They were in a closed off room within the Riddle Mansion, no sound but the ragged breathing both of their tired bodies were emitting. Scattered around them were broken chairs and torn tapestries, in result of the curses being flown back and forth from their breathy voices. They had been at it for a good half-an-hour; an early-morning training session they had begun since they were fourteen. It was obvious who would come out victories, but still they continued with their ritual. Both were scarcely out of breath and close to calling it a draw, but they knew that neither would be satisfied until a victor was named.
“EXPELIARMOUS!” She shouted at the slightly sweating face of her opponent.
The disarming charm was easily deflected, causing his blonde hair to blow away from his face and his eyes to shut at the small gust of wind that came with the spell, relishing in the cool breeze against his hot face. She took his moment of weakness as an advantage to shout a second spell at him and catch him off guard. This got the best of him and knocked him on his back, his wand falling out of his limp hand. She smirked at her conquest, looking over at him and waiting for him to shout his usual slur of curses at her excellence.
“What the hell, Hermione?!” his voice moaned from the floor.
Ahh, success, Hermione thought to herself as she walked over to him, a slight bounce in her step. When his still unmoving form came into view, she knelt beside him and spoke with her usual ‘I-just-totally-kicked-your-ass-and-now-I’m-going-to-rub-it-in-your-face’ voice, “Man up, Malfoy, It’s not my fault I always succeed in humiliating you.”
Draco leaned his head upwards to look at her with an amused look on his face, “Yeah, but it’s not my fault you’re the Dark Lords number one hit man and totally advanced in spells that I haven’t even learned yet because of Saint Dumbledore and his petty obsession with turning us into his clones.”
She narrowed her eyes slightly, “At least you get to go to school, I’m cooped up hear twenty-four-seven.”
Rolling his eyes, he sat himself on his elbows and looked her in the eyes, “Not the school speech again, Mia? You’re the lucky one, staying here, having access to all of these dark materials to do with as you please.”
“It gets drab after a while, Draco, I’ve told you that. I’ve read every book in here at least twice and mastered every spell known in Dark Magic’s extended history.” By this time, she was sitting cross-legged and looking at him with a bored expression, for they have had this conversation numerous times before.
“Well all of that drabness will definitely pay off in helping out with the conquest of Potter, eh?” He said jokingly, fully leaning up and giving her a playful shove on the shoulder.
A dark look overcame her features as she felt a heat rise up in her face. He backed off, knowing that he had made a mistake in mentioning his name. If there was one more person who hated Potter more than he did, it was Hermione. “I told you never to mention his name in my presence, Malfoy.”
“I-I know… sorry I… wasn’t thinking.” He supplied feebly.“Obviously!” she said hotly, “He’s responsible for my parent’s death, do you expect me to be happy about that?!”
“Then don’t bring it up again!” Hermione yelled as she got up and stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind her.
Through the halls she went, steam blowing out of her ears (in the figurative sense, of course). Her loud footsteps shook the wall hangings around her, each threatening to fall and possibly shatter. She didn’t care, of course. How dare Draco mention his name when he knew what effect it had on her? She had told him a thousand times, if not more, that the sole mention of his name would result in her hexing his boxers off. Of course, she never ended up coming through with her threats with him, since they grew up together and all. A soft spot always lingered towards him in that sense, for him and no one else. Most of the others acquaintances of hers each were too afraid of her to even try to test her patience. But none of them knew how to do it more than him… the git.She slammed the door to her bedroom loudly and collapsed onto her bed, trying to vent her frustrations into her pillow. She felt a small sense of relief as she rolled on her back and closed her eyes, thinking of the things that always seemed to calm her; the beach, mastering a new spell, the look of surprise on her victim’s face when she finished them off… Ahh, that’s better, she thought as her body relaxed into her cushions. But before she could nod off into a peaceful state, there was a knock at her door. Groaning quietly without lifting her head, she called to the door, “Come in.”
The rat-like face of Wormtail, the Dark Lord’s scrawny assistant, popped into her room. She didn’t even need to look to see that it was him, for his stench immediately wiggled its way into her nostrils and made her flinch. “Sorry to disturb you, Miss… but my Lord has requested that you meet him in his office.”
“Very well, Wormtail, you may leave.” She replied, waving her hand dismissively. But before he could leave, she added, “Oh, and Wormtail, next time before you come into my room… take a shower!”
She heard the door close quietly behind him as she sat up and rubbed her temples. Knowing that the Dark Lord’s patience was anything but high, she forced herself out of the comforts of her bed and walked the short distance from her bed chamber into his office a few doors down. He never called her into his office unless it was something urgent, a mission more likely than not, for her to complete. Knocking softly, she heard a muffled “Enter” after only a moment, and opened the door into the dark room. He was sitting at his desk, scribbling something onto a sheet of parchment. She lingered by the door, waiting for him to acknowledge her before she took the seat before his desk. He looked up at her, none to her surprise, and motioned to the plush chair seated in front of him. Rolling her eyes slightly at her keen knowledge, she took her seat and waited for him to finish whatever he was working on. He set down his quill into its brass holder next to him and looked at her pointedly.
“What do I have to do this time, lead another raid on a Muggle’s home perhaps?” She said dryly.
He chuckled softly, “You always knew when you had a duty to fulfill.” She only raised her brows and continued to stare at him, waiting for the answer to her question. “The mission I have selected for you this time is much more important than a silly little raid; I can assure you of that.”
“Oh? Do I have to assist Snape in the labs again to come up with another—”
“No, Hermione.” He said softly, interrupting her. She tilted her head to the side, gaining curiosity. “This mission is something that I’ve been planning for a long time, in fact… practically since you were born.”
She stood up straight in her seat and looked at him with wide eyes, suddenly very eager to hear what he would tell her next. This was the first time she felt a small fluttering in her stomach at the mention of a mission with this much significance. “Well?”
“I need someone to infiltrate the enemy from the inside.”
Her face fell slightly, “But Snape already—”
“I know Severus already has base within their walls. But my target is not only Dumbledore this time.” He said with a slight smirk. She looked at him questioningly before he took pity on her and continued, leaning forward towards her on his arms, “I need you to enroll in Hogwarts and help me get rid of Potter.”
She leaned back in her chair, taking all of this in. It had always been her dream to go to a real school, to learn something other than what the same old books around the mansion held. It had also been her desire to help some way in finally ridding of Potter and finally clear her constant anger towards and put it to rest. The Dark Lord saw her look of astonishment and couldn’t help but to smile to himself, for he knew of her inner most desires.
He spoke again, pulling her from her slight stupor, “I need you to befriend him, no matter how repulsive it may seem. You need to gain his trust, allow him to welcome you into his little group of Mudblood-loving friends. By the time you have his full confidence, you will lure him to me, unprepared, so that we can finally end this pointless war and let Dark Magic once again rule the Wizarding World.”
It seemed to be an impossible task, even to her ears. How could she befriend her enemy, come past all of her pre-determined thoughts of him and his kind in order to associate with them and act civil? The only thing about this proposition was the ending—eliminating Potter. The thought sent a pleasant shiver up her spine. “Mission possible, my Lord.”
He let a sickly grin spread across his face, “Excellent.” She matched his smile as he leaned back into his chair, “You shall accompany the Malfoy’s to Diagon Ally this afternoon to collect your supplies. The term starts in a week’s time, so I expect you to be fully prepared by that time.”
She nodded, “Of course, sir.”
“I will also be checking up on you from time to time, you will know when and where to find me.” Once again, she nodded in agreement. He waved a hand towards the door dismissively, “You may leave.”
She exited with a huge grin on her face and began the walk back to her room. But before she could open the door into her room, a pair of strong arms pinned her against the door. She smiled up at his smirking face looming over her as he leaned down to kiss her passionately, their mouths clashing hungrily. He tasted her sweet mouth with his tongue as one of his hands ran possessively up the inside of her thigh and groped at the milky skin. She moaned into his mouth as he began to caress her in time with their thrusting hips. His mouth left hers to make a trail down her neck as she writhed beneath him, her hands running up and down his muscular back. Their eyes met and each saw lust reflected in them. Hermione reached behind her and opened the door, dragging him in by his collar.
Too impatient to continue in this sate of overdress, he pulled his shirt above his head and looked down at her once again, daring her to make the next move. But, instead of pushing him up against the bed like he desperately wanted her too, she looked up at him with excitement in her eyes and whispered, “I’m going to Hogwarts!”
His mouth dropped open in shock as he stared at her, “Are you serious?”
She just nodded and began to jump up and down, hugging him tightly around his neck. He encircled her in his arms tightly and returned her embrace. When they pulled apart seconds later she looked up at him once again, “Can you believe it, Draco? I’m finally going to an actual school!”
Knowing their moment was over, he leaned down to pick up his shirt and pull it back over his head. “That’s great Mia, really. But how did you manage to let him to let you go?” She led him over to her bed as she explained everything that has transpired just a few minutes ago. He listened intently and by the time she finished, his mouth was agape again and he was looking at her with astonishment on his face. “You have to befriend him?” He said, staying conscious of saying his name.
“I know it sounds bad, but it all has a good outcome, right? At the end of it all, he’ll be gone, and it’ll all be because of what I did! Isn’t that fantastic?” She asked feverishly.
“Yeah—it’ll be a relief not to have him on my back anymore.” He said, with a slight joke to his voice.
“Precisely, so everybody wins! I get to go to school and help get rid of Potter for good, and you get to… well… get to go to school with me!”
“And bask in the glory of Potter’s non-existence.” He added with a slight poke to her shoulder.
“Yes, that too.” she corrected. “Oh! And I also have to accompany you to Diagon Ally this afternoon for supplies.”
“Alright, well were supposed to leave in around an hour or so…” He said, looking over at her with a sneaky smile.
She gave him a wicked smile in return, “Well I guess we have some time to burn then, don’t we?”
Hermione pulled him down by his collar so that he loomed over her, “Yes… that we do.” He sealed his sentence with a fiery kiss to her lips and they picked up right where they had left off, this time without the uncomfortable wooden door pressed against them.
Diagon Ally was alive with activity as young witches and wizards, along with their families, shopped for last-minute school supplies the week before the new term started. Hermione was more than amazed at the colorful shops and even more colorful characters that lined the streets. There seemed to be a store for every need imaginable and she didn’t know where she wanted to start! She glanced briefly at the list she clutched in her hands and made her way over to a store with a sign that read “Madam Malkin’s Robes For All Occasions”, she had a feeling that was where she would find a robe. She walked into the shop alone, for the Malfoy’s had business to attend to in Knockturn Ally, and heard a chime sound that announced her arrival into the shop. A squat witch made her way over to Hermione with a friendly smile. She assumed this woman was Madame Malkin and greeted her with a polite smile.
“Welcome to Madame Malkin’s, dearie, how may I help you?” she asked in a sweet voice.
“Umm… it’s my first term at Hogwarts and the list said that I needed robes?” she asked in a questioning voice. She didn’t know how to talk to these sorts of people, was she supposed to be civil?
“Oh of course—are you a transfer? You seem to be quite older than eleven to my old eyes.” She said jokingly.
“Yes, I was… home schooled.” She explained smoothly, remembering the term that she had come up with to explain her lack of knowledge about other Wizarding schools.
“Well that’s certainly something you don’t hear about every day, is it?” She asked knowingly. Hermione smiled in response and let the older woman lead her to the back, where she saw a variety of different colored robes folded atop each other in an ordered fashion. Next to them was a raised platform surrounded by mirrors and a table with a set of measuring tools. “Now, I need you to step up here so I can take your measurements.”
Hermione complied and stepped onto the platform, looking at herself in the many mirrors. She saw Madame Malkin wave her wand at the table and a roll of tape fly up into the air and begin to circle around her waist, arms, and legs. She did her best to stay still as the older woman recorded her measurements on a clipboard and mutter a spell to a nearby shelf. Hermione watched in wonder as one of the robes found its way onto her shoulders and adjusted itself automatically to her body. This was a foreign type of magic to her.
She heard the bell ring behind her and saw Madame Malkin turn and see who her new customer was. “Ahh, Miss Weasley! I’ll be right with you, dear.”
Hermione saw a petite redhead walk over to where the more luxurious robes were and fondle them lightly, almost in wonder. She didn’t look over at her long, wanting to get this fitting over with so she could continue with her other tasks. Her waiting didn’t last long. Madame Malkin stepped away and admired her work briefly, “You look lovely.”
“Thank you” Hermione replied.
After paying for her things, she left the store and continued down the cobbled street in search for the next thing on her list. She had only been to Diagon Ally once before and that was only to get her wand when she was eleven, pretending to be a first year to trick Ollivander. She had only been down that one cranny, and only remembered how in awe she had been. Apparently, she had never out grown of that astonishment.
The next stop was “Flourish and Blott’s”, the bookstore. She really dreaded going into this shop, her taste for books had dried up ever since she re-read the entire Riddle Family library. Taking one last deep breath of dread, she pushed open the door and froze. This was way bigger than the Riddle Family Library. In fact, she could’ve sworn that it was ten times larger than the dark, decrypted old room. There were books covering every inch of the walls, and even some on the ceiling. There were even more genres than she thought could exist! No, there was not only Dark Magic, there were Charms and Transfiguration and Herbology! She walked down the aisles with a look of wonder painted on her face, wondering where she should start first.
She stuck to her list at first, picking up the necessities, and placing them in a basket she picked up at the front of the store. After that she browsed the shelves in search for items that struck her fancy, little did she know that she wanted to buy a little less than the whole store by the time she was finished browsing. In fact, by the time she had considered herself done, she was already nose deep in a copy of “Hogwarts, a History”, a rather large encyclopedia about her new school. She was too busy reading the first few lines of the Preface “Meet the Founders”, that she didn’t see where she was walking and crashed into someone, sending them both tumbling to the ground.
“I’m so sorry!” she frantically apologized, trying to gather up the books that had fallen out of her basket.
“It’s fine. Here, let me help y—you have a lot of books!” The masculine voice of her victim said in awe.
She giggled, despite herself, “Well I guess I went a little overboard on the back-to-school book shopping.”
“A little is a bit of an understatement.” He joked back at her.
He made her laugh again. No one had really made her laugh before—except maybe Draco, but he didn’t count. She wanted to see his face, but her books were still in a mess on the floor, so she quickly put the rest away and looked up. Oh my god was the only coherent thought that made its way to her brain. She saw emeralds, pure emeralds… in his eyes. How could there be emeralds in his eyes? Was that even possible? Could you do that?!
“Umm, are you alright?” he asked tenderly.
She blinked, “Yeah… yeah. Thank you for helping me, you really didn’t have to do that. I practically ran you over.”
He smiled, “Its fine, it wasn’t your fault, just blame the books.” She chuckled as he held out a hand, “Let me help you up.”
She smiled and took his hand. Hermione was shocked that he could still help her up even with the additional ten pounds of books she was holding. Balancing herself on her shaky legs, she looked up once again to the stranger. “Thank you again for your help.”
“No problem. Uhh, I’ll see you around?” he asked uncertainly.
“Sure, yeah.” She said, nodding.
He turned and walked away and she couldn’t help but stare at him as he left. She was too busy looking at his retreating form that she didn’t hear Draco sneak up behind her. “Starting you mission earlier than planned, are you?”
She was used to him sneaking up on her, so she was none too surprised that he chose to now. She turned to him with an eyebrow raised, “What are you on about, Draco?”
He pointed over his shoulder to where the stranger with the emeralds for eyes was paying for his things; she followed his finger and looked back at Draco with a furrowed brow. He took pity on her and spoke in a clam, yet testy voice, “That was Harry Potter.”
Her eyes widened as she looked back over at “Harry” again, looking him over with her eyes. It couldn’t be! “But… but… but… the scar!” she defended.
“But… but… but… the hair!” he replied in a condescending, yet playful voice, pointing a finger at his forehead.
She looked back over at the checkout desk for the third time and saw him scratch his forehead, lifting his ebony hair slightly to reveal a slight discoloration on his skin, as if on cue. Her blood ran cold and she felt her world start to turn. Anger at her behavior replaced the shock as she felt the one word she wanted to scream out in the open etch its way out of her throat “WHAT?!”
A/N: Well, since I've had zero inspiration for IFH, I figured that uploading the next chapter to this story would be a good distraction. I hope you don't mind :)
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