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Draco Malfoy stared at the blank brick wall in front of him. Time had ceased to matter.


He'd only spent a few months in this gray, hopeless cell of Azkaban, but it felt like a lifetime.


The days blended together, his mind tortured from disuse. Thinking was the only thing he could do to pass the time, but his thoughts were so morbid, he spent hours trying to quiet them.


Was this how he'd live out the remainder of his life? He wasn't even twenty-one years old and it seemed like his life was over.


He thought of his father, who'd recently been sentenced to life in Azkaban. Even he had too many valuable years left to spend them rotting away in a place like this.


Draco's mind then turned to his mother, whose own trial had begun only days ago. He hoped she would not be forced to share the same fate as his father, and likely, himself.


Draco prayed the hate against his family wouldn't be strong enough to put his mother behind bars. She was innocent, he knew this for a fact. Although Narcissa Malfoy had stood by and watched for years as Lucius Malfoy climbed the ladder of the Dark Lord's Death Eaters, Draco's mother had never become a Death Eater herself or personally committed any crimes.


Unfortunately, Draco was not so lucky. His blind admiration for his father had caused him to be only too eager to follow in his footsteps. A price he was likely going to pay, slowly and agonizingly, for the rest of his life.


A sharp knock on the door of his cell, followed by it being unlocked, broke Draco from his stupor.


"You!" A guard gestured for him to get on his feet. "You've got a meeting with your defense."


Draco sighed and stood up, depressingly grateful for a chance to escape his miserable cell for a little while.


So it begins.


He followed the guard down the long, gloomy hall to meet his Ministry-appointed Defense Inquisitor.

Hermione followed a rigid guard down the gray stone halls of Azkaban. Although Dementors no longer guarded the place, the air hung heavy with despair.


The guard opened a door, revealing a small room with a table flanked by two chairs facing each other. At the far side of the room was another door with a large window, designed for the guards to keep watch but still allowing her some privacy with her clients. The rest of the room was barren.


Before entering, Hermione handed the guard her wand so he could perform the spell that would allow only her to do magic with it. It was a practice she was used to, designed to keep her safe from the prisoners she met with should they gain ahold of her wand.


The guard handed it back and allowed her to enter. Hermione sat down in the chair facing the door across the room. She spread her files on the desk, then laid down fresh quill and parchment.


She was going through the same motions she always did when she met a client. However, this meeting felt nothing like the scores of others she'd had before. She swept her still-straight hair over her shoulder and attempted to calm her racing mind.


Be professional, she reminded herself for the hundredth time. Do not let him antagonize you.


The door opened and Draco Malfoy stepped in, looking much like the picture in his file. He was dressed in the same gray prison suit, and his face wore the same sour expression.


Hermione went back to busying herself with her notes, although she'd finished organizing them ages ago.


"Good afternoon, Mr. Malfoy," she said, gesturing toward the chair across from her. "Have a seat and we can begin."


As Draco Malfoy sat down, his eyes raked over her, then darkened as recognition set in. He cursed loudly. "You've got to be kidding me! You're my Inquisitor? Is this some kind of joke?"


Hermione narrowed her eyes but attempted to maintain a professional façade. "I'm Hermione Granger, your Ministry-appointed Defense Inquisitor for your upcoming trial. Now, if you'll—"


He swore again. "I know who you are, Granger! What I want to know is what you're doing here." He sneered. "Shouldn't you be boring some first-years to death being the next McGonagall of Hogwarts? Or at home knitting jumpers for your six Weasel offspring?"


"I'm not here to talk about my life, Mr. Malfoy, I'm here to talk about yours." She glanced down at her files. "Tell me, what are—"


"Mr. Malfoy?" He raised an eyebrow. "I see you've finally learned how to address your superiors, but—"


"Listen, Malfoy"—Hermione rolled her eyes—"I'm not interested in your childish insults. I have a job to do, and if you know what's good for you, you'll cooperate. I'm not the one looking at a lifetime in Azkaban."


Draco's eyes darkened and he set his jaw firmly. "Whatever job you've come to do, you can forget it. Under no circumstances will you be representing me in court." He stood up and walked toward the door.


"Fine." Hermione released a frustrated breath, then began packing her papers up. "You can process a request for a new Inquisitor with the Ministry. You should hear back in six to eight weeks."


"Why did you even come here?" he demanded, turning to face her.


"It was my assignment." She snapped her briefcase shut.


"And I bet you just jumped at the chance," he muttered bitterly.


"Excuse me?" She looked up at him, her anger rising.


"Come on, Granger! You'd love nothing more than to see me locked up for the rest of my life. You really think I'd let you defend me? Some defense that would be!"


"Believe it or not, Malfoy, I don't let my emotions dictate my work. I would plead your case honestly like I do with any of my clients." She strode over to him, pointing a finger at his chest. "Unlike you, I have a conscience."


He glared at her with stormy gray eyes, then pushed her hand away. "Save your morality speeches, Granger. I know you'd love to see me burn."


"If that's how you feel, why did you request for me to be your Defense Inquisitor?"


"What? I did not! I'm not suicidal."


"Minister Shacklebolt said you did."


"That loon? He's clearly mistaken." He knocked on the door for the guard to open it, then sneered at her. "I'd rather have no Inquisitor than one as worthless as you."


The guard opened the door and Draco pushed through it, leaving Hermione glaring after him.

A/N: Please review and let me know what you think so far! I absolutely love reading your reviews and respond to all of them. I plan on updating this story weekly, so be sure to follow if you're enjoying it.


If you haven't already, check out my other Dramione story, "If Only in My Dreams," which you can find on my profile.


I have some other fun stuff in the works, including an original novel coming out on Amazon this summer!


Until next week!

-Cece Louise

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