Thanks to Gemini Emerald Amethyst Malfoy; without her, this story would not be possible.
'Pit pat pit pat pit pat' the rhythm of her steps lulled her into a comfortable zone, her breathing even and her arms relaxed.
She checked her watch; she'd been running for thirty minutes and finally got her second wind. The weather was perfect, a cool breeze settling across the landscape cooling her body.
Rounding the curve she could see the War Memorial; the statues, the wall. It always made her mind leave the present time and remember the past.
It was five years ago. Five years of rebuilding the Wizarding world and recovering emotionally from the pain of losing loved ones. Five years of getting used to living without fear of torture and death around every corner.
Five years ago her best friend defeated the dark lord by sacrificing himself for the greater good. Five years of coming to terms of living life without him.
'Pit pat pit pat pit pat'
She adjusted her iPod and turned down the volume. It wasn't necessary, but she did it out of respect for the memorial. She passed the life sized statue of Hagrid carrying the limp body of Harry Potter. Behind it stood a wall with the names of the fallen; it was reflective stone so as you were reading you could see your reflection. Etched in the stone wall was a depiction of her, Harry and Ron with wands at the ready; she frowned, she didn't remember her hair being quite that wild, but she guessed one never sees themselves the same as others do.
She turned her head towards the startled and sudden whispers to her left.
There was a family, tourists, pointing at her; recognizing her. She smiled and continued passed the wall.
The next statue was the one she disliked. It was one of her holding Dobby and Harry standing beside her... her hair was somewhat tamed in this image of her.
More tourists, more whispers.
'Pit pat pit pat pit pat'
Kingsley once told her he had gotten the idea of the statues from the American Vietnam Memorial. She'd never seen it, but if this one was anything to compare it by, she knew she would be humbled by it.
The last statue on her path was of Harry; his wand pointed and a curse flowing from its point. His face enraged and his glasses askew. The stone portrayed the green light making contact to a snake-like man shouting something.
Hermione Granger was 23 years old, just a baby by Wizarding standards, but mentally, she felt like she was much older.
She was the youngest Hospital Administrator St. Mungo's had ever had, but during the war she had saved the former administrators daughter from the unspeakable (Fenrir Greyback), thus putting Hermione on his radar; Healer (St. Mungo Administrator) Abbot.
When she had completed advanced Healer training and internship; she applied for the deputy administrator position. She came with references from Headmistress McGonagall and Healer Pomfrey as well as her instructors in Healer training ranted and raved about her talent, skill and compassion.
Healer Abbot was also surprised to find an owl from Lucius Malfoy in regards to how she saved both his son and him from certain death during the war... and this was after she was tortured. Lucius made note of the fact that Hermione had refused to leave without them; claiming to the Order that they were human and needed help.
The Order relented and port keyed them out to safety.
Healer Abbots wife had been nagging him for months to retire, but he wouldn't... he couldn't. He wanted to leave the hospital in good hands. The morning Healer Granger came waltzing in for her interview for Deputy Administrator; he set aside protocol and offered her his job.
She had balked at first, but composed herself quickly and offered him a bright smile and a hug. She assumed the position of St. Mungo Administrator a week later.
Healer Abbots wife was a very happy witch, which made Healer Abbot, himself, a very happy wizard.
She'd been St. Mungo's HWIC (head witch in charge) for just over a year and she loved it.
'Pit pat pit pat pit pat' Hermione was almost home.
She and Ginny had grown closer after the war; the red head was Hermione's closest friend, more like a sister than anything else.
Ginny had married Draco Malfoy, of all people, three years ago. They were blissfully happy and Hermione was thrilled that her friend found love. Hermione visited Malfoy Manor often, but actively avoided the room in which she was tortured.
They all understood. Lucius had tried to destroy it after his son had married, knowing that his daughter-in-law adored the Muggle-born and that she would become a permanent fixture in his home, but the Manor didn't allow his intended destruction.
After weeks of trying everything he could think of he and Draco had built a wall closing off the entry way and made that area a hallway.
Draco and Ginny were expecting their first child in seven months, Hermione was Ginny's Healer; Hermione had insisted, though she didn't need to Ginny wasn't about to let anyone else touch her or deliver her baby anyway.
When Ginny told her family, mainly her mother, that she was going to marry Draco, they blew up, publically disowning the youngest Weasley and only daughter born to Molly and Arthur. Hermione, Lucius and Draco, were the only ones that stood beside her. This, of course, prompted Molly to denounce Hermione as well and forbid her youngest son from consorting 'with the likes of her'. Molly told the world... or at least anyone who would listen, that Hermione was never good enough for her Ronald and that Hermione was an ambitious witch who should have been placed in Slytherin House for all of her devious nature.
Hermione was heartbroken. She put on a strong face, but she was a sensitive witch and found herself at Malfoy Manor having a pity party with her best friend and fellow outcast, Ginny Malfoy.
Draco and Lucius stayed clear of the study that night, they weren't good with one crying witch, but two crying witches was too much to ask of them and so had the house elves cater to the girls' every wish.
She needed to see Ginny this morning for a check up then off to work.
She showered and left her hair loose, it was no longer frizzy and no longer a honey color. The sheer weight pulled it down to her waist in shiny waves of dark chocolate brown. She wasn't that tall, she had hoped she was still growing, but knew that was not the case. She topped the charts at 5'4" making her one inch shorter than Ginny - it annoyed her to no end.
Hermione's body had filled out in all the right places, curving when it should and remaining flat where it was supposed to, her legs were lean and sculpted, her arms were toned and feminine. She had freckles sprinkling her nose and cheeks, but otherwise her peaches and cream complexion was flawless. Her eyes had stayed the same light hazel brown contrasting with the dark rich color of her hair, making them pop out at you. Draco had called her cat woman on more than one occasion to which she threatened to turn him into a cat if he didn't quit.
She donned a tight fitting charcoal grey short sleeved cashmere sweater with an equally tight fitting charcoal gray pencil skirt; no panty hose and a pair of simple, yet classic, pointed black high heeled shoes.
She twirled in front of the mirror and smiled at her reflection. Shortly after the war, Hermione had realized that she was a girl and liked the idea of dressing up and being feminine, not simpering, but feminine. She knew she wasn't beautiful, but she was passable. Maybe not pretty, but definitely not ugly. She wasn't kidding herself, she knew what gorgeous looked like and gorgeous was a 5'5" red head married to Malfoy. Hermione figured she was lucky if wizards didn't ignore her completely; most did, though not for the reasons she thought.
She mentally shook herself; time to go to the Manor to check on the gorgeous red head.
Sounds of kissing.
"Mmmm we have to get up," she told her husband with a sigh.
Pulling her closer and burying his nose in her neck, "Why?" he whined.
"'Mione's coming over for my checkup," she said moving her head to the side giving him more access.
"I like that she makes house calls," he mumbled with a smile.
"I'm sure she only does it for me," Ginny replied smugly.
He huffed, "Me too," he said lifting his head to look into her crystal blue eyes.
She giggled, "Mostly me," she said patting his head.
Wanting to knock that smug look off her face he ground his erection into her core, hitting her in all the right spots. He smirked when her eyes fluttered closed and she moaned, "Maybe just a few more minutes won't hurt," she sighed.
Hermione Apparted right to the gates; they opened for her and she walked up the path to the large wooden doors. The snakes on the gates and doors didn't hiss at her anymore nor did the house elves cower in fear of her giving them clothing to free them any more.
"Hello, Twinks," she chirped as the little elf bowed in greeting. The Malfoys gave their elves a day off per week now along with new clothes to wear with the promise that they would not be freeing them anytime soon. Today Twinks was wearing a sailor suit complete with large buttons and a beret style hat.
"Missy Granger," Twinks greeted leading her to the library.
It was her favorite room, lined with books; it had comfy seating, a desk and a small bar. She had spent many a night researching or doing homework, with Ginny and Draco during their University years.
She was looking around with her back to the door when Lucius came in, "Miss Granger, How are you this morning?" he asked.
He was still the stoic aristocrat, but he had loosened up a bit since the down fall of Voldemort and the death of his rather toxic wife, he was by no means warm and welcoming, but infinitely more polite bordering on friendly.
"Hello Mr. Malfoy, I'm well and yourself?"
"Fine, thank you. Here for Ginervra?"
She nodded, "Just a checkup. Want to make sure everything is fine," she said deliberately not referring to a gender per Ginny's request. She wanted it to be a surprise... for them all.
"You still won't tell me, Miss Granger, I can keep a secret," he said conspiratorially.
She gave him a half smile, "Of that, I have no doubt, but then so can I," she said in a mock whisper and teasing tone and snickered at the face he made as he walked to his desk.
Ginny was standing at the entry watching her father in law and her almost-sister banter; she wished Hermione had someone in her life... love.
Ron had been a git; well her mother, father and brother had all been horrible to both of them.
Ginny sighed; she needed to remember to ask Hermione about her magic going haywire. She was pretty sure it was normal, but needed to hear it from Hermione before she stopped stressing about it.
Just then Draco grabbed her roughly around her shoulders making her scream in fright. This little incident set off a strange series of events that Ginny would forever blame on her husband.
She screamed alerting Lucius and Hermione to their presence, but just as Lucius looked up and Hermione turned around a burst of light erupted from Ginny's body like an explosion.
She heard Hermione yelp, and then the books tumble down from their places on the shelves.
The desk turned over and knocked Lucius down with an 'ooomph'; both Draco and Ginny were thrown backwards with a thump. Ginny landed on her husband and rolled off without a scratch. Draco, however, needed time to regain his breath as she had knocked it out of him.
They stood slowly, Draco touching her and looking her over, "Are you ok?" he asked tenderly caressing her stomach.
She smiled, "We're fine," she said looking him over as well.
They walked in as Lucius was standing. He silently looked them over. He didn't ask if they were all right, they seemed to be, so he looked around for Hermione.
She was under a pile of books and he smelled before he saw the coppery odor of blood.
He dashed over to her and started removing books, when he heard her murmuring something. It was Latin and he only caught a few words before he really started panicking, "Veneficus vinculum..."
Draco and Ginny were struck dumb as they watched the normally composed Malfoy patriarch throwing books aside to get to the witch, "Help me!" he insisted.
They both jumped into action.
It was Ginny who noticed some of the books title as they were tossed aside, they were the darker arts and getting darker by the second, "Lucius, I think we may have a problem," she said.
He stopped and looked at her like she was daft, "Do you think I would regularly treat my books with such disdain, Ginervra, or do you think maybe I've arrived at the same conclusion?" he snapped.
She was about to retort, but Draco, who looked pale, held the book Hermione had bled on, "Gifts of Magic and Other Soul Binding," she read aloud. Her face paled as well, "What spell do you think?" she asked her husband, but it was Lucius that spoke, "It was open to this one and I heard her casting it," he said gravely.
"She knows the spell?" Draco asked surprised that Hermione would know it and more surprised that she would cast it after being blown across a room.
Lucius shook his head, "No, these books, dark spells - blood magic, are sentient. Once it felt her power through her blood, it flooded her mind and she cast the spell unknowingly."
"What does it mean - veneficus vinculum?" Ginny asked reading the title of the spell.
"Magic Bond; the spell was cast in the early centuries to match magic and compatible magical beings. It was outlawed because it required a significant amount of ..." Lucius stopped when he realized the weight of the meaning. He looked at Hermione and then back to Ginny who was waiting.
Draco asked the question, "significant amount of what?"
Lucius cleared his throat, "it required a significant amount of virgins' blood to cast. Many of the witch's used for this spell didn't recover. They didn't have blood replenishing potions as we do now."
Draco's head shot to his wife, "She's a virgin?" he whispered astonished.
Ginny sighed, "Yes."
"Ron and her never...?" he asked making a crude gesture with his finger sliding in and out of a circle he made with his other hand.
She rolled her eyes, "No."
Their attentions were diverted back to Hermione when she started panting and writhing as she was in pain. Lucius had stopped the bleeding and they quickly levitated her to the couch.
Her eyes were closed, but tears were falling from them and her breathing was still labored.
The three Malfoys stood, unknowing of what to do to help her, watched her with concern marring their faces when her back arched, her fists clenched and her mouth opened in a silent scream.
What they heard did not match the picture lying on the couch in front of them; instead it was a deep throaty voice, rough from not speaking for a long period of time, "Lucius!"
Lucius stiffened immediately, he knew that voice. They looked at the entry way expectantly.