Disclaimer: Harry Potter and everything associated with it belong to JKR, not me. The only thing that is mine is the plot.
Author's note: This fic was originally written for almondoil as part of the dmhgficexchange. My thanks to Hino-san for the quick beta job.
There is no romance in war. Don't believe all the myths out there. Those tales are purposefully spread to coax innocents and fools into laying their lives down for a cause. But the truth of the matter is that there is no space for love on the battlefield. For when wands are drawn and panic starts to set in, you have your hands full worrying about your own skin.
Lust, however, is another matter.
And lust had always been Hermione Granger's sin. Lust for knowledge, lust for recognition—her thirst for such things was almost insatiable. But little did her friends suspect that she also lusted after handsome young men. Beneath her prim and proper façade was a witch who was well acquainted with all the pleasures to be had in bed.
It was lust that first stayed her hand one winter's eve. She had become separated from her friends after a battle and was lost within a blizzard when she spied a small cottage amidst all the whirling snow. She cautiously approached, taking care that she wasn't stepping into a trap. To her surprise, when she walked through the door, she found Draco Malfoy passed out on the floor.
His skin was as pale as ice and just as cold. She chewed her lower lip as she considered her options. The prudent thing to do would be to incapacitate him before he woke up and saw her standing there. Yet somehow she couldn't help but stare. She was honest enough with herself to admit that she had always wanted him. He was pale and pointy it was true, but he was pale and pointy and devastatingly handsome. There were times when she had sighed over his silver hair and storm grey eyes, and she had oft admired the figure he cut when he was on his broom all decked out in his Quidditch gear. It wasn't right, she finally decided, to attack an injured man while he was unconscious. She even managed to convince herself that her actions weren't influenced by her longing for him at all.
She ignored the barbs he tossed her way when he woke in favor of making a deal with him. She wasn't the sort of kick a man when he's down, she told him, but she wasn't about to heal him only to have him attack her once she's done. Draco Malfoy wasn't a Slytherin for no reason, and he immediately promised not to do such a thing. She made him give her a wizard's oath instead that he would do no harm to her before she lifted her wand to aid him.
And after that—well it was a cold winter night and the two of them were trapped in the cottage due to the blizzard raging outside. One thing led to another, and before either of them knew it, they were pressed up against each other, skin upon skin.
He left before her the next morning, with nary a note of thanks or good bye, but that was quite all right with her. There was a grin on Hermione's face as she put on her clothes. She had always wondered what it would be like to be under him and now she knew. She felt a little regret about it being a one time deal, but still once was better than never at all.
But the affair didn't stop there. In the months to come, she ran into Malfoy again and again with similar results for each encounter. It was almost as though he wanted her as much as she wanted him. One time became two, two became four, and so it went on until she couldn't count any more. She was head over heels in lust with him, and or at least that was the explanation she gave when she lied to herself about how she wasn't in love with him.
However this time was different. This would have to truly be their last. Hermione sighed to herself as she prepared to leave him. She was going to miss sleeping with him, but it was getting too risky. It had been five months since she first realized that she was late, and she knew that her condition would soon be impossible to hide. She placed a kiss on his forehead, grateful that she had this time with him and that he hadn't noticed, before leaving him behind forever.
"It says that only the three of us should come," Harry said quietly to his friends. "Anyone else, and Ginny's life is forfeit."
Hermione pursed her lips. She didn't like this one bit. It felt like a trap for the three of them to be summoned to parlay with the Malfoys over the return of Ginny. Not for the first time, she silently cursed the girl for being so silly as to go out shopping alone. She sighed softly and laid a hand against her stomach. She didn't want to put her life on the line for the other witch, particularly not when she had her child to think about.
Unfortunately Hermione couldn't see a way out of it. Ginny was Harry's fiancée and Ron's sister. There was no way the two of them were going to abandon the foolish witch to her fate. Obviously they were going to go, and so Hermione would have to follow if only to stop them from making any more stupid mistakes.
"It's probably a trap," she finally said.
"I know that," Harry snapped. "But we just can't let them have Gin. Who knows what they might do to her?"
"Yeah," said Ron. "We've got to go. But that doesn't mean we have to go in unprepared or anything like that. And what's more it's going to only be the two of them right? There's three of us, and so if they try anything funny…well we'll have the upper hand for we'll have the advantages of numbers."
"You're assuming that there won't be anyone in the wings, just waiting to swoop down and attack us," Hermione pointed out.
"That's just a risk we'll have to take," Harry said. From the set of his chin, Hermione could tell that there was no point in arguing the issue with him any further. She sighed again.
And so a couple hours later, she was standing with her friends in an open field under the setting sun. Both Harry and Ron were eagerly scanning the horizon for any hint of the Malfoys and Ginny. Hermione shivered and drew her cloak more tightly against her. She hoped they would arrive soon so they could get this over with. She wanted to return to her nice warm bed.
"You did say we're supposed to meet at sunset, right?" she asked Harry.
"Yes," was his terse reply.
"Are you certain you read the note right? Because they're still not here." With each passing minute, Hermione could feel her irritation rising at the whole situation.
"Oh really? I hadn't noticed," snapped Harry.
"Stop that both of you," said Ron. "Come on now, you both know we've got to be on our guard. The note did say sunset, Hermione, but unfortunately we forgot to account for the fact that the Malfoys are always fashionably late."
She wrinkled her nose. "That's more rude than fashionable," she sniffed.
"You'll have no argument from me there," said Ron. He looked critically at Hermione, who was shivering again. "Are you cold?"
"Yes, but it's more than just that. I have a bad feeling about all this."
Ron patted her awkwardly on the back. "Don't worry so much, Hermione. It'll be all right in the end, you'll see."
"There they are," Harry announced. Immediately they were at attention. Hermione drew her wand, and out of the corner of her eye, she saw her friends doing the same. They couldn't be too careful when it came to dealing with the Malfoys. The other group stopped twenty feet away from them, with Lucius Malfoy hanging on to Ginny by the arm. For a moment, silence reigned as the two parties silently sized each other up.
"Nice to see you finally made it," said Harry, breaking the silence. "We were beginning to think that you weren't going to show."
"Not a chance," drawled Draco. "This opportunity is simply too good to pass up. For you see, we've got something you want and you have something we want."
Hermione shivered again. That didn't sound good. In fact, it sounded downright ominous. She clenched her hands into fists as she tried to calm her racing heart. Draco couldn't possibly be referring to her. It wasn't as though he knew that she was carrying his child, and even then there was simply no way he would ever admit to his father that he had slept with a Muggle-born witch. He would never do that, she silently assured herself.
"I think it's obvious who we want back from you," Harry was saying, "but what could you possibly want from us?"
Draco narrowed his eyes. "My wife," he said shortly.
"Your wife? You're married? Since when?" Ron asked the question that they all had.
"Just this last weekend. It's no surprise you haven't heard. The ceremony was small, with only a handful of guests. So sorry you weren't invited. There was no room at the table for blood traitors, you see." Malfoy smirked a little as he finished speaking.
"Too bad that," Ron muttered angrily. "I would've liked to have passed my condolences on to the bride, poor thing."
"Enough of these pleasantries. It's a fair deal, don't you think? Your witch in exchange for my wife?"
"The only problem that I see," said Harry, "was that you forgot to tell us to bring her along in the note you sent."
"Did I?" said Draco. His gaze flickered over to Hermione, and her heart leapt.
"No," she said, taking a step back and shaking her head. "You can't possibly mean—"
Harry looked back and forth between Malfoy and his friend. "Wait! You mean Hermione? You want me to trade my best friend for my fiancée!"
Draco merely raised an eyebrow, looking utterly bored. "Why yes I do believe I stated before that I want my wife back."
"We're not married," Hermione said quickly.
"That's right," said Ron. "Hermione would never have anything to do with the likes of you, and we know that you and your father wouldn't want your bloodline tainted by her. So why don't you stop with the games and tell us what you really want?"
"I am so sorry to hear that you think my son is not telling you the truth," said Lucius. "For he is. Miss Granger is indeed married to Draco. And as for us not wanting to taint our bloodline…." He shrugged eloquently. "An appropriate lineage for her is easy enough to manufacture, and already such papers have been filed with the Ministry. In a hundred years' time, who will know the truth? It is much better for Draco to marry a powerful witch whose background we have to scrub instead of a pureblood who is one short step away from being a squib. We Slytherins are nothing if not pragmatic."
"And mad as well," said Hermione. "As I said before I am not married to him." She pointed at herself and then at Draco. "You'd think that I would remember something like my own wedding."
"Not," Lucius said slowly, "if it were by proxy."
"Which it was unfortunately, seeing how we couldn't find you in time," added Draco.
Hermione's jaw dropped. "You can't do that," she protested. "You can't. Not without my consent."
"That's right," said Ron. "I don't care what sort of charade you put on last weekend, but it means nothing because you never had Hermione's consent."
"That's where you're wrong. I had all the consent needed. I've had to right to wed my witch ever since my seed took root in her womb." Hermione turned pale at that pronouncement. Harry and Ron looked at her before returning to glare at Draco.
"That's a lie," cried Harry.
"You're lying," Ron shouted at the same time.
Draco merely cocked an eyebrow at them. "I'd have to be a fool to tell a lie that could be so easily disproved. Go on then. Surely you must know the charm to tell if a witch is pregnant, Weasley. And if you don't, then you can ask Hermione herself to cast the spell." He spared a glance for her. "Do close your mouth dear," he told her. "You didn't expect that I would just let you go, did you darling, not after you became pregnant with my heir."
Hermione shook her head frantically. "No…I…that is…." She stumbled about for words.
"It's true, isn't it?"
Hermione swung her head over to look at Harry. He was shaking with rage. "Harry," she said. "It's not like that. I didn't—"
"You didn't what? Mean to sleep with him?" he spat out. "And to think I thought I knew you."
"Stop that!" she cried. "It's not as though I betrayed you in any way. I never told him anything, anything at all about any of our plans!"
"Didn't betray me? You slept with Malfoy! Worse you made Ginny a target! If it weren't for you, she wouldn't have ever been captured!" he all but roared.
Hermione felt that was unfair. Ginny would have been a target regardless because of her relationship with Harry. Moreover, if Ginny had been more careful, then she would have never been captured. Hermione simply wasn't to blame for the mess the other witch was in, and she couldn't help but feel disappointed that Harry couldn't see that.
"I hate to say this but seeing how you've kept secret about all you've been doing with him…it's a little hard for us to trust you now," said Ron. "I can't believe this, Hermione. What were you thinking?"
"I wasn't," she muttered.
"You can say that again," said Ron. He glanced over at Harry and addressed his next words to the visibly fuming wizard. "It was a stupid thing to do, Hermione, but I'm not about to throw away years of friendship just because you lost your head."
Hermione started to smile at that pronouncement but stopped when Lucius chose that moment to speak again. "Is the deal off then?" he asked. "For I assure you if we don't make the exchange now, then we'll have no choice but to turn over Miss Weasley to the Dark Lord."
Harry inhaled sharply. "What?"
"You heard Father," said Draco. "So far we've been able to conceal the fact that your fiancée is in our custody. However any longer and we'll be putting our own lives at risks, and that's not something that I'm willing to do. So if we walk away from here without my lovely bride…well then, you might never get to see yours ever again. And that's not a threat, by the way, just merely an observation of how things are likely to proceed."
Harry growled angrily while Ron cursed. Hermione turned anxious eyes towards her friends. She didn't know what thoughts were running through their heads, but she had the feeling she wouldn't like them. That feeling was proven correct when a moment later Harry shoved her violently forward.
"Fine. You can have her. I have no use for traitors like her anyway," he stated.
"Harry!" said Hermione, utterly distraught. "You can't mean that!"
"Oh but I do. Like I said, they only went after Ginny as a way of getting at you to set up this deal. So you see this is all your fault," he said through gritted teeth. "So Malfoy can have you. Isn't that what you wanted anyway?"
Hermione turned to appeal to her other friend. "Ron! Please. Talk some sense into Harry, please."
Ron ignored her pleas in favor of staring at Draco. "Hermione won't come to any harm?" he asked.
"That I cannot promise. My family has its own enemies," replied Draco. "But she won't be come to any harm from me or my family, if that's what you're asking. In fact, I'm bound by my wedding vows to protect her with my life."
"I see." Ron sighed deeply, shaking his head sadly. "I'm sorry, Hermione, really I am. If there was any other way…but that's my little sister out there. And you've heard them. If we leave Ginny them, she'll be…she'll be…well she won't be safe, let's say, while Malfoy's all but sworn you'll be fine. And I'm inclined to take him at his word this once, seeing how you're evidently pregnant with his child and all."
Ron sighed again and then stepped forward to take Hermione by the arm. "Let's get this exchange over with," he told Draco. He began walking towards the other wizard, pulling Hermione behind him, and Draco did the same with Ginny. When they met, Ron quickly let go of the brunette witch and latched on to his younger sister instead, leaving Hermione to her fate.
"Come now, darling," said Draco in her ear. "It's getting too cold out for you to be running about in your condition."
"No," she cried. The hairs on the back of her neck stood at end, and she felt herself on the verge of panic. Something was off. Something was not right at all—something more than just her friends abandoning her. She looked back at them, her eyes all but pleading with them to stop this madness, to stop and think things through for a moment instead of letting their emotions rule them. Neither Harry nor Ron would meet her gaze, but Ginny—Ginny who had been silent all this time, which was most unlike the witch who normally would have been shouting and cursing at the plight she found herself in—Ginny threw an ironic wink her way.
Hermione gasped, knowing now what the trap was. She had to tell her friends. She opened her mouth to shout out a warning but before she could get out a single syllable, Draco spun her around and fused his mouth to hers. She melted in his embrace, for a moment forgetting everything but her longing and love for him. The disgusted mumblings of her friends behind her only vaguely registered with her so caught up she was with the fire in his kiss.
"Well that settles it," Harry stated coldly. "That gets rid of any doubts I might have had. For your own sake, Hermione, you have better hope that their side wins because you no longer have a place with us. You're a Malfoy now, which means we'll be enemies if we ever meet again. This is good bye." He tossed those words at her like a dagger at her heart and then apparated away. Ron followed suit, taking Ginny along.
"My, my, what a dramatic exit," Lucius said mildly. The smirk on his face didn't bode well for her friends.
"That's Potter for you. All talk and no action," said Draco. "And I wouldn't worry your pretty head over his threats one bit, my dear. We already gave the Weasley girl to Lord Voldemort. What you saw was just her shell, completely controlled by him. You can trust that he'll take care of them once and for all later tonight when they're fast asleep."
One hundred years later, every school child knows the tale of Hermione Malfoy. They know how she went deep under cover, even going so far as to pretend to be a Mudblood rather than the pureblood heiress she was, to help bring Potter and his ilk down. The common belief is that she did it out of love for her betrothed, not wanting for him to be harmed in any sort of battle. It was because of her that Lord Voldemort managed to sneak into the Order's headquarters and take care of Potter once and for all.
And after that, Hermione lived happily ever after with her Draco, bearing him three sons. They were never seen apart in society for he was always by her side, and everyone agreed it was absolutely charming how much husband and wife adored one another. Society would marvel at the love so strong that it brought peace to the Wizarding World.
But don't believe all the stories you hear. There is no romance in war, only fools.