Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any of the characters or story line affiliated with either the books or the movies. All rights are reserved for its creator J.K. Rowling.

oOo

Love and War

A tale of how the consequences of war

bring together two unlikely people

Chapter One

The war had gone on long enough, but as it were there didn't seem to be an end in sight. All the horcruxes had been destroyed and the battle that took place at Hogwarts was one for the history books, but when they had thought that victory was within their reach Voldemort had once again fled and had eluded them at every turn ever since. People continued to die and it was simple enough for the Golden Trio to follow the trail of death that Voldemort and his followers left in their wake. However the dark wizard was still far outside of their grasp. For months it had been a game of cat and mouse, each side losing more of their supporters along the way, but for one person the chase had come to an end as she stared up at the white brick fa├žade of the magnificent Malfoy Manor.

Hermione shivered as she slowly made her way down white stone path between the walls of green shrubbery as the massive house loomed ever closer before her. Even in the light of the late afternoon the sun the place still seemed to ooze with the cold feeling of dread she remembered from her brief time here months before and she would be lying if she said that she was thrilled to be back. As she continued on, her steps slow, but never faltering, memories assailed her of a time in her life when she had surely thought that her end was near.

The dark hardwood floor was cold and unforgiving beneath her back, the dark purple colored walls surrounded her like dark veils threatening to close in her, the large crystal chandelier swayed slightly in its silent glory above and it was that that held her attention as the insanity that was Bellatrix Lestrange bore down on her, knife in hand, as she cast the Cruciatus Curse time and again, demanding that she tell her how she obtain the sword of Gryffindor that had lay hidden within her Gringotts vault.

Bellatrix's howl of frustration echoed throughout the drawing room as she lunged at her frightened frozen body. The sting of her knife embedding itself in the soft, tender flesh of her forearm ripped a strangled cry from her lips as her sobs racked her body, pain and fear evident in her eyes as she looked away from the beauty of the chandelier to gaze at the occupants of the room imploring someone, anyone, silently to help her.

Harry and Ron were nowhere in sight as her eyes roamed the room. Finally, in a moment of hope, she let her gaze focus on the man that had taken what innocence was left to her. Fear that mirrored her own shone in the once cold silver eyes of Draco. He stared in silent horror at the torture his aunt was bringing down upon her, but when he caught her gaze he made no move to step away from the security of his parents.

Her eyes screamed at him, begged in silent entreaty, but still he made no move to help her. He turned his gaze away to stare unblinking at something she couldn't see. It was then that she heard the angry shouts of saviors. Harry and Ron had come. They had somehow managed to escape whatever prison that had held them and they were there. She tried to look past the cackling form of Bellatrix, tried to see with her own eyes that they were safe, that they were there, but she could see nothing past the curtain of Bellatrix's black gnarled curls.

She fell silent, her throat sore and dry from screaming. Silent tears made their trek down her dirtied face as she felt Bellatrix's weight lift off her as a sudden crash echoed around the room before the occupants in the room fell silent. However the silence didn't last long before Bellatrix's maddening cackle boomed loudly in the quietness that had veiled the room only seconds before.

She could do nothing but lie there in tortured abandon as spell light cast eerie patterns of light around her, as shouted spells echoed in the recesses of her ears. She felt almost separated from the chaos unfolding around her, her body aching with pain from the Cruciatus Curse and the ugly inscription of Mudblood carved into her arm. She turned her gaze back to the beautiful chandelier and she vaguely thought to herself that something so magnificent didn't belong in the horror that had cloaked the manor like a plague before her vision began to dim. She didn't fight the darkness; it was welcoming, chasing away the chill of fear and the torturous ache of pain. She slipped more than willingly into its black oblivion.

Hermione remembered waking up at Grimmauld Place battered and feeling broken. She had been safe and surrounded by her friends. She never spoke a word of what happened before the incident in the drawing room, but after a while it became obvious. Hermione never mentioned to them just who had committed the deed and thankfully they never asked. It was now something for her to deal with on her own.

Shaking her head Hermione pulled herself away from her memories and dark thoughts and stopped. She now stood before the massive entrance of Malfoy Manor and she shivered slightly at the feel of coldness and danger that surrounded the home. There wasn't a ward one in place, but Hermione knew that that was easily remedied as she turned around and began casting the wards that she had more than perfected from her time on the run with Harry and Ron. When she felt the last ward surround the house she stepped up to the wide double doors and without knocking let herself in.