Chapter 1

Hermione worked in a bakery. She was lucky to have the job. It started really early in the morning and usually finished as it was turning dark, but she was lucky to have it. It wasn't that far from Knockturn Alley, where she lived, along with every other muggleborn. More commonly known as mudbloods these days.

The power vacuum after both Harry and Voldemort dies during the final battle left the space open for the most organised and self entitled, which was the old elite. They were used to ruling and felt justified in taking over. Voldemort was heralded as a mad man who had come about due to mudbloods running amok. They would not make the same mistake again. No one wanted to mention that uncomfortable period, everyone wanted to move on as quickly as possible. Harry was a part of that insane time and he was never mentioned either.

Somehow everything was blamed on the mudbloods. The council, which had replaced the position of minister, which had proved to be a vulnerability, had decreed that mudbloods must be controlled and managed. Now, all mudbloods had to live in the Muggleborn Quarters or MQ, a dark and dank corner of Knockturn Alley. They were not allowed to marry or have children. They were also not allowed to leave wizard locales which pretty much confined them to known wizard houses, Diagon Alley and Hogsmead. Hogwarts was also out of bounds in case they influence young minds.

The only jobs available to mudbloods were serving purebloods in some capacity or other. Some paid better than others, if you had the stomach for it. This is why Hermione was lucky to have her bakery job. It was retail, not something she had intended on, but it kept her and the two elderly muggleborn ladies she was supporting off the street.

The most unfortunate ended up begging, which the purebloods saw as complete justification for their inferiority.

The ladies were good company. They talked about the great war, which was the great muggle war of their youth. Apparently the men were a lot more handsome back then. The MQ wasn't actually that bad sometimes. Everyone was in the same boat and a certain black humour kept them going sometimes, but there were problems with alcohol and potions abuse, which sometimes led to violence even when the young purebloods weren't out looking for sport.

The biggest sport going was when one of the mudbloods ran away, usually into the muggle world. A gang of young purebloods would get together to go for a hunt. They even studied the muggle world to be more efficient at it. They were very effective, they would drag back the escapee beaten and broken, parade the poor soul through the streets before dispatching them to Azkaban if they were still alive. The female escapees fared no better, some would say worse.

There were the legends of the odd escape, but no one knew if it was true or not. The purebloods feared that mudbloods would be planning revolts if they were free and no one wanted to go back to the dark period that had killed so many.

Hermione still visited Neville and Luna, who were married and living in Luna's house. Luna's father was extremely nervous about having a mudblood in the house. Refusing to be in the same room as her. Neville and Luna were her only friends. Neville worked at Hogwarts and Luna managed the Quibbler.

Arthur Weasley was a broken man these days and Molly was driven mad by George's death and somehow also managed to buy in on the idea that it was the muggleborns' fault. Bill and Fleur left England and had settled in France. They had told Hermione that she was welcome in their home if she could ever safely make it. Going to France would mean risking the hunt. Portkeys were tightly controlled and not extended to the likes of her.

She could travel by floo, but her wand had been charmed to disallow apparating, along with a bunch of other spells that the council found too risky for mudbloods.

Ginny was in Bulgaria, or somewhere with Charlie. It turned out that she had been pregnant during the final battle and everyone felt it was better if she was gone from the UK. Carrying Harry Potter's child was just an invite for trouble. Everyone was sworn to secrecy with Bill as the keeper, meaning no one could ever mention it.

Ron had fallen in love with Pansy Parkinson of all people. His status as a blood traitor was a bit of an issues, so he learnt to embrace his pureblood status for the sake of love. Hermione could understand his decision, but she didn't particularly respect him for it. At first he had been reticent about it, but soon she became that friend of Harry Potter, then after a while, just the pathetic mudblood who kept following him around throughout school.

Obviously they didn't speak anymore. Percy was actually fairly civil to her when he saw her, but he was pretty convinced of her inherent inferiority. Ron just ignored her. Perhaps even fearing being approached by her.

Ron had actually done well in this new society. He had come from poverty and married into money and privilege. Money and privilege drove this society. Marriage was based on extending both commodities. Having married into one of the Slytherin families made one part of the aristocracy, who's most prominent members made up the council.

Lucius Malfoy, Canstal Nott, Ursoom Flint, Basil Parkinson, Termius Greengrass and Rudolpho Lestrange were the powerful council members. Draco Malfoy married one of the Greengrass girls, making them the most power family in the country, having an absolutely immense fortune and two seats on the council.

Hermione never saw any of them. Her bakery was frequented by more common people and she was never out and about apart from dawn or dusk. Their kind only came to Knockturn Alley in the late evening, after an evening of drinking looking for someone to beat up or fuck.

But Hermione's luck was just about to run out.

About three in the afternoon on a cold November day, three of the most privileged young men in the wizard world sat down in the little cafe style seating outside of the bakery. Hermione closed her eyes as she saw them.

"Well, get out there stupid girl and serve the customers." The portly bakery owner ordered. "And do a good job of it. We cannot afford to upset these."

Hermione straightened her apron and stepped outside the door to the outdoor seating area.

Draco Malfoy looked fairly similar. He had filled out in his full transition to manhood. His clothes were expensive and impeccable, nothing different there. He was slowly pulling his gloves off when he saw her.

"Well, well, what have we got here." He said with a spreading smile that boded ill. "If it isn't the dumbest mudblood of them all."

Hermione gritted her teeth and did a little curtsey.

"Wearing a sack." He said and grabbed a hold of her brown woollen skirt and pulling it out slightly. "I would go as far as saying someone else's sack." He laughed.

The other two sniggered. She knew their faces were familiar, but didn't know them.

"Is there anything I can get for you this afternoon." She said and kept her gaze low. Purebloods generally insisted that mudbloods not look them in the eyes and Hermione had learnt that everything went a lot easier for all parties if she didn't. Besides, she didn't want to see what was in their eyes.

"A little serving girl." He continued, still perusing her person. "How fitting."

"She was such an ambitious little thing." He explained to the others. "But the natural order prevailed as it always would. I told you didn't I?" He said to her.

Hermione cleared her throat. "Yes you did."

Actually she wanted to beat him bloody, but if she lost this job, she would be in a great deal of trouble. Serious trouble, like begging on the street trouble if she couldn't get another job. Being fired from a job made her practically unemployable in any capacity. The prospect of being a beggar or a whore kept her on her absolute best behaviour.

He continued staring at her for a while, seemingly trying to decide something.

"Three coffees and some raisin scones." He said with a sniff after a while to Hermione's utter relief. It was moving in the right direction. With the order, she could leave their presence and go back inside. Hermione let out the breath she was holding as she got inside.

She prepared the coffees and three plates with raisin scones, placing them on a serving plate. Her hands were shaking and she wasn't sure why. She felt pretty calm and she was certainly not going to be goaded into anything. Her life pretty much depended on it.

She actually managed to hide her shaking quite well, achieving to serve the coffees well with only one little stream of coffee flowing down the outside of the cup. Hermione cringed, but hoped for the best.

"Clumsy." One of them warned. He raised her hand and Hermione feared that he would hit her, but he didn't. Instead, he put his hand on her ass and gave it a good squeeze.

"Firm." He said with a laugh. The others joined and Hermione fought the bitter humiliation that was rising.

"If that will be all." She said and Draco waved her away without looking at her.

They sat there for quite a while, talking and laughing. She had to stay and watch them from the inside of the shop in case they wanted something else. She had become an expert at deciphering when someone wanted her. Sometimes they would glance at her, but they never called her over.

Hermione was beyond relieved when they got up and left. Draco dropped a galleon on the table, which was more than four times the bill. He didn't look at her as he walked away.

It was always humiliating serving people she'd known, but serving Draco Malfoy pretty much took the cake. His glee in her reduced circumstances was obvious. He made a point of dismissing and ignoring her, after continually insulting her that was.

They didn't often get purebloods in the bakery. Usually it was halfblood ladies who made a point of making it known they were better than her. Everyone was better than her, but this was her lot.