Disclaimer: I own nothing.

Hermione was standing, holding Draco's hand as they watched the guests twirl and waltz on the dance floor. Hermione thought everyone looked very graceful and smiled. She'd been a bit overcome with these pureblood wizards and witches' surprise at her 'coming out'. Not only had the Malfoys announced the betrothal, which wasn't altogether uncommon at their age, but they had revealed that she was Hermione Snape, formerly Hermione Granger, Gryffindor, Muggle-born, and fighter of oppression. Everyone was positively shocked to learn that she was a Sanchez family descendent and Severus Snape's daughter.

Avis and Armande Rosier approached Hermione with a slight sneer that made Hermione wonder if that was their attempt at smiling, and commented on how much she resembled her mother. As children, Avis, Armande, and Lourdes had been playmates, but once it was discovered that Lourdes' magic was weak, their families had 'parted ways'. Hermione was appalled that something like that would cause discord as well as being expected to smile and 'understand' why. In an effort not to embarrass her brother, father, and the Malfoys, she did smile, but couldn't refrain from a small sweetly-delivered jab. "How lovely that you remember her and your friendship together. It's clear that your relationship with her was precious to you. Sadly, she never mentioned you in her letters to Sebastian and me. Perhaps you just slipped her mind." Their faces only fell slightly as they begged their leave and didn't approach her again. Draco just stretched his lip and squeezed her hand. Hermione rose up on her tip toes to place a kiss on his cheek and all was forgiven.

After a few awkward moments, the men and women present wiped the slate clean and approached her with a mix of curiosity and welcoming… at Narcissa's subtle prompting.

Hermione was welcomed by her schoolmates, to include a mildly put out Marcus, who had wanted to court her himself. His presentation was formal when congratulating the young couple, but his dark eyes never left Hermione's. The only reason Hermione didn't pull him into a hug was because Draco's hold on her hand was tight and unforgiving, and he growled as the large Quidditch player approached. Hermione was both flattered and a bit annoyed; annoyed enough to elbow him in the ribs, but flattered enough to not cause any serious pain. Draco didn't growl again.

Hermione sensed more than she heard the commotion. She'd been startled by Paz, who had appeared suddenly slightly behind her to tug on her dress, urging her to leave. It was too late and Paz blinked out, leaving a very tense Draco and a speechless Hermione.

It was him; Voldemort. As soon as she thought it, his red eyes found her. "You look familiar, girl. What is your name?" His voice was deep and he spoke with a lisp. An errant thought plundered through to her conscience mind: was he born with a cleft palate, or was it just the fact that the …thing in front of her had no nose to speak of?

As she noted the eerie silence, and was vaguely aware that he was moving towards her, but seemed to be floating rather than walking, he spoke again. His tone this time was edged with anger. "I asked you a question, girl. What is your name?"

Hermione tried not to wince at her hand, which was being squeezed roughly by Draco.

All eyes on her, she answered, "Sn-Snape, sir. Hermione Snape."

She watched the wizard's face contort with rage right before he ended his forward progress and swirled around, pointing his wand in the same motion. The blood left her face and her stomach twisted into a painful knot as the Dark Lord aimed at her father and yelled an Unforgivable.

Breathless, she heard someone cry, "NO!" as her father fell to the ground with pain. The blood-curdling shout was accompanied by a blinding white light and then an abrupt oblivion.

She didn't know how long after, her mind registered a hazy awareness and she wondered if someone had killed her, too. She wanted to sob out of anger and misery for the injustice of it all. She wouldn't be there to see her brother marry. She wouldn't know the joy of being an aunt, or a wife and mother. She would die knowing that Draco would soon follow, instead of living a long and happy life.


She recognized the voice of her father and smiled hoping that they would roam together in the afterlife. Perhaps they could watch over Sebastian together.

Someone snorted. Hermione frowned. Ghosts didn't snort.

"Hermione, wake up. No one is haunting Sebastian."

She opened one eye. Her vision was blurry and she could just make out the dark hair of her brother and light hair of Draco. Blinking and opening both, she gasped. "Are we all dead?"

Severus looked at her like her brain had fallen out of her ear. Scanning the crowd, Hermione blushed upon realizing that Narcissa was wearing a similar expression. "No dear, no one is dead. We are all very much alive."

Narcissa didn't mention that they were all very much alive due to Hermione's 'accidental magic'. Narcissa was most certain she knew the root cause, but she wasn't about to discuss such things in front of a male audience.

Hermione's eyes filled with tears. "You're okay, daddy?"

Severus swallowed thickly and nodded. Hermione flew into his arms and held him close to her. "I thought he was going to kill you!" she cried into his shoulder.

Lucius spoke next. "He was. You …stopped it." Lucius shook his head. "I've never seen anything like it."

When Severus cleared his throat and set Hermione away from him to look her over, her eyes quickly scanned the room; they were alone. "What happened?" she asked, becoming uncomfortable with the way Draco and her brother were looking at her.

Marcus Flint came striding out of nowhere as if he heard her discontent and pulled her into a hug. She clung to him tightly before she was pushed away. The tension in the room increased as Lucius and Severus stood ready to break up any fights between the boys. Hermione stood breathless watching Draco and Marcus stare each other down, nearly nose to nose.

"Draco?" Hermione called softly.

Draco's gray eyes shimmered for a second more then he turned his pleading eyes to her. "Are you alright?" he asked, stepping to her and hugging her possessively.

Marcus grunted and backed off.

Hermione nodded and stepped into his embrace. "Yes." She paused and then repeated her original question, "What happened?"

Narcissa looked at her husband and Severus. The silent communication was processed and acted upon. Lucius pulled his son and Severus motioned for Marcus to follow them into another room while the witches spoke.

Draco didn't want to leave Hermione, but his father was not taking no for an answer. Marcus was just confused.

Once alone, the elder witch Accio'd a ladies high-backed cushioned chair, a settee and a small round table large enough to fit a pot of tea and two saucers.

Once sat, Narcissa spoke. "Hermione, what do you know of accidental magic?"

Hermione contemplated the question for a moment. "It happens with children. Ron once said that George and Fred turned his teddy into a spider before they went to Hogwarts. "

Narcissa nodded. "It is common, but not frequent with adolescent and young adult witches during their menses. It can also occur during a witch's life change as she gets older. We call them flare ups. However, there are times when it occurs during high stress occasions. If a witch is experiencing a hormonal surge in addition to being under extreme emotional stress, her magic can rage – sort of like an adrenaline jolt. I believe that's what has occurred tonight, but the power you displayed during this… rage was something of a bit of a mystery." Narcissa let that sink in then continued.

"What was the last thing you remember?"

Hermione was processing everything she'd been told. And before she answered, she counted the days since her last menses and calculated her next one: two days away. Normally, she would have already been locking herself up in a room full of chocolate, but with everything else that was going on, she'd missed the signs.

"Well, I remember Draco's hand gripping mine and thinking that I hope he never lets me go. I remember Vol- Him asking my name. And I remember my father falling to the ground and thinking that I couldn't live without him." At the last vocalized memory, Hermione sniffled and wiped the tears from her cheeks.

She looked at Narcissa, who wore a sympathetic expression and was blinking rapidly to keep her tears from falling. "Also, my time is one or two days away."

Narcissa nodded, hesitating to share the next bit of news. Hermione tilted her head. "What?"

Inhaling to calm her nerves, Narcissa looked Hermione in the eyes and spoke. "Lord Voldemort, He Who Shall Not Be Named, is no longer among the living. He was turned to ash… on my ballroom floor," she added with a stretch of her lips, making Hermione smile. The woman was a neat freak.

Once the gravity of the situation sank in, Hermione gasped. "What does this mean? The war is over! Harry's safe!" Hermione couldn't keep the broad, toothy grin from her face as she impulsively hugged the refined Lady Malfoy tightly, squealing with joy. Narcissa, however, wasn't sharing the mood. "We'll be tried, possibly convicted and sentenced," she whispered.

Hermione pulled back, shaking her head vehemently. "No, you won't. I won't let them."

At this point, the wizards walked in and Lucius cleared his throat. "Severus has notified the Order. We should expect them any moment." As if speaking the words provoked the Fates, pops of Apparition were heard followed by a shiver signaling the breach of the Wards.

Dumbledore was led inside and to the ballroom by a House-elf. Remus Lupin and Kingsley Shacklebolt followed closely behind the Hogwarts Headmaster.

Albus surveyed the audience, and then greeted the small group. "Good evening."

The adults nodded in response and waited.

As though playing a game of chicken, no one spoke for a tense few moments. It was Kingsley who broke the silence. "We received your Patronus, Severus."

Lucius and Severus gave nothing away, but each fought the urge to roll their eyes. Severus was unable to continue his stoicism. "Obviously," he drawled slowly, dripping with disdain.

Before Kingsley and Severus continued, Albus intervened. "Severus, your Patronus… indicated a change in Tom Riddle's status."

Hermione was so excited that she hopped up and opened her mouth to speak, but was rendered speechless, literally, by a quietly cast spell. She didn't realize this at first and scratched at her throat and looked around a bit panicked at her sudden state. She was ignored momentarily, and before her anxiety turned to ire, Narcissa gently pulled her hand until she was sitting quite neatly next the elegant woman on the settee.

Hermione's less than subtle near-declaration was not missed by Lupin, Shacklebolt, and especially not by the scheming, twinkling eyes of Albus Dumbledore.

The Headmaster took a deep breath, looked around once again, and nodded his head. Turning to face Kingsley Shacklebolt, he said, "Please have a small team of your Aurors escort the Malfoys, Mr. Snape, and Mr. Flint to the holding cells under the Ministry, please." Remus and Kingsley were clearly shocked and took a moment to regain their composure. Kingsley waved his wand, giving the order then turned back to the group. Remus looked uncertain. Something didn't seem right. Albus didn't seem right.

Remus' heart beat even harder when Albus spoke again. "Miss Granger, you'll come with me."