

The weight of the busy day fell off Hermione's shoulders as she shed her cloak upon entrance to her shared apartment with Ron. After a day of long arguments back and forth between the Minister of Sports and Minister of Magical Creatures over the temporary placement of the next quidditch cup over a nest of native Snargluffs, Hermione was glad to be out of the conference room and in the comforting surroundings of her home. Briefly she wondered what time Ronald would be back from his newest assignment as she stripped herself of her shoes and jacket, moving further into the house towards their bedroom. A flash of pink had her pausing in her trek and Hermione shifted back a framed photo of the two boys and herself on the small hall table only to discover a tiny scrap of lace.

Frowning at the unfamiliar pair of undergarments, Hermione turned towards the bedroom door, at the base of which, she spotted Ron's favourite pair of briefs.

The ninja ones.

Paranoia set in, bringing with it uncertainty and the first signs of a broken heart. Her mind picked up a mantra 'Oh please no, oh please no, please, please, please no…' as she continued to move quietly to towards the door. As she reached it, a tentative hand reached towards the door knob, just as the sound of a low moan wavered through the wood of the door. Her hand paused in its grip to turn the handle, her mind knowing what it would find on the other side of the door and shutting down all commands to her body in an effort to protect herself from it all.

Hermione's eyes squeezed shut, her heart beating in her throat as she willed her hand to open the door. 'Oh please oh please oh please….'

Her eyes fell upon the floor and the mess of clothing that lay scattered about including the matching bra to the scrap of pink she'd found earlier. 'Oh god no…'

Her eyes travelled towards the bed in the middle of the room where she found her heart stopped beating and simply broke into tiny, tiny pieces.

Ronald, her Ron, stood bent over a woman, slamming his hips into the back of her arse, moans and groans emitting muffled from the female, grunts pouring from the back of Ron's throat at every thrust.

They hadn't noticed her. Of coarse they wouldn't, not just with being engaged in such a sense numbing act but they also had their backs to her.

Anger poured forth, filling the hole left by her shattered heart with hatred, fury and a woman's scorn. Her hand subconsciously closed around her wand strapped to her upper thigh and took it out to point at Ron's bare back.

"Furnunculus" Hermione viciously muttered followed by a "Reducio penis". Why she would choose a boil curse was beyond her (Maybe it was because she'd spent to day staring at the boils on the end of the Minister of Magical Creature's nose.), but the second spell was certainly for her pride, Hermione was far beyond comprehension now. Ron's back was immediately filled with boils of all sizes, the curse occurring all over his body as she intended it to. A cry of pain changed the flow of grunts coming from his mouth as Ron pulled back to view his body with alarm, noting and panicking at the sight of his very, very tiny member.

"What the-"

"I think now is the best time for me to leave, don't you Ronald?" Hermione smiled and conjured her bag from the closet, waving her wand once more to gather all of her belongings all over the house. Ron spun around to stare at her, his eyes wide with horror as he realised the predicament he had been found in. The female behind him squealed with surprise, rolling over to fall off the side of the bed, but managing to grab the bed sheets in her spin to shield her naked body from view. Objects began to gather from all over the room and from outside the doorway, shrinking and packing themselves away in Hermione's open bag.


"No." she snapped, cutting him off. "I don't want to hear any flimsy excuse or words from your lips again." She took her bag from where it hovered, filled with all her belongings, in the air and turned around. As she reached the open doorway, she stopped and tuned around.

"Lavender I suggest you search for some other male who will be able to sate your whorish ways, Ronald will not be able to help you in that department for a long time." With a nod towards Ron's now tiny friend, Hermione turned and walked out of the house without looking back.

Wednesday, August 19th

Hermione stepped out of the fireplace and into the living room of her parent's home. Her father, Graham as seated in his favourite lounge chair before the tv, the set turned on to the nightly news and at current, the financial news.

"Hi Dad" she greeted him with a kiss on the cheek. He grunted a noncommittal reply and continued to pursue the stock prices as they came up.

She frowned at his sudden interest in the finances of the world but brushed it off and started for the kitchen to where her mother would be preparing the night's dinner.

"Hey" she said upon entry to the kitchen, the room filled with the delicious scent of her favourite soup. Jane Granger turned upon hearing her daughter's greeting.

But when she faced her daughter, Hermione noted worry and concern in the beautiful features of her mother's face.

"Are you alright mum?" she asked, moving towards the fridge to get herself a glass of her favourite iced tea. Upon opening the fridge she found it's contents almost bare, her tea not even there.

"Yes I'm fine Hermione dear." Her mother told her as Hermione moved to search out the pantry for a saved bottle only to find none.

"You didn't get any more iced tea?" She asked her mother, moving back to the fridge to get a substitute of cold water instead.

"No. I haven't been able to get to the shops lately. Your father and I have been very busy with the business." Her mother replied with a weak smile as she turned back to stir the soup. "How was work dear?" she asked, changing the subject.

Hermione grinned and then shrugged. "The usual. Someone thinks they're more right then the other, while the other believes he's right and the other is wrong. The Minister of Sports and the Minister for Magical Creature both argued vehemently against and for the placement of the stadium for the next quidditch cup. Let's just say that it got ugly."

She could see her mother's lips quick in a small, almost false smile through the reflection in the window Jane stood staring out at. With a sigh she turned and headed out of the kitchen, moving towards her bedroom with the glass of water in hand. As she passed the guest room that came before her own, childhood bedroom, she paused in the doorway, peering in with a frown.

"Mum…what happened to all the furniture in the guest room?" she called back down the hall. Her mother poked her head around the corner of the doorway after a pause. "We decided to sell them. They were getting old so we got rid of them." She disappeared almost immediately, leaving Hermione to wonder why her parents would think the bed, dresser and bedside table old when they'd only brought the set three years ago.

Again, Hermione was left to ponder this anomaly, walking into her room before the sight of an owl at her window banished those thoughts, recognising the owl to be Pig, Ron's owl. Her mind questioned why she would be receiving something from Ron, but curiosity had her opening the letter.

After having been almost 8 months since she walked out on Ron, she hadn't had any contact with him at all. While the Weasley family understood her anger with their son, Harry was having a few problems playing Switzerland. Harry had been attempting to mend the rift, but was failing terribly, his moves to get them locked together had seen Hermione blasting the door open after maintaining a cold silence from the moment she'd been locked in their with her ex. Following a very severe lecture to Harry, Hermione had been simply left in peace about reconciling with Ron. In fact it was after Percy flooed by her parent's house one afternoon to ask, on Ron's behalf, for the spell that would revert the changes of her penis shrinking spell she'd cursed him with, Hermione had been even more determined to move on and forget totally about Ronald.

She'd sent Percy away without the counter-spell and with the words, 'Tell Ron good luck for trying to find a woman who'll accept him now' to pass on to Ron.

The letter was from Ginny, Hermione was happy to find, asking if Hermione wanted to come on a three week holiday to Paris and Monaco with her in another month's time. As a writer for Witch Weekly Ginny was sent all over Europe to follow up on many cultural experiences and packaged holiday deals for witches and wizards alike. Her last trip before she married Harry and was promoted to editor of the new World experience's section in Witch Weekly, was a celebration of sorts…plus the package deal she was checking out was for two people instead of the usual one. 'This will give us a chance to get away from men, to take a breather and check out the neighbouring talent…well, more so give you the chance to do so. Don't you think it's time to get back on the wagon?' Ginny had wrote. While Hermione didn't particularly agree with Ginny's thoughts about her situation with the 'Wagon' per say, she was not going to pass up on a chance to visit cities enriched in history and culture.

With a grabbing of her pen she quickly dashed off a yes in reply and sent Pig on his way.

Tuesday, October 13th

Hermione had had a ball. The entire trip had been a smashing success, with nothing but praises sung for the entire arrangement and deal. Having been giving choices of what tours they would like to take and ample free time to do as they wished, Hermione and Ginny had experienced the best of what both Paris and Monaco had to offer, with the biggest help from the deal.

Hermione had visited all the museums and historical landmarks she could find, bought souvenirs from almost every shop she went into. She sun bathed under the Mediterranean sun in Monaco, all the while checking out the spectacular sights of the local male species. Mmmm…just thinking about those well defined, hard working bodies kissed with the rays of the sun made her mouth water all over again. Giggling to herself, she realised that she still could be attracted to the male sex…given the right view and had enjoyed herself properly for the first time in…she couldn't remember how long.

She arrived home in raised spirits, her three bags –one more than she went away with- were all laden down with things she'd picked up on her trip. Gifts for her cousins, friends, mum and dad plus so much more for herself, clothing, books and small records of items in museums.

Her feelings of elation were immediately smashed, her bags and gifts to hand out quickly forgotten as she stepped into the living room and took in the sight that awaited her.

What once was a pleasantly cluttered, if not organised room was now almost barren of all objects. The cabinet that housed the tv and stereo system was gone, as well as the stereo. The bookshelf and most of the books were gone too. The coffee table, both of the chairs, including her father's favourite, the paintings, the porcelain dolls and even her mother's collection of salt and pepper shakers were gone. All that remained was one couch, a standing lamp and the tv seated on a stack of boxes marked in her father's scrawl 'Personal.'

Her parents were what caught her attention the most. Her mother was cradled in her father's lap like a child, her eyes pouring out tears as her father soothed his silently grieving wife. Her mother looked fragile, smaller and thinner than when she left for Paris over three weeks ago. Her father, who used to look great for someone the age of 56, had seemed to age about ten years. His hair had so much more grey then what she recalled when he had seen her off at the portkey she and Ginny had taken to get to Paris. His face seemed more lined with wrinkles then ever before, his mouth turned down in a grim line of grief and worry.

"Mum! Dad…what's going on?" She cried, dropping the bags and hurrying to her parent's side. She collapsed at their feet, her hands coming to rest on her mother's legs. "Mum?" she asked questioningly, worried beyond anything, fear taking precedence in her mind, many different scenario's being conjured up in her active mind to explain the sight before her.

When her mother only continued to cry silently, burying her face into her husband's neck, her father turned his attention onto his only daughter.

"We've gone bankrupt. The financial crash has made our stocks and investments practically worth dirt. The clinic and our home have to be sold to cover some of the debt we've accumulated over the years. We've been paying off our loans consistently over the last couple of years but since the crisis hit the global economy we've been finding it harder to meet with the payment's on time. And now the banks are getting antsy, wanting all their money so they can fix their losses and are demanding most of what we owe all at once."

Her father's words hit Hermione like a sledge hammer, knocking her back into uncertainty and fear, two things she'd never fully experienced before. She cursed herself for not noticing things properly before, connecting the dots and pursuing reasons behind the sudden selling of many pieces of furniture, the cleaning out of the garage and her father's shed for a garage sale and later the truck that had removed most of the item's that were left over.

"Why didn't you tell me?" She asked, unbidden guilt rising over her negligence and obliviousness towards her parent's financial situation.

"We didn't want you to know. If you had known about the problem you would have given us all your life savings to help out and we know how important to you the money is. You need the money for your own house and children someday, just like you planned."

Her father was right. She would have given her parents all of her money, to return to them some of what they'd done for her over her 27 years of life, without a single thought to it. To have to sell their home, a home they built with their own hands nearly 30 years ago was heartbreaking enough, even for Hermione, but to have to sell the clinic they had also built from the ground up was another great blow.

"But is there nothing else we could do? Have you talked to the bank and told them what's going on?" she asked as her mother's hand reached out to clasp around Hermione's hand resting on her thigh. She glanced at her mother with a weak, sympathetic smile.

"There is nothing. We have to sell the house and the clinic, a real estate agent will be around tomorrow to assess the price and put up a sign. There is nothing more we can do." Her father told her solemnly.

Thursday, October 22nd, 5:16 pm

The 'For Sale' sign out the front of their house seemed to burn at Hermione's pride every time she saw it. It meant that her family could no longer live the life they'd worked so hard to create, had barely enough for the bare essentials of life. Hermione had asked them to move into a small apartment with her should she find an apartment. But they'd refused, believing that while she did live with them, they weren't going to crash in on their only daughter and live off her to survive.

They'd been so adamant that her father had forbidden Hermione from ever talking about it ever again. So even now, as she returned from her afternoon jog around the neighbourhood, the sign seemed to mock her ever more.

She slowed her pace as she moved towards the front door and stopped to take off her muddy shoes. When she reached for the door handle the door swung open before she could touch it, her mother appearing in its wake.

"Come quickly!" she whispered, gesturing impatiently with her hand. Her mother lead her to the closed doorway of the living room where she rested her ear against the wood to listen in to what was going on inside.

"What's going on?" Hermione asked in her normal tone.

Her mother hushed her quickly and gestured towards the living room. "A man turned up not long ago offering to pay our debts. Your father is in there now talking this out with him."

Curiosity had Hermione's ear quickly glued to the door, trying to hear what was being said inside; it was times like these that she wished for extendable ears.

"Did he say who he was?" she whispered to her mother.

Jane shook her head in reply. "No, but he did look rather wealthy judging by his clothes…oh and he's a wizard like you. He wore a cloak like the one you seem to favour and had a wand tucked into his pocket."

Hermione started to wonder who his man could be, a wizard who would offer to pay her parent's debts off…

It couldn't be Harry, she quickly decided. Nor any off her friends. She had kept her family's problems to herself, only confiding in Ginny two days before what had her so worried lately.

Even as the thoughts circled in her head, the sound of the floo connection being used could be heard through the door and her father's footfalls across the room towards the door where they stood followed. When Graham opened the door he looked troubled and conflicted. Inviting both women in, he had them sit on the remaining couch, Hermione choosing to stand.

"Who was here dad?" Hermione was quick to ask, wanting to put a face to the unknown man offering her parent's a life line. She knew most of the rich and powerful wizards and witches in her world and would be able to quickly surmise the reasons behind the help offered to her parents.

"He introduced himself as Draco Malfoy." Graham said rather confused. "Isn't that the man whom you said bullied you and your friends through high school?"

Hermione's mouth had dropped at her father's admission. Her brain freezing in shock at the thought that someone like Draco, one whom tortured and made her life at school a misery not to mention a pureblood, would even want to help some like her family, 'mudbloods' as they of pureblood status deemed the witches or wizards born from muggle families, lucky enough to be bless with the gift of magic.

"What did he say?" Jane asked her husband, noticing the shocked look that had overcome her daughter.

"He said he had heard of our problem and was willing to get rid of all our debts, regardless the amount." Graham said at length, his eyebrows drawn together in concern and puzzlement.

"And what in return? Malfoys would never, particularly Draco, offer any assistance without something in return dad." Hermione said almost scornfully.

Graham rubbed the back of his neck apprehensively. "He said…he said he would pay our debts if you, Hermione dear, became his wife."

"WHAT?" she shouted, the only word her active brain recognised and shouted out alarms was 'wife'. Wife meant rings, wife meant marriage, wife meant…partner to…to…a Malfoy.

The silence in the room was deafening, her mother looking upon her daughter, questions in her eyes, her father continued to stare at the carpet, suddenly taking a deep interest in the pattern before him.

"At first I told him to bugger off, I wasn't selling you off to a man just to pay our debts, but he convinced me to talk to you, at least tell you off his idea – Hermione where are you going?" Graham asked as his daughter abruptly strode out of the room. Hermione ignored her father and continued on down to her room, changed into more presentable, covering clothes then her sports bra and shorts and strode back out into the living room where neither her father or mother had moved.

"Hermione what-" her mother called as she filled her hand with floo powder and stepped into the fireplace.

"Malfoy Manor." Hermione shouted in a clear, determined voice.

Thursday, October 22nd, 5:26 pm

Hermione emerged from the fireplace into a large entrance, stepping onto highly polished marble that covered the entire floor of the entrance and seemed to continue into the connecting rooms.

"I wondered how long it would take for you to arrive." Came a deeply masculine voice almost hauntingly from the top of the grand staircase. Hermione's gaze shot quickly to the top of the stairs where her eyes rested on a tall, powerful form, so very different from the tall, but only thin and gangly child of her school memories. He was dressed in the finest cloth available to man and Hermione scoffed at herself for ever thinking that he would wear anything different. His large, but still pale skinned hand rested on the balustrade of the staircase. His steely grey eyes directed upon her, taking in her appearance in his sardonic way. His blonde hair had been cut short in a neat style that hung just above the collar of his neatly pressed button up shirt.

"I assume you've come to question and yell at me about the offer I made to your father." Draco said before she could open her mouth, descending down the stairs in a slow confident and no doubt purposeful pace. He gestured with an outstretched hand towards a long corridor to the left of the grand entry and Hermione turned on her heel to stalk off along the way.

He caught up with her quickly, grabbed her hand and pulled her into a room, into the library. When one entered they immediately walked into a circular seating area where reading could be done in the most comfortable chairs. On either side of the seating area stood one desk each, manned with a table, marking the beginning of the library shelves. Hermione noted that a ledge ran around the second level and that a spiralling staircase at either end would allow one to reach the next level. Across the open sitting area and in plain sight sat a massive mahogany desk of domineering presence. Draco took a seat behind it.

"As I have no doubt your father has informed you when you returned from your jog this afternoon, I have offered to pay off all of his debts and in doing so, allow your mother and father to keep their house and the clinic in which they work at."

As he spoke he clapped once and an elf appeared beside him. "Tink I wish for a glass of cognac." He turned towards Hermione, his eyebrow raising questioningly. She shook her head and crossed her arms over her chest, waiting for him to hurry up and continue. "That is all then Tink please." The elf disappeared and then reappeared another 30 seconds later, placing the glass of the cognac on the desk in front of it's master. "There you are sir."

Draco nodded towards the elf and picked up the glass, and after sniffing the drink, took a sip before continuing on. "I am also confident that you know of what I want in return, although some things I left out believing it would be better discussed between just the two of us. That is why you are here are you not? To yell at me for daring to think you would marry someone of the likes of me?" He smirked at the sight of Hermione's mouth dropping open to refute the statement, only to close itself firmly again. Her eyes hardened with annoyance and anger, directing themselves upon the man before her.

"I see I am once again correct, Granger you are becoming much too predictable."

Hermione's eyes narrowed upon Draco. "Why on earth would you want to marry me – the one you scorned all throughout school?" she burst out, her voice laced with malice and anger. "But first I want to know how you learnt about my parent's financial problems in the first place!"

Draco smirked at her ire and sat back in his seat calmly, his posture reeking the confidence and power he wielded. "I have interests in all different businesses, particularly in the Muggle world for they are far too easy to run and earn a respectable profit from. Imagine my surprise when I come across a dental clinic run by Graham and Jane Granger in the latest For Sale adds that grace my desk every now and then. A little digging and I find that they're in major debt with barely enough money to last another month, let alone week if the clinic and house were not sold pronto. Then even after that…well, it was just too good an opportunity to pass up." Draco paused to take another sip of his drink, his cool gaze never leaving Hermione's taught face. "My mother, who is claiming to be getting older even though her appearance has not change one bit in the last 10 years, is starting to get on my case about settling down and having a few children of my own. It has gotten to the stage where she is inviting all these bimbo's from wealthy families to the dinner's or luncheons she has manipulated me into attending in attempts to set me up. A couple of times I have even managed to find a fertility potion in my drinks and food."

Well that at least explained him sniffing at his drink before taking it, Hermione thought.

"Father is also putting pressure on me, like his father before him, to produce a male heir and it is coupled with my great uncle's will being found and allowing the current, sane heir to the Malfoy fortune, even more money and items - that I will not disclose to you - if he continues the Malfoy line before he should turn 30. I turn 30 in another 4 years and I wish to have a comfortable amount of time before that dead line, hence my problem, to which you come into it all. I pay off all your parent's debts and in return, I shall have you as my wife and mother of a male heir."

The word 'heir' - like marriage earlier - rang in her brain, quickly associating itself with other words like 'pregnant', '9 months' and...'sex'.

"You mean you want me – what you and the rest of your 'high' society refer to as a mudblood – to give you a son?" Hermione managed to get out around her shock.

"Yes. Regardless of what you might think of me Granger, I am looking for someone who has more than my money on their mind when they marry me or –" he laughed realising that would be what Hermione will be –technically – considering when she decided to marry him. "- at least how that money could be spent on themselves and their greedy, mindless, frivolous pursuits."

He stopped to let that all sink in, watching her closely for any reaction to his demands.

"You're crazy!" she whispered, staring at him with wide, horror stricken eyes.

Draco smirked, the smirk making Hermione tense.

"If you do agree to this, you will be given a monthly allowance, to do what ever you wish with it. You will marry me within the next four months and give me a male heir as soon as possible. When our child has reached the age of maturity, till which you will care for him and not a nanny, you shall be free of any more demands from my family and myself. Of course, upon your agreement and the taking of an unbreakable vow that you will, indeed, marry me and comply with my wishes, I will grant your parents their much needed financial aid to allow them to maintain the life they have created for themselves, free of debt."

Hermione staggered backwards until she reached on one of the couches behind her and collapsed onto it.

"Now, if I know you Granger, which I'm pretty confident I do, you are considering this agreement on the grounds to repay your parents all that they have offered you throughout your humble existence and the understanding for all they were put through when you entered our world."

He was right, especially after her parent's refusal to accept any help from their daughter.

"I shall now give you the knowledge that I am on civil terms with Potter and most of the Weasley family. With that in mind, I heard that you broke up with Weasel at the beginning of the year after walking in on him with another woman in your shared bed. While the rumours of your revenge give you somewhat of a feared notoriety in male minds these days, don't you think that this would be the ultimate revenge? Marrying and reproducing with Weasel's number one enemy?"

Thursday, October 22nd, 7:51pm.

"Hermione you didn't have to sell yourself to that man! We know how much you've hated him all these years. Don't agree to this loveless marriage for our sake!" Her mother cried, wringing her hands together. Her father stood behind his wife, his expression thunderous.

"I've agreed and made my oath. The deal is final!" Hermione shouted back, her words ringing with the finality of the situation and closing the argument once and for all that had been raging in the Granger house hold for the last hour and a half.

Monday, October 26th

"Hermione you can't seriously be thinking about this?" Harry asked, the outrage on his face in full bloom. He tossed the daily newspaper on the table in front of her, the headline "Enemies To Tie the Knot" blazed across the front page, underneath which was printed the picture that Hermione and Draco had posed for only just yesterday.

"I'm not Harry." Hermione said calmly as she helped herself to his fridge. Due to a meeting that had gone over time, she'd missed her scheduled lunch with Harry and Ginny. Ginny was happy to put off the lunch date till another day, but Harry wasn't and demanded Hermione's time as soon as she could spare some.

At her words Harry let out a sigh of relief, suddenly thinking that it was just another hoax set out by the Daily Prophet to boost sales. "I've long passed thinking about it. It's confirmed and official, I'm marrying Malfoy." She said as she sat down at the table and started to butter her bread.

"But – "

"But nothing. We're burying the hatchet and have found companionship in each other. We're happy and content. Please do not try to destroy this marriage Harry. When everyone finds out about this, I'm going to need all the support I can get from you to fend off the hounds. I don't want to be going against my own friend Harry. Please." Hermione pleaded. Both Malfoy – Draco – and herself had agreed on the story she'd just told Harry to tell the public. He was responsible for telling his own parents about their impending nuptials and she hadn't yet heard anything about how that went, although he'd assured her that his parent would be happy that he was one step closer to producing a grandchild for them to dote upon.

Harry sighed and reached out to grasp Hermione's hand. She stopped her task of spreading the jam on the bread and looked up at him. "Please tell me this isn't a ploy to get back at Ron. It would be ruining your own life as well as Ron's."

Hermione rolled her eyes outwardly, but inside she was surprised that Harry had guessed the deciding factor in all of this.

So she simply smiled kindly upon her friend and grasped his hand in return, squeezing it tight. "No. I've done enough for my revenge don't you think?"

Harry's features pinched at the ghostly feelings the thought and memory of Hermione's curse upon Ron brought.

"At least I know you can take care of yourself." Harry mumbled, reaching out to steal a bite of her toast.

"Oi!" she cried trying to slap at his hand. Harry grinned, his days as a seeker honing his sharp reflexes and took a bite of the sandwich Hermione had been preparing. "I missed lunch too you know" he said around a mouthful of bread.

Thursday, December 31st, 11:49pm.

The murmur of chatter, pleasant, catching up or just plain bitching became a backdrop to the ball room of Malfoy manor. Mixing amongst the grand decorations that invoked the celebration of the new year in style, witches and wizards dressed in the finest garb, mostly designer in nature. Fine wines were distributed throughout the room upon silver platters carried by house elves dressed neatly in black and white shirts and vests. Hermione had put her foot down adamantly upon the treatment of the elves should Draco really wish for her to become his wife. While the elves had been hesitant and somewhat blatantly against the use of clothies when Hermione had handed them clothing and her wishes, it was only after an order from Draco they had complied.

The deal was to wear neat clothing when the family was hosting a ball.

With the one glass of champagne in her hand, the glass she'd been nursing since being handed it at the beginning of the night, Hermione shifted onto her other foot and sighed.

"You're supposed to be enjoying yourself." A voice said beside her. Hermione turned and stared down at the red head beside her. Ginny grinned up at her and nodded towards where Harry stood beside the buffet. The man stood awkwardly chatting to Pansy Parkinson who was currently draping herself all over him. Hermione recalled reading in the gossip section of the newspaper that Pansy had just wrapped up her third marriage and was on the look out for another.

"Aren't you worried?" Hermione asked and for the first time that night, a smile graced her lips, humour flooding her eyes.

Ginny giggled. "No. Harry looks annoyed and awkward enough as it is. I trust him." She sighed and then turned to face Hermione. Opening her mouth to speak, she shut it with a frown.

"Oh no." she groaned, causing Hermione to turn around in concern. Her gaze travelled over the see of heads, looking for the individual who had caused Ginny's concern and then spotted another mop of trademark Weasley hair making a bee line towards her.

"Ron! What are you doing here?" Ginny hissed as he approached the two. He smiled sheepishly at his sister before looking upon Hermione, only then his features turned pleading.

"Hermione please, I wish to speak to you alone for a moment." Ron asked quietly, leaning his head towards Hermione so he would be heard.

Hermione's eyebrows creased in anger. "After all this time I'm assured you have no balls to approach me like this."

Ron flinched but reached out to grasp at her hands. Hermione moved them to avoid his reach.

"Do not touch me. And if you want to talk to me, you have two minutes. Right here. Right now." Hermione informed him stubbornly. Ron's mouth dropped open to speak, his face turning red in annoyance.

"1 minute and 45 seconds left." Hermione said waspishly.

Ron huffed but rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly and looked towards his sister for help. Ginny shook her head. "Sorry Ron you should know above all people that Hermione can be stubborn."

Slightly out of place Ron turned again to face Hermione. "Listen, Hermione please don't do this. Don't throw your life away! What I did was nothing, I was terribly drunk at the time and I know that isn't a good excuse but the whole thing meant nothing to me!" Ron pleaded.

Hermione's bored gaze flickered over Ron's shoulder for a moment, something lighting within the depths of them.

"I'm quite certain that you were not on the guest list Weasel." Came the polite drawl of Draco as he approached from behind Ron and moved to stand beside Hermione. "I must ask you to leave before you cause a scene."

Ron shot Draco a dark loathing look. "I still have a minute left ferret."

Draco's eyebrows rose but he stayed quiet, allowing for Ronald to continue his pleas.

"Hermione how could you marry this scum bag? All through school he was our worst enemy, putting you down without a moment's hesitation and now…now you deign to marry the bastard?" Ron yelled, drawing the attention of a few guests surrounding them.

Hermione's hand shot out and slapped Ron across the cheek. "And you were my friend for all of school. At least I won't be cheated on when I marry Draco."

Beside her, Draco shifted his weight onto his other leg.

Ron, whose face had turned a bright angry red due to embarrassment and the sting of Hermione's slap sputtered, shocked beyond coherency.

"You've used up your time Ronald. Leave before Draco gets security onto you." Hermione said sharply before turning away and striding out of the ballroom.

She ended up on a desolate balcony, shielded from eyesight from the garden below but offered the views of the entire landscape before it. She shivered in the cool breeze that blew and rubbed her arms with her hands to create a little warmth. Wearing a silky thin halter neck dress didn't seem to be the best choice all of a sudden, but Hermione couldn't have helped but loved the furious purple of the dress and how it called for her to wear it.

She stood there quietly for a while, her thoughts and feelings swirling around her mind with fury. Only the sound of approaching footsteps broke her out of her thoughts.

A jacket settled around her bare shoulders, it's warmth and the scent of its owner embracing her. She turned her head slightly to see Draco settle back onto the railing beside her.

"I hope you didn't expect monogamy from me." He said quietly, watching her for her reaction.

Hermione lay quiet for a moment, letting his words sink in. "I did hope for it but I guess I'm not exactly the most experienced or horny one of us. I at least hope for discretion. I don't want to be embarrassed in my own marriage by my husband."

She continued to look out over the vast Malfoy lands as she said this, her emotions too at war with themselves to look Draco directly in the eye. "Besides, now that I think of it, I never really thought about it. I only knew you'd – we'd have to come together every once in a while till I conceive. I never considered the rest of the time."

Draco let her omission go. "It will be the only time I sleep with you. When you conceive our son and successfully bare him, I believe it is only fair that I not expect you to remain monogamous to me either from then on. But I will also expect discretion from you as well."

Hermione nodded, struggling to control the tears filling her eyes. It was to be a loveless marriage where they calmly discuss the allowance of polygamy, something she'd been so against with Ron. How two faced did that seem to be now?

In the distance, back in the ballroom, the crowd started to count down the seconds till midnight. They both listened to the roar of applause that erupted when the count reached one and the loud music and celebrating that followed.

What now? In 27 days she would be marrying to save her parents, to get back a Ron and never experience the reality of love. There seemed to be no cause for her to celebrate the entrance of a new brighter year. Every hour that passed, her happiness seemed to dimish, the harsh reality of her choices, her decisions settling in.

"Don't look so forlorn. I will take good care of you. You shall never be in want." Draco said smoothly, a hint of arrogance coating his words. He shifted quickly, grabbing hold of Hermione and turning her to face him, drawing her against the hard line of his body. Before she could utter a word of protest his mouth had taken her own prisoner, like he seemed to her life, and was coaxing it into submission. The sound of protest died in her throat when his tongue shot through her lips and invaded her mouth creating a fireball of heat and shocking excitement low in her belly. Somewhere in a part of her brain, she wanted to fight, to push him away and slap him for his actions like she had done Ron only earlier but with a shifting of his head and a deepening of the fierce kiss, the thoughts faded away into oblivion.

Slowly, her hands crept up to loosly clasp onto his shirt, seeking something to anchor herself down to in the storm of anger, hunger and passion that seemed to be born from this kiss.

Then just as quickly as it had started, it finished and Draco drew back to look at her, one hand caught in her hair, the other cupping the back of her neck.

He smirked. "Yes, I think we'll be good in bed together, but it'll burn out like they all do." With that he turned away from her and stalked back inside. Just before he closed the door behind him he stopped and added. "Oh and Hermione…Happy New Year."

Wednesday, January 27th 2010, 8:00pm.

"Do you Draco Malfoy take Hermione Jean Granger to be your lawfully wedded wife in marriage, sickness and health, through good times and bad till death do you part?"

"I do."

"And do you, Hermione Jean Granger take Draco Malfoy to be your lawfully wedded husband in marriage, sickness and health, through good times and bad, till death do you both part?"

A brief pause.

"I do."

To be continued...

A/N: Right well theres the first part in probably four part story. This is only the beginning and as one can tell there is no love. Nadda. Zilch. But...can this dear story teller convince Draco in the end of his love? Probably Not.

He'll have to make the decision on his own.

So i shall get to writing the next part, hopefully install it soonly although job hunting and worrying over uni shall take priority over the next little while till it settles down. Finishing year 12 is like sweeet victory!

So whenever i get to it, i'll update. Eventually.


Ps. Like i could ever own these characters. There not mine so don't even think it.