The final battle could not be far off. The last of the Horcrux's had been destroyed. Hermione had to smile at who had given them that information; only known to her, Harry, Ron and Mad Eye Moody. Lucius Malfoy. He had been angered at his treatment by Voldemort and had sworn revenge. Hermione did not care about the reason, only the information.

Hermione had been looking at the prophecy again because something did not make sense; so she had gotten the original parchment and had, instead of using a language spell, used old written dictionaries. And what she had found had startled her. The prophecy as interpreted currently by everyone was wrong; while it still indicated that only Harry or Voldemort would live after the final battle, Voldemort was NOT invulnerable. Because of the Wizarding Worlds general disinterest in religion a part of the prophecy had been ignored for a long time. A blessed weapon dating from the time of the original prophecy could kill Voldemort as well. BUT it needed to be a weapon that had been blessed then; not an old weapon blessed recently. And Hermione had found one in a museum in France: the Sword of Joan D'arc; otherwise known as Joan of Arc. Stealing it had not been easy but not all that hard with someone using magic and an invisibility cloak (borrowed from Harry). While old the Sword was still solid and strong. Hermione spent a few days learning basic Sword moves from Mad Eye who had made it a hobby.

Hermione had also gotten two knives of old from another museum that had belonged to Constantine, the first Catholic Roman Emperor. They had been well known to have been blessed. More than a thousand years older. She felt that she was well armed; she also had two small bottles of Holy Water. She just knew that all this would be important in the battle to come.

It had started just before dawn. The first Death Eaters apparated onto the grounds at Hogwarts and the final battle began. Harry, Ron and herself held back at first since it was clear that Voldemort was not with them. The first attack was a diversion, Hermione was certain. So they waited tensely while the others were able to hold off the attack.

A little over an hour after the first fight, Voldemort appeared. He apparated right into the great Hall; but that was his first mistake. Breaking through the ancient wards of Hogwarts had weakened him; and Harry went right at him. Hermione and Ron were at his side fighting off the Lestranges and Nagrini.

Hermione had decided that in this battle no quarter and no mercy would be given by her; she was going to use the Killing Curse if she had to and would use the Petrificus and then cut their throats with her knives otherwise. It was just a little faster to use that curse and it did not drain your magic as much.

The moment Bellatrix Lestrange apparated in Hermione was at her like a lion hunting her prey. Hermione had always been able to sense magic just a little faster than most and she knew whoever was following Voldemort into the castle was a DeathEater. She hit Bellatrix with the Petrificus and sliced her throat an instant later; she just had time to feel the satisfaction at killing her torturer when Rodolpho Lestrange apparated in right where Bellatrix was laying; the moment he saw her he grew enraged and moved to attack Hermione; she ducked and rolled and hit him first with a crucio then the Killing Curse and he went down.

Nagrini was very powerful and dangerous and Ron had his hands full; meanwhile Voldemort and Harry were dueling furiously. Hermione hit Nagrini with the Petrificus and he almost was able to shrug it off but the moment he was distracted Ron hit him with the Killing Curse and he started to go down; Hermione hit him with another and he was done.

Both Harry and Voldemort were weakened by each others attacks. Hermione saw several more Deatheaters apparat in but luckily Lucius and Draco had come into the hall and she yelled for Ron to help them while she went to Harry's side.

Just as she got close Voldemort hit Harry squarely and he went down; not even hesitating Hermione drew her sword and just as the Dark Lord sensed her and began to turn she ran him through. Right through the stomach and out the back. He looked in shock and started to laugh at the thought of any muggle weapon hurting him when he began to cough up blood and sink to the floor. Operating on adrenaline alone Hermione then stabbed him in the throat with one knife and stuck the other in his eye. He sagged to the floor and Hermione then took out her bottles of Holy Water and poured one down his throat and the other on his head, reciting the Lord's Prayer at the same time. Voldemort shuddered and grew still; then he began to melt into a dark black blob.

Shaking Hermione slowly got up to see the remaining fighters staring at her. All the Deatheaters were dead or unconscious. She looked at Harry then sank at his side and with a shaking hand checked for a pulse; terribly relieved when she found a faint one. She looked around and saw Ron on the ground with Draco beside him. Stumbling she moved over to them and found Lucius checking first his son then Ron. He looked up at Hermione and the look in his eye told her all she needed to know.

Slowly she stood up. She noticed Luna moving towards her with Neville and a few others. Straightening up her back she knew it was not over yet. "We need to sweep the area; there are still deatheaters out there. Luna, Neville, take Harry to Madame Pomprey. The rest of you come with me."

Lucius Malfoy slowly got up from the side of his dead son and looked at the Young Witch who had taken command and moved to her side. He would mourn his son later as he would his wife that had been killed only hours ago by Rodolpho Lestrange. He had seen Hermione kill him and owed her a debt. He would finish the battle at her side.

IT took several hours to clear the grounds; then word reached them that there was fighting going on at the Ministry and they apparated there despite the exhaustion that was hitting them all.

Hermione looked around; the doors had been blasted open and she could hear fighting going on inside. Gathering her remaining energy she led the small group that had come with her inside. Lucius, Ginny, Molly and Arthur were at her side, as well as a few others that had joined them. Marcus Flint, Blaise Zabini, Pansy Parkinson. All friends of Draco looking for revenge.

They moved from floor to floor of the cavernous Ministry; very few were still fighting the Deatheaters that roamed; Hermione had not seen a single Auror or ministry official. She was not surprised; the Ministry had been worthless in the war for years.

Hermione had devised a simple but deadly and efficient tactic; she cast a wandless fire spell that would only burn flesh into each room as they came to it; and they would then attack and kill the burning Deatheaters as they found them.

After hours of work it seemed they had finally cleared the Ministry. Lucius had been grazed by a Advara Kadravra and had been knocked unconscious fighting at her side; she had told Blaise and Marcus to take him to St Mungo's. Arthur had also been wounded and Molly had taken him there as well. At the end it had been her, Ginny and Pansy who had finished it off. There were a few low level Ministry workers with them; but only a few and none of them even middle rank. Hermione was furious at the cowardice of the Ministry.

Once they determined there were no more Deatheaters at the Ministry they went back to St Mungo's, it was almost evening. Hermione decided to be cautious and appear a little distance from the Hospital and it was a good thing she did. Deatheaters were trying to break through the wards. 6 of them near the main entrance. Hermione looked at them and felt her anger push past her exhaustion. Motioning the others to stay low and follow her she crept close to them; they did not notice. Finally in position to attack Hermione looked at them and said. "Killing Curse." No one disagreed or hesitated.

After checking to make sure they were dead, Hermione heard more sounds of a magic attack and moved her group around the building towards the other entrance where six more deatheaters were attacking the wards. St Mungo's had wards every bit as strong as Hogwarts and without the power of Voldemort it was not likely they could break through; but if enough of them kept attacking the wards would weaken. Apparently someone was still leading the Deatheaters and was not too worried about anyone opposing them, which Hermione had to admit was probably not all that bad a summing up of the situation overall. Once again they crept close and once again 6 Killing Curses sounded.

St Mungo's was in lockdown and would not allow any magical person past its entrance wards. But Hermione had been working with Snape about finding ways to not exactly break them but to find ways around them. Taking a deep breath, fighting the exhaustion, Hermione concentrated. She was able to slip through and get inside; it took her a while to find someone authorized to allow a person through the wards but she finally did. Telling the rest of them to try and get some rest she looked for her friends.

The main trauma ward was full of people injured and wounded from the battle. She found Molly sitting next to Arthur and was glad to hear from her that he would be OK. Ginny had come with her and was sitting next to Harry. She sat down on the other side and stroked his head. He seemed to be sleeping peacefully. Ginny had tears running down her face but she was smiling. "The healer said he would recover but it's going to take time." Hermione smiled the first real smile that day. After a while she got up and looked for Lucius; she hoped he was awake so that she could ask some questions.

Blaise was sitting next to Lucius's bed. Hermione placed a hand gently on his shoulder; he had lost his best friend that day and others as well. They all had. He smiled slightly up at her. "Healer said he should wake up soon." Hermione nodded. "Get me when he does. We need to get an idea just how many deatheaters Voldemort had. We got 30 at Hogwarts, 28 at the Ministry and 12 just a while ago here. That makes 70. I hope there are not many more but I have a bad feeling there still is at least a dozen or so; and by the way the attack here was being conducted someone is still in charge who is not stupid. I would like to find out who that is." Blaise nodded.

Spotting a empty bed Hermione looked around then decided that since no one seemed to need it she was going to get some sleep. She was gone almost before her head hit the pillow.

Lucius Malfoy slowly surfaced; aching and still weary. As he got full awareness the memories hit him. Both his wife and son were dead. He lay there with his eyes closed. At least those responsible were now dead. He had killed the Deatheater that had killed his son and Rodolpho Lestrange was dead at the hand of Hermione Granger, so his wife had been avenged as well. Voldemort was gone; so it was just about over. Sensing someone nearby he opened his eyes to see Blaise Zabini dozing in a chair next to him. Knowing the young man needed his sleep and still feeling weary himself Lucius let sleep claim him again.

Hermione groaned and turned over, awakening slowly. She looked around at the dim ward and noticed no movement; looked like everyone was still asleep and it was still dark. Feeling hungry she quietly got up and headed out to the cafeteria and found that while no one was there was food left out covered up and protected by stasis spells. Getting herself a sandwich and a drink she sat down at a table and quickly ate it. Moving back to the ward she noticed that Luna was up and looking around. Quietly going to her Hermione motioned her to follow her to the hall.

"How are you feeling?"

"Still tired but better. Hungry."

"There are sandwiches and drinks in the cafeteria. They are not bad. You need to go and get something. I will be up and keep an eye on things."

"OK."

Hermione made the rounds, checking on Ginny, Molly, Blaise. Molly was curled up on the bed next to Arthur, as Ginny was with Harry. Both sound asleep and Hermione did not wake them. Blaise was snoring softly in the chair and Hermione wondered whether to wake him and tell him to find an empty bed. She was standing on the other side of Lucius's bed when he opened his eyes, apparently sensing her. He looked around for a moment then slowly started to get up; Hermione helped him. He seemed fairly steady on his feet and he motioned that he was heading towards the bathroom and she nodded. As he walked slowly away she looked around to see if anyone else was up. Did not look like it. She decided to move to the doorway of the bathroom and wait for Lucius to come out; now seemed a good time to talk to him.

Lucius walked out of the restroom feeling somewhat refreshed to find the young witch waiting for him. Correctly determining that she wanted to talk he headed slowly out of the ward, with her right behind him.

Hermione quietly took Lucius's arm and led him to the cafeteria where Luna was sitting eating a sandwich. He got one and a drink while Hermione got a drink as well and they moved over to sit with Luna.

Hermione waited until they were both done before talking.

"Lucius do you have a good idea how many Deatheaters there were?"

He thought for a few moments. "Around 100 I believe. Maybe a little under. I am pretty sure that Voldemort did not get any new ones in the last few months."

Hermione pondered that. "Between Hogwarts, the Ministry and here we have killed 70."

Lucius looked at her. "Deatheaters attacked here?"

Hermione nodded. "2 groups of 6 were attacking the wards outside of the main entrances. We killed them. But what worries me was that they appeared to have a plan; trying to weaken the wards."

Lucius thought hard. "I am not sure who could be left that… Wait a minute. Dolehov. Was his body found?"

Hermione tensed up with the knowledge that the man that had injured her badly at the Ministry Battle was still around. She should have thought about him.

"No he was not and I think you are right. This is not good since he was the smartest and least insane of Voldemort's senior lieutenants. Yourself excepted of course."

"Of course. But you are correct; he is still a threat. And he still has 15 or 20 Deatheaters left unless I am mistaken. I think some were killed in the last few weeks so that number is probably the maximum; undoubtedly some have already fled."

Hermione thought for a moment. Then she looked at Luna.

"Luna, I know you are good at sensing when there is a magical attack going on; could you stay up and keep an eye out for one? If there is going to be an attack anywhere it will be here. Dolehov must know that anyone left who is willing to fight is probably here; and he must know that Harry is here as well."

"I will be up; if they attack I will know it."

Lucius leaned back slowly. "I wish I could be of more assistance but I am still very weak."

Hermione nodded. "I know. But there are still about a dozen of us here that can fight and we all have had some rest. If he tries he is in for a nasty surprise."

Back in the ward Hermione saw that Blaise had wakened and had apparently headed to the bathroom as well. She saw that Lucius got back to bed then waited for him to come out. She told him to get something to eat then get back and get some more rest; he nodded without saying a word and left. Hermione then went back to her bed and fell asleep.

Luna was sitting near the entrance thinking. She had lost some good friends the previous day; luckily her father was ok and safe with some friends in London. Then she felt something; concentrating she could tell that the Hospital Wards were once again under attack. She got up and headed to the ward to let Hermione know.

Hermione groaned as she felt someone shaking her shoulder; she opened her eyes to see the concerned Luna next to her bed. Awareness hit and she knew what was going on.

"I just felt it a few minutes ago. As far as I can tell the wards are still up."

Hermione nodded and got up, looking around. "Lets get everyone that can fight up and outside of the ward. We need to get ready. After last nights attack if there are enough deatheaters out there the wards will probably go down before long."

Luna nodded and started. Hermione reached for her pack and got out her sword and knives and strapped them on. Then she reached inside for another weapon.

Hermione was constantly amazed at how arrogant so many wizards were about the muggle world. They ignored so much that could help them. She had no problem and her latest weapon showed that. She had decided that a pistol would come in handy and had spent a week in France getting one and finding someone to give her some quick training. She had a Glock 31 in .357 Sig caliber with some large capacity magazines; 15 shots in each. It had a laser site that she had charmed to work in magical areas (many muggle electronics devices would not). And to make it even more deadly she had brewed some cyanide and had sealed some inside the hollow points of the bullets. All she had to do was just graze someone and they would be dead in seconds. Checking that there was a round in the chamber and it had a full magazine (which would give her 16 shots) she started to get the others up that Luna had not already done.

Hermione looked over the group. Marcus Flint, Blaise Zabini, Luna, Molly, Ginny, Pansy, the three young clerks from the ministry. 10 of them. They would be outnumbered but they had the advantage that in the confined areas of a building those in defense had the edge. She hoped it was enough.

She had peaked out of the window near the main entrance and counted 18 deatheaters; she had recognized Dolehov. They were all attacking the wards; and she could feel them weakening. It would not be long. But the attackers would also be weakened, though she noticed that Dolehov was the only one not participating. So he would be at full strength, and undoubtedly the most dangerous.

She placed Marcus and Blaise right next to the hall off of the main entrance. The rest she spread out behind them. She stood right at the entrance and got her hole card ready; Harry's invisibility cloak. She was going to use it to let the first wave past and then attack them from behind. Blaise and Marcus would retreat to the main defense line to draw them in. Marcus and Blaise had noticed her pistol but had not said anything. They understood.

Hermione could feel the wards go down and got the cloak ready; she felt tense yet strangely calm.

In a body the Deatheaters came through the door at a trot; they got to the hall and Marcus and Blaise fired two Death Curses and two deatheaters went down. The others ducked and started to fire back wildly and were answered with blasts from those under cover just down the hall, and Marcus and Blaise retreated.

Hermione forced herself to stay quiet and still; then she saw Dolehov creep past, careful to stay out of the line of fire. Hermione wanted to shoot him first; but decided to take a chance. She quickly shot out a petrificus and he went down; the others were too busy to notice. Then she got out her pistol and carefully sited her first target; she worked from the back to the front; she had fashioned a silencer for the weapon and no one heard it. One after another they went down.

Blaise peaked around the desk he was using as cover; the incoming blasts had dwindled. He could only see two or three deatheaters still firing; behind them were nothing but still bodies. Then the combined shots from the defenders hit the last deatheaters and they were down; they had been crouched down behind some chairs which were not much protection. The silence that followed was deafening.

After a moment or two the defenders cautiously came out and advanced; they had no idea who had killed the other Deatheaters. They found Hermione standing over the body of Dolehov, who apparently had been hit with a Petrificus.

Ginny and the others that remembered the fight at the Ministry looked at Hermione and saw a stranger; the mask of anger on her face was frightening.

Hermione crouched over his body and took his wand; then she took out one of her knives and put it under his chin. She got closer.

"How does it feel to be helpless? How does it feel to know you are going to die? But I am not going to give you a quick death."

Hermione then stabbed him right in the groin; even through the Petrificus he jerked in pain; his mouth opened but no sound came out. Hermione then stabbed him in the stomach and twisted the knife.

Ginny and Luna could not believe it that Hermione was torturing Dolehov; not that he did not deserve it. He had been one of the worst of the worst; he had enjoyed torture and rape. Hermione's stab to the groin was undoubtedly about that. Molly took a deep breath and started to go towards Hermione; she had to stop this. Blaise stopped her.

"Right now its not a good idea to get close to her; the anger and rage has taken over her right now."

"But what this could do to her; that is what I am worried about. Not about that piece of garbage."

Hermione felt herself enjoying Dolehov's pain and terror; she loved it that he was now feeling some of what he had dealt out. An eye for an eye. She looked at the shuddering form of the formerly feared deatheater and smiled. He knew he was going to die and he was terrified; now he finally understood.

Ginny could not stand it anymore; she brushed past Blaise and Molly; Marcus started to move to block her and she just shook her head. She carefully got close to Hermione but did not touch her. Hermione was smiling terribly and Ginny had never been more scared in her life; she knew she was close to losing her best friend.

"Hermione! Please stop this! It will destroy you!"

Hermione heard someone nearby calling her name. IT seemed to come from a distance and she resented anyone interrupting her revenge. All the years of attacks and taunts and insults were now reaping their just reward. She slowly turned from twisting the knife one more time in Dolehov and looked up. The face of her closest girlfriend; terrified and pleading. Slowly she shook her head then faced back to her victim; she shook her head again. Then she withdrew the knife and slowly stood up. He was still alive but not for long. It was enough.

The image of the tired, blood stained, ferocious young witch would be burned on the minds of all who saw her at that moment for the rest of their lives. She stood there over her last victim with a bloody knife and finally with a very calm look on her face, reached down and cleaned the knife on his clothes, then stood up and walked towards them, placing the knife back in its sheath. The pistol in her pocket she took out and unloaded as she walked. She then put it back in her backpack.

"Now it is over."

Hermione had them pile up all the bodies of the Deatheaters from the previous night as well all in one large stack. Then together they cast a fire spell and burned them all. After a little rest and everyone had eaten she led them back to Hogwarts.

It was still deserted; Hermione wondered at that. She was worried about Minerva McGonagall and the other teachers who had stayed behind when the battle broke out. They had been sent with the younger students to the towers and Minerva had hoped to apparat them out from there. None of them had been seen since.

The bodies of the defenders had been placed in one of the lower rooms and in stasis waiting for burial. The Deatheaters were piled and burned. Snape, Mad Eye Moody and others were cleaned up and carefully placed on tables. Then they went up to the towers to find out what had happened. In the North tower they were saddened to find the body of Minerva, surrounded by 3 dead Deatheaters. No other bodies were found and they hoped the children had all gotten away safely. Hermione raised the body of the Headmistress of Hogwarts and guided it down to the room and placed her next to Snape. Luna and Molly and Marcus volunteered to stay behind and keep an eye on things while the rest of them headed to the Ministry.

It was early afternoon but there was no one at the Ministry; no one living that is. The bodies from the previous days battle were still laying around. Once again the tired crew separated Deatheaters from others and put the others in the morgue of the Ministry in the basement. One more time a pile of deatheaters burned.

Hermione was standing with the others looking at the burning stack of deatheaters when they heard the crack of apparition. All as one drew their wands and turned, ready to fight.

They were confronted by a small group of what looked like diplomatic Ministry types. The one in the lead raised his empty hands to show he held no wand. The group hesitated and then looked at Hermione. She kept her wand in her hand but lowered it. She looked back at Blaise and said.

"I will talk to them; but stay alert." He nodded.

Charles Rivenhall was a career Ministry Diplomat. His normal post was at the liaison office in the Muggle Interior Ministry that dealt with the Magical Ministry. He looked at the young witch approaching him and recognized her. She was well known to have been on the front line of the war. He looked past her and noticed the alert and ready nature of those behind her. She clearly was their leader, young as she was. Beyond them was a pile of burning bodies; the smell was sickening. He guessed that it was bodies of Deatheaters. The Ministry looked deserted; had everyone else been killed or fled?

Hermione looked at him with a blank look on her face. "May I help you?"

A diplomat is supposed to always have words ready even if he is not going to say anything. But Charles Rivenhall, even after 50 years, found himself without any.

Hermione crossed her arms and waited. He seemed to be without words which for a diplomat was unheard of. She sensed no threat but this was starting to piss her off.

"I am sorry but I really could not find anything to say for a moment. I came here with my colleagues to see if we could help."

Hermione took a deep breath. "It's all over now. Voldemort and most of his followers are dead. We are just cleaning up the bodies of the ones we had killed and taking care of those that were killed by them. There is no one here alive except us. Everyone else ran and hid. They still have not come out. I do not know which if any Ministry Officials survived outside of Kingsley Shackelbolt and Arthur Weasley. They are both in St Mungo's."

"So there is no one in charge."

"Not so far as the Ministry is concerned. But then no one has been in charge that mattered for years. Most of the reason the war got this bad and what you see now is because of the failure of the Ministry and the Wizengamot. I really doubt the people have any respect for it anymore; and I doubt that anyone is going to take it seriously for a long time. Fact of the matter is that the Ministry has not counted for years. So frankly its no great loss."

Charles Rivenhall really did not know what to say. The brutal honesty of the young witch was very difficult to answer.

Hermione sighed. "If you want to set up office in the Ministry go ahead. I doubt that anyone will come by anytime soon. We are heading back to Hogwarts. We have our dead to bury."

At that moment more pops of apparition came. Two groups on either side. The larger was easily recognized as American by the distinct nature of their robes; the other group was recognized as European the same way.

Hermione looked at the larger group first. They appeared to be ready for battle.

The tall wizard at their front approached. He looked from Hermione to Rivenhall than faced Hermione. "It took a while for our President to make a decision; we came as soon as we were allowed. We would have been here days ago. But your Ministers have been so pigheaded about asking for help or even allowing it."

Hermione sadly nodded. " Hermione Granger. Well right now we have no ministers or anything else; they have all run and hid. But we do appreciate the help. Those of us left that did the fighting you can see most of them behind me. Patrols of some of our areas need to be carried out so that people can start to calm down. We would really appreciate it if you could do that. We are pretty tired."

"My name is Robert Johnson, chief of Enforcement of the American Federation of Wizards. The 15 wizards behind me are all volunteers; they are all experienced. We have maps of your wizarding areas. Which ones do you want checked on first."

Charles Rivenhall was getting a little angry at being ignored. "See here Mr Johnson, I am the senior Ministry person here..." Was as far as he got.

"If you think you have any authority think again. No one in the ministry does. You failed the whole wizarding community here and indeed the world. You have no credibility."

Hermione glared him down. Then she looked at Johnson. "Hogsmead and Diagon Alley need to be looked at first; then general patrols."

He nodded. "We will get right on it."

The other official approached Hermione and bowed to her, pointedly ignoring Rivenhall.

"Mademoiselle Granger, I am Francois Mitterand, chief Auror of the European Ministry. We too came as soon as we were allowed. I and my 8 men are at your disposal."

Hermione smiled at him. "Thank you. If you could coordinate with Mr Johnson here. Your two groups should be able to cover everything needed. A presence should be realistically all that is needed. I doubt that too many people will be out and about and those that make trouble will probably be sparse on the ground. We will be at Hogwarts. If you could give us a daily report that would be enough for the next week or so. There will be quarters there ready for you. Thank you for coming. It will be remembered."

Then pointedly ignoring Rivenhall she walked to her group and they apparated back to Hogwarts.

It was still somber there; no one else had come. So the small group gathered in the great hall to eat what they had been able to prepare. Molly was a very good cook but it was hard to eat anyway.

Hermione sighed. She looked up at Ginny and the others once they had finished eating. "We need to decide what to do with our dead."

Molly sighed. "Bury them here. They deserve it."

Blaise said quietly. "I will go see Lucius. He might want Draco buried next to his mother in the Malfoy plot at the Manor."

Hermione nodded. "As soon as you get back we will start."

Molly agreed. "I know who to contact to take care of the bodies and get them ready. They should get here this afternoon."

"Then their funerals will be tomorrow."

Lucius sat and thought. Part of him wanted Draco in Hogwarts; but he realized that the right place was next to Narcissa. He looked up at Blaise. "We will bury him next to his mother." Blaise quietly nodded.

It was noon the next day when the funerals were held. Some families of the dead had finally arrived; the patrols by the Americans and Europeans had calmed people down and they were starting to come out. It was a somber day. Arthur had stubbornly gotten out of St Mungo's and officiated despite Molly's objections. His words were brief but heartfelt. Standing next to him Hermione felt the need to say some of her own.

"None of them ran. None of them hid. They stood tall and fought and died. The American Indians have a saying many thousands of years old. 'It is a good day to die.' For them it was. We will miss them; and we will never forget them. And it is up to those left behind to make sure they are never forgotten."

Johnson and Mitterand were there with some of their people to honor the fallen. Both of them found themselves admiring the young witch more and more. For someone so young to have already done so much. It was amazing.

Johnson had told Hermione that Rivenhall had stayed around for a while but when he found himself ignored he went back to London. He told her that he had a word to his Federation and they had in turn called the Interior Ministry and appraised them of the situation; he was to be ignored. Mitterand later told her the same thing.

Late the mourners were gathered in the great hall. Hermione went to the families of those that died and talked to each of them.

Watching this Arthur quietly spoke to Molly. "I wonder if she realizes that for all intents and purposes that she is our leader?"

Molly shook her head. "I really doubt it. Everything she has done has been because it needed to be and there was no one else. I can tell; people do not see how young she is; they see a leader they will follow."

Arthur nodded. "She spoke to me earlier and said she wants me to run the Ministry once it gets started up again; Kingsley will be at least a month or more in St Mungo's. There is no one else she respects left. I really do not think she has any clue what she is doing and what it means."

"Anyone who becomes the new minister is going to have a tough job. And no one will take notice of anyone who did not fight in the war. That makes the list of possibles very short. Arthur you know I really do not want you to do it but there is no one else."

"Or we can just let the person who is already doing the job continue."

They both looked up. Lucius Malfoy was standing next to them. He was going to take Draco's body to the Manor for burial in a little while. Still a little weak he was a commanding presence nevertheless.

"Lucius she is too young." Came from Arthur. "She does not deserve the burden." Came from Molly.

"Both your objections are quite valid. But the proof is in the performance; she has won this war and started the rebuilding already. I agree that Arthur here is the safe choice and he is respected. But I think it is time to make a very definite statement that times have changed and the Ministry is not going back to its old ways. And to be brutally honest its just as important that we have some veteran department heads, especially Auror. There is still a lot to clean up officially and that is where a lot of the work will be."

As much as they wanted to, neither Molly nor Arthur could disagree.

James Arbuthnot was from one of the oldest wizarding families. He had been one of the senior members of the Wizengamot at the age of 140. While for a strong Wizard that meant about 80 for a muggle he was still a little frail. He had come up from his home in the south and had stopped by the Ministry; as he had expected there was still no one there. He had contacted some friends in the European ministry and in the English Interior ministry and had gotten the full briefing. He had been one of the minority that had pushed for the replacement of Fudge for years, so he was not surprised at the total collapse. He had talked to some of the other senior members and they had been in agreement; there had to be real change now. They like the Ministry had failed their people. He then apparated to Hogwarts, which from all accounts had become the HQ of the English wizarding community.

He found that Lucius Malfoy, an old family friend despite being a deatheater (he had known that for Lucius it was mostly for show and no other reason) was about to take his son to be buried. Giving his condolences he asked for a private moment. They moved to a corner of the hall.

"Lucius I am sorry to bother you with this right now. But things need to be done. The American and Europeans are taking care of things for the moment but we have to rebuild the Ministry. And that starts with a Minister. I need to hear your thoughts."

"James you may be shocked but my honest opinion is to have Hermione take that position for the time being and have myself and Arthur and Kingsley when he can become department heads. Arthur can take the Aurors and I can take the Finance and Interior department positions for the moment; Kingsley can take one of them when he is able. If we can talk a couple of the retired ministers to help out until replacements can be trained I think we can manage. She is for all intents and purposes acting as Minister even if she does not quite realize it. More importantly the people who really matter will follow her."

James thought about this for a few moments. "I have heard so much about her that just amazes me; I need to talk to her."

Hermione had finished talking to the families and had just sat down next to Ginny and Molly and Arthur. She saw an elderly but very dignified wizard approaching her. Arthur leaned over and told her quietly. "That is James Arbuthnot, one of the senior members of the Wizengamot. And a good man; he wanted to get rid of Fudge for years but was blocked by the loyalists and pureblood fanatics."

Hermione stood to meet him. She was curious why he wanted to talk to her; yes she had been somewhat in charge of things but that was very unofficial.

James examined the young witch. He knew that she was only 18 but she carried herself with the grace and dignity of someone much older. But then war aged one very rapidly. She was very attractive; not exactly tiny but not large either; warm whiskey colored eyes that betrayed the sad experiences of a war; and quite a curvaceous form. James might have been 140 but he still had an eye for a pretty witch and she was certainly that; more though he respected accomplishment and intelligence and she was off the scale there for her age. For any age.

"I am very proud to meet you, Miss Granger. You have accomplished much in your short life. You have done very well."

Hermione took his hand and blushed. "Thank you, sir. It is nice to receive some recognition from the Wizengamot. I have been told that you tried to get Fudge out of there for years; I wish you had been successful."

"So do I. We have to make sure that the failures of the past are not forgotten or covered up. The Wizengamot failed just as spectacularly as the Ministry did. I am trying to rectify that. The first thing we need to do is get a New Minister that people will respect and follow."

"If you want my advice I recommend Arthur Weasley. He is respected and he will do a good job. And I am not saying that because he is a close friend."

James smiled. "From what I have heard about you that is true. You do not mince words or play the diplomacy game. Oh, by the way, you did absolutely the right thing in ignoring Rivenhall. There is a reason he has been pigeonholed in that position with the Ministry; he is not good enough for anything else. He waited until the fighting was over to try and make a name for himself."

Hermione blushed, then grew stern. "We have had enough of the fancy voices and failures of the Ministry. I think I can speak for a lot of people that we have had enough of that and will not stand for any more."

James also grew more serious. "I agree. There must be some fundamental changes if we are to make sure this does not happen again. I have pushed for years for the people to have a vote and I think that finally it will happen."

"It will happen this time Sir because we will not stand for any less."

James made a decision. "I am going to call for a meeting of the Wizengamot for three days from now here at Hogwarts. Having the meeting here instead of the Ministry will help drive home that changes need to be made."

"That sounds like a good first step sir."

"Thank you and once again I am very proud to have met you."

At that moment Johnson and Mitterand came in for their daily briefing. Hermione saw this and turned to James. "These are the people that have been helping us from Europe and America; I need to talk to them to see what is going on."

"Would you mind if I listened in. I feel a need to get an idea on what is happening."

"Certainly, sir."

James sat back and listened. More and more he was impressed by the young witch; and he took notice that the two senior Ministry officials from abroad were as well. He had found out that they had ignored Rivenhall as well, recognizing the young witch as the true leader. She asked very good questions and he found he had nothing to add. He was able to get a moment with the two of them when she left to talk to some more families that had arrived.

"Good to see you James" this from Mitterand. "Robert, May I say that James here is one of the most respected of the English Wizengamot."

"Thank you Francois. I need to ask both of you your impression of Miss Granger."

"James I have never been more impressed with someone of that age in my entire life. She is a natural leader."

"I second that. It is incredible that she is only 18."

James slowly nodded. "Thank you very much. And I agree."

The next few days slowly began to settle down. Hermione and the others went to Malfoy Manor to bury Draco; and then they went back to Hogwarts and tried to start to rest and relax. So far there had been very little happening elsewhere; and virtually no trouble. Only two had been arrested for petty crimes and were now being held in the dungeons of Hogwarts. No deatheaters had been spotted or heard from; the consensus was that those few left alive had already fled the country and the rest of the Wizarding world had been warned to stay alert.

Hermione had gone to St Mungo's to visit Harry, who had woken up but was still very weak. He would probably have to stay for a while yet. Kingsley was getting better but also very weak; he would also have to stay for probably a few more weeks and would not be able to really do anything for at least a month or more. Hermione sat next to Harry.

Harry looked at his best friend; he had been told about Ron the day before; he was just glad that Hermione was ok. He could see that she had aged years in just days; but there was a spark in her eyes that told him she was getting better.

"Tell me how you took down Voldemort. All I remember is getting hit and then waking up here being told that you finished him off."

"I told you what I found about the prophecy. I was able to get a couple of old blessed weapons and some holy water. After you weakened him I stabbed him with my Sword and both knives then poured one bottle of Holy water down his throat and the other on his head. He just melted and disintegrated. He is gone for good this time since we got all the Horcrux's."

Ginny had come in and listened quietly to this. "What she did not tell you was that she also got the Lestranges and finished off Nagrini as well. And that does not even begin to tell it all. She has been very busy."

Blushing, Hermione demurred. "Its not important."

"Owl Crap on that Hermione. Yes it is."

James Arbuthnot had been talking to a lot of people over the last couple of days. The more he heard the more astounded he felt; for just one young witch to do so much in such a short period of time was beyond amazing. The night before the meeting he talked to some of the other senior members.

"Fudge was not the only bad Minister we have had. To be perfectly blunt over the last 100 years we have had maybe 2 that were worth anything, and only one of them was really good. Its time that was changed. For those that claim democracy is not the way I point out the fact that the so called smart and experienced people chose every minister. Its time we changed and even if we do not get a good one at least the people will have had a vote and we can also make it so that bad ones can be removed by the people. So we can limit the damage of a bad one which we also have not done here."

He looked around the room. There were only seven other Wizards there but they represented most of the power of the Wizengamot. They were also fully aware of their failure; even the most hard boiled were forced to admit the reality of their failure. And they reluctantly agreed that major changes had to be made. Now came the time for him to put forward his candidate.

Hermione sat next to Arthur and Molly, with Ginny and the others behind her. The Great Hall of Hogwarts was very large so this meeting did not even begin to fill it. About 50 spectators and just over 70 members of the Wizengamot were here to choose the next Minister of Magic. Nominations can come from the floor and Hermione was determined to put Arthurs name forward. She was also going to remind the Wizengamot that they had spectacularly failed to choose good ones for a long time and that it was time for the People to vote on their leaders.

James stood up and called the meeting to order.

"We are gathered here to choose the next Minister of Magic. We are all painfully aware of the failure of the Ministry, and that the root of that failure lies with us in the Wizengamot who have chosen every Minister. That is why a change is being made. A minister will be appointed today, but it will be only a temporary appointment. For it has been decided that from this day forward a Minister will be elected by the people of the Wizarding community. The exact way this will be done has yet to be determined."

That caused a stir and Hermione smiled brilliantly. Finally they were getting their stick out of their asses and waking up to reality.

James looked around. "Our appointee certainly has no idea of what is coming; the decision was made amongst some of us this morning. I will now make the nomination and the Wizengamot will vote. This person has proven ability and has done it under the most trying of conditions. I hereby nominate Hermione Jane Granger as the Minister of Magic."

For a moment there was dead silence as Hermione sat there totally shocked.

Then every one of the spectators stood up and cheered. LOUDLY. Except of course Hermione.

James held up his hand and the crowd quieted. He then turned to the Wizengamot. "Those that object please sound out now." There was silence. He then turned to the crowd. "Let it be written that Hermione Jane Granger has been unanimously elected the interim Minister of Magic pending the first election."

James then motioned for Hermione to stand up. Somehow she did and moved towards him. He pointed where he wanted her then the entire Wizengamot rose and took out their wands. As one they all chanted the ancient incantation that empowered the Minister of Magic. Hermione felt the magic flow around and through her. Then it was done and they all sat down.

Hermione took a deep breath. Just wing it. "To say that I am shocked is to say the ocean is deep and the sky is blue. I can only promise that I will do the best that I can to treat all fairly and to perform the duties of the office to the best of my ability for however long I occupy it. Some of you will not be happy by the actions I take. So be it. Good luck to us all. So MOTE IT BE."

The crowd cheered and Hermione was mobbed.

Some time later she cornered James. "Just whose Idea was this?"

"Lucius Malfoy was first but as I talked to many people I realize you were the obvious person since you were already for all intents and purposes occupying the position as it was. And you will do your best to continue the changes." Still somewhat dazed she nodded and began to look for Lucius.

She found him talking to Arthur. He looked up and saw her bearing down on him and his trademark smirk came out. The first time she had seen it since Draco died.

Arthur smiled at her. "They made a good choice and you know I will do everything I can to help out. Lucius you are on your own." Then he walked away.

"Why?"

"Because it's the right choice and it will shock people. This lets them know the old ways are gone. They need to wake up and participate. Only a tiny fraction of our community fought in one way or another and that is not acceptable. Despite the impact of whoever won just about everyone stayed out of it. Which was another reason we had so many bad Ministers. Not enough cared and whichever power block in the Wizengamot had the edge got their candidate in."

She looked at him and sighed. "Don't think that you are getting off free here; you are in it as well."

"Of course. I will be quite content to run the Financial Department. Arthur will take over the Auror's for the time being until Kingsley is well enough. You are going to be busy trying to find good people for the other department heads and then THEY are going to have to find people to work under them. I imagine the drones and the corner types will slink back in a few days. But it is a safe bet that there will be a lot of positions open. Which is a good thing since that means that a lot of new and young blood will come in and that is badly needed."

She nodded slowly. "I understand there are apartments on the top floor of the ministry and I will be staying in one. I probably will hardly leave that place until the elections are held. I just need to go to the Burrow and pick up Crooks and my clothes and I will head on over there."

"Not alone."

This came from Ginny, Marcus, Pansy, Luna, Blaze, Molly and Arthur.

She smiled at her friends. "Thank you."

Ginny had headed over to St Mungo's to tell Harry. He lay there with a very shocked look on his face. "Hermione is the new Minister of Magic?"

"The interim one until elections are held. We finally are going to get to elect the minister ourselves. Hopefully we will do a better job than the wizengamot."

The apartment set aside for the Minister was rather opulent. It had 8 rooms including a formal dining room, three bedrooms, a kitchen, and a rather large living room. It had not been occupied in years but was kept cleaned and ready for use at any time. The Ministry elves had come back and were already cleaning up the entire building. Two elves stood before Hermione. They looked well and of course they had clothes. At least the Ministry had done that.

"We be the official elves for the Minister. Whatever you need Mimsy and Ibis will get it done. We be pleased to serve you; we have not served for years any Minister."

"Well Ibis and Mimsy I do not know how long I will be minister; probably less than six months. I will be living here; and there will probably be a few formal dinners and the like. For myself and my cat you will not find any real demands. You just have to watch Crookshanks here; he will try and wrap you around his paw."

After seeing to it that Crookshanks was comfortable, Hermione headed down to her office. It was as big as she expected; with a front office for her assistant (which she still had to find) and a secretary position. She was glad to see that already filled with Anne Haines, who had been one of the clerks who had joined her group in the fight.

"Anne its good to see you here. Glad there is someone I will at least know a little. How are you doing?"

"I am fine Minister. Visited home and talked to my parents. Then I heard the good news and came right here. There were only a few people here and I decided to just move in. I knew the old secretary and she ran to America to stay with some relatives. She is not coming back. Cannot really blame her; the last two ministers were real pieces of work."

"Well THAT is going to change. We just have to make sure the changes are permanent. First things first; who is here?"

"Some of the clerical help have come back; Samuel and Joe are here and they were in the Auror department. They are going to volunteer to become Aurors."

"We will need them. Arthur Weasley will be holding down that department until Kingsley Shackelbolt is well enough to take over. Aurors are going to be a priority; we cannot rely on the Americans and the Europeans to take care of that forever. Let Joe and Samuel know if they have people they can recommend for any position to let me know. We need all the help we can get."

"Yes Maam."

"And when its just the two of us its Hermione. I know I have to keep up appearances in public but not with us."

"Thank You Hermione."

"You're welcome and lets get to work."

After two weeks as Minister Hermione really needed some rest. Even being young and fit there was just so much you could do. Finally on a Saturday afternoon she told Anne to head home and that she was going out and would not be back until Monday morning.

"You need to rest and relax Hermione. You have managed to accomplish so much that you deserve some time off."

"Thank You Anne and you need to rest as well."

Hermione stopped by to spend a little time with Crookshanks then change. Then she apparated to the Burrow. Luckily the damage had been relatively minor and the Boys had fixed it. She still felt sad knowing she would never see Ron again or hear his voice. They had broken up six months before the battle but they had remained close friends. She shook her head; enough of that. Ron would be the last person that would want her moping about him.

Molly was cooking away and she spotted Hermione. "Well its about time the New Minister stopped by for a decent meal." Then came over and gave her a big hug.

Hermione smiled; they had made her so comfortable and at home. She would always miss her own parents. The Car accident that had taken their lives had been so stupid. After all she had gone through, and was about to obliviate them and send them to Australia, instead just a week prior a drunken driver took their lives. Luckily in many ways Arthur and Molly had already become second parents.

"Actually the elves are good cooks Molly. Just that a lot of the time I do not have time to eat."

"That is nonsense. You can always find time to eat well if you want to and make it important enough. You cannot afford to run yourself down."

"I will only be Minister for a few months more; already arrangements are being made for the election and the New Minister will take office the same day as the election is certified."

"That is still no excuse. There could be delays and problems that could stretch all of that for weeks if not months more."

Hermione sighed then smiled. Molly the Mother Hen was in full bloom. And part of her liked it. "OK, Molly. I will try harder."

"You will and from now on you will be expected to be here for Saturday and Sunday dinner. Is that clear?"

"Wow the most powerful woman in the wizarding world being bossed around just like any other teenager. This is funny." This came from a laughing Ginny and then Hermione squealed when she saw who was with her.

"Harry! When did you get out?" Hermione rushed to him and gave him a big hug.

"Ugh Hermione I am still not that strong. Don't send me back."

That dinner was the best one in a long time for Hermione. Even remembering Ron did not take away the glow and pleasure. All the boys were there; Fred, George and Charlie. Charlie was going back to Romania and his dragons the next week; Fred and George were reopening their shop. The talk sometimes took a hilarious tone as they all enjoyed themselves and let off steam.

"So Hermione who did you take down a peg this week?"

That from George.

"George I do not do that as much as you claim. I only did it the first week to that idiot Rivenhall and the two other morons from Diplomacy. They had the gall to think that nothing was going to change. Since then I have not had to do much simply because so few senior idiots have come back. So many have quit or retired; we are really short of gray beards; and that is both a blessing and a curse. Blessing for getting rid of the dead wood; curse because a lot of knowledge left with them. We are flying blind on a lot of things."

"Maybe that is not such a bad thing. Considering how bad it was with all that knowledge and the like. Maybe fresh thoughts and new ideas will take up the slack."

"I hope so Harry. It still worries me how little experience is there now. Starting with me."

"Owl Crap Hermione. You are already worlds better than Fudge."

"Ginny that is not that much praise. A blind Hippogriff would be a lot better than Fudge."

That got a big laugh. The talk turned general after that.

After everyone was in the Living Room trying to digest the huge meal, Hermione sat next to Harry and Ginny.

"Harry, is Remus still at 12 Grimmauld?"

"Yes. We really need to get him doing something. He just sits there brooding about Nymphadora."

Hermione sighed. So many had lost someone close. "Well tell him to stop by the Ministry and I will put him to work. The Magical Creatures department needs him. I intend that department to really know what its like. Goddess I still have 4 departments without Department heads. I am going to make him head of that one; and I will still need Mysteries and Interior and Accidental Magic taken care of. I am considering bundling Accidental Magic into the Auror department; there really is no reason it needs its own department. I am just glad that James was able to coax William Shayne out of retirement to take over Diplomacy. That was almost as important as Auror department; we need to let the rest of the wizarding world that we are functioning again."

Arthur blinked. "Hermione there are going to be some complaints about Remus; to actually have a werewolf working in the Ministry."

"Let the complain. See if I care. What the ministry and the rest of the Wizarding world have done to Werewolves is a human rights crime. Yes they are human with an affliction that the vast majority did not ask for. Fenrir Graybeck would not have gotten so much support otherwise. We need to stop that from happening again. As a step there I have declared that all werewolves will be able to get Wolfsbane free from the Ministry once we get the potions brewing again. And Neville and Luna tell me that they will be able to have the first batch ready by the beginning of the month."

Ginny grinned. "So are they…."

Hermione giggled. "Neville had no idea and Luna finally had to virtually ravish him on their potion table. I should know since I told her to do it and actually came in about a minute after she went after him."

That got a great round of laughter from all.

Charlie asked "So how do the finances look? I seem to recall worry early on that the Ministry was broke?"

Hermione shook her head. "That is something that will be announced Monday. The previous Finance head was stealing Ministry Funds to prop up his brothers business. We are fine and Lucius has already taken steps to get some of it back; money should not be a problem."

Molly quirked an eyebrow. "So how is Lucius doing?"

"Very well as Finance Minister. Personally I think he is submerging himself in his work to forget what he has lost. Not that he is alone there. All too many of us are in the same boat."

That quieted things down a lot.

Deciding that she did not want to be a killjoy Hermione let slip something.

"I have decided to have my first formal dinner as Minister in two weeks. I am inviting all of you plus James Arbuthnot and all my current Department Heads. That apartment has a pretty big Formal Dining Room that seats 30. So we will not even half fill it up. Ibis and Mimsy were over the moon; they have not had a formal dinner there in 20 years."

Molly blinked. "Now that surprises me; I know that Billingsley had some there and that was only a little over 10 years ago."

"They were not FORMAL dinners. Usually the Minister has it at one of the big fancy restraints but I decided to make the point that that is not necessary unless you have more people than the place will hold. Now Fudge liked to do that to show off and line the pockets of friends he had who ran those restaurants. Lucius found some old bills and what he got away from was insane. Sometimes as much as 50,000 galleons a formal dinner."

They all goggled at that; that was more than all but a few people made in a year.

Arthur shook his head. "No wonder they kept claiming that money was tight."

Hermione nodded. "Lucius figures we will be in fine shape financially by the end of the year. I should be able to give whoever takes over a very sound Ministry. I am hoping to be able to announce a 15% increase in everyone's budget."

Molly blinked. "Well that will help increase salaries, which really need it."

"I know. One of the reasons it was always hard for the Ministry to keep or even get good people to work there was the pitifully low salaries. Anne, James and Samuel were awed when I told them that their salaries will probably increase by as much as half this coming year. I am also redoing how people are rated and how promotions are dealt out. The rampant favoritism and nepotism will end."

Arthur smiled at that. "That was another reason it was hard to get and keep good people. That will really make a difference."

Molly smiled at her. "Just to make sure you know this Hermione we are all so proud of you. Even after just two weeks everyone is talking about how the Ministry seems to be coming to life and actually be working, which is the first time in Everyone's memory."

Hermione commenced to blush.

Two months had gone by like the wind, Hermione thought as she looked out her window in the Ministry. Yet it had been very satisfying, if tiring. She looked back as Anne came in. They had become good friends; Anne was only a few years older than Hermione.

"Here are the final proposals for the Elections."

Hermione nodded. "James and the other Wizengamot advisors have gotten their copies?"

"Just went out by messenger. The Department heads are getting theirs right now."

"Good. I set two weeks for comments. Then we will have a formal meeting to discuss them and make final decisions. I am looking to have the election in 60 days after announcing the format."

After a great deal of debate it had been decided that the English Wizarding Community would be divided into districts. Each District would elect a representative; they would all meet and decide on a new Minister. That would prevent any extensive campaigning by any candidates. There would be 16 districts. Also in place would be a recall provision that any time someone got more than 1000 signatures there would be a straight up or down vote in 30 days of the petition being certified. That would prevent someone like Fudge from hanging around years after 90% of the population wanted him gone. Each Minister would have 5 years; and he could not run for consecutive terms. Each elector could not run twice in 10 years. Hermione had worked to figure out the best possible way to prevent anyone being entrenched. Not just in the Ministry but who elected him as well. There would be no qualifiers on who could run except that they had to be wizards. After a great deal of talk it had been decided that squibs would not be eligible. Hermione had been able to see to it that nothing else disqualified anyone. Some had complained that anyone who had been convicted and sentenced to Azkaban could run and Hermione had decided that they would take that chance; too many innocent people had been sentenced over the years. She was also working to remake the courts; Judges would no longer be lifetime appointments and would be subject to recall; they would get 10 years and that was that.

Hermione left her office soon after. Harry and Ginny were coming over for dinner that night. They had just announced their engagement. Harry had decided to become an Auror as well and would be starting his training the next week after the final clearance from St Mungo's.

"So Ginny when do you want your hen party? Luna is already bugging me about it."

"In a month or so. We will not be having the wedding until after Harry finishes his training."

"Well we have it set at 90 days. The first group will graduate next month and we can then let the last of our foreign police go home. I had that formal party for them last week to thank them all. I will miss Robert and Francois; they really have helped us out. They were so experienced and they let our trainees go with them to learn on the job. While they are young I think our first group will do well."

"I hope so. Its been really quiet since the battle; but that cannot last forever. And once the word gets out that the pros are gone some are going to try something. It's the way things are."

"I know Harry but we have to stand on our own legs sooner or later. Might as well be sooner. If at all possible I want everything running normally so my successor will have a fairly easy time."

Harry and Ginny looked at each other. Hermione looked at them.

"What?"

Harry looked like he did not know what to say; Ginny looked the same.

"OK you two what is it?"

Harry cleared his throat. "Mione, I guess since you are so busy you do not get out much?"

"Well Duh Harry. Come on spit it out."

"Mione, its just about certain they are going to elect you."

Hermione was stunned; her mouth dropped open. Her jaw fell off and rolled under the table.

"Are they nuts?"

Ginny burst into laughter. Cackling like a crazy woman.

"Hermione I love you but you are so oblivious at times. I am sure you have gotten hints by now. Anne must have told you if no one else has."

Hermione frowned. Come to think of it when she had mentioned her successor Anne had had a strange look on her face this afternoon.

"Not that I can recall."

"Mione just about everyone I have talked to you want you to stay on."

"Harry you are my best friend and that is well known. I really doubt people are going to complain to you about me."

Ginny was shaking her head. "Hermione you need to get out and wander a little – then you will know."

The next morning was Sunday and Hermione decided to go out for the first time since becoming Minister. She apparated to Diagon Alley and decided to go into Flourish and Botts.

The moment she went in the door the owner was down from the office and greeting her. "Minister Granger we have been hoping you would come by. If you wanted a book all you have to do is Owl us and we will deliver it if it is in stock that same day. We all know how busy you are."

A little stunned Hermione demurred. "I just wanted to come in here and browse; really it's the first chance I have had in months. But I figure once my successor is elected I will have plenty of time."

He blinked. "Minister Granger, unless I have badly misread things I really doubt there will be a single vote for any other candidate. Every elector I have heard about has made it clear you will get their vote."

"Since the format has not been formalized how would anyone know?"

"Rumors have come out for weeks. The people know and approve how its going to be done; and they really want you to stay on." He looked at her closely then smiled. "You had no idea. But I guess that is no surprise. One of the reasons that you will get the votes is that everyone knows you have been working almost around the clock to get things going again. And everyone I have talked to that has gone to the ministry has remarked how different it is. People actually want to help you and want to get things done there; and that has not been the way it has been for a long time. If ever. People like what you have done and trust you like no minister we have had in living memory."

A somewhat dazed Hermione walked out an hour later with a couple of books. Moving quickly she decided to go into the Leaky Cauldron.

She had gotten to know Ben the bartender over the course of the last couple of years. She moved through the crowd and went to the bar and sat down. It had been months since she had been here as well. Ben spotted her and quickly came over.

"Hermione its good to see you. We have missed you here but totally understand why you have not had time. I guess your friends have finally convinced you that taking a little time for yourself is not high treason?"

Hermione had to giggle a little at that as she ordered her usual Bloody Mary.

"Thanks Ben. Yeah Ginny told me to get my tail out of the office and relax some. So here I am."

"Anything you need you let me know."

Hermione grinned and nodded as she sipped her drink. She sat back a little and looked around. It seemed no one recognized her which made it a nice change from Flourish and Botts. She had felt like a animal in a zoo there.

She thought about what the owner had said. Could it be true? She decided to talk to Ben. He was an honest man. He would tell her the truth.

When he came by to ask her if she wanted a refill she shook her head then asked him.

"You can guess that I have not been out any for quite a while. So what is this I have heard today about my election being a forgone conclusion. I have my doubts."

Ben looked at her hard. "You did not do any drinking before you came here, right?"

Hermione blinked and shook her head. "I came right from my apartment at the ministry. Went to Flourish and Botts then came here."

"Well I would never have guessed. You mean what happened at Botts did not convince you? I am sure you got an earful there. I can safely tell you from what I have heard over the last month that no one wants you to go."

Hermione looked at him closely to make sure he was not joking with her. He was not. For a long moment she sat there. Then she nodded to him and slowly walked out of the Leaky Cauldron.

Hermione apparated back to the Ministry and walked into her apartment. Well she had intended to modify the wards so that she could apparat directly from her apartment but had thought she would not be here long enough to warrant it. Looked like she would be. They had redone the wards for the Ministry as one of the first things; but she had decided that they would do basic ones and add to them as time went by. She had some ideas about making some very unique.

She curled up in a big easy chair and Crookshanks hopped up into her lap and curled up and started to purr. He really liked it here; he already had the elves wrapped around his paw even with Hermione's warning to them.

She had never thought that she would be staying on. Oh she had considered some kind of position at the Ministry until Arthur had quietly told her that it would make everyone uncomfortable for a former Minister to be something less there. She had then figured that she better start looking for something to do afterwards; but she had been to busy to really think about it. She thought about perhaps starting her own business; she figured she could get Lucius to back her. They had become friendly over the last few months. But that looked like years away now. Five years to be exact. She was not really sure how she felt about that. Part of her had loved the challenge; she had never been pushed so hard before; not even during the worst of the war, not even while on the run with Harry. But it had also been exhausting and frequently frustrating.

After some time she looked up at the clock and realized she would need to get ready to go over to the Burrow for her weekly dinner. Molly had been very firm about it and Hermione did like to go.

As always she smiled as she entered the Burrow. This ramshackle crazy caricature of a house always did that. Molly sighted her first and called for her to grab a seat since dinner was about ready. As usual she sat down next to Fred and George; she had made it quite clear years earlier that she would torture them if they tried any more pranks on her; and she had done it so well they never tried again. Now they were just friends and she was happy with that. Harry came in and gave her a hug and kiss and sat down in his usual spot with Ginny right beside him. Molly came sailing in with the dinner bowls right behind her; Arthur took his seat at the head of the table. The only sad thing was no more Ron; but Hermione had dealt with the pain and now made it a point to only remember the good times.

As always the food was delicious; Hermione did not think she would ever find a better cook. The talk was casual and she relaxed into the atmosphere of her family; she doubted she would ever feel as welcome or as comfortable as she did here.

Ginny tweaked Hermione just as desert was served; she had been waiting.

"So did you go out and find out the truth?"

Hermione nodded.

Fred asked "What truth?"

Which set off Ginny's laughter again.

Harry was grinning. "Hermione had no idea that she was going to get elected."

They all looked at her in disbelief. She blushed.

"I did have no idea. This morning was the first time I had been to Flourish and Botts since well before the final battle. I got a drink at the Leaky Cauldron and Ben told me the same thing I had heard at Botts. So I went back to the apartment and sat there petting Crooks and thinking about it. I still do not know whether to be happy or sad."

Arthur sat back. "Its not an easy position and especially for someone as driven as you are to excel and do your best. But there is literally no one out there who is honest that does not want you to stay. You have done a magnificent job. The English Wizarding Community is smart enough to see that. And if they aren't just about every other community all over the world is. I have heard from every one about how lucky we are to have you. And I totally agree."

Molly reached over and grasped Hermione's hand. "So do I." That was echoed around the table.

Lucius Malfoy sat alone in his dining room eating dinner. He had though that he would be able to cope with being alone but it was harder than he had thought. His time in Azkaban had been in some ways easier then it was here all alone. Blaise and some others came by every now and then but his closest friend had been Severus. He really did not have any others. He told the house elf to not bother with desert and went back to his study; where he spent most of his time now. Work was slacking off at the Ministry; he knew he had been fortunate to have to work so hard straightening the mess that the finances were in when he started. The long hours and hard work had helped him cope with his grief. He had not truly loved Narcissa but he had cared deeply for her; and he had loved his son very much. The holes they left in his life gaped before him. He knew he would have to remarry one day to provide an heir; and while he had a long time if he chose he did not want to become a hermit, which might happen.

He decided that he might as well start thinking about a new wife. His business affairs were running well now that the war was over; even there there was less need for his direct intervention. What to do to occupy his time began to worry him. He did not really have any hobbies; they had never interested him.

He sipped some excellent wine as he contemplated a second wife. There were virtually no witches in his age group that he was interested in; so he would have to look at younger ones. Problem there was so many of them were shallow and frankly stupid. Narcissa had not been brilliant by any means, but she had been at least decent at conversation. Most of the young witches he knew anything about were pretty discouraging in that area. Lucius wanted a smart witch; one he could have conversations with and not be bored. Was there any that would match up? The more he thought about it the more he kept coming back to one name. She was brilliant; she was feisty and quite attractive if not beautiful. She was also quite young; but the war had aged her like fine wine. Problem was that he doubted she had any interest in marriage at the moment; and probably wanted romance and the whole complicated process. That made him stop; planning such a campaign would certainly take time and occupy him quite well. This cheered him up.

Rita Skeeter sat and thought; it was high time she got an interview with the new Minister. But Hermione had pleaded the pressure of the office to put it off. She decided that enough was enough. Then she got a tip from a source that Hermione had gone into Flourish and Botts and had been totally gobsmacked to find out that she was going to be elected to the position; easily the worst kept secret in the Wizarding World. Rita had no trouble believing that; Hermione had a great ability to concentrate on something and miss what to everyone else was the obvious. She went to the ministry Monday morning right after all the Election details had been announced; none of it was a real surprise. She headed up to the Minister of Magics office and camped in the outer office. She let the young secretary know she was staying until she talked to Hermione.

Hermione sighed when Anne told her and figured that she might as well get it over with.

Rita bounced in, sat down, and got ready. She looked at Hermione brightly.

"So just how much did the Finance Minister steal?"

Hermione rolled her eyes. Then decided she might as well. "Approximately 1 million Galleons. And he misappropriated about 1 million more in the four years he was in that position. And as regards waste Fudge easily beat that. Overall at least 5 million galleons were lost to fraud waste and abuse in the last 5 years. As a result, for the future there will be no need to raise taxes. Lucius Malfoy believes that instead we should be able to, in the next two years, to lower taxes and still raise the Budgets of all departments by 15%. Most of that will go into increased salary for the lower positions. That should make it easier to both get and keep good people. We are also changing how promotions and hiring is done; there was rampant favoritism and nepotism. That will end."

Rita had figured that there was a fair amount of embezzling and waste but that was way more then she had thought.

"So they were good thieves but not much else?"

Hermione smirked. "Yes. And we have initiated lawsuits that should recover some of that from the estates. We have also let some of the more high end restaurants know that they badly overcharged the Ministry for events there and they will pay it back."

Rita had a shark smile. "Could you give us their names?"

Hermione matched her smile. "If they do not pay it back in the next 30 days I will be happy to tell you."

Rita nodded in admiration. She had no doubt that some substantial checks would arrive at the ministry the day after her article came out.

Deciding to shift focus a little, she asked "You really had no idea until the last few days that you were a shoo in for election?"

Hermione blushed. "That is correct."

Changing tact slightly "There are no qualifications for running for Minister except that you must be a wizard. The same for an elector. Some think there should be some qualifiers."

"I disagree and the Department heads and Wizengamot agreed with me."

"You appointed Remus Lupin as head of Magical Creatures. Some have grumbled about a werewolf holding office."

"Let the bigoted and prejudiced grumble. I could care less. He has done a fine job. Penalizing someone for being infected through no fault of their own is stupid and frankly the same kind of thinking Voldemort had."

Rita whistled slightly. There were more than a few who would not like what Hermione was saying; but there were many more who had been luke warm towards her that would now support her.

"The first group of new Aurors will graduate this month. Will that mean the last of the European and American aurors will leave?"

"Yes. And I want to make it very clear how much we all appreciated their efforts. They kept us safe while we got back on our feet. As I told them the first day; we will remember."

"There have been rumors that you will put forward some changes to the curriculum of Hogwarts."

"I will present my suggestions to the Board of Governors next month. Hogwarts needs to change with the times; the last curriculum change was more than 50 years ago. That is too long."

"Who will be the new Headmaster?"

"That is up to the board and they have not informed me."

"Is it true that before the wizengamot appointed you you intended to nominate Arthur Weasley?"

"Yes. I thought Arthur would do a fine job."

"Just how stunned were you when you were appointed?"

"If Voldemort had come waltzing in dancing in a pink TuTu I could not have been more shocked."

Rita laughed out loud at that.

"Well that pretty much takes care of all the questions I had. Would you like to say anything else?"

Hermione thought for a minute. "While totally surprised at my appointment and almost as shocked at the apparent sure thing that my election is supposed to be, I will do my best. Some may not like what I will do; too bad. Like it or lump it."

Rita grinned. This was going to make a very juicy article.

Lucius read the article in the Daily Prophet. Hermione had a way with words; that part about Voldemort was hilarious. He had no doubt that within the next day he would receive several large checks from the restaurants fearful that they would be outed. He was now absolutely convinced that she was the one he should pursuit. But it would not be easy. But he was also looking forward to the challenge.

The article had indeed gotten some comment; but it was quickly apparent that a lot more people were impressed rather then worried or offended.

Xeno Lovegood had been able to keep the Quibler going; but it was hard sometimes. When his daughter had mentioned some of the happenings at the Battle of Hogwarts and afterwards, he had thought about it at the time. Now months later he decided the whole story needed to be told. So he proceeded to find and question everyone he could. His daughter was his greatest assett. Now he just needed to speak to Hermione.

Hermione liked Xeno even if the Quibler was now and then ridiculous. Luna had asked her to speak with him. She told Hermione that it was important that the whole story be told and that her father would do a better job of it than anyone else. Reluctantly Hermione had agreed.

Xeno was well prepared; he had all his notes spread out ready to go. Hermione smiled at him and sat down.

"Minister, I am very grateful for this oppurtunity."

"Xeno we have known each other for years. Toss the formality.

He smiled at her. "Very well."

Taking out his first page of notes. "You found some things in the prophecy that had been ignored."

"Yes they were religious in nature and as usual in the wizarding world they were ignored. Ancient blessed weapons would hurt Voldemort. I got some and they were what killed him in the end after he had been badly weakened by Harry."

"What were they?"

"The Sword of Joan of Arc and two knives that belonged to the Emperor Constantine, the first Christian Roman Emperor. The sword dates back to the time just before the prophecy; the knives were a thousand years older."

"Is it true that you used a muggle fire arm?"

"Yes I killed 15 Deatheaters at St Mungo's with it. I tipped the bullets with cyanide that I had brewed. They died in seconds of being hit."

"You had no compunction about killing Deatheaters?"

"It was kill or be killed. I decided to kill."

"You used the Killing Curse?"

"Between 8-10 times."

"There is a rumor that you tortured Dolehov before killing him."

"I did. Luckily Ginny Weasley got through to me and I was able to stop. That was something I am not proud of. My temper got away from me and I lost control."

Xeno shivered slightly. He had never talked to anyone who was so casual at admitting to killing multiple people. He wondered what Hermione was capable of.

His article caused more than a few to shudder. No one had known all the details of what she had done. Put together for the first time it seemed all the more tremendous and at the same time frightening.

Harry looked at his best friend. He had met her for lunch in her office. It was the day after the article in the Quibler came out.

"Mione all that Xeno wrote…"

"Every word was true. Xeno did a fine job of reconstructing those two days."

He looked at that calm face he knew so well and he realized that there was a lot about Mione that he did not know; and maybe never would. And that might be a good thing.

James Arbuthnot and some friends were talking about it a few days later.

"I cannot think of any set of actions that even come close to what she did. So totally calculated and frightingly efficient. Talk about a harbinger of Death. That part about torturing Dolehov; very hard to read."

"She did what needed to be done to end a war and destroy a threat. It would take a truly crazed person to want to challenge her now."

"I certainly do not want her hunting me anytime."

Lucius read the article and sat back and thought. Ferocious was the word to describe her actions; frankly only the insane Bellatrix would not have been impressed. He figured even Voldemort would have been surprised and he had no doubt intimidated. He found that he wanted her more than ever; he thought of all that fire and passion in bed.

The thoughts of the Wizengamot were fairly well representative of what most Wizards thought.

Ginny and Molly discussed it; they worried about Hermione starting to pull away from them. They decided they would not allow that to happen. No matter what.

Hermione looked at the flowers. They were her favorites, Tulips. Lucius had started to send them to her. Also the occasional box of very expensive chocolates that Hermione had a weakness for. What was he up to? She decided to find out.

Lucius looked up as his secretary came in. "Sir, the Minister is here to speak with you."

Hermione walked in.

Lucius stood. "And to what do I owe this visit, Minister?"

The door closed.

"What are you up to Lucius? Flowers, chocolate?"

Lucius considered the situation. What would surprise her and keep her off balance?

"I intend to court you. There is a tradition to how a pureblood courts a woman."

Hermione stared at him. Did he say what I though he said?

Lucius smirked. He had definitely caught her off balance.

"I have been examining my life the last few weeks. With the pressure off as regards the financial situation here at the ministry, and with my personal business affairs quite in order as well, I have had more than enough time to contemplate my situation."

Hermione slowly sat down. As did he. She cocked her head "And your conclusions?"

"In regards practical matters I need an heir for the Malfoy fortune. Now I have plenty of time to find another wife, but there are other quite valid considerations."

Hermione prodded. "And they are?"

"The longer I wait the more reconciled I will be to my single state; and that is probably not a good thing. It is also more likely that I will increasingly become a hermit. Snape was my closest friend and there is no one that even comes close now, nor is there likely to be. And I am lonely. That is not a good feeling."

Hermione softly said "I understand."

"So once the realization that for more than procreation I wanted and needed companionship, then my thoughts went to trying to find the right wife. Narcissa was dignified and lovely and very high class; but she was intellectually limited. Her interests were also limited. I cared for her but did not love her. I find I want more in my second wife. I want not just companionship and children, but a partner and a friend. That raises the bar considerably. I then went over all the witches of my generation and could not find one that even came close to what I wanted. So I was forced to look at younger witches. Frankly there are not many eligible ones that meet even the minimum qualifications. The ones that do are almost all already married or deeply involved."

Hermione forced herself to think about this. In her mind she went over all the unmarried and unattached witches she knew; the fact was those that were unattached were that way frankly for good reasons. While not one to blow her own horn, she had to admit that from a logical point of view, with those qualifications in mind, that she was really the only possible choice.

Lucius watched her think about it. Knowing her very logical mind he had no doubt that she would come to the conclusion that he was correct in his choice. What would be interesting would be how she addressed it.

Hermione took a deep breath. "Lucius I need to really think about this. From your point of view I cannot argue the logic of your choice. But marriage and children and family really cannot rely on logic. I have always thought I would marry for love."

"I can see your point. But consider this: two people of shared interests and personalities, that are compatible, could come to love each other. And even if they do not, they can care and be quite comfortable and content."

Hermione considered this. "I can promise you I will think about this. Its too interesting not to." She got up and left.

Lucius smiled. Her admitting that it was interesting was a very good first step.

Hermione walked back to her office. She sat and thought, staring out the window. Her mind was in a whirl. She had never really been in love; the short relationship she had had with Ron had never amounted to much. Lucius Malfoy was a very attractive man; even she had heard of the rumors that labeled him Luscious Lucius. The fact that he had not been particularly loyal to Narcissa was something to consider; she would not put up with that. But then he had admitted to being basically bored with her. Hermione believed that a marriage was something that needed constant care, that it was not something that could be neglected and be expected to remain strong. She just did not know if she was passionate enough for him. She had no idea. She was a virgin and he was a very experienced older man; the thought of him in bed curled her toes. She had to admit that she was attracted to him. She had gotten to know him fairly well over the last few months and realized that the façade of the pureblood follower of Voldemort was mostly for show. He was brilliant and their conversations very stimulating. That would be something to look forward to every day. And night. She sighed. There were a lot of reasons to look with favor on this. What were the reasons not to? Well, she did not love him and he did not love her. He was much older and more experienced. He was of the top of the Pureblood world and she was a muggle. She liked his prickly personality and it seemed to mesh with hers fairly well. Did age and experience really matter? She could not find a real plus or minus at the moment. Well if she was honest having really good conversations and what would almost certainly be great sex had to be considered very definite plusses. What were the real minuses? She could really only think of one: they did not love each other.

Over the next few days Hermione spent a lot of time thinking about this. Lucius sent no more flowers or chocolates; he was leaving her alone to think about it and she liked that. It all came down to two things; how physically compatible were they and could they build on everything and grow to love each other. Because she had realized that she needed that hope they would love each other. That was when she came to her decision. What was it Harry said? Before you buy a broom you need to try it out? But first she decided to talk to her best girl friend.

Hermione managed to talk to Ginny at least weekly; the redheaded witch insisted on it to keep Hermione from submerging herself in the job and never surfacing again. Molly put it the same way be demanding Hermione make it to Sunday dinner every week. Usually Hermione stopped by Harry's place Sunday morning and Ginny was almost always there. That way she got to talk to both of them.

That Sunday Harry was engrossed on the Quiditch Weakly which was examining the upcoming season. So it was no trouble at all for Hermione to get Ginny into the kitchen to talk.

Ginny knew something was up. Hermione was not exactly subtle about wanting to talk to her alone. So it had to be fairly important.

Sitting in the kitchen for a moment Hermione had no idea what to say.

Seeing this – something very rare indeed for Hermione Granger – made Ginny even surer this was something big.

"OK I can see this is big and I am sitting down so let me have it."

"Lucius Malfoy wants to court me."

Ginny just sat there with wide eyes and open mouth.

"Yes you heard me right. And that was my reaction to confronting him about suddenly getting my favorite flowers every day and about every other day a box of my favorite chocolates."

Ginny was unable to speak.

"He told me that he had been thinking about his situation. He of course needs an heir; and he is lonely. So he started thinking about a second wife and after a lot of thought chose me. His reasons were quite logical and made sense."

Ginny slowly shook her head and engaged her brain. "OK this is a shock. What were his reasons for choosing you?"

"I am smart and have good and stimulating conversations. He believes that we will be quite compatible. He said he wants a partner and a friend as well as a companion."

Ginny thought about this. "What about love?"

"That is the major reason I have doubts. I always believed I would marry for love; and I just know I need to think that we will love each other one day to do it."

"Did you tell him that?"

"Yes. He was of the belief that over time we would indeed love each other; and if we did not then deep caring and companionship and everything else would still make us content."

"Hmmm. Not sure about that one but he does have a point."

"That is what I am thinking. But I am just not sure."

Ginny sat back and thought hard. OK. How to solve this question that really has no answer that will not take time to find out? The more she thought about it the more she came to the same conclusion.

"You have to try him out."

Hermione blinked at that. She knew what Ginny was saying; had she not come to the same determination?

"I have given that some thought. I have heard some of the rumors about him."

Ginny giggled. "Every witch in the wizarding world from 15 to 150 has heard them."

"My one other worry is that he must be loyal to me; I will not tolerate straying."

"Absolutely. Well pick a night and go over and shag him. After telling him that you will not tolerate a wandering wand."

"That kind of sounds cold and calculating."

"I really doubt cold will come into it- or YOU."

"Ginerva Weasley!"

Hermione had come to the conclusion that she had to ride the broom to see if she wanted to buy. And decided to let Lucius know.

"Sir the Minister is here to see you."

"Send her right in."

"Lucius."

"Minister."

The door closed.

Lucius sat down once she did. He could tell she was somewhat agitated.

Hermione took a deep breath. This was a lot harder than all her rehearsals.

"I have come to the conclusion that you are right in many ways. But there are two things that have to be considered."

"And they are?"

"I will not tolerate infidelity at all."

"I understand. I strayed out of boredom and lack of stimulus. I believe that will not be a problem with us."

"Fair enough. To me a marriage needs constant care or it will deteriorate. We must be able to talk about anything."

"Agreed. And the other consideration?"

Hermione blushed furiously. Lucius's eyes widened and he put up a hand as she was about to speak.

"This Friday night at 7 come to dinner and stay the night."

Hermione could only nod. Then she rather quickly left.

Lucius found himself very aroused.

Friday afternoon came much too quickly for Hermione. A very quick conversation with Ginny had turned into a nighttime raid on the Wicked Witch. Some very frilly and frankly scandalous underthings had been purchased. And for the rest of the week Hermione poured herself into work in order to not think about Friday night.

Ginny had come over to help her choose a dress. Hermione had expanded her wardrobe considerably since becoming minister. So it was nowhere near as sparse as it once was. After considerable debate and trying several different dresses it had been decided that the classic simple little black dress was the best choice. It came to just above her knee with a slight slit; the scoop neckline was demure yet enticing; and it hid the scanty knickers and bra quite well.

Lucius found himself nervous about a woman for the first time in many years. He knew how much rode on this night so that did not help. He had ordered his house elves to prepare a good but fairly bland dinner; this was not a night for spice or anything like that.

Hermione apparated to the entrance of Malfoy Manor promptly at 655. She had not been there since her capture and torture but she had gotten closure about all that when she had killed Bellatrix Lestrange. She did not blame the manor for the actions of the Insane. A house elf whisked her right to the main dinning room. Lucius awaited, looking splendid in beautiful wizard robes.

Lucius eyed the woman he intended to marry. Hermione was a lot more attractive then she thought she was. She had a very curvaceous form that he was looking forward to unwrapping. Her warm whiskey colored eyes were very nice indeed; the once wild bushy hair had been tamed into big fat curls that stretched all the way down her back. The little black dress looked very good indeed on her; it would look even better on the floor of his bedroom. Lucius found that he wanted her very much.

Hermione managed not to cough or spit or drop any tableware; she could not remember what she ate but did think it was a little bland which was a good thing.

Lucius stood and reached out his hand. Trembling slightly she put her hand in his. He right away noticed how cold it was. The little witch was very nervous; any doubts he had that he would be her first flew out the window. It was very difficult for him to resist throwing her on the table and taking her right there. He had to concentrate as he apparated them right to his bedroom.

Hermione looked around. Big and gaudy but not flashy or trashy; it suited him. Then she felt him right behind her and he bent down to nibble on her neck. She moaned and slowly turned to him and raised her head.

His normally cool blue eyes were blazing. The lust she saw there made her shiver and grow very wet. Then he bent his head and took her mouth.

Lucius pulled the little witch closer as he devoured her mouth.

Hermione lost all track of everything else except what Lucius was making her feel. She moaned into his mouth as he pressed her closer and she felt the evidence of his arousal poking her in the stomach. His big hand clasped her bottom and pulled her in even tighter.

Lucius could not remember ever wanting a woman more; he drew back and saw with great satisfaction the lust in his own eyes reflected in hers. She surprised him by starting to try and take off his robes; he helped her at the same time managed to find her zipper and both his robes and her dress hit the floor at the same time. All he wore were his shoes that he immediately slipped off and his shorts that had a very prominent bulge in them.

He groaned at the very tiny black knickers and the black, almost see through bra. Almost of their own volition his hands reached up and unhook the lacy little nothing, freeing her lovely breasts. His big hands closed over them to the moan of the shaking young witch. The turgid buds, already pebble hard, drew his fingers then his lips.

Hermione was on fire as Lucius laved her breasts. Then she felt one hand slip down then up into her and moaned even louder as the digit reached inside.

Goddess she was wet; those tiny little knickers were almost soaked.

Lucius picked her up and laid her down on the bed, stepping back for a moment to enjoy the view before diving down and divesting her of her one article of clothing left. Then he knelt and buried his mouth in the dripping flower nestled in brown curls.

The shock of Lucius's lips down THERE made Hermione scream and arch almost off the bed. Lucius had to hold her down while he feasted on her sweet nectar.

The pressure grew to unbearable lengths and then Lucius took the tight little bud in his lips and sucked. Hermione's wail of "Lucius!" rang in his ears as she convulsed in her orgasm.

Hermione lay there completely boneless but managed to open her eyes. She sighed as Lucius dropped his shorts and moved in for the kill. Her eyes widened at the size of him; he was going to put THAT in her?

It took all of Lucius's considerable will to move slowly; he picked up her legs and draped them over his shoulders; opening her wide to him. Then he fixed his eyes on hers as he slowly filled her. She was so incredibly tight and hot and wet; then he found her barrier; barely able to wedge himself in that far.

It felt as if a huge log was forcing its way into her; it would split her in two certainly! Yet there was no pain; just the feeling of being stretched beyond her limits.

Lucius managed to pause, then bent down and took a taut nipple in his mouth and sucked hard as he found and pinched her little clit. Her moan was his signal to complete his journey.

The shock from her nipple then her clit totally blew Hermione's mind to the point that she did not notice the pain of Lucius breaching her at all.

Fully sheathed in the witch, he paused, then began to withdraw slowly; then back in, going faster and faster.

The pressure was building again as she felt Lucius begin to piston into her, starting to pound away. Then he touched her clit again and Hermione exploded.

Lucius was at the end of his rope; he could not hold on any longer and reached down and set her off; she screamed his name again and it was as if a velvet covered steel fist clasped him tight. He groaned as he gave way and let himself go, filling her completely.

Some minutes later Hermione reached awareness; a heavy weight held her down; but it did not feel restricting; it felt so good.

Lucius managed to roll over holding her to him, desperately wanting to remain deep inside her. He held her on his chest. Wondering at the feelings he was having. He had never felt like this in his life. He would not let her go; she was HIS.

Hermione lay on him; trying to think. She could not have imagined anything like this. There was no way she was letting him go after this; he was HERS.

"Well my dear, are you satisfied?"

The deep voice went right to her core, still filled to the brim with him. She moaned.

"I take that as confirmation?"

Hermione groaned again. "Lucius, shut up."

She could feel his smirk.

Hermione looked at the report from the Election Commission; a group selected from the Wizengamot. They had just certified the election of the representatives of the people who would serve as electors for the post of Minister of Magic. Everyone that had been favored had won easily. More than 90% of those eligible had voted. Very good indeed. They would now meet in one week in a secret session to make their choice. Though there seemed no doubt at all about the choice.

She sighed and signed off on it. It would now go out as a Press Release. Anne took it and left. Hermione sat back and thought about the last two months. After that incredible Friday night Hermione had stayed over till Sunday morning. She had barely been able to walk by that time but she certainly had no complaints. She had never even dreamed anyone could make her feel what Lucius had. Again and again. There had been no debate; she would indeed marry him. However they had agreed to allow the courtship to take its course so that the public would get used to it. Lucius had been very careful to follow the tradition. It had not taken long for the Press to twig and there had been multiple stories about it. Interestingly there seemed to be little controversy over the former DeathEater courting the Gryffindor Lioness, Member of the Golden TRIO and current and future Minister of Magic.

Just a week ago she had accepted the Malfoy family engagement ring that had been in the family for more than 400 years. A simple announcement had been made that she had accepted his proposal. The party that followed the next Sunday at the Burrow had not been simple. Molly had insisted on going all out. Though Lucius had not exactly been someone she liked; she had mellowed on him and realized that Hermione was happy and that was all that mattered.

Hermione was a little surprised how happy and content she was. Of course the weekend shagging continued and she certainly had no complaints there. She was very much looking forward into moving into Malfoy Manor; and she had decided to take Ibis and Mimsy with her. She told Lucius that that way there would be two house elves that would be loyal to her no matter what. He had looked askance for a moment then smiled. "Very Slitherin." It had not taken her long to realize that was his ultimate compliment.

Ginny had decided that her hen party would occur the week after Hermione was elected Minister. The wedding was scheduled in two months. Already Ginny, Molly, Luna, Anne and Pansy were debating dresses and arrangements. Ginny regarded all this as practice for her own wedding which she had decided to have at the end of the year, six months away.

Hermione was a little surprised that she was willing to let the others control so much of her wedding. But then she had never fantasized about it like they had so she had no qualms.

There was a large crowd gathered outside the ministry. The electors were due to announce their decision. Despite the fact that it was a foregone conclusion the crowd was happy and ready to celebrate the first elected Minister of Magic. The foreman of the conclave would come out and announce the vote.

Hermione sat in her office and thought about it all. She had made peace with being the Minister for the next 5 years; already many of her changes were in the works or already implemented. The changes to the Hogwarts curriculum had been approved and the next term would see them in place. Divination was gone, since it had always been a joke. There were now required courses for those from the muggle world to introduce them to the wizarding world; and there were courses for those born in it to introduce them to the muggle world. There were also arts and crafts and practical matters as well as financial courses designed by Lucius. The graduates of Hogwarts would now have a much more rounded education; those that wanted to go onto some university would be prepared and those that did not would have a better foundation on the world.

The official came forward unto the balcony of the second floor of the Ministry. They had only been in the meeting for one hour.

"The vote is: Hermione Jane Granger 16; she is elected the Minister of Magic by unanimous vote."

The crowd roared and began to celebrate.

Hermione smiled. A heavy duty perhaps, but one she was used to. Then her thoughts turned to her upcoming marriage and her smile grew. Certainly any stress left over from her job would not last long once she got Lucius in bed.

It had been decided that a formal ball would be held the night of the vote. Since Hermione was already Minister there was no need to have an inauguration. That would be left to the next minister. This was also the first real ball and formal event that the Ministry had held since the war. Hermione had been firm that they needed to show what was important and that a ball was not. But she had yielded to the idea that tonight was the night for the first one.

She stood at the top of the stars; her dress had been carefully chosen to be both attractive and dignified. It was red with trimmings of gold; the straight empire gown led up to a strapless straight top. Her hair piled on top of her head. She knew she looked good and as she walked down the stairs the smiles of her friends below proclaimed it almost as much as the eyes of her intended. The blue fire in them sent a shiver right to her core. Then she heard the introduction.

"Minister of Magic, Hermione Jane Granger."