Quick translation for those of you who don't know, NRA= National Rifle Association. The way my dad put it: A bunch of gun-toting old dudes.

Hermione ran, jeans drenched in water from the puddles, lungs burning, side aching. She had lost her wand several blocks ago, leaving her only one option: Run for her life.

So that's what she did.

"Go to New York, they said," she muttered as she ran. "You'll be safe there, they said." That was the last time she listened to anyone remotely associated with the Ministry.

"There she is!" The voices had caught up to her; that meant the Death Eaters had, too. She ran faster, pushing her tired legs and lungs harder. If she could just make it to the old furniture shop by the river, she'd be okay. The furniture shop meant the Wonderland Shopping Mall. Wonderland Shopping Mall meant witches and wizards galore, American witches and wizards who would more likely than not keep her safe.

Hermione glanced back and almost swore. They were closer now; she could almost see their eyes glinting beneath their masks. She pushed herself harder, tripped on a crack and fell. Muddy water seeped into her blouse and splashed onto her face. She pulled herself to her feet just before they caught up and kept running.

"Wonderland, Wonderland, Wonderland," she whispered with each tired breath. The mall meant safety.

She rounded a corner, trying to elude her pursuers, but quickly found herself at a dead end. Terror brought tears to her eyes--and that's when she saw it.

A door.

Hermione tried it and found it locked. She pounded her fist against it in fear, in rage and in desperation.

"Let me in! Please! You have to let me in!"

The door opened. A tall, elderly Muggle in black slacks and a light blue shirt with rolled-up sleeves grabbed her shoulder.

"Calm down, Missy. What's the problem?"

She swatted at the tears that fell down her cheeks. "They're coming--they'll kill me--"

"Who? Who's gonna kill you?" He didn't need to ask. In an instant his question was answered.

The Death Eaters.

They stopped behind Hermione, one after the other, wands at the ready. Hermione swallowed a cry, and the night was silent.

"Hand her over, Muggle." She recognized Lucius Malfoy's voice.

Rather than cower, the gentleman pulled Hermione behind him and stepped forward. "What do ya want with her?"

"Just hand her over, and we won't be forced to kill you." Macnair this time.

"How 'bout this: You go on and leave, she stays with us, and we won't kill you."

The Death Eaters laughed. "And what are you going to kill us with? Your wands?" More laughter.

"I don't know what you're talkin' about, but you sure crashed the wrong party, Mister." He put his fingers in his teeth and whistled. A series of clicks followed. Hermione looked behind her and gasped.

The large room was filled with older Muggle men. Almost every one pointed a gun at the Death Eaters.

"I'll give ya one last chance to leave this girl alone. After that, we're callin' the cops. But don't be surprised if someone pulls the trigger by mistake."

As if in reply, a bullet hit Lucius Malfoy in the shoulder. He cried out, put a hand to his arm and stared at the blood.

"Get the Mudblood!" he shouted through clenched teeth.

Nobody moved.

"Get the Mudblood, I say! She's right there!"

The Death Eaters began to Disapparate, one right after the other. The last one grabbed Malfoy's good arm and vanished, leaving the night empty but for a few drops of blood on the pavement.

Hermione looked into the face of her rescuer, awestruck. "How'd you know they'd leave?"

He smiled. "Nobody messes with the NRA, Missy."