Kingsley Shacklebolt was a wizard of rare leadership qualities, and after The Battle of Hogwarts he showed compassion that few would have suspected him to possess. There were a group of ten or so from the Death Eater side who had effectively surrendered themselves to the winning side. Kingsley was aware that at least two of the number present were the spies who had worked tirelessly to feed information to The Order of The Phoenix.
Kingsley knew of them, even if it had been a hard fought battle to learn the information. The high-ranking Auror had grilled Albus Dumbledore for it, not allowing the old man to fob off the people around him as pawns to be easily sacrificed. Therefore, now both Kingsley and Arthur Weasley knew of all the circumstances of the once clandestine organisation of The Order of The Phoenix.
Kingsley watched now as Lucius and Draco sat quietly at what was left of the Slytherin table with a very unsteady looking Severus Snape beside them. The man was ashen, his robes were covered in blood, and Kingsley shuddered to think what had happened to him. Then he watched in surprise as Hermione Granger rushed back into the hall and handed the Potions master several potions, and he saw Lucius help the man drink them.
It was then that he recalled one of the pieces of information that Albus had reluctantly told him. The old man had tasked Severus Snape with educating Hermione Granger on everything she would need to get Harry to today in one piece. This education program had been conducted in secret and had been happening since the girl’s fourth year.
Kingsley was further surprised when the Gryffindor witch then hovered, appearing very worried, apparently not only had the old man’s plan worked, but the pair of them had forged a friendship as well. Then he watched as Lucius appeared to placate Hermione, and seemed to ask her if she was injured. It had been this civility that had cemented the resolve in Kingsley’s mind.
Shacklebolt could not simply order these people arrested. He knew that they were on their side – the winning side. He then wondered how many of those who remained with those he was watching were also either already on their side, or had switched sides and fought for what they truly believed was the right thing at the last moment. These people deserved a chance as well.
However, while he was formulating all of this in his head, he also saw some of the Gryffindors present taunting the small group, and Kingsley specifically noticed that Hermione Granger was having barbs thrown at her for associating with the Slytherins.
Of course, the feisty witch was giving as good as she got, but he decided that he needed to step in before anyone got hurt, they had lost enough people today. He acted quickly, telling the Aurors he would personally deal with this group, and he approached them. He made certain that they saw he had friendly motives, and he told them that their magic was going to be monitored as he placed them under house arrest, also telling them they would receive owls informing them of the date of their hearings.
So it was that each family who agreed with Kingsley’s conditions remained at Hogwarts until the actual prisoners had been processed, and then family by family they were escorted to their homes by Kingsley. Restraining wards were placed around each property, and those placed within were warned that the wards would not only record anyone passing through them, but if any of those tasked with remaining within the wards went through them, the trace on their magic would instantly register and they would find themselves in a holding cell at the ministry and under arrest. He then stressed that these measures would also protect those within from any as yet uncaught loyal Death Eaters.
On the whole the measures had proven very successful. It had been a good way to keep everyone separate until the Ministry had cleaned up a bit, in effect giving officials one less problem to deal with immediately.
It was now six months post battle, and today—finally—it was Lucius and Draco who were explaining themselves to the board. It had been found that Draco had become a spy to avoid killing Professor Dumbledore, but not that many people knew that, or that Lucius had been steadily passing information on to Severus throughout the second war.
Neither men were members of the Order of The Phoenix, even if both wizards had been reporting to Severus, who after Dumbledore’s death was only in contact with Kingsley and Arthur. Unlike the Potions master’s history, few people knew of the work of any other spies, so they had to be questioned along with the others.
Once things settled down, Kingsley and Arthur had come and exonerated Severus as they wanted his input on their board of peers. Harry Potter and Hermione Granger had provided the evidence, along with Dumbledore’s portrait and the new Order heads to clear Severus. However, when he was asked if he wished to be reinstated as headmaster of Hogwarts, he had grimaced, and stated enigmatically, “Perhaps, I am happy to oversee reconstruction, but I do not wish to make up my mind yet.”
Today was the first time in a long time, as he sat opposite The War Crimes Review Board, that Lucius Malfoy allowed himself to enjoy the wave of relief rising in his chest. He glanced at his friend Severus. The Potions master had not been back to the manor since he had been cleared. Lucius understood that it would have been difficult for him, knowing what a conflict of interest it would be, but still he had missed his friend.
He sighed, this was finally going to be over, all he and Draco had to do was get through these interviews and they would be all right—oh they would have to pay dearly for their freedom—but they could finally pick up the pieces of their lives and start to move on.
Lucius’ eyes scanned along the row opposite him. He was pleased to see Anthea Greengrass, as the new head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, his friend Severus next to her, and then Hermione Granger, and Lucius noticed that she had filled out beautifully in the last six months, and he found himself envying her friendship with Severus.
Shacklebolt was beside Hermione, and next to him was Harry Potter. The new head of the Aurory, Nymphadora Tonks, sat next to Harry and finally there was Arthur Weasley, who was now head of The Order of The Phoenix since Minerva McGonagall had chosen retirement.
The only other persons present were Percy Weasley and Adrien Pucey off at the end of the table, notating the minutes for the ministry records. It had been thought that having two records would seal any disagreements that might surface at any time in the future.
All in all the review panel appeared to be a very well chosen cross-section of British wizarding life. Lucius was pleased to see that the entire panel was not made up of Gryffindors, in fact, they were outnumbered by the other members of the board; another initiative of Shacklebolt’s no doubt.
One very important thing that this panel had in common was that every individual had proven themselves hundreds of times over. They had all fought in the war, and they understood how it was. As well as that they were all dedicated to finding the way forward without falling back into the pot-holes of the past, something that had happened the first time around.
To be interviewed, detainees were given Veritaserum and then questioned. It went in both Malfoys favour that they had willing submitted to taking the potion, and Lucius wondered who had not. He knew he had a valid reason for not taking it, but he trusted Severus to have that under control. He wasn’t planning to play on it; he wanted this settled and finished. Both Malfoys had been placed in holding cells for the night to ensure that they could not have taken any antidote for the truth serum before it had been administered.
Draco was questioned first, and Lucius watched him taking the potion.
Shacklebolt went straight to the point as soon as he saw that he was under its influence. “Did you willing serve, Tom Riddle?”
“No!” Draco proclaimed adamantly.
“Then why did you attempt to kill Professor Dumbledore?” Harry Potter wanted to know.
“To stay alive,” was Draco’s honest answer.
“Is it true that from just before the time of Professor Dumbledore’s death you made a deal with him to spy for The Order?” Hermione asked, even though she knew the answer, she wanted to have it plainly stated.
There were gasps from some on the panel, and open mouths when Draco calmly said, “Yes.”
“You’ve got to be kidding,” Harry put in. Everyone else ignored him.
As his son was questioned, Lucius found himself momentarily fighting a sneer that wanted to twist his mouth, but he managed to contain it, and started watching the panel again as they sat across from him. After a time his eyes landed on Hermione Granger, because she was really the only one he was interested in watching, and he observed her in almost awe. He was transfixed by how she was sitting and listening so gravely. This witch had fought like a warrior princess in the Final Battle, then he smiled to himself as he remembered back to the strong-willed thirteen year old he had met in Flourish and Blotts, who had narrowed her eyes at him and supported her friend by telling him, ‘fear of a name only increases fear of the object’.
Surprisingly, her words had been prophetic to him. Well, they had started him thinking anyway. At first he had been affronted and disgusted at her speech, but if he was honest, it had actually been the true start of his reformation.
Shaking himself from that thought, his mind turned next to the pretty—but innocent—picture the witch he was watching had made two years later at the Yule Ball for the Tri-wizard Tournament. She truly had been a budding rose in her charming pink formal robes, and he remembered wishing the strangest thing that night; that he could have asked her to dance.
There was no doubt she had already been warned off all Slytherins by that horrid Weasley child, because Lucius had already been able to see it in her eyes her. There was fear of him in her amber-flecked eyes every time she looked at him. Then when the same redhead had ruined her evening for her that night, Lucius had been filled with the urge to curse him and make him suffer for hurting his delicate flower.
It had never even occurred to the blond wizard then to question his possessive thoughts from that night, and instead his mind reflected that perhaps ‘delicate flower’ was the wrong term for Miss Hermione Granger. She was a beautiful and well-mannered witch, but there was nothing delicate about her skill or power, although there was a delicacy about her. She was fierce, determined and independent, and it had all been there, hidden just under the surface that night, but she had also looked so fragile, tantalizing even in her dusky pink robes.
Lucius sighed, how could I have known that the horror that was Tom Riddle would return so soon after that night? Of course, he had felt and seen his mark coming back into life, but it had still been a shock to feel it burn that awful night, and he’d known he was trapped because his wife would think nothing of telling tales. In the end through, not even that had mattered, he did everything in his power to facilitate Riddle’s demise.
Before the Dark Lord’s rebirth, Lucius had been beginning to distance himself from former associates even as far back as prior to the World Cup. Contrary to popular beliefhe had not participated in the dark revel following Ireland’s victory that night. He had been at trade negotiation meeting, completely unaware of what was happening. When he found out that Narcissa had, by her own admission, proudly marched and participated with the very scum he was trying to distance himself from it had been the beginning of the end of his marriage. They had fought heatedly about her involvement that night and what it meant, and he asked her if she had learnt nothing, but she was a Black, and most of them were known to be unswerving Riddle sympathisers.
From that moment on, he had shunned Narcissa completely, and tried to shelter Draco from her, but all too soon she’d invited the horror show into their home, and he’d thought they were all lost. It was then that he realised just what he was married to, and that she was as mad as her twisted sister.
The Dark Lord had brokered his marriage to Narcissa, in league with his stupid sycophantic father, and the witch had not graced his bed since she had provided him with the heir required in their marriage contract, and that was something he was entirely grateful for.
Sighing quietly, he continued to listen as Draco answered all questions posed to him by the panel, and he was very proud of his son, even though he knew his own freedom would be harder to earn. Lucius knew that he had freely supported Riddle’s first reign of terror, but so had Severus, and he had been redeemed, he knew from their time at the manor following the battle that he even counted the delightful Miss Granger as a friend now.
Severus had recovered from his injuries well in the past six months. He had still been very ill and weak when Lucius had insisted he come with them to the manor following their release after the battle, and he and Draco had had to bodily support him.
Lucius turned his eyes to that friend now sitting next to the witch he had been contemplating, part of Shacklebolt’s committee of peers, and his heart swelled for him. Severus had been so adamant that he would not survive the war, and Lucius’ eyes panned across to Hermione once more, she had stabilised him after the attack of that wretched snake, stopping the blood loss enough to allow Severus time to find and administer the potions he had been carrying with him. The injury had still almost killed him, but her quick thinking had tilted the balance in Severus’ favour.
This petite witch had done Lucius more good than she knew, then unbidden, an image of her convulsing in agony on his rug in that drawing room—the throne room of a madman—invaded his thoughts and he had a hard time not grimacing at it. He only wished the best for her, yet she had suffered unspeakably right in front of him and he had been powerless to stop it. He knew Draco still had nightmares about it, and neither of them had been in that room again since the day they had gutted it after the battle. They had boarded it up, without magic, torn it to pieces the Muggle way with hammers and their bare hands. It had actually been very therapeutic.
Lucius had secured his beloved manor as his own again, and had then cut the parts of it out that had been tainted, and he had done it as skillfully as a surgeon with a scalpel. Now those parts of the house were waiting patiently for him, or someone he chose to redecorate them, but until that point they would remain boarded up.
Thankfully, Riddle had only invaded the guest wing of his family home. The family wards had made it impossible for him to access more than that, and it had been that part of their home where Lucius and Draco had started cleaning up manually the moment they had returned. After making Severus comfortable, in the family part of the house (because being Draco’s godfather, Severus was part of their family) then they had scoured the guest wing until they’d dropped from exhaustion, but it had had to be done immediately, they couldn’t have felt safe there otherwise.
Lucius wondered now as he watched on and waited his turn to defend himself, if Draco had been thinking on the same person as he had whilst they had ripped everything down to the bare walls and windows in those cursed rooms, before piling it all up outside and ordering the house elves to burn it.
Everything to do with Narcissa had also gone the same way. A small ceremony to mark the internment of both Narcissa and Bellatrix had been the only time Lucius and Draco had been given permission to leave the Manor. It had happened a few days after the battle, and Aurors had escorted them to the Black graveyard for the funeral. Regardless of what they’d done in life, they had been a part of their lives, and Draco deserved closure of this painful period in his life.
It had taken both men—and Severus once he’d regained his strength—that same week to remove all traces of Riddle and his cronies from their house, but now they fancied that the air no longer stank of them, and they were thankful that summer was approaching and they could leave the windows and doors open. The manor had seemed to stretch and breathe again after they’d finished.
Lucius came back from his contemplations in time to hear the words of the senior board members telling Draco he was being granted freedom on the proviso that he remained in his current mind set, and Lucius watched Nymphadora removing the trace charms from his magic. It made a band loosened in his chest and he breathed easier; his son had been given the second chance that he himself craved too.
Lucius knew that they would both be on probation, that they would be monitored very closely. He wondered once more if freedom for him would be elusive. His one stint in Azkaban had him wishing to never set foot on that island ever again, and he hoped that this wish could be a certainty.
It was as he was thinking this that he noticed a small smile tilt Miss Granger’s lips as she watched Draco being set free. She turned her head slightly, obviously feeling Lucius’ eyes on her and she appeared to be uncertain as they met his, and he kept his features neutral and inclined his head slightly to her. To his surprise her eyes widened and he saw a delicious blush starting to stain her cheeks.
As he relaxed into his chair after his questioning, Draco Malfoy watched Hermione smiling at him and he couldn’t help the flip his stomach did, but then anger laced through him as he thought of Ronald Weasley with his hands on the witch that he had wanted ever since she’d stood up to him with such passion over a hippogriff. The broken nose had almost been worth it to find out what a prat he’d been. His mother had been the one who had made such a fuss about everything, and Draco still didn’t know what she’d threatened his father with to make him agree to order that odious McNair person to kill the beast.
He knew that Ronald Weasley had been chasing Hermione straight after the battle, he’d been there sneering at them (although they probably would have laughed if they’d known the real reason for his sneer), he also remembered him berating her for helping Severus. She had remained silent, and Draco had seen annoyance in her expression, but he did not know if they’d made up after he was gone.
Hermione Granger deserved someone better than a Weasley. If he had his way, she would be his, but he knew he had little chance of that happening, but he would still return her smiles now that he could. There was another thing that was troubling him as well. He had noticed his father watching her too, well, before his eyes had glazed over after he’d taken the potion, and now as the effects of the serum were starting to wan he was again seeing things passing between them. He knew the look his father was giving Miss Granger, it meant that he was interested in her, and he wondered what was going through his father’s mind.
If only they had the chance to prove to Hermione that they had changed, maybe then he might have a chance to steal her from the Neanderthal redheaded oaf, who so did not deserve her. Mind you, she may have already realised that. He sighed, but then there was his father, he would not steal a witch from him, he deserved his happiness too. But sod it all, so do I, Draco thought heatedly.
As Draco was thinking all of this, Hermione’s brain was telling her many things she did not want to hear. She had not seen either Malfoy since the day of the battle, and the last thing she remembered about them was that they had sneered at Ron as he had happily announced (at exactly the wrong moment) that they should find a room. Crass idiot, Hermione’s brain supplied. Fancy thinking I would want to… yuk!
She returned her thoughts to the Malfoy. Now, if they wanted to ‘get a room’, what a cheap saying. She sighed, today they looked like different wizards, and she couldn’t help the fact that she thought they both looked lovely.
Lucius had cut his hair off, it was shoulder length now, while Draco on the other hand was letting his hair grow out from its short spiky cut. It was now heavy enough to be just brushing his collar. Make no mistake, Lucius still looked as formidable as he ever had, but to put it frankly, it was making her wet just looking at him, well both of them really, and this made her mortified with herself. How could she be lusting after both Malfoys, what kind of greedy little slut did that make her?
Hermione was not very experienced sexually, but she was so ready to play now. There had been little opportunity in the past, only during her summer holidays. Then she thought again of Ron, he’d really had no chance with her. She cringed at just about everything that he did, and she realised early on that she hated being seen in public with him. That had proven to be a huge problem, as he was a publicity whore. He thrived on the limelight, she on the other hand hated having the press reporting on her every move, but perhaps if she was with someone that she liked… she looked once more at Draco and Lucius.
Then the only subject he enjoyed was Quidditch, and it was probably the only subject that bored her to tears. She didn’t mind going to Quidditcht could be quite spectacular, and nor did she mind talking about it, but when it was all that ever came out of his mouth—apart from food when he talked with his mouth full—then there was a significant problem.
Hermione was attempting to hold her friendship with Ron together for Harry’s sake, but since she had rejected his advances, and Harry had ended it with Ginny only days after, being at Grimmauld Place had become more than tedious, especially since Harry seemed to excel at putting his foot in it and blabbing things to Ron that just seemed to incense the guy. She sighed again, but that was something she could fathom later. Now, she was more interested in why she was so attracted to the Malfoys suddenly.
She glanced up under her lashes at them, and saw Draco talking to Tonks and Lucius watching, and was that regret in his eyes? Then it dawned on Hermione that Tonks was Lucius’ niece, and she knew from speaking to Tonks that she really did not know her uncle or her cousin, and Hermione wondered if maybe it was time for them to get to know one another better now the war was over.
Studying them again, she wondered if that was possible, what would their changed positions in things mean to them, and then she sighed quietly, she guessed she would never know.
“I knut for them?” the unmistakable voice beside her murmured.
“Oh,” she muttered, and turning she smiled at him. “I was just considering where the Malfoys might sit in the scheme of things now that the war is over.” Then she wondered if she’d been too blunt.
“Oh, I see,” Severus replied. “Do you see yourself somewhere in that future?” He saw the panicked look that crossed her face as it stained with colour, and he wanted to crow. He wondered if she was considering the lord or the master. Then a strange thought struck him as she spluttered, obviously trying to think of an answer. He had read something recently, during his convalesce, and he wondered if... No perhaps that was asking her to be a bit too broadminded. Yet if anyone was the perfect candidate for such an arrangement... she was powerful enough to sustain what a relationship like that entailed, interesting, he thought, and then patted her arm. “It’s all right, I was joking, Hermione.”
“Oh,” Hermione muttered, and it even sounded disappointed to her. Then she heard Kingsley calling them back to order.