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". . . Miss Hermione Granger!"
At the sound of her name being called, Hermione broke from her nervous reverie.
Chapter 1: Unexpected Events
4 MONTHS EARLIER
Hermione Granger entered her gloomy office and sat at her desk with a sigh. Her head throbbed and she felt drained from her extensive morning trial.
As a Ministry-appointed Defense Inquisitor, she was no stranger to long, stressful days in court. Having been a Defense Inquisitor for the Wizengamot for almost a year now, she'd seen her share of taxing trials. They always took a lot out of her, and today's had been no exception.
Chapter 2: A Decision
Hermione's low heels clacked behind her as she headed toward Kingsley's office. When she arrived, she was greeted by his secretary sitting behind a large mahogany desk.
"Miss Granger," the petite blond said, flashing a beaming smile. "How can I help you?"
Chapter 3: The Meeting
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.
Chapter 4: Dire Circumstances
An hour later, Draco sat in his cell, still fuming over the events of that afternoon.
Goody-goody Granger? That's the best the Ministry could come up with for my defense?
Draco knew the Ministry had been corrupt during his father's time, but it obviously hadn't changed. Now it was just corrupt in the opposite direction.
Chapter 5: A Mother's Love
Hermione was in her office filling out paperwork for the case she'd closed that morning. She rubbed her eyes wearily. As stressful as her morning in court had been, it was nothing compared to the afternoon she had.
What was she thinking? That she could actually represent Draco Malfoy? And defend him, no less? It was ridiculous.
She could just imagine Harry's and Ron's reactions.
Chapter 6: What Our Memories Allow
Hermione examined the flask in her hand, turning it over a few times. She was very curious what Narcissa Malfoy's memories held.
Memories played a very critical role in the world of magical law. Of course, there were certain precautions, rules, and considerations that came into play but, overall, memories could be very telling when trying to establish the innocence or guilt of an individual.
Chapter 7: Don't You Know?
Hermione barely slept at all that night, tossing and turning, reliving everything she'd seen in Narcissa Malfoy's memories. She wondered if Narcissa spent most of her nights as troubled as she was right now, haunted by those scenes from her past.
As Hermione drifted in and out of restless sleep, there was one overlying question nagging at her brain. Would she become Draco Malfoy's Defense Inquisitor?
Chapter 8: Notions
Draco threw himself down on the hard cot Azkaban called a bed and stared at the stone ceiling.
Well, that went . . . strangely.
He couldn't help but reflect on the miserable turn his life had taken. The once proud and powerful Malfoy heir now reduced to a prisoner, relying on the girl he once bullied mercilessly for his freedom. It was laughable, really.
Chapter 9: Bound to Get Hurt
That evening, Hermione fought her way through a very crowded Leaky Cauldron to meet Harry, Ginny, and Ron for dinner. As she pushed through the throng, she noticed several patrons glaring at her and heard a few non-discreet, angry whispers.
Hermione's history of defending Death Eaters had not made her as popular as she once was. In fact, the Daily Prophet had more than once referred to her as a "traitor" to Muggle-born witches and wizards.
Chapter 10: A Good Soul
Draco entered the meeting room the next day, he was greeted by the sight of a very frazzled-looking Hermione, arranging her papers. Her hair was pulled into a haphazard bun with numerous tendrils escaping, and there were dark circles under her eyes.
"What's wrong with you?" he asked as he sat down.
Hermione barely glanced up. "I, uh, didn't sleep well last night."
Chapter 11: I Used to Live Alone
When Draco got back to his cell, he threw himself on his cot and assessed the books and music-playing contraption.
The reality of what Granger had just done hit him. It was incredibly kind and considerate of her to bring these things for him. She really was far too compassionate.
But then again, he shouldn't have been surprised. After all, this was the girl who wasted half of third year trying to save a manic hippogriff's life, and then later devoted her spare time to freeing house-elves.
Chapter 12: The Unlikelihood of Hope
"Cormac McLaggen!" Hermione spat venomously the minute Draco sat down the next afternoon.
"What did you call me? Is that some Muggle swear I've never heard before?" Draco's tone was light, but he was a bit wary. The last time he'd seen Granger this angry had been in their third year when she'd slapped him. He moved away from her slightly.
"No, Cor-mac Mc-Lagg-en." She pronounced each syllable distastefully. "He's the prosecuting Inquisitor for your case."
Chapter 13: I Wish
When Draco entered the meeting room the next day, Hermione took one look at him and dropped the papers she was holding.
"Malfoy!" She was by his side in an instant. "What happened to you?"
"A run-in with some Death Eaters yesterday." He eased himself into his chair, grimacing in pain. "It's surprising, really, the punches some of them can throw when they've done nothing but wave a wand their entire lives."
Chapter 14: Some People
Hermione sat at the Three Broomsticks, nervously drumming her hands on the table. She had invited Harry to meet her here for lunch so she could ask him to testify on Draco's behalf.
She had no idea if he would agree to it or not. Yes, he had testified for Narcissa Malfoy, but Hermione knew he was truly grateful to her for her actions the day Voldemort was defeated. It had, indeed, changed everything.
Chapter 15: Through the Looking Glass
"We're going to focus on your memories today," Hermione told Draco when he entered the meeting room the next day.
"How fun," he said, crossing his arms as he walked over to where she was setting up a Pensieve. He'd been dreading sharing his memories with her ever since she told him he'd have to.
"All right, it's ready." She turned toward him.
Chapter 16: Questions
The two guards threw Draco into his cell, where he landed on the cold stone floor, then slammed the door shut, locking it behind them.
He got up and sat on his cot, placing his head in his hands.
What did I just do?
Chapter 17: You'll See
When Draco entered the meeting room the next day, Hermione barely glanced up from her papers, but she immediately began talking a mile a minute.
"Harry's agreed to testify, which is very good news." Her quill scratched furiously on parchment. "He'll be sharing his memories and giving a statement. Besides him and Luna, I'll also be putting your mother on the stand to talk about your childhood. Also, I think it will help everyone remember what she did for Harry. The Prosecution has Katie Bell testifying against you. Ron, however—"
Chapter 18: The Trial
The next two weeks were a busy blur of meetings with witnesses, piecing together Narcissa's and Draco's memories, and the overall strengthening of Draco's case. Now the day was finally here that Hermione had been both dreading and anticipating. The start of Draco Malfoy's trial.
Hermione arrived early to the Wizengamot, making sure everything she needed was in place. She hadn't been there more than ten minutes when Cormac McLaggen arrived, looking every bit as lecherous as she remembered.
Chapter 19: Aftershocks
“When I told you to seduce her, I didn’t think you’d take me so literally.”
“Mother . . .” Draco sighed. When he’d been informed that he had a visitor after the disaster in court, he hoped it would be Hermione. He could only imagine how she was feeling right now. Did she even still have a job?
Chapter 20: Real Life
On Monday, Draco entered the meeting room to find a dark-haired young man seated in Hermione's spot. He was relieved that he didn't recognize him, although that didn't necessarily mean he wasn't someone who had a grudge against him or his father.
"Good morning, Mr. Malfoy," the young man greeted him. Draco noticed he had an American accent. "I'm Steven Carmichael, your new Defense Inquisitor. Have a seat."
Chapter 21: Before I Knew You
Draco sat down in his usual spot to see a particularly cheerful Steven Carmichael going over his notes with a huge grin on his face.
"Why are you so happy?" Draco surveyed him. People who were too happy made him uncomfortable.
Steven looked up with his eyes alight, reading glasses sliding down the bridge of his nose, his smile bordering on goofy. "She's amazing!"
Chapter 22: Friends Today
As Draco entered the courtroom the next day for his trial, he quickly scanned the crowd. There was only one person he wanted to see, but he knew she wasn’t there.
Sure enough, he saw his mother, Potter, and Luna, like last time, but no Hermione.
Chapter 23: Stranger Things
As Ronald Weasley approached the stand, Draco braced himself. He knew the redhead had many justified reasons for hating him. Years of bickering and ridicule at school aside, Draco had recently made a move on his ex-girlfriend, and it was now being splashed all over the tabloids. Draco knew all too well that hurt pride could make a man do terrible things.
While Hermione and Potter may have just defended him, the fact that one-third of the Golden Trio thought him guilty would certainly complicate things.
Chapter 24: The Truth
A half an hour later, court had resumed, and everyone waited to see what Minister Shacklebolt would declare concerning the memory.
"After subjecting the memory of the late Bellatrix Lestrange to testing, the court has established that the memory is credible and relevant. It will be admitted into evidence for this case."
Chapter 25: I Remember
"If the defendant will please rise," Shacklebolt said.
Draco complied, heart pounding in his chest.
Now was the moment. After countless weeks of waiting, one botched trial, and the lengthy proceedings of today, he would finally know his fate. His mouth felt dry, and he couldn't bear to look anywhere but the wall.
2 Years Later
"Draco Lucius Malfoy, hurry up!" Narcissa Malfoy tapped one of her silver heels. "Honestly, do you want to be late to your own wedding?"
"Coming, Mother." Draco joined her in the hall of the Manor, looping his tie. "Don't worry, we have plenty of time."
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