A/N So I made it six chapters and it leaves the story open for a potential sequel. I am going to work on a sequel to the Masked Ball I think. As I said before, this is not my favorite of the stories I have written so I may not come back to it for the sequel for awhile but I never know how my muse might strike. I know I could have done more to flesh it out but I wasn't feeling it right now and I refuse to leave a story unfinished. When I am feeling this more I may come back and expand it and draw the story and characters out.
(Quick note. Anonymous reviewer was right about the map, I don't know why I always interpreted that scene to mean that Barty had run out of polyjuice and that is why he showed up on the map as himself. I am officially calling a Kessel Run and saying I meant to do that…um changed universe : o Just roll with it kids.)
I want to thank all the reviewers, faves and follows. Special thanks to Vienne for the review.
Narcissa let the polyjuice fade. She stood in front of the cracked mirror and watched as she shed the Bulgarian seeker. She hid herself in a cloak and walked next door to Hermione's quarters. It took several knocks before Hermione opened the door. Narcissa pushed in before Hermione could stop her. Hermione went to draw her wand at the shadowy invader but stopped when Narcissa dropped her cloak. The two stood toe to toe in the small hall by her front door.
"What the hell are you doing here?"
"Something foolishly Gryffindor, I am fighting for you."
"There is nothing to fight about. You betrayed me. You lied to me. You used me. You are not the person I love."
"Are you sure? You didn't fall in love with Viktor until I came into the picture. I want one thing and if you tell me you feel nothing I will leave you alone."
Narcissa pushed Hermione against the wall and began to passionately kiss her. Hermione pushed against her to get her off. When she broke up the kiss Hermione slapped her hard enough to draw blood. They stared at each other panting for what felt like hours but was only seconds. Hermione raised her hand up to Narcissa's lip and wiped the blood away. She spun her around recapturing her lips. Narcissa felt like every nerve ending in her body was firing as she allowed the younger witch to take control. They deepened the kiss and Narcissa began to run her hands under Hermione's shirt.
"Merlin's beard. What the hell 'mione?"
The two broke the kiss and Narcissa found herself looking over at Ron, Harry, Neville, Ginny and Luna who were all slack jawed in surprise. She hadn't checked to see if Hermione was alone. Harry carried on where Ron left off.
"Hermione….why are you snogging Draco's mom?"
Narcissa let her head fall back to the wall, "damn"
Hermione kissed her and laughed, "Generally all of our foolish Gryffindor plans go awry and then you end up flying by the seat of your pants hoping it works out. This also usually accompanied by some degree of public embarrassment. Welcome to the house of the lion. I will come by after I am done here but I need to talk to them alone"
Narcissa looked up at the five shocked students, several of whom looked like they wanted blood.
"Are we good?"
Hermione took her hand and whispered, "I don't know where we are….but now there is a we. You are right, my feelings aren't for Viktor. Now we sort out the rest."
Narcissa took that as a victory and the two stole a few more kisses much to the dismay of Hermione's friends. Ron started making gagging noises and Narcissa left Hermione to explain everything to her friends.
"So let me get this straight….wait wrong term….let me get this correct. You have been dating Viktor, but Viktor isn't Viktor so you really have been dating Narcissa who was sent to kill you. Despite that you like her and are going to now date her as Narcissa? And Narcissa who hates muggleborns and all things light has fallen for you but we need to save Draco, the Death Eater first."
"Well when you put it like that it does sound awful. Harry I know it's stupid and I know you hate Draco and Narcissa. I don't blame you. I didn't mean to fall in love with her but she is right…..I do love her. I know I shouldn't, I know it's too quick and she is my enemy and all the other really good arguments on why I shouldn't but I do. The last few weeks have killed me. I am not saying I am a lesbian but I don't think I can walk away from her."
Ron decided to have one of his deep moments, "You didn't fall for Viktor when he was Viktor, you fell for him when he was Narcissa. Hermione, I don't know how this will work out but you fall in love with the person, not the cover"
"Ron…..thank you. Thank you for mixing your metaphors and being you."
Ron decided to try and help a little more, "Plus we always thought you liked girls so it makes sense. You never really gushed over boys and there is that rumor about…"
Harry elbowed him in the ribs to shut him up but it was too late.
"Harold James Potter what rumor is he talking about."
"There was a rumor that you were seeing Millicent."
"What! Millicent Bullstrode? Are you kidding? She is a toad! I can do better than Millicent. I didn't even rank Pansy?"
The two boys looked at each other completely confused at her frustration while Hermione paced about the room listing hotter girls she could pull. Ginny finally interrupted her.
"So Ron's right? You are into chicks?"
"NO! Why would you say that?"
Neville couldn't resist, "It might be the pacing and going through the hot girls at school. If someone accused me of dating Crabbe I wouldn't be listing the blokes I could date instead. It's ok Hermione, you are our friend and we love you no matter what."
"Even if you are snogging Draco's mom." Ginny added
"Especially if you are snogging Draco's mom" Ron laughed.
"You guys are going to make my life hell over this aren't you?"
Harry wrapped his arm around her shoulder, "Yeah pretty much, I really hate Narcissa but imagine how much fun we can have with Draco if you manage to pull it off and save them. You hooked up with his mom. We will be able to torment him for years."
"Help me guys, please. We haven't come up with a good way to free Draco yet but we are trying to work out a raid." She filled them in on the Halloween Ball and the different ideas that they had come up with to save Draco.
Luna who had been quiet through everything finally chimed in, "maybe your problem is that you are letting the Order do the planning and they think like the Order. Narcissa and Severus are thinking like the Dark Lord. We need to think like ourselves. You already have done this once we just need to do it again."
Five voices cried out in harmony…."what?"
After her conversation with the D.A. Hermione went to Narcissa's quarters. The two talked until dawn learning about each other. It was touch and go for a few minutes when Narcissa learned about the events third year but Hermione let Narcissa see her memories and she understood why she hit Draco and saved Buckbeak. They had both done things to each other and each other's friends and family. The last time Narcissa had run into the trio as herself they were trading barbs and threats at Madam Malkins and it would take time to heal some of the wounds. They grew closer over the next few weeks and the more time that Hermione spent with Narcissa the more she realized she had made the right decision.
Narcissa lay against Hermione as the sun streamed into her room.
"I am glad there is an us Hermione. I am sorry about the deception"
"I am still peeved, you know that? We will sort this out love."
Narcissa snuggled closer content they had some resolution.
Although Hermione and Narcissa were happy with their relationship, others were concerned. Minerva was worried about Narcissa hurting her and Harry and Ron were still unhappy it was Narcissa. Ginny and Luna just wanted details. The idea of using polyjuice potion during sex fascinated them. Hermione explained that they hadn't done anything while Narcissa was Viktor after the first time. Hermione had cared for the seeker even if she hadn't loved him and Narcissa had a great deal of guilt where the boy was concerned and neither wanted his memory in their bedroom. The conversation did have Hermione thinking about borrowing someone else's hairs to find out what it felt like to take Narcissa as a man.
The Headmaster's secrecy and actions had hurt Hermione as much as Narcissa's deception. She made peace with Narcissa but she still needed to deal with Dumbledore. She finally went to his office and confronted him one day after classes.
"Sir, you knew all along why didn't you tell me? What possible advantage did you have to gain by allowing her to continue with her charade?"
"There were certain tactical benefits"
"You knew she would seduce me, you knew my feelings were growing. Was it your intent I seduce her to the light?"
"No Hermione, it was never my intent to use you. Narcissa was a brilliant student, although she spoke with the same bias as her Slytherin classmates she never meant it. The words were only restatements of what she was taught. She was bright and full of life. She could have been successful in many fields but her family saw fit to saddle her to Lucius. He destroyed her and turned her into the icy and cruel woman that everyone has come to expect. You remind me of her, a nose in a book and living to overachieve. I thought you would make a good match and I knew that you would see the person behind the façade and make your decision. If it had been anyone else's name on that map I would have stopped them on the first day. If I didn't see her falling in love with you I would have never let it go so far. As I said….there were tactical benefits. Having one of our greatest minds happy and focused will help the cause and adding Narcissa and Draco to our fold will be a boon as well. When this is over I will offer Narcissa the flying instructor job and Draco will be able to finish out his education. She will happily join the Order and my staff and her insights will be invaluable. Plus I get the warm glowing feeling of a match well made"
She wasn't really sure if the old man was telling the truth but she let his words soothed her ire and they made a truce. In the end she found love even if it was born of deception.
The student body was clueless to the change. The D.A. had their regular practices and then the Order members would meet after to discuss the plan. Neville, Luna and to Molly's dismay, Ginny, had all been inducted into the Order. Ginny and Luna were not of age but it was just a case of practicality. Ginny's whole family and all of her closest friends were Order members and Luna had come up with the plan. They needed to bind them with a secret keeper's oath and at this point it was just silly not to induct them. All of them took secret keeper oaths in respect to the plan which prevented it from being revealed even through use of Veritiserum or legillimency. They had begun to focus getting everything together for Halloween and they had used Arthur's connections at the Ministry to get invites for his family. The ball was a tradition and many of the students were required to attend the ball every year. Hogwarts always arrange for carriages for the attendees and escorts to accompany them. This year Minerva McGonigall and Severus Snape were among the chaperones. Nymphadora Tonks and Kingsley Shacklebolt had made sure there was a large contingent of Aurors that were favorable to the Order present. They needed wands in case there was no way they could sneak Draco out. They would be able to have the Weasleys in the mix along with a few of the D.A. but they would still have a numbers problem. Dumbledore never went to the ball and therefore would not be able to make an appearance without arousing suspicions. Total they would have 15 people present including Aurors and Weasleys that wouldn't raise flags and they had no choic but to make do with the guest list for the ball otherwise they would tip their hand to the other side.
Hermione looked stunning. The Dark Lord was known for his taste in women….particularly young women and any distraction was going to be helpful. The Dark Lord would most likely only be doing surface scans which were imperceptible when he cast them. Hermione would have to stay focused on providing false images.
"Are we ready to go?" Narcissa walked in wearing dress robes and looked very handsome as Viktor Krum. Naricssa had stopped polyjuicing herself at night. They would spend the nights as Narcissa and Hermione and the days would be spent with "Viktor".
"As ready as I will ever be. I just hope that we can pull this off and Harry and the others can sneak in without being caught."
"All of the children of the attendees will be there, they should be able to blend in and avoid recognition."
They went to the front of the castle where carriages awaited all of the attendees. The Weasley's were confirmed and Bill, Fleur, George and Fred would be coming with Molly and Arthur. Narcissa escorted Hermione into a carriage and looked around. The other students started grabbing carriages and Viktor and Hermione ended up with Ron and Ginny, the Patil twins and Cormac McClaggen. Narcissa looked over and saw that the next cart held Hestia and Flora Carrow, Goyle and Crabbe who both look as vacant and dimwitted as ever, Blaise Zabini and Teddy Nott. Goyle saw her looking and sneered at her. It was going to be a long night.
When they arrived at the Ministry they were escorted to Ballroom Three and Hermione and Narcissa focused their thoughts on tempting bits for the Dark Lord. They had held several fake order meetings prior to the ball and she was now going back and forth thinking about the meetings, Harry, Ron and Hermione spending Christmas at the Burrow potentially and her relationship with Viktor. Viktor pulled Hermione closer as they walked around the ballroom. Narcissa's grip tightened when saw that Draco was sitting in one of the corners. As expected he was being watched by Yaxley, Amicus and Alecto Carrow, Crabbe Sr. and Goyle Sr. The students from Slytherin were now over in the corner as well more than doubling the numbers. It looked like Nott was taunting Draco a little. This was where the problem arose. There was no reason for Viktor to approach them. Additionally Hermione would want to avoid a corner which contained all of her enemies. Naricssa walked them around the room socializing with various Ministry officials while keeping an eye on her son. She was hoping an opportunity to approach her son would present itself. She felt a nudge against her mind and realized it was the Dark Lord. He never knew how strong an occlumens Narcissa was so when she let her first wall fall to grant him access it never occurred to him that she was providing false memories. He saw her with Hermione and at the D.A. meetings. Now would be the question of whether he would take the bait. He focused on an image of her sitting with the Trio and a few others planning a visit to Hogsmede to meet the twins. They were going to sneak out using the One Eyed Witch passage. She felt him retreat from her mind and felt Hermione stiffen. He was going into her mind to verify what he saw. Hermione didn't have Narcissa's occlumency training and that was the part of the plan that created the biggest issue and in the end provided one of the best solutions. The Dark Lord was pulling volumes of tactical information from Hermione's mind as the walked, easily travelling through the young witch's thoughts. Hermione squeezed Narcissa's arm when he finished letting her know it was done. A few minutes later Marcus Flint came up and asked Hermione for a dance. It was strange that the former Slytherin would ask but Hermione was flattered and accepted. Narcissa understood, this was her chance to talk to Draco.
She approached her son. When she arrived Goyle Jr. looking as moronic as his father, laughed.
Yaxley looked at her and said, "You can take a walk in the arboretum. We will escort you."
Nott stood up and said, "I am coming too." Yaxley went to caution him but he responded, "My father says I don't do enough to please the Dark Lord. If I am there for this I can prove my worth. None of us want to end up like Draco."
The other students nodded and laughed and Hestia poked Draco a bit. Crabbe and Goyle Sr. looked proud of their sons. Amicus spoke, "If our nieces want to go I think it would be good for them. "
Narcissa would have been a fool if she didn't understand they were marching to their deaths but she needed to get her son out of the party if she had a shot of freeing him. She nodded and began to follow but Draco hesitated. Nott gave him a shove.
"Get a move on ferret. We need to have this reunion somewhere besides here."
Draco's head jerked up and looked to Narcissa. She nodded at him and he tried to control his surprise. He followed them out and to the arboretum. Once they arrived Narcissa pulled Draco near her. The Death Eaters focused on the two of them pushing their children behind them.
Yaxley spoke, "The Dark Lord has what he needs, you aren't necessary anymore."
Flint came in with Hermione in tow. He pushed her over to where Narcissa and Draco stood.
"The Dark Lord has picked her mind clean."
Narcissa pulled her close with Draco and Naricissa standing in front of her. She was mostly obscured by the two of them Death Eaters didn't see Hermione pull her wand from Narcissa's robes or put Draco's wand in his belt behind his back.
"I can't believe that you agreed to shag the mudblood. You really think you would ever be accepted back." Alecto sneered.
Teddy Nott stepped forward, "Alecto is right about one thing, you two hooking up is totally weird."
Alecto looked at Teddy who was standing with her nieces. They were now positioned to protect Draco. The other Slytherins had their wands pointed at the Death Eaters as well. The Order members present came running in along with the Patils, McClaggen and numerous Aurors. The Death Eaters were outmatched but reinforcements arrived for them as well. The two sides were facing each other not yet knowing whether they would be battling. A mist set along the floor and the Death Eaters parted to allow Voldemort through. He was flanked by the Lestrages and Dolohov. Bellatrix sneered at Viktor.
"What are you thinking betraying us for her. A mudblood Cissy? Really? You are just like Andy…..a blood traitor whore!"
Only a few in the Order and the D.A. knew what was going on. They were worried that the hatred towards Narcissa would stop people from cooperating and no one knew why Bellatrix was speaking to Viktor that way.
Molly looked at Hermione, "What is she talking about? Cissy?"
"Molly some things are easier seen than explained", with that Viktor, raised a vial of antidote to his lips and began to transform back to herself. The crowd was shocked to see Viktor was Naricissa Malfoy. Lucius stepped forth from the crowd looking disheveled and intoxicated.
"Cissy, what about me?"
"Lucius I am…"
"Wait!" Hestia cut her off and Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle grabbed something from a bag Vincent was carrying. "Ok as you were"
Narcissa rolled her eyes knowing exactly what was behind their backs. It was a small price to pay for their support and her son's life.
"Lucius…..I want a divorce. I am in love with Hermione and I am leaving you for him."
Two flashes went off blinding both Draco and Lucius. Vincent and Gregory stood there smiling with their cameras as Hestia rolled her eyes.
"They say a picture is worth a thousand words ferret…. Now we are even."
Draco was too stunned to answer his friends jibe but Goyle's father was furious, "What the hell are you doing boy?"
"I am over this, I don't want to be a Death Eater and I don't care about your Lord. He can't even conjure a nose, how is he going to rule the world? We quit"
Voldemort came forward furious, "I was just in the little mudblood's mind" He looked at Hermione, "How did you do that? How did you hide those thoughts? You are too young to be that powerful of an occlumens. How did you turn their children?"
He turned to his Death Eaters, "If you want to remain my followers you will kill these traitors."
The room froze as everyone waited to see what they would do. Alecto broke the peace and fired on Flora who deflected the shot easily. Bellatrix sent an avada at Narcissa who ducked and fired back and the room broke out into battles. Goyle and Crabbe's fathers were both defending their sons having chose their family over the Death Eaters. Nott's father was trying to kill him and Blaise's mom kept trying to drag him out of the fight while he was taking down Death Eaters left and right yelling at her to let him go.
The arboretum was filled with shouts and bangs as spells were exchanged throughout. Voldemort had attacked what he considered the offending party and pursued Hermione who surprised him by easily deflecting his attacks. He reverted to one of his favorite and shot a bolt of fiendyre which Hermione deflected with a wall of ice. She sent the remaining shards of ice and snow back at Voldemort who shook them off. He conjured Devil's Snare from the ground which bound Hermione's legs and arms. Hermione's wand hand was bound so she wandlessly cast an incendio destroying the vines of the Devil's Snare. She turned the smoldering ashes into lion which charged Voldemort burning brighter as it neared. Voldemort shot a purple jet at the lion tearing the ashes back apart. The two began to rapid fire spells blocking and dodging as they went. The combatants stayed out of the way of the great battle and focused on staying alive.
Hestia was one who was focusing on staying alive. She jumped out of the way of some debris and sent a shot at Alecto freeing up Flora to run into the fray and take on the Lestrange brothers. Alecto deflected the spell and sent one back which Hestia dodged. She looked at Ginny whom she had been practicing with frequently. Ginny was battling Yaxley and when she saw Hestia's she nodded her understanding. Hestia traded one or two more spells with Alecto and then screamed "Now" Ginny fired at the Carrow woman and Hestia hit Yaxley. Both went down as neither had expected it. Ginny jumped in to help Neville and Hestia and Greg found themselves face to face with Lucius. Goyle Sr. stood in front of his son but Narcissa grabbed his hand.
"This isn't your battle, it's mine." Narcissa and Lucius began to duel. His anger fueled him and he planned to end both his wife and his son that evening. He would win his way back into his Lord's graces and make a new family. He notice Bellatrix looking at him, maybe the Dark Lord would give her to him as a gift. Rod couldn't sire a child but he could. He was so engrossed in his victorious thoughts he missed Narcissa's well timed kick. Goyle and Crabbe jrs. Both grabbed themselves in sympathy as he went down as did several Order members and a couple of Death Eaters. The kick was brutal.
"I guess Draco will be an only child after all" Vincent quipped.
Draco was taking on his Aunt Bella with the help of Hestia. They were struggling to keep up with the dark and furious witch who was frenzied with anger and hate. She was easily backing up both of them and Hestia knocked Draco down taking a spell in the arm protecting him. Her arm was bleeding profusely. Fortunately Severus Snape had taken on Bellatrix and Draco quickly applied several healing spells to the fallen witch. All of a sudden the Death Eaters winced and grabbed their arms. Voldemort and Hermione were at an impass, neither gaining ground. He sneered at her.
"I have no idea what games you play but I noticed neither your leader nor your savior stood with you in battle. You fight well but I wonder how the Order will fair in the hands of a mudblood schoolgirl. We will meet again child."
With that he turned into a cloud of smoke and disappeared. The Death Eaters made a mass exodus but quite a few were already unconscious or dead. Lucius was curled into a ball whimpering at Narcissa's feet and Bellatrix was too fixated on killing Severus to leave. The two hadn't even slowed down their duel and she was still throwing curse after curse at him. Severus was laughing and taunting her.
The Order quickly subdued Bellatrix and Severus went off to sulk mumbling about them being killjoys.
Rufus Scrimageour who had been dueling with Fenir Greyback throughout the battle walked up to Hermione, "what the hell is going on here?"
Before anyone could answer Hestia ran up to Narcissa and began to kiss her passionately. Everyone in the room looked on with disbelief except for the few that knew the plan.
Hermione turned to the couple who had yet to part for air, "what was it you said Narcissa? Some things are easier seen than explained" Hermione, Crabbe and Goyle Jrs, Flora and Hestia Carrow, Blaise Zabini and Teddy Nott all pulled out vials and drank them. A few seconds later everyone was looking at Dumbledore, Harry, Neville, Luna, Hermione (who had moved to Narcissa's neck much to Draco's dismay), Remus Lupin and Mad Eye Moody.
"Headmaster you may want to transfigure your evening wear"
"Oh thank you Severus, indeed. This really doesn't flatter my figure" Dumbledore quickly changed Hermione's evening gown to robes. "Rufus, why don't we go for a walk and I will fill you in."
The two walked off to discuss the matter while the others looked on in disbelief. Crabbe and Goyle's fathers and Blaise's mother were being comforted by Molly and Arthur. They were relieved to know their children were safe at Hogwarts and had just been slipped some sleeping potion but like it or not, they had just switched sides. Ron and Harry had magically developed the pictures of Lucius and Draco and were having a bit of fun with Draco who looked like he was praying for the floor to swallow him alive.
Knowing there was much to sort out but that they were safe for now Hermione pulled Narcissa off to a corner while the wounded were attended to and the Order and Headmaster were left to deal with the aftermath.
"I do love you Hermione. I am glad everyone knows"
Hermione took her hands, "You're only saying that because you haven't done Christmas at the Burrow yet."
Narcissa wrinkled her nose at the thought, "I guess I am going to have to adapt to my new life. You're worth it. It looks like we will have a battle to fight but I think you might have gained more than a few unwitting allies tonight. You pulled Crabbe and Goyle and their sons will follow. Teddy will be furious to know his father tried to kill him and might flip as well. Blaise and his mother are now yours as well. The Carrow twins might stay true but we will see. One thing is for sure…..I will always be standing next to you."
She wrapped her arms around waist and leaned in for a kiss. She felt the world melt away as their lips met. She knew that she was in for an uphill battle but the woman she was holding was worth it.