a/n: Okay so this is my first HP fic so excuse me if there's a few errors with characters etc. I also want to point out that this will not be a fluffy fic and my main goal is to keep the characters realistic and the progression of the romance between Draco and Hermione will be relatively slow. This is Post-Hogwarts and ignores the epilogue. Hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: All chapters associated with 'Hunted' contain characters and themes which are not owned by me! Credit goes to JK Rowling, and the fact that this is on a site called surely implies that I am a FAN writing FICTION! If I did own Harry Potter, I would not be on here, I'd be off buying islands and diamonds.
Chapter 1: Changes.
He scowled at the young beauty in the bed next to him. She was facedown on one of her lilac pillows and he was pretty sure she was finally sleeping. Her matted hair covered her inevitable makeup-smudged face and he tried to lean forward a little to see if he could definitely establish that she was unconscious. Her breathing was heavy enough to convince him, but for all he knew she could be a light sleeper. He decided he would have to risk it. The sky was turning into that vile purple-blue colour that he despised and he wanted to get home.
He manoeuvred himself carefully on her bed, trying his hardest to remain silent. He released a breath he'd been holding once his feet were firmly placed on the woman's purple carpet. He gathered his scattered clothes and hastily dressed himself, occasionally looking over his shoulder at the silent woman. He smirked to himself as he fastened the final button of his green shirt. He was getting better at this sneaking out business. He reached for his perfectly polished shoes but one fell from his fist and landed with a harsh thud on her floor.
Draco's frown hardened as she stirred under her covers and he quickly retrieved his shoe and shoved it roughly on his foot. He heard her make some awful groan as she turned to face him and he did everything in his power not make eye contact with the woman. She offered him a sleepy smile but it was wasted on the blond man's rolling eyes.
"Where are you going?" The young woman seemed to think twice about reaching out and stroking his leg. She made the right decision in resisting.
"I have an early meeting," Draco muttered through his tense lips as he checked he had all his belongings.
"Okay," the girl sighed, briefly checking her clock and realising it was barely four in the morning. "You could go to work from here?"
"That's not a good idea," the young wizard argued, double checking his wand was in his robes. "I have things to do."
"Well," the blonde witch started hesitantly. "I don't mind if you do some work in the other room-
"Look," Draco finally turned to her, massaging his brow for a second. "Polly-
"Poppy," the girl corrected, glaring at him now.
"Whatever," Draco breathed, indifferent about his mistake. He checked for the third time that he had everything. He had no desire to return to this address and run into this woman again. He headed for her door, ignoring the woman's shocked gasp when he didn't even say goodbye.
He Apparated back to his home and collapsed on his couch with a grunt of frustration. That entire encounter had been a waste of his time. When had it become so difficult to get a decent fuck? He growled to himself and decided he would leave his shower for later on and get some work done. If his sex-life wasn't going so great he could at least make sure his career was satisfactory. Surely he was just in a rut. He doubted he could be bored of sex already. He was only twenty-two for Merlin's sake. No, not bored. Just tense. His body wasn't reacting as expected to the randoms he had bedded recently and his hand was getting used to providing a form of release. It wasn't the same but at least he could finish the job. There was something very unsettling about the amount of Galleons he'd wasted on seducing meals and condoms.
He pushed his thoughts to the side and reached for his briefcase at the side of his couch. He removed his wand to undo his locking spell and carelessly threw some of the papers on his coffee-table. He shuffled through them, eyeing the familiar names with little thought. Despite the monotony of his job, he couldn't deny he felt a slight dose of satisfaction with how things had turned out.
The Ministry had been good to him, better than he would have anticipated four years ago. They had pretty much blackmailed him with his position to avoid time in Azkaban but it had worked in his favour. He was now deputy-head of the department. His job entailed supervising ex-convicts, particularly prisoners who had abused the Dark Arts. He and his team ensured that the prisoners were keeping to themselves after their time, and keeping clean of further illegal actions. Above anything else, the job came with a decent dose of secrecy, and he had successfully remained out of the public eye with only a few glitches. He was still, after all, the heir to one of the most famous families in the Wizarding World. But the ministry had managed to keep his profile fairly low-key. It was hardly a good idea to advertise to criminals who would be keeping an eye on them. Especially in Malfoy's case.
He knew this had initially been a tactic by the Ministry to abuse his knowledge of the Death Eaters he had once circled with, they had just never assumed he would have been so good at the task. The irony hadn't been lost on him. After his dabbling in dark magic, he was now working for the people he'd been so convinced were evil. At least now he could accept that he'd been an impressionable boy with a sharp-tongued father and a heavy helping of rebellion. But his father was long gone. And the young Malfoy had decided he was old enough to make his own decisions.
If someone had told him four years ago that this had transpired he would have hexed them for being an idiot.
"Lumos," he muttered, skilfully clutching his wand.
He sighed as the familiar names stared back at him, many his old classmates or names he had heard from his days with Voldermort. He still cringed when he thought about it. But he was a professional now and he was satisfied that many of his companions from Hogwarts who had once entertained Voldermort's ideas had, like himself, managed to settle down into normal lives.
He'd bump into them occasionally and they would never discus the early days. Everyone seemed pretty determined to forgot what had happened, or at least banish it from conversation and he was content to follow that routine. Blaise Zabini was the only Slytherin he had kept in contact with from Hogwarts. The wizard was now well-established businessman with a small chain of Quidditch shops. But Malfoy still had his name on his list. And he knew he was on a list somewhere too.
A couple of hours passed and Draco decided he was satisfied with his notes. He contemplated trying to sneak a couple of hours sleep before work but decided it was hardly worth it. He could always have an early night when he finished work-
"Fuck," Draco snapped as he rubbed his eyes in irritation. He'd completely forgotten he was going to visit his mother after work. She'd been remodelling the Manor since the incidents four years ago, and more so after his father had died. Despite this she always insisted that Draco come and share his opinion on her work after she'd finished a room. Why she couldn't just wait until she had finished her entire project to invite him over to criticise the Manor was beyond him.
He decided that an hour's kip wasn't such a bad idea. He would need all the energy he could spare if his mother was in one of her excited moods. He hadn't seen her in just over a week, which meant she would be bubbling like a clumsy cauldron with mindless gossip.
Draco Flooed to work that morning and immediately frowned at the chaos that surrounded him. It was hardly a rare occasion for the Ministry to be so hectic on a Monday morning but it still always managed irritate him. The place was centuries old for Merlin's sake! Surely they should have been used to odd revelations by now and built a level of organised immunity. But no! Here they all were. Running around like paranoid house-elves.
He headed to his office in the Improper Use of Magic department. The department had been expanded after the war and the Ministry had placed comparable Traces on previous Death Eaters and their associates. Although similar to the ones placed on underage wizards and witches, these were not so accurate but they helped to a certain extent. Mafalda Hopkirk was head of the larger department. The witch had immediately taken to her new task and seemed a little relieved to have some variation to rebellious wizard teens.
Draco pushed open the heavy doors and searched for his superior, noting with a little relief that the Offices here were a lot quieter. The department had less staff than the others and he was grateful for this, although the few that were wandering around the offices seemed agitated. He rolled his eyes when his secretary rose from her seat to greet him. The petite woman was always far too cheerful for his liking.
"Good morning Mr. Malfoy," the witch chirped merrily, although he noted she was less enthusiastic today.
"Tilly," Draco acknowledged her presence with a dull nod. "Could you have the Trace Reports on my desk once Shacklebolt sends them to you."
"Of course," the woman grinned politely as Draco walked into the solitude of his office. He noted that his usual coffee was waiting in its familiar place on his desk and he settled down his briefcase and took a claming gulp of the hot liquid. He took a seat at his expensive desk and started working on some the papers that had been left for him. He was barely alone twenty minutes when Mafalda entered his room without a knock, sporting her usual smart, mauve robes and a navy, tattered bag resting on her shoulder.
"Draco," the older woman forced a tight smile at her colleague. "How are you?"
"Fine," the wizard replied, tearing his eyes from his work to eye the older woman for a moment before he went back to his parchments. He still wasn't sure why the witch had taken such a liking to him, even when he'd first starting working for her. But he appreciated her acceptance and the old bat wasn't that bad, if a little nosy.
"You look like shit," the blonde woman commented, noting the bags under his eyes. "Rough night?"
"It could have gone better," Draco admitted, looking to a different page of his documents.
"I thought you might be a little agitated today," the witch confessed with a hint of concern. "This to do with the girl?"
"Am I that predictable?" Draco muttered, raising an eyebrow as he considered some information on his sheets.
"Well you knew her quite well," Mafalda offered her colleague a small smile. "It's only natural you should feel a little off."
"Knew her well?" Draco repeated, still refusing to meet the prying woman's eyes. "That's an overstatement."
"I though you went to Hogwarts with her?" The witch frowned at him, realising he had looked up at her with an obvious expression of confusion.
"I'm not following you," Draco told the woman warily, watching her now for an explanation.
"The girl who died yesterday." the witch repeated, as though he shouldn't need anymore explanation. Draco eyed the woman and shook his head, signalling his lack of knowledge on the matter. His superior sighed and took the seat on other side of his desk. "For Merlin's sake, Draco, you really should read The Daily Prophet."
"Who died?" Draco asked the witch, unable to contain his curiosity.
"Well 'died' is a little light, actually," the woman remarked as she reached into her bag. "Poor girl was murdered."
"Who was it?" Draco asked again, a little frustrated with the woman.
"Pansy Parkinson," Mafalda sighed as she handed Draco a copy of The Daily Prophet. "You knew her in school, didn't you?"
"Quite well," Draco agreed as he eyed the front page, which consisted of a picture of pansy and Ex-Dark Art Damsel Found Dead as its headline. "I haven't seen her in four years though."
His eyes skimmed over the article, noting that they had recalled the suspicion that she had been involved with Voldermort. The moving photo simply showed her laughing, and he realised she had only grown more beautiful since leaving school. They mentioned her 'grieving' husband, whose name he didn't recognise and included some details about her career as a healer before his eyes rested on one particular phrase. 'Marked with a V.'
"Like Dennis Creevy?" Draco's eyes shot back up to his superior as he tried to understand this new information.
"So it would seem," the witch nodded solemnly. "It was the killing curse again, and that V mark is identical-
"But Pansy was a pureblood," Draco interrupted her. "So this killer's not a Voldemort sympathiser?"
"No, the Ministry still believe the killer is," Mafalda revealed. "And I agree, that V mark is an obvious reference to the Dark Lord."
"But why would a sympathiser kill a pureblood?" Draco questioned, eyeing the article and noting that they had indeed mentioned the link with Creevy's death. "Surely it defeats the object."
"Parkinson was reformed," the witch offered him with a shrug. "A sympathiser would have seen her as a traitor to the Dark Lord-
"You know you can say Voldemort," Draco rolled his eyes at the woman and her annoying habit. "He's been dead for four years so I'm pretty sure you're safe."
"Point noted," the witch frowned, snatching back her newspaper. "The point is Creevy's murder wasn't random and even though we'd anticipated this, Pansy's murder dashes our theory that only muggle-borns would be targets."
"Fucking hell," Draco breathed as he reached for his file on Creevy's case.
"I'll need you to be very thorough with the Traces," Mafalda told him, her professional tone slipping into place.
"You know as well as I do they won't reveal anything," Draco growled in frustration. "If the wizard can cast the killing curse then they can definitely avoid the Trace-
"All the same," the witch eyed him, understanding his irritation. "Just be extra diligent when Shacklebolt delivers the files."
"Fine," the young Malfoy groaned, knowing his efforts would be in vain.
"The Ministry is warning all muggle-borns and reformed Death Eaters to be on alert," Mafalda explained as she adjusted herself in her seat. "I need you to get a list of all the ex-Death Eaters to Shacklebolt as soon as you can. There are potential victims and killers on that list."
"You realise I'm in that category," Draco reminded her with an unimpressed glance.
"Then I'm sure the Ministry want me to warn you to be careful," the witch grinned at him. "Don't worry Draco I'm sure you have proven yourself enough to not be a suspect-
"That wasn't my concern," Draco rolled his eyes at her. "Are any measures being taken for safety?"
"Come now, Malfoy," Mafalda regarded him with a hint of amusement. "You are a perfectly capable wizard-
"And from what I recall, so was Pansy," Draco remarked honestly.
"All I know is that the Aurors are involved," the witch told him with another shrug. "And a few who were on foreign business have been called back."
"That means Potter will be returning then," Draco groaned in realisation. He very rarely saw Aurors anyway as the departments tended to keep to themselves but he'd been rather pleased knowing his old nemesis was in another country. He doubted the rivalry between them would ever completely simmer, and he hadn't seen Potter in four years to understand how Potter thought about him now. He didn't particularly care but he figured, with a smirk, it would be an interesting experience.
"Yes, Harry Potter was mentioned," Mafalda seemed to be recalling her earlier discussion with Shacklebolt. "And his friend should be returning too."
"Brilliant," Draco rolled his eyes at that information. "There are too many bloody Weasleys in London."
"No, not Weasley," Mafalda shook her head, closing her eyes as she tried to concentrate on her memory of the meeting. "The girl."
"Granger?" Draco confirmed, raising his eyebrows in slight surprise. "I didn't know she was an Auror."
"Yes," the witch nodded. "She's been here a few times but she's been doing a lot of research work for the Ministry in Europe."
"Well the research bit certainly makes more sense," Draco commented as he recalled the bookworm from his Hogwarts days. "That girl had a love affair with books. Never thought she'd turn into an Auror."
"She's a very good one apparently," Mafalda revealed with a thoughtful grin. "But from what I hear the woman does take a more studious approach to her job that the others."
"She's a muggle-born," Draco commented with a lowered brow. He remembered a time when the word 'Mudblood' would have so easily passed his lips. "Doesn't it seem a little counter-productive to bring her back when there's a sympathiser wandering around London?"
"Well from what I can gather, the Ministry are concerned about her," Mafalda lowered her tone a little. "She is possibly the most famous Muggle-born after her participation in the war and they think she's at a high risk. Same for Potter seeing as he killed Voldermort-
"So why the hell bring them back to the country?" Draco questioned, genuinely confused by the Ministry's reasoning.
"There's more protection here," Mafalda rolled her eyes at her colleague's ignorance. "Plus there have been a few attacks on Muggle-borns and ex-Death Eaters outside of London in the past few months and the Ministry thinks they could be linked. I think there was one in Berlin-
"Attacks?" Malfoy repeated. "I don't remember any attacks."
"Only the Aurors were informed," Mafalda explained with a small pout of disagreement. "I'm not really sure what the reasoning was behind that."
"I see," Draco mulled over this new data in his mind. "Anything else?"
"Well the Ministry implied that the Aurors might be doing some work with us," the witch revealed with a shrug. "But that's hardly new, you've worked with a few of them before. But apart from that I don't really know much more."
"Right," Draco nodded, resting his chin against the back on his hand.
"I'll leave you to it," Mafalda rose from her seat. "Make sure you check those Traces meticulously, Draco. And do some research on what the Death Eaters have been doing in the past few months. You'll also be receiving a list of Muggle-borns who were active against the Dark Lord to try and establish any connection. It's going to be a busy time for us."
"Joy," Draco sighed sarcastically as he went back to his earlier paperwork. Mafalda left him alone for the rest of the day as he, as asked, carefully examined the Traces once they were given to him. He worked an hour longer than he'd planned to, double-checking that there really wasn't anything he could comment on that could indicate anything of relevance.
At seven in the evening he'd decided that there was little more he could do and Flooed to Malfoy Manor. He had noted more with each visit that his former home was eerily quiet these days, despite his mother's countless visitors. He found her alone in the drawing room, waving her wand to raise some pictures on her new mint-coloured walls.
"You're a little late," Narcissa commented when she spotted her son.
"Busy day at the Ministry," Draco commented as he took a seat on one if his mother's new couches.
"Yes I read about your friend," the witch admitted with a grave tone. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," Draco rolled his eyes. "I hadn't spoken to Pansy in years-
"I know, but still," Narcissa frowned at her son's stoic face. "It must have been a bit of a shock."
"I was a little surprised," Draco reluctantly admitted. "I guess you read about the Ministry thinking there is a Voldemort sympathiser possibly targeting muggle-borns and old Death Eaters too?"
"I did," the witch confirmed, pausing when her son gave her a strange look. "What?"
"You be careful," the younger Malfoy warned his mother. "Our name is probably the most famous when you think of ex-Death Eaters and you're not very good at keeping a low profile, mother."
"Yes," his mother nodded in agreement. "Rita and a few of her friends helped me set up some extra wards on the house but I'm sure it's nothing to worry about. This isn't the first Voldemort sympathiser and the Ministry have been good with these kind of things in the past-
"Still, just keep an eye out," Draco told his mother, wondering why the hell she would trust that vile Rita Skeeter with her protection. He would put up a few extra wards himself before he left. "What the fuck was Rita doing here?"
"Language, Draco," Narcissa scolded her son with little force. "And she popped round to fill me in on the Pansy incident."
Draco fought hard not to make another derogatory comment about his mother's choice of companion. At least she'd had some company. He had a feeling Snape would be making a visit soon also to ensure his mother was well-protected. The man had surprisingly stayed in contact with his family since the war and he was quite grateful for that. If nothing else because he was a capable wizard and was one of the few men who hadn't tried to jump into his mother's trousers since his father had died. His obsession with Potter's mother seemed to be an eternal issue for the strange man.
"Go on then," Draco grinned as his mother almost tripped over a box on the floor. "Tell me all your gossip, I know you're dying to."
"Well I'm actually a little low on news," Narcissa admitted with a sad sigh. "Although I do know that Harry Potter and Hermione Granger are returning to London soon."
"I already know that," Draco smirked at his little victory. "The Ministry think they'll be safer here."
"They're probably right," his mother nodded.
"I don't suppose you know why Weasley's not included in their little trip back to London?" Draco questioned his mother, ever curious about the favourite trio from Hogwarts. It was times like these he was pleased his mother had an esteemed place in the wizard-gossip world.
"He's not an Auror," his mother offered simply. "Last I heard he was working for his brother with the dragons. Weasley was hardly the brightest boy. I think I would have more chance of becoming an Auror."
"And what have the other two been doing?" Draco asked absentmindedly, conjuring a beer and taking a light sip.
"Well Harry got involved with the Weasley sister but I forget her name," his mother frowned as she tried to recall. "And Hermione has just been all over Europe from what I can gather, working for the Ministry. She's still a complete bookworm from what I hear, although someone did tell me she's come into her own."
"What?" Draco asked his mother, not really sure what she meant by that statement.
"She's a bit of a looker now, apparently," the Malfoy female elaborated. "But I heard all this a while ago when she was on one of her visits to the Ministry, no one has really seen her for a year or so."
"You remember gossip from a year ago?" Draco asked his mother with an unsure look on his face.
"Well you tend to remember the details of people who were tortured in your house," Narscissa rose her brow at her son, and he knew to drop the subject. It was still an awkward topic for his mother, and he had no desire to broach the subject either. "Why are you so interested in them?" His mother quirked an eyebrow at her son.
"Mafalda mentioned that they might be involved on the case," the blond described. "Which means I might be working with Potter."
"Well that will end in tears," Narcissa commented with a smile. "I know you've changed and everything, Draco, but you two are never going to get along. And didn't you bully the girl in Hogwarts too? I will never forgive your father for introducing you to that horrible word you used to call her-
"I was a kid," Draco justified his actions with a defensive snort. "You were hardly an angel."
"Point taken," his mother nodded "But I did save Potter's life."
"I may have to remind him of that if things turn a little sour," Draco creased his brow in thought. "I don't think he'll be as accepting as the Ministry-
"Well just remain professional and mature," his mother advised him with uncharacteristic wisdom. "You owe the Ministry that much. And don't turn back into the brat you were in school."
"Well it might not even happen," Draco reminded his mother. "Although I am a little curious about the repercussions if it did. I doubt Potter is in love with the idea-
"Speaking of love," his mother started with a mischievous grin. "How did your date go with Poppy? Isn't she lovely? I'm such a good matchmaker-
"Not going to happen," Draco stopped his mother's self-praising rant. "She's dull and irritating. The bitch wouldn't shut up about her job at Wicked Witches. I've never even heard about that magazine-
"Well it's a good one," his mother frowned. "And don't call her a bitch, Draco. She was a decent young lady."
"She was a waste of my time and money," Draco informed his mother. "Her only purpose was to serve as further proof that your matchmaking skills are fucking awful-
"Language," his mother reprimanded him again, her tone lower this time. "Did you at least give her a chance?"
"It took me less than ten minutes to know the woman was going to be a bore," Draco informed his mother with an agitated expression.
"There must have been something you liked about her?" Narcissa eyed her son hopefully and he couldn't stop the smirk that stole his lips.
"Well," Malfoy started as he leant back a little further in the couch. "She could do the cool thing with her tongue-
"Draco!" His mother instantly felt a flush rise in her cheeks. "That's quite enough! Merlin, you can be so crude!"
"You asked," Draco told her with a shrug as he finished off his beer and rose from his seat. He rose from his seat and offered his mother a small peck on the cheek.
"You're leaving already?" Narcissa asked sadly, always reluctant to see her son leave.
"Things are hectic at the Ministry at the moment," Draco explained, setting up a few extra wards while his mother waited. To be fair to Rita, the wards seemed quite stable so he only did a couple of adjustments. "Plus I didn't get much sleep last night and that's technically your fault."
"Draco, don't make a mother smack her twenty-two-year-old son," Narcissa cringed at her only child's words. "I'll owl you tomorrow."
"Fine," the young wizard nodded at his mother as he headed back to the fireplace in the other room. "Be careful."
With that said, the young Malfoy Flooed to his home and went straight to his room to catch up on his deprived sleep. He knew his next few weeks at work would most likely involve a few late nights and he was going to indulge in as much sleep as he possibly could. He considered his possible tasks for tomorrow and also wondered when exactly Potter and his little friend would make an appearance at the Ministry. Mafalda had never specified when they would be back in London and he couldn't dent his curiosity about his old rival. His new opinions and life after the war had come with a higher tolerance but he had a feeling Potter would be exempt from that. Some things never changed.
a/n: How did I do…be nice please…? Also for those of you who read my DBZ fanfics please do not worry I am working on chapters for both Forbidden and Release Me which will be up soon…I just had to get this idea down! Please R+R! Wondering how I peg as a HP writer so feedback would be nice and much appreciated!!