Hello all. So, I've recently come back to Fanfiction after a long time. The truth is, with everything going on in my real life, writing took a backseat.

I have started to finish my other 'in progress' stories, but this one wouldn't leave me alone and I was going nuts by telling myself to wait until I got a few of the others done.

I needed fresh… if you can understand that.

So I will continue to update my older stories one at a time, and this one is my little play baby for when I need to take a break from what is already there. I can't promise, but this should be updated every other day, two days between updates at most.

Never in a million years

Chapter 1

Glancing in the mirror one last time, he adjusted his robes so that every seam and every button was perfect. He had been dreading this supposed 'surprise' from Voldemort all week long and now that the night had finally arrived, he was just anxious to get it over and done with.

Four days ago something big had happened. The manor was filled with the higher ranking death eaters, all talking in hushed and excited whispers and all that meant was trouble.

God he hated this manor now. While it was never a happy place, so to speak, it was always clean, smelled fresh, and had a light feeling about it, but now that Voldemort had taken up residence, the whole place felt miserable, like the life had been sucked out of it to the point of no return.

He glanced over at the mask that sat on the dresser. He didn't have to wear that tonight, thank Merlin, but the damned robes were never an exception. Voldemort had stated that when everyone dressed the same, it brought a feeling of unity between his people.

Unity – bloody fucking bullshit if you asked him.

'Probably gets his jollies watching us all behave like puppets' he thought as he did a small spin, making sure nothing was amiss with the damned robe.

Satisfied that everything was perfect, he left his room and headed for the dining room where he would have dinner with the man he hated most – Voldemort.

Six years ago, he would have called Voldemort a hero. He chucked that up to not knowing any better and still believing his father was right about everything. Lack of common sense that was.

He had believed that mudbloods didn't deserve magic. He believed they were a freak of nature, something unnatural, how else could you explain a person being born with magic to simple muggles. It just didn't make sense to him and still didn't.

But he learned very quickly after he took the mark that being a deatheater wasn't everything his father had hyped it up to be. Certain aspects were hidden from him until it was just too late. Yet, he had managed to stay out of most of the dirty deeds thanks to Voldemort wanting him better train and better prepared… they didn't want a deatheater to pass out at the first sight of a bloody murder, so he was to be eased into it.. Special treatment because Voldemort had specific plans for him.

As he reached the heavy doors, he pushed it open and found that almost everyone was already there. His father sat at one end as owner of the manor with his mother next to him. The other end was reserved for Voldemort, and everyone else sort of found a place. The only other spot that was reserved was for Snape and that was next to Voldemort so he could check the snake's food for potions or poisons… Voldemort was a paranoid bastard.

As he approached the table his stomach clenched. She had been hidden by the people already gathered around the table. A girl, about his age, maybe younger, maybe older, was strapped to the dining table, limp and unmoving. He cringed a little when he noticed that Voldemort had definitely had say in how she was to be presented. Clean, beaten, and naked – it was his forte when one of his victims was actually worth looking at.

The only seat left was the seat he wanted the least. It would put him face to face with the girl if she was awake, or alive for that matter and he ran the risk of having to see her face and her eyes as the torture played out . It meant he also got to see the life leave her body when a well timed 'avada' would be sent her way. No, he really didn't need to see that.

But he had no choice and took the seat, sickened when he looked at the excited smiles and demented grins that proved his theory. Deatheaters truly were monsters, even his father who looked ready to burst at the seams with giddiness… also not a good sign.

He thanked Merlin that the girls limp hair covered her face. He could see her breathe, but it was not a healthy lung full of air, she could barely get anything in. He could hear a gurgle when she exhaled which meant she was slowly drowning in her own blood. He hated this. He was also glad that the lighting in the room was dim; less he could see her tortured features.

He sighed and sat as far back in his chair that he could manage. The girl was literally in the worst shape than any of the others had been. She must have been a fighter.

He knew the drill of this all too well. They would eat and enjoy their meal while she lay on the table. Torture was never as much fun on an empty stomach he presumed, but it was hard for him to eat when he knew what would happen as soon as everyone finished up, and by the sounds she was making, it wouldn't take long for this one to lose her life. They would make quick work of it.

A few minutes had passed before Voldemort finally arrived, smiling that smile that made you want to take ill and run for it. But he stayed – tonight was not meant to be his death.

Everyone waited patiently for the man/snake, whatever he was, to get comfortable so he could give the order for the meal to be served.

Draco knew no one cared about the food, they were all ready to get on with the torture, but Voldemort hated being rash, he liked to enjoy his victim before the play began.

"Welcome, my loyal servants." He hissed with a raise of offering with his hands, "Tonight, our guest is one that I am most anxious to dispose of. A thorn in my side, as it were. But she is also a valuable asset to those of the order, more precisely, a valuable asset to none other than Harry Potter."

Draco's stomach actually fell through the floor. The only one that Voldemort could be talking about would be Hermione Granger, and if Potter lost her, the idiot would be too hurt and lost to be able to perform his tasks. One Draco prayed for every day. He, Draco Malfoy, was actually rooting for Potter.

Cheers went up around the table as a gust of wind blew the hair from her face. He didn't know who did it, but someone obviously wanted to see her face throughout the entire thing… and it wasn't him.

"Let us eat and enjoy our meals before the festivities begin." Voldemort shouted, allowing the plates to appear on the table instantly.

Draco picked up his fork and cut a baby red potato, making the mistake of looking up as he did so. She was looking right at him and it unnerved him.

Her face was horribly swollen, but beyond that, it was definitely her. Her eyes were fixated on him and they looked dead, resigned even, and it hit him in that second on how truly big this really was.

This girl who he had tormented for years. The girl who had fought back, even dared to strike him at one point, never looked defeated. Yet, her she was, watching him with no emotion, unblinking, and resolved. She knew she would die and she had come to terms with it.

That is what scared him.

He had to think. This couldn't end like this. He hated her, hated her kind, but she was vital to the boy who lived and a vital piece to winning this damned war.

He had to think.

'Draco'

He glanced around carefully noticing that everyone was wrapped up in their own conversation.

'Draco'

There it was again. She was speaking to him but not verbally.

'you don't want this, I can see it'

He glanced around again, before looking at her and giving a tiny nod.

'I'm done' she said to him as a tear rolled down her face

'Tell Harry to fight'

He nodded again, not noticeable to anyone but her.

'And Draco… you do it, make it quick'

Was she nuts! There was no way in hell would he or even could he do it.

'I can't' he mouthed to her.

She took another ragged breath and nodded slightly, a thin stream of blood pooling on the table from her mouth. She closed her eyes and let a few more tears fall.

Voldemort noticed that everyone but Draco had almost finished eating. His plate was virtually untouched.

"Young Draco," Voldemort called, "The meal tonight is of upmost quality… do you not find it to your liking?"

Draco slightly bowed, "Sorry, my Lord, it looks to be a very good meal, my stomach is just in too much anticipation for the death of this particular girl."

"You know her from school."

It was a statement, not a question.

"Yes, my Lord. She is the one that I have sparred with since year one."

Voldemort lit up with delight, "Well, this is welcoming news. Until now, I was undecided as to who would deliver her death. She is my gift to you."

Oh for fucks sake

"I would be honored, my lord."

"Very well. Let the festivities begin!" he said with a clap, clearing the plates away.

"Remember, her death is for Draco, and Draco alone." He then looked over to Lucius, "You should be proud Lucius. It seems that he has finally come around."

Lucius smiled, "Thank you, my lord, for giving Draco this honor."

DM/HG

Ignoring her screams had been the hardest thing he ever had to do. She would scream and follow it with a gurgle of blood. He could hear bones break, the manic laughter, and the taunts. He was going to be sick.

She hadn't said a word to him since he told her he could kill her. He really didn't expect her to and hadn't dared look to the table again. He could smell the blood in the air, think like a slaughter house. He wouldn't be able to eat at that table willingly for a long time, if ever.

And then the cold hand landed on his shoulder, "She's alive, but barely. This is your time to receive your gift."

Draco nodded as Voldemort removed his hand and brought an end to the torment the others were causing. He wasn't ready for this. He couldn't do this. Maybe he could pretend to pass out. That might work.

The room was silent as he turned towards the table, not looking at her but at all the eyes that were looking at him.

They were ready to see him take the final plunge and become a true deatheater. His father looked proud.

He glanced at the table after much effort and noticed her eyes once again. This time he could only see one as the other was swollen shut.

"My lord," Draco address, "If I may, I would like to finish this without magic."

Voldemort looked intrigued

"She dared to strike me in third year. I, with this being such an important occasion, I would like her lying at my feet as I take her life, knowing that she brought this on herself for striking one that is pure."

"You wish her to beg?" Voldemort asked.

Draco nodded, "I want the last thing she sees to be me. I want her to know as she takes her last breath, that it was I that finished her off."

Lucius was happy before, but now he was positively beaming with pride, and Voldemort, well he could understand what the younger Malfoy wanted. It was what he wanted to see in Potters eyes when he eventually met him face to face for the final time.

"As you wish, young Malfoy."

And with a gentle flick, Hermione was at his feet, lying on her back, hardly breathing, and hardly hanging on to life.

'Thank you' she said weakly, far weaker than she was at the beginning.

He reached down and placed his hands around her neck, acting like he was squeezing but hardly putting any pressure to it. He had to make a choice. Life or death. One would make him the talk of the evening, the other would make him in grave danger.

Life or death

He added more pressure, but not to that particular spot that would cut off what little air she was taking in. He needed to make sure he had a firm grip and without warning to anyone in the room, he disappeared with her, landing in the only place he knew she could get help and he would be safe.

Hogwarts.