It was apparent as soon as walking in that the party was in full swing. Dancers were waltzing left and right, with Lord Voldemort overseeing them all. “Malfoy, I can’t be here. I’m a Mudblood, remember?” “Yes, but you’re my Mudblood” Draco responded with a sneer. ‘I wasn’t aware I was property. I thought I was just a lowly stupid..’ “Granger, I’m a Leglimens, remember? So control you’re thoughts.” He cut off her thoughts. She found it weird that not only was Malfoy being humane to her, but also calling her Granger instead of Mudblood. What was going on here? He dressed her up in a beautiful dress, did her hair, and escorted her to a ball. Aside from the sneer, he wasn’t acting like his old self at all. It was kind of refreshing. Suddenly, a loud voice boomed overhead. It had an oddly high-pitched, hiss-type quality to it. The not-quite-man who invaded all her nightmares was speaking. “Well, look, if it isn’t the guest of the hour.” All eyes were on Hermione. “I see our Draco did a nice job cleaning you up nicely. Hard to do, considering you’re heritage.” Hermione ignored the dig. “I have a little surprise for you, Mudblood. You see, the reason we saved you was we had heard of you’re brain power. You did manage to beat Draco at every test score, no matter how narrowly.” Draco’s cheeks had turned a light pink color. “And now, the reason why we are all at this party. You! Considering how greatly brilliant you are supposed to be, we thought that, perhaps, you could earn back you’re wand -“ Hermione’s hopes rose... “-at the cost of becoming a Death Eater. Join us, and you’ll never wear rags again. You’ll have back you’re wand, which will protect you. And you’ll be on the winning side. Really, it’s win-win.” Hermione’s heart sank right down to her kneecaps. Join the Death Eaters? She’d sooner die! She might not have family or love, but she had pride. She could not willingly grovel at the feet of a madman such as this, even knowing refusing would mean death. “I...I suppose...I could...think it over?” She stuttered. If she had said what she truly wanted to, there would no longer be a Hermione Granger. “Foolish girl, you must decided NOW!” Lucius whispered something in his master’s ear. A smile which was more like a leer split Voldemort’s face, and he reconsidered. “Well...perhaps after a few dances.” With that, the music started once more. Hermione felt a hand lightly tap her shoulder. She turned around and found herself, for the second time that night, face to face with her enemy. “Dance with me, Mudblood?” “I prefer Granger.” Hermione, however accepted the dance, never knowing how it would change her life. “Listen, you’d be wise to accept the Dark Lord’s offer. Think of what it could mean for you! A comfortable life, with one’s who would be forced to tolerate you rather than sneer and call you names.” “You mean as you do, Malfoy? I’d sooner die than beg for my life by joining these people. Either way I choose I can’t win, can’t you see that? This isn’t who I am! Why would I join the ranks of people who would love nothing more than to see me dead?” Hermione felt herself getting drawn into a heated argument. “Look, Granger, all I’m saying is look around! We’re the only ones left. There is no precious Potter or Dumbledore now, it’s only you.” Somehow, she always managed to do this to him. Around her, he always felt he had to be right. And he was determined to be. “Like you’d even care what happened to me, Malfoy! I’m just a stupid Mudblood. Nobody here wants me. And if I were killed, I’d be with the ones I truly love.” “So you don’t want to live? It’s black and white, Granger, either you join Lord Voldemort and live, or defy him and die.” “Malfoy, are you really so blinded by all the dazzle you live around that you can’t see that this isn’t black and white? There are gray areas! What about the fact that even if I do live, It will be a loveless life, full of wishing I were dead like the ones I love. And, also, if I do live, I’d have to live with these people!” “Hermione, the dead aren’t the only ones who could ever love you! Do you honestly think nobody here ever could?” “What did you call me?” Hermione was breathless. “I called you Granger, what did you think I called you?” “Hermione.” With a clink of a glass, the dance came to an end. Hermione had to make her decision. Join and live...or refuse and die. “Mudblood, we are all anxious to hear your choice.” The snakelike voice of Voldemort claimed. “When’s the ceremony? I choose...to join.”

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