Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter and/or the characters of the original story created by J.K. Rowling.

Chapter One

Lucius Malfoy wished his legs could go faster. As he ran, he felt every one of his forty-five years in his tired legs and bones. The adrenaline that had fired him from the beginning seemed to ebb as the moments passed. He vaguely wondered if he'd even survive this chase. It seemed fruitless for, not only was he badly wounded, he was wandless and basically unprotected in the eyes of any wizard in a battle.

He knew they were near. There was no need to look back to make sure. Their angry shouts and loud explosions of badly aimed curses were telltale enough. There was a loud and ominous crack and he barely escaped a falling tree. No, this wouldn't do. He would have to surrender eventually or pray to the gods that he was granted refuge.

"You can't escape, Lucius!" cried a voice, and a curse whizzed over his head not too long after.

He was beginning to feel out of breath. His lungs were crying for mercy and his heart felt just about ready to burst. The deep cut in his shoulder hurt beyond anything he'd ever felt, and the blood was running too freely for his liking. He wanted to stop running, he really did but knew that he couldn't. Survival was a necessity at the moment. If he didn't live then neither would Draco. If he succumbed to his body's weaknesses, the Death Eaters, his erstwhile comrades, would pounce upon him and end his life and Draco's as well.

In his musings, he failed to see the upraised root on the earthen floor and his left foot hooked it. His body was flung forwards and the fall winded him, but that wasn't the worst part. It seemed as though his body had turned from the initial path of the forest and downwards into a slope. The loose fall leaves were like wheels beneath his stomach and he was dismayed to find himself slipping—practically free-falling—face forwards down an incline of sorts.

He grappled for an upraised root—much like the one that had caused this dilemma—to stop his decline but found none. His fingers found loose dirt and even looser leaves. The slide became uneven and his body began to flip over and over. His final thought before his consciousness faded away, and his broken body came to a standstill at the foot of the decline was, I am sorry, Draco…

Hermione shivered as the chilly autumn breeze whipped across her face and robbed her of what little warmth she had. She was never a lover of autumn or winter, and the chilliness of the current weather reinforced her belief. Wrapping the cloak around her more securely, she continued to scan the surroundings for more brushwood. The shed would be colder tonight; whatever little brushwood she had at home would not suffice.

She laughed to herself. In her mind, the laugh was maniacal and humourless. Look at what her chief worries had come down to: preservation of body heat. Only a year ago, her priorities had been so simple it was laughable now. All she'd ever had to worry about was her N.E.W.T.s and whether Ron and Harry were getting up to some new mischief that would cause them harm. Life had been good—content even. There had only been some turbulent occasions when things like 'Death Eaters wanting to kill them' got in the way. But still, life had been decent.

Now look, a year later and here she was: lonely, poor and striving for survival in a world that didn't miss her. As a matter of fact, should it be known that the remaining member of the Golden Trio was alive, she'd be hunted down and killed on the spot. Voldemort had won the war, after all. The Light had fought long and hard but had suffered irreparable casualties. Harry had been murdered and so had been Ron, along with Dumbledore, and most of the Order. Whoever had remained after the dust had cleared, and Voldemort had finally assumed reign of the Wizarding world, had been tortured mercilessly before they had succumbed to a slow and painful death.

Hermione, herself, didn't even know how she'd managed to survive. Well, she knew the details and could only calculate the most possible conclusion. However, she only had a foggy memory of what had happened after she'd seen the light of life fly out of Ron's eyes. She remembered, vividly, battling with Ron's killer with raw vengeance, shooting curse after curse and dodging them as well. Then, as she had prepared to send a killing curse, a flash of green light had flown towards her target, killing him instantly. Just as she'd been about to turn around, a spell had hit her from behind and she had fallen to the floor, her consciousness fleeing her.

She'd awoken in the very same forest she presently inhabited. Harry's Invisibility Cloak had been wrapped tight around her. She'd been disoriented and her memory cloudy. When remembrance had returned, she'd vomited violently and had cried for the loss of her dear friends. Immediately, she had known that the forest was not the Forbidden Forest. She'd known that with Harry's death, Voldemort had won. She'd known that the Light had lost and someone had already foreseen the end and had obviously wished for her to live.

At that time, she'd been grateful; melancholy and heartbroken, but grateful nonetheless. But now, she wasn't so sure she was grateful to that person anymore. She wished she'd died just as Harry and Ron did.

Hermione shook herself, mentally slapping her morbid thoughts out of her mind. She was looking for brushwood. When she'd attained a sufficient amount, she'd return home and strike up a fire by hand. There weren't any alternative methods. She had no matches, and she certainly hadn't her—

What's that black lump over there?

She was at a distance but the stark grey sky allowed for good vision and she could clearly make out a human shaped lump from where she stood. Her initial thought was to run and hide. For all she was aware of, she was the only one who lived in the forest. The only occasion she had any human contact were glimpses of travelers and sight-seers ambling by while she hid somewhere, terrified they were disguised Death Eaters.

Who was to know if this wasn't such a case?

She looked wildly about, expecting to see cloaked figures lay-waiting her in the trees but she saw no such thing. She glanced at the lump, still unmoving, and curiosity got the better of her. She began to edge forward, her eyes darting everywhere, ready to scamper away at the slightest movement. When she was closer, it was confirmed that the lump was indeed human and, with such a long frame, male.

Trepidation gripped her. What was he doing there? Was he sleeping? Was he awake but pretending to be unconscious for nefarious reasons? Was he dead?

And then she saw the trail of disrupted earth that began from where the motionless man lay to all the way up a precipitous hill. Her mind churned, already deducing what had happened. It was more than apparent that the man had fallen off the hill and had tried to stop his fatal decent but had failed. She then concluded that at such a steep drop, the man was definitely dead. Nobody could survive such a fall.

She advanced with much more courage now. By the time she was standing over the presumably dead man, she'd already taken note of his damaged robes and pronounced him a wizard. Apparently, he'd also been attacked; no wonder he'd fallen off the hill. A nasty curse must have pushed him over to his demise. After roving her eyes over his body, she squinted at his head, a sense of familiarity rising within her when she looked at his long, blond hair—

Long blond hair?

Her slowly rising courage swiftly abandoned her. She stood paralysed, staring wide-eyed at the man's head. There was only one person she knew who had long, blond hair and who was also a wizard. Only one man who could strike such fear in her heart by just thinking about him. She had to know. She just had to make sure it was him. So she bent down and shoved the prone man unto his back and stared down into the bloody face of one Mr. Lucius Malfoy.

AN: Hey guys, this is my first Harry Potter fic. No, I'm not new to fanfiction, but after reading some delicious Lucius/Hermione pairings, I was inspired to try my hand at it. I hope you find the first chapter satisfactory. Reviews/comments/constructive critiques are more than welcome…and appreciated. Thanks! :)