The God of the Lost
Author: Gravidy
Published: 05-20-03 - Updated: 09-26-04

Chapter 1: The Straight and Narrow

To Draco Malfoy, the inside of Borgin and Burkes was about as interesting as last years racing broom. The seventeen year old sighed and leaned impatiently against the moldy counter while his father stood stoic and unmoved, ignoring his son's restlessness.

Draco had been in this stupid shop more times then he could count and, except for the odd piece here and there, the displays never changed. The display was just that, a display, meant only to appease nosy Ministry inspectors and not really for retail. No one came to Borgin and Burkes to buy the floor items, as Draco well knew, they came for the good stuff, the stuff not on display, the stuff in the back rooms. Draco itched to see the back rooms, had heard tales of the marvelous and wicked magical relics Borgin and Burkes kept there, but no one else was allowed in and it was said to be guarded almost as heavily as Gringotts.

So he was stuck pacing the small, unkempt shop and today was no different then any other of Draco's visits. He'd given the place a once-over and found that not a single damn thing had changed since he'd been there last. It seemed not a single thing in Diagon alley had changed since he'd been there last. It was absolutely boring. After seven years, pre-Hogwarts shopping had become a major chore.

And Malfoys simply did not do chores.

He really would rather have stayed at home or gone out with friends and sent a couple House-Elves to get his Hogwarts supplies but his father needed to pick up a few things from Knockturn alley and his mother wanted to get out of the mansion for the afternoon and while he didn’t believe there was anything in Diagon alley that he wanted at the moment, shopping with his parents meant at least one present, and he had to make sure they got the right thing, so in the end he'd decided to go. And so far it had been a total bust.

His only consolation was that they were very nearly done with their wasted afternoon. Most of his school supplies, including six new books and a set of the finest robes galleons could buy, sat on the counter wrapped in a neat little package charmed to carry it all. His mother was out buying the last thing on his list, his ingredients for Advanced Potions, and if Mr. Borgin ever got around to bringing them Lucius' order, they were going to go look at a pair of dragon-hide boots he'd taken a fancy to when they first arrived. But it seemed Mr. Borgin was taking his sweet time.

Draco glanced over his shoulder at the third member of their party.

Serge Lestrange was standing before a shelf display filled with dolls. Some fabric, some plastic, some hand-sown, a few made of glass, and all of them cursed or possessed or filled with dark magic. Draco turned fully around to frown at the man. Lestrange stood, stock still, staring at the dolls. He had his head cocked slightly to the side, as if listening.

Draco had never met anyone who was crazy before, but he felt, with a distinct certainty, that Serge Lestrange was a complete and total psychopath. And he wasn't far off the mark.

Lestrange and his wife Naoko had been staying with the Malfoy's since Voldemort had busted them out of Azkaban a year ago. It was a secret, of course and Serge was in disguise. He was currently going by the name Philippe and his wife by Margaret. Both of them liked to change their aliases periodically. Draco felt this was odd and certainly not very smart since they'd been known to introduce themselves by different names to people they'd met before, but hell, what did he know?

Life at the Malfoy mansion hadn't altered much with the two additions to the household but Draco still felt it was rather creepy to get out of bed in the middle of the night and find Serge Lestrange wandering the halls silent as a ghost, or standing in the front entryway staring out the window as if expecting someone. Even more disturbing were the talks Serge had with Draco. The man seemed fond of him and liked to talk to him about becoming a Death Eater and his duties towards Lord Voldemort. This was nothing Draco hadn't heard before but Serge liked to pepper these talks with comments about how much Draco reminded him of Voldemort and how if Draco really wanted to seize his destiny he should destroy everything that was holding him back. Draco got the feeling Serge was trying to hint at something but he could never fathom what.

Naoko was only a tad less insane. The woman spent her time talking quietly to herself and mixing potions Draco had never heard of. Other than that she was cold and snappish and Draco stayed out of her way.

Draco wasn't certain why Serge had insisted on accompanying them on their shopping trip. He certainly hadn't bought anything and his presence caused a stir. He was using Polyjuice potion but for some reason he had refused to leave the house that morning without a mask, as if he were afraid someone would see through the potion. Lucius hadn't been able to talk him out of it. So now he was following them around like a specter, white theater mask covering his face, short blond hair matted and awry and amber eyes gleaming wide and staring from out of the eyeholes. He had yet to say a word since they left the house.

Draco stared hard at Lestrange but the man didn't twitch a muscle. Finally he gave up and turned back to the counter. Mr. Borgin still hadn't returned.

He rolled his eyes, muttering under his breath about incompetent sales clerks and rotten service. His father shot him an irritated look and he subsided stiffly. He supposed his father was still angry with him for not making Head Boy. He'd been read a long and humiliating lecture when his father found out about that. In an attempt to defend himself, he'd pointed out that Lucius hadn't been Head Boy either. He winced at the memory. That hadn't gone over well.

Honestly, he didn't see what the big deal was anyway. He couldn't care less about being Head Boy. The whole thing was a scam; just an excuse for the Professors to give you more work while telling you it was an honor you should thank them for. He would have needed a lot more incentive then a dingy little tin badge to actually motivate him to try for the position.

Draco tossed Lucius a scowl when the man's head was turned. His father could glower and throw tantrums all he wanted, it wouldn't change anything, and it certainly wouldn't make Draco care.

The only thing that did bother him about it was that he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt who the Heads were going to be: Potter and Granger. In the bag. Hands down. Fuck them anyway. He really hoped it ate up Potter's Quidditch practice time and Granger's study time. Wouldn’t that be a lark. Maybe he'd come out on top of all this after all.

The door at the very end of the dark hall squealed open on rusted hinges and Mr. Borgin appeared, holding a flat, black rectangular box far out in front of him as if afraid of it touching his body.

" Here it is, here it is!" the greasy little man panted, stumping down the hall, "My apologies for the wait."

Draco peered over his father's shoulder with renewed curiosity as Mr. Borgin set the box on the counter with utmost care. It was made of some sort of dull, black metal and, even from where Draco stood, it seemed to buzz unpleasantly.

" Here it is," Borgin said again, in a hushed voice, "Straight from the manufacturer, done just as you specified and not once touched by human hands."

Lucius reached forward and carefully lifted the lid off. Inside were two objects atop a bed of thick black velvet. One was a large, black leather sheath. The other was a shiny, silver dagger. The dagger itself was bright and new and wholly unremarkable. It was plain and unadorned. The handle was smooth and bare of jewels or eye-pleasing designs, the blade was straight and simple. Its only redeeming quality was that it looked, and was, very very sharp.

Draco was disappointed.

" It looks like a kitchen knife." He muttered.

Lucius snarled and opened his mouth but Mr. Borgin beat him to it.

" No, no, my dear boy." The shopkeeper chided, wagging a finger at Draco, " This is a very special dagger, very rare and very hard to make. Right now it is called a Base because it is pure and empty of all outside influences and magical properties. Once the blade is put to use it begins soaking up the energy around it. If used in Dark magic, it begins to soak up the dark energy, becoming a well of power. The more energy it consumes, the more powerful the blade becomes. In time, if treated correctly, it may become very powerful indeed, then it is called a Subtle Knife."

" Oh!" Draco said in surprise, properly humbled, "I've read about these then. But the one I read about was used against Dark Wizards. It was called Expletus Flamma, the Perfect Flame."

A low, mournful moan came from behind them and the three men spared Lestrange an odd glance but Serge didn't move or speak again. He continued staring at the dolls. Borgins continued after a moment.

" Yes, yes, the Flame was one of the most powerful Subtle Knives ever to exist." he looked impressed, " Unfortunately it went missing a little over a thousand years ago. I didn't know old Professor Binns taught about it."

Draco smirked, " He doesn't. It was in a book I came across."

Borgins gave Draco a knowing look, "Been snooping about the Restricted Section, have you my boy?"

" Of course not!" Lucius cut in sharply, "Draco was never one for bending the rules." But he threw his son an indulgent glance, apparently pleased that his son was doing just that.

" Certainly not." Borgins agreed quickly, "Now, to activate the knife, all you must do is grasp the handle and it will begin absorbing energy. Be careful with the blade edge, until the dagger knows you it is just as dangerous to you as anyone else. This sheath is specially designed just for this blade, it will always hold it and never allow the blade to cut through. I must warn you that even with excellent treatment the Base has a very high failure rate…"

"I know how the damn thing works." Lucius snapped impatiently, cutting him off, "Hurry up."

"Yes sir, my apologies."

Borgins picked up the sheath and positioned it against the tip of the blade. Then, slowly and carefully, he slid his hand under the velvet and beneath the dagger so that his skin would not touch the knife. Nudging and prodding, he was able to slide the blade into the sheath. He let out his breath when the blade finally slipped in and he snapped the top shut.

" There, all yours." And he put the lid back on the box with a satisfied bang.

Lucius picked up the leather sheath and examined it with a frown.

" Can I carry it?" Draco asked.

His father looked at him shrewdly but then nodded curtly and handed the sheath to him.

" Keep it under your robes and for Merlin's sake don't touch the knife or you'll be sorry."

" Right." Draco muttered, and strapped the thing to his belt while his father paid for the item. He liked the way the blade looked hanging from his waist and wandered over to a mirror to get a better view. He smirked at his reflection, wishing he didn't have to hide the thing under his robes.

" We're finished here." Lucius snapped over his shoulder, "Stop admiring yourself like a blasted woman and lets go. Come Philippe."

Draco shot his father another venomous glance and stalked after him, Lestrange floating along behind them.

" Good day, gentlemen!" Borgin called after them, " Pleasure doing business. Do say hello to Mrs. Malfoy for me."

Lucius didn't acknowledge the man but Draco looked back just as he was stepping out the door. Borgin started and gave Draco a watery smile but Draco had already seen the hate-filled glare he had been sending their way. Draco grinned wickedly, pleased that he had once again caught the two-faced old bastard in the act and sauntered away, making a mental note to find a way to use Borgin's duplicity to his own benefit.

Knockturn alley was fairly empty but Diagon alley was thronging. Draco gritted his teeth. He hated crowds, the push and the pull and the stifling heat of the late summer sun on black robes, like a wool blanket over the whole town. He was okay for a few minutes but then he wanted to start shoving people out of his way. They meandered along like cows, with no consideration for people who were actually trying to get somewhere.

And it's unusually warm out, he thought in annoyance, scowling at the sky and wiping sweat from his forehead.

He followed his father's retreating back and kept a look out for people he knew. He saw several Ravenclaws his age, a group of Hufflepuff third year girls whom he scowled threateningly at, chuckling inwardly when they shrank back in fear, and he caught a glimpse of two sixth year Slytherins and merely nodded at them as they weren't worth talking to.

Narcissa was waiting for them outside Bowley's Best, chatting with two women who looked as wealthy and overdressed as she did. She spotted them and spared Draco a tiny smile, her perfect alabaster mask softening just a bit.

" Oh there he is!" one of the women cried, "Draco, my dear, its been ages."

Mrs. Pucey, Draco recalled her name with a shudder and consciously straightened his shoulders like a man walking into the lion's den.

No, no, must keep Gryffindors out of this. He chided himself wryly.

"What a handsome young man he is, Narcissa." The other woman, Mrs. Bulstrode cooed, "Just like his father." She added as Lucius took her bejeweled hand and kissed it.

" Ladies." He said suavely.

" Now, now, You mustn't flirt Taniya." Mrs. Pucey admonished as Lucius kissed her hand as well.

Draco and Narcissa shared a dry look.

" It was lovely seeing you," Narcissa spoke up, "But I'm afraid Lucius and I have some business to be about."

" Oh, of course, dear." Mrs. Pucey said, "Far be it for me to keep you from important errands! I shall expect you over for tea sometime this week." And she kissed the air above Narcissa's cheeks.

" I'm having a garden party next week." Mrs. Bulstrode said, "I'll be sending you an invitation."

" I look forward to it." Narcissa replied diplomatically.

" Good day, Lucius."

The man nodded.

" Ta." The women called and disappeared into the crowd.

Narcissa let out her breath when they were out of sight, " Like twin tornados those bloody chits." She snapped, but quietly.

Draco grinned. He loved his mother's cold intelligence and disdain for others. He imagined she'd been quite the stuck-up bitch in her Hogwarts years.

"Mr. Borgins says 'hallo'." He told her because he knew it would piss his father off.

Narcissa gave a barely audible sniff while his father stiffened in disapproval.

" Come along then." His mother took his arm to lead him inside, "Lets go see those boots you simply must have."

" Do not coddle the boy." Lucius said sharply and Narcissa's face tightened but she let his arm slide from hers and did not look back.

Draco gritted his teeth.

The purchase didn't take long, though Draco was still smarting under his father's rude commentary. Lucius hadn't needed anything from the shop, so he'd entertained himself by belittling his wife and son. Narcissa had found herself a neat pair of designer dress shoes and Draco was quite pleased with the Dragon-hide boots he found and wore them out of the store.

Apparently word had spread that the Malfoy's were in Bowley's Best because the Notts were waiting for them just outside the shop. Quintin Nott was Lucius' best friend and Yasmin and Narcissa got along famously. The four people greeted each other enthusiastically and Draco knew that this was going to end with lunch and drinks in the Leaky Cauldron. That would have been all fine and well, except he didn't see Ryan Nott anywhere.

" Excuse me, Mrs. Nott." He broke in politely, "Is Ryan about?"

" Oh, I'm sorry dear. Ryan purchased his things last week. He's out with his cousins this afternoon."


Not only was his afternoon here not finished as he supposed, but he was going to spend the next hour or so listening to boring conversation, while being stared at by Serge and having to be utterly perfect and polite if he didn't want his father to lay into him when they got home.

As he had suspected, Yasmin almost immediately suggested they all eat together at the Leaky Cauldron and Draco, who followed after them, had just resigned himself to his fate when something caught his eye.

He blinked in surprise and then a slow, cruel smile curved his lips.

There, in front of the entrance to Knockturn alley, was Mudblood Granger. He'd recognize that frizzy hair and huge backpack anywhere. She was peering down the alleyway inquisitively, shifting on her feet as if feeling guilty about her curiosity. Draco looked around for Potter and Weasley but the girl seemed to be alone.

He just had to say hello.


" What is it?" Lucius asked, stopping to frown at the boy. Lestrange halted as well, gold eyes turning to Draco.

" Father, may I go say hallo to a friend from school." And he grinned wickedly as he looked over towards Hermione.

Lucius saw the girl and went still. Then he smirked, "I suppose."

" Excellent." Draco started towards her only to have his father's large hand catch him around the collar.

" Do nothing rash, boy. There are too many witnesses around."

" I'm not going to Avada her in the middle of a bloody crowd!" Draco spat.

" Just so we understand each other." He let go of Draco who huffed and straightened his collar.

"Play nice."

" Morsmordre." hissed Lestrange as Draco passed him.

The boy sauntered merrily over to stand behind the oblivious girl. He glanced around quickly and then shoved with both hands, sending her flying into the alleyway with a startled cry.

Watching, Lucius grinned and Lestrange let out another low moan.

Author's Notes: Heh, I'm a bad, bad girl. If you don't know why then I'm sure as hell not gonna tell you. I love my Lestrange. What a freak!I got the title from Stephen King's The Girl who loved Tom Gordon. This story is based loosely (very loosely) on it.

The subtle knife is in reference to Philip Pullman's awesome His Dark Materials trilogy. I loved the Golden Compass and the Subtle Knife but the Amber Spyglass sucked. It was a great book, just not my kind of thing.

I love references, I've got 'em all over the place

Chapter 2: Wasting My Hate On You

" Number 15: mandatory Sex Magic course for all seventh years." Ron Weasley said loudly as he scribbled his suggestion onto the parchment.

The group of Hogwarts students sitting around the table fell over laughing.

They had already been in high spirits before Lavender Brown caught the giggles but then everyone else caught them too and now everything seemed funnier because of it.

" That's a great one!" Seamus Finnigan seemed to be the most excited by that particular suggestion, "Promise me you'll really send this list to Dumbledore!"

" Honestly, Ron!" Hermione cried from her seat in Harry's lap, "Is that all you think about?" she reached over and snatched the parchment and the redhead cried out in protest.

" Number 16," Hermione said seriously, and nibbled on the quill for a moment.

Everyone went silent, waiting for the punchline.

"Change Slytherins official colors to pink and periwinkle."

The group roared.

" Can…can…you see it?" Dean choked out between gales of laughter, "Crabbe…and Goyle…in pink and periwinkle?"

Harry, Ron, Hermione, Lavender, Parvati, Padma, Dean, Seamus, Ginny and Neville were all seated around a large table in the dining area of Wicked Wyrm's, a popular hangout for young wizards in Diagon alley. It was mid afternoon and the group had stumbled in out of the heat for lunch, dumping their cargo of books and cauldrons and supplies on the floor. They were now pigging out on ice cream, sweets and Fizzy drinks.

The group had been teasing Harry and Hermione all morning about being Head Boy and Girl and Dean had jokingly come up with the suggestion that since they were the Heads, they should be coming up with ways to improve the school. Hermione had immediately whipped out a piece of parchment and now the group was taking turns writing down their suggestions and laughing uproariously.

Currently Harry was sitting at the head of the table with Hermione in his lap, Ron sat next to them and Ginny sat on Harry's other side, her feet stretched out and settled in Neville's lap. Padma sat next to Ron and Seamus sat next to her. Parvati sat in Seamus' lap, giggling, a sucker in her mouth. Dean sat between Seamus and Neville. Lavender was sitting on the table, eating Dean's sundae and periodically spooning a bit into the boy's mouth.

They were oblivious to the envious stares of the rest of the young witches and wizards in the building who were all listening intently. All of them would have eaten their own wands to be part of the popular group of Hogwarts teens. Some of Ginny's sixth year friends sat at a nearby table watching, green with jealousy, as their redheaded friend leaned her head against famous Harry Potter's shoulder and then gave a giggling shriek as sweet, puppy-dog-eyed heartthrob Neville Longbottom tickled the tops of her sandled feet.

" I've got one, I've got one!" Dean reached for the parchment and Hermione relinquished it, "Number 17: Make Snape teach Ron's Sex Magic course."

A cheer went up from the table, Hermione laughing so hard she choked and Harry whacked her on the back a few times.

" Is that what it's going to be called?" Padma laughed, "'Ron's Sex Magic course'?"

"Let's hope not." Harry grimaced, " Or I won't go."

" Does Snape even know what sex is?" Ron asked.

" I think his hand does." Seamus drawled, wiggling his eyebrows and making a crude gesture.

" EWWWWWW!" every girl at the table cried.

" Well there you go!" Ron sighed melodramatically, "I'd have to teach the class. It is my responsibility to pass on my great wisdom."

Padma rolled her eyes, "Ron, you couldn't teach Sex Magic even if the school slut was whispering all the answers in your ear…no offense Lavender."

It took Lavender a moment to get the joke and then she shrieked and had to be restrained by Dean.

" I wonder what the final exam in that class would be like." Parvati giggled, licking her lollipop suggestively.

" Ooo, gimme a little of that!" Seamus purred and Parvati giggled again, holding the candy over her shoulder so he could take a wet, slurping lick.

" You two are disgusting!" Neville covered Ginny's eyes.

" Cover her ears too!" Ron ordered, suddenly remembering that his baby sister was there.

Hermione reached over and cupped her hands over Ginny's ears. Ginny squealed and swatted their hands away.

" Its too late!" she shouted dramatically, "I'm corrupted!"

" Oh no." Harry moaned to Hermione, "How are we going to explain this to Mrs. Weasley? One afternoon out with me and Ron's teaching Sex Magic and Ginny's mind has been warped!"

" Stop whining Harry. Face your certain doom like a man." Dean snapped with mock severity.

" My turn!" Neville stole the parchment from Dean, "Number 18," he looked around at the group slyly," I think we should have a mascot."

He held up a hand when Parvati opened her mouth.

" I know we all have House mascots but we should have a school mascot to promote school pride and I think our school mascot should be….the ferret."

That brought down the house.

Harry laughed until he cried.

" That's it!" Hermione gasped, wiping tears on the sleeve of her Hogwarts robe,"I'm making badges! I'm making badges to SUPPORT THE FERRET AS SCHOOL MASCOT!"

That set everyone off again.

Hermione was having the best summer of her life.

It had started with her parents going to some dental convention in the states. They were going to be gone for a month and Hermione had convinced them to let her invite Harry, Ron and Ginny over to stay so she wouldn't be alone. It had taken a bit of work to get them to agree but her parents were crazy about Harry so eventually they'd given in.

Hermione had immediately written to her friends and they'd all replied in the affirmative. Harry's letter had been an almost desperate cry of 'Get me outta here!'. Apparently Dudley was driving him mad.

Harry's disgusting cousin had gotten himself a girlfriend just as piggish and repulsive as himself and had been taunting Harry endlessly about not having a girlfriend.

In retaliation, Ginny and Hermione had gone to pick Harry up in Hermione's car. The girls showed up at the Dursleys in muggle clothes, Hermione in a little red dress and Ginny in a spunky emerald green outfit, and Harry had walked away from the gaping Dursleys with an arm around each girl while they cooed over him. The look on Dudley's fat face had Harry grinning like the Cheshire cat. They doubted he would ever tease Harry about not having a girlfriend again.

Harry and Hermione had spent the first part of the summer showing their wizard friends around Muggle London. It was a blast. And once they'd worn themselves out partying the Muggle way, they'd all gone back to the Burrow for some R&R.

It had been the best!

Impromptu Quidditch games, staying up late talking and telling stories while sipping on hot chocolate, whole days spent on wild adventures with the twins, lazy afternoons sunning and swimming in the lake. Ron had even taken them to some hangouts for young Wizards: game rooms where Harry and Hermione learned the wizard equivalent of videogames, clubs, and concerts.

There were nights when Hermione felt a pang when she thought of school starting, which was scandalous, and she was instantly shocked with herself.

As the summer drew to a close, the four of them had invited all their friends to join them in their pre-Hogwarts shopping. The entire group had arrived in Diagon alley together early that morning when it was still cool out and very few people walked the streets. It had taken all morning for them to buy all their supplies from each store but it had been extremely fun.

When the laughter died down at last, Neville patted Ginny's feet before pushing them off his lap and standing up.

" I've gotta get going." He said regretfully, "I promised my Uncle I'd babysit and I'm already going to be late."

Dean hooted, "You're going to babysit??" he asked, "Merlin help that child!"

Everyone laughed as Neville made a rude gesture at the other boy.

" What's everyone else doing?" Hermione asked.

" Me, Padma and Parvati are going to Beryl's Beauty shop." Lavender said, "We have to restock. Are you two going to come with us?" she asked Ginny and Hermione.

" I think I'm going to stick with these two numbskulls." Hermione said dryly, gesturing to Ron and Harry who were fighting over a bag of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, "They might go into a Quidditch shop and never come out."

Ginny also declined," Thanks but I see some of my friends over there. I'm going to go say hi."

" Suit yourself." Parvati shrugged.

" Hey…HEY! Stop that!" Hermione grabbed the bag of Beans from the growling boys, "Behave!" she snapped," Now what's going on with you four?"

" Quidditch shop!" Seamus said instantly and Dean and Ron nodded.

" We plan to get lost in there." Harry told her glibly.

She groaned.

The group split up, hugging and calling goodbyes, Ron roaring after Ginny and her giggling friends that she'd better be at their meeting place at five and Seamus and Parvati kissing each other goodbye passionately and with an indecent amount of tongue action until a passing Ravenclaw shouted for them to get a room.

Diagon alley was now packed and sweltering. Ron carried Hermione piggyback through the streets after Seamus joked that they were going to lose her in the crowd.

The redhead complained loudly about her weight.

" Its just my books!" she denied, blushing red.

" No, the books just make it worse." Ron wheezed, stumbling melodramatically, his face twisted in exaggerated exertion.

She shrieked and whacked him over the head a couple times until he straightened up, laughing and begged her to stop.

Hermione's head shot up as she saw a new store.

" Ooo! Ooo!" she squealed, "There's a new bookshop!"

" Urg! Stop fidgeting!" Ron yelped, nearly tumbling over as she practically jumped up and down on his back.

" Can we stop at the new bookshop?"

" We'll stop there after we're finished in the Quidditch shop." Harry promised.

Hermione groaned, "That could take ages. You stupid boys and your wooden sticks! You know why you're so enamored with them and who has the best one, don't you? Its all a subconscious representation of your…"

" HERMIONE!" Dean cut her off laughing, "Sweet little Hermione, I know you just did not go there."

She stuck her tongue out at him, arms around Ron's neck, "Its true."

" What? What was she going to say?" Ron asked.

That just made Dean laugh harder and Harry blush.

" I think she was going to make some sort of derogatory remark about our shoe sizes." Seamus said airily.

" Our shoe sizes?" Ron asked, confused.

" Never mind, Ron." Hermione sighed, patting him on the head, not seeing the wicked glint in his eye that said he knew exactly what she had been talking about.

It was fun to watch the boys in the Quidditch shop. They were almost giddy, running around and practically swooning over the new gear and the latest magazines with biographies of the best players and detailed descriptions of how to do complex moves. But the shop itself held absolutely no interest to Hermione.

She had tried to take a real interest in Quidditch once. She even had a favorite team now though it was based more on the player's looks then their skill, but she just couldn’t drudge up enough interest to keep track of who was in the lead this year and who was the best player and what were the latest moves. Everything she knew she got secondhand from the boys or from Ginny who actually had managed to become a bit of an enthusiast.

After a good fifteen minutes, she'd had enough, and sought Harry out. She found him and Seamus in the back of the store dueling with Beater's clubs. Hermione had to chuckle as she watched the two try to whack each other.

" Well, Seamus' head is about the size of a bludger." She drawled, "Good thing the twins aren't here. Trained Beaters wouldn’t be able to resist."

The two boys broke apart to face her.

" Why hello, Hermione." Seamus said smoothly, and held out his hand to show her the Beater's club," Like my club? Its long and thick and hard."

Harry whacked the pervert over the head, "Don’t talk to her like that!"

" OW! Son of a bitch!"

Hermione rolled her eyes.

" What's up, 'Mione?" Harry asked, with a last snarl at Seamus.

" I'm bored. I'm going to head over to that new bookstore. You guys can meet me there when you're done."

" Are you sure?" his eyebrows furrowed.

" Yeah, take your time."

" Okay." He dodged a swing from Seamus.

Hermione waved and headed for the door, hoping that neither one of them would get their skull cracked open, or worse yet, break the clubs over their hard heads and have to pay for them.

" I know you weren't leaving without telling me goodbye!" Ron bellowed from somewhere amidst the maze of isles.

Giggling, Hermione ran back through the isles to find him and kissed his cheek before heading out of the store.

There was one week left before school started. Hermione was excited but also determined to make the most of this last week before her last year at Hogwarts.

Her last year!

She hated thinking about it, it made her all teary-eyed and nostalgic. She knew Harry felt the same way she did. He felt lost without Hogwarts. Ron, on the other hand, just wanted to get the hell out of there. She'd already caught him whispering 'no more Snape' under his breath every once in awhile, but then, truthfully, she'd caught herself saying it too.

She frowned.

She tried to respect the man, she really did…he was just such an evil…well, it wasn't mentionable what he was.

As the crowd around her thinned, Hermione slowed and came to a dead stop in front of the entrance to Knockturn alley. She glanced around guiltily, and sucked her teeth thoughtfully.

Hermione was, of course, insatiable curiosity personified. She'd always wanted to know what was down Knockturn alley. She'd never indulged this curiosity though because good girls did not go down Knockturn alley, or so she'd been told. She would always stride by with her nose in the air instead, not even daring to look down there. But she was seventeen now, no longer a little girl, and she'd seen plenty of her Slytherin classmates down there.

She was almost certain there was nothing stopping her from taking a stroll down there and seeing for herself just what was so forbidden about the dank, moldy alley. She was practically an adult, she could handle it. And it would be exciting to explore the alley on her own and then come out and tell Ron and Harry all about it. They'd scold her but they'd be impressed too. They'd probably even want to take a trip down there and explore with her.

She had just decided to do it when something slammed into her from behind and she flew forward with a scream. She landed painfully hard on her hands and knees, gravel digging sharply into her skin and she knew she was bleeding.

" Watch where you're going!" an angry and all too familiar voice shouted.

Hermione went still.

She couldn't believe it. Of all the people to run into her it had to be…

" Malfoy!" she howled, staggering to her feet, and whirling to face him, noting the blood smearing her knees and the palms of her hands, "You jerk!"

The beautiful silvery blond boy's face was dark with anger but cleared in surprise and melted into a cold and vicious grin when he realized who she was.

" Well well, if it isn't Mudblood Granger!" his face darkened once again, "Why don't you watch where you're going you stupid bitch."

" You ran into me, moron! Not the other way around!" she shouted, hands balling into fists.

He gave her a superior smirk, crossing his arms, "It doesn't matter. I'm the pureblood. YOU are supposed to stay out of MY way, filth."

" Not bloody likely! I move for no one."

" Really?"

His eyes narrowed at the challenge.

In a burst of movement, like a striking snake, he lunged forward. With a yelp of surprise she backpedaled, stumbling away from him and further down the alley. He stopped suddenly and laughed.

"You did just fine right then."

She halted, face flaming with humiliation, and gritted her teeth," You're pathetic Malfoy, picking on girls! If Harry and Ron were here you'd be running like the coward you are."

He seemed to ignore her words, the tension draining from his body and he plopped his shoulder casually against the brick wall of the alley, regarding her almost kindly.

"So what's Potter's little whore doing down Knockturn alley all by herself?"

With a start, she realized he'd herded her further down the alley then she liked. She could no longer see the entrance to Diagon alley. She felt a chill but rallied her courage and snarled at him.

" Oh I know!" he continued, gesturing towards a pile of trash and wooden crates, "You're going to take some of these boxes and build Weasley a house so he doesn't have to live in a paper bag anymore. How kind of you." He picked up a scrap of wood, "Or maybe your beaver genes are kicking in and you're feeling a bit peckish." He snapped his teeth at her and laughed, tossing the piece of wood at her.

She stepped out of the way so the wood sailed harmlessly past her, her face flushing even more as his words hit their mark.

There was nothing wrong with her teeth anymore, there hadn't been for years, but he was STILL making beaver jokes. For some reason that made it worse. Like she couldn’t escape her gawky childhood, like some part of her would always be that self-conscious little girl.

Vicious prat! How dare he!

" You're one to talk, ferret!" she sneered at him, " I notice daddy's not here to hold your hand. And you're just jealous about Harry. Everyone knows you're a sodding nancy-boy who likes it up the rear. I hate to break it to you but Harry doesn't swing that way." She gave a cold little chuckle of her own, "And even if he did, he wouldn't go near you, Hogwarts' own STD factory."

His eyebrows shot up and his face flushed a bit but otherwise he didn't react, his expression remained bland. It made her nervous. She didn't like his calm reactions to her insults. The Malfoy she knew was extremely volatile. He should have been screaming and beating his chest by now.

" You'd think someone in your position would have better manners." He said softly, glacial eyes glittering, " After all, bad things happen to little Mudblood girls down Knockturn alley." And he swept his robes away from his hip.

Hermione's heart leapt in her throat when she saw what was hanging from his belt. The sheath was black and she could just barely make out the glittering handle of what was obviously a very large knife.

Real fear was suddenly pounding adrenalin in her veins and her eyes flew to his.

He was bluffing, he had to be.

He looked back at her with a small, cruel smile twisting his lips, his eyes lazy and cold and just a little hungry as he drank in her fear.

Did she honestly have any real idea what Draco Malfoy was capable of?

The answer came to her immediately. Yes, she did.

He was a coward. A whining, pathetic, spoiled, mean, little brat. He didn't have the balls to draw that knife on her.

She gathered her wits, letting her face harden, and gave him a derisive laugh, her smile widening when she saw his childish glee fade to surprise.

" Oh please! Am I supposed to be scared?" she spat, "You are just so many shades of loser, I can't even begin to describe it. Is this some kind of pathetic cry for help? Running after me like this? Trying desperately to get me to pay attention to you because your mommy won't? I can't believe she hasn't committed suicide yet. I know I would if you were my kid. Either that or she's locked herself in with the liquor cabinet to get away from you and your dad. Of course hard liquor is how she got into this mess in the first place."

Rage began to seep through the confusion on his face, "Don't you dare talk about my mother, you filthy muggle bitch."

Hermione's eyes narrowed and she smirked.

Hit a sore spot did I? Ahh, Dracky loves his mommy.

" What about your mother? Besides the fact that she's obviously a brainless trophy wife? Or that she looks more like your father than you do? You do know they're brother and sister don't you? Back home we call that inbreeding."

His face had twisted into an ugly snarl and his hands were clenching but she was on a roll and brazenly she continued.

" Or just plain white trash."

" I'm gonna kill you!" Malfoy screamed, hand flying for the knife.

Uh oh!

She scrambled for her wand.

His wand was out before she'd even gotten hers clear of her belt and she realized in shock that he'd drawn it while she was insulting him. She hadn't noticed. He'd been distracting her by keeping his other hand near the knife, which he apparently had no intentions of unsheathing. At least not yet.

" Accio wand!" he yelled and her wand was ripped from her hand.

She cried out and then gaped at him, hands empty.

" Malfoy give that back!"

" Mudbloods shouldn't be allowed to have wands." He said viciously, snarling, showing her perfect, even white teeth.

With a flourish, he brought her wand out in front of him with both hands, paused for just a moment…

No, he wouldn't!

…and snapped it in two.

" Malfoy!"

She couldn't believe he actually did it.

" When I'm done with you bitch, you're going to wish you'd die." He hissed and stalked towards her.

Hermione panicked. He looked mad enough to do her serious damage. And without her wand, she couldn't stop him.

She lunged, throwing herself at him in something half terror, half rage.

Startled, Malfoy could only yell as she barreled into him. She meant only to shove him to the side to give herself room to run, but her momentum carried her into him and they both fell backwards into a pile of boxes and crates. His wand and the pieces of her wand went spinning out of his hand as he scrabbled to brace himself and the upset pile came crashing down on top of them with a horrendous sound.

Then everything was still.

A minute later Mr. Borgin came limping out of his shop to investigate the noise but, besides the overturned boxes, the alleyway was empty.

A/N: What in the world just happened??? One word: Aliens.

This is really fast updating for me. It'll probably be at least a week until the next chapter's up. If there is any confusion about the whole pushing thing, yes in this chapter I made it look like Draco was surprised to see it was Hermione he 'ran into'. He wasn't. He's just a really good actor and a habitual liar. Get used to it. The title of this chapter was inspired by Metallica's song from the Load CD. I love Metallica.

Chapter 3: The Opposite of Teamwork

Something intangible seized him around the middle, a tingling irresistible pressure, and Draco yelled.

The world spun and twisted and then exploded past him in a rush of air, a blur of sound and color and roaring wind. He was only vaguely aware of the girl caught up in the storm with him. His shock receded somewhat as his brain finally processed the familiar sensations that held him captive and he braced himself a split second before everything slammed to a halt.

The force of their sudden stop was accompanied by the smashing of wooden crates all around them and the tooth-jarring jolt of Granger's forehead cracking against his own as she was thrown forward. Light exploded behind his eyes, starbursts, and he laid still for a stunned moment until his senses returned.

The air was warm, but not as warm as it should have been. The wind blew light and sweet. Birds were chirping and the gurgling of water sounded from very close by. There was cold, moist earth underneath him and splintered wood digging into his back. Granger was kneeling over him.

" Wha….what?" Granger's voice, high and choked with shock.

Draco bared his teeth and shoved as hard as he could, throwing her off of him.

She yelped, as she was hurled to the side and tumbled into the shallows of a stream. She gave another startled cry and scrambled out of the water, one side of her robes soaked. He sat up, eyes narrowed, breathing hard with fury.

She'd tricked him! The frizz-headed freak had tricked him!

" What did you do?" he hissed, almost spitting in his rage.

" Wha..?" she stared back at him with clear, guileless eyes from where she knelt in the dirt, shrugging off her backpack.

Draco surged to his feet, eyes darting around, body tight and coiled as if he expected an attack. But nothing moved around them except for a few blue jays and a lone squirrel.

The sun speckled the leaf-blown ground with dappled light. A small stream cut through the clearing and beyond that…trees. Trees as far as the eye could see. Diagon alley was gone. Knockturn alley was nowhere to be seen.

" We're in the woods." Granger said breathlessly.

Way to state the obvious you bloody cow!

In something like a very controlled panic, he patted himself over quickly, and then scanned the ground, looking for his wand.

It wasn't there. It wasn't anywhere.

He turned on her, face pale and livid, " What did you do!?" he shouted.

Her eyes narrowed, "What do you mean what did I do?" she snapped, getting to her feet rigidly and brushing off her skirt and robes, "I haven't done anything!"

" Oh, don't you dare play dumb with me, you bitch!" he stormed over to her and she stiffened but held her ground, looking up at him with her jaw set and challenge in her dark eyes.

He knew this was her fault. She'd done something to bring him here. She must have.

His mind was reeling with paranoia. Or not paranoia, he liked to think of it as self-preservation. It wasn't paranoia if they really were out to get you.

What was Granger planning?

Had he been set up? Was she supposed to take him here and then leave him? Or was this like the time in sixth year when she'd pranced off alone, making sure he followed, only to lead him right into Potter and Weasley, a very dark hallway and one of the worst beatings of his life? Were Potter and Weasley here, waiting to spring an attack? Waiting somewhere out there in this nice secluded forest where no one would find his broken body.

He grabbed her by the upper arms, fingers digging into her skin, "You did something to bring us here!" he shouted.

She jerked away from him, her face flushed with anger, and slapped him hard across the face. The shock of it shut him up, made him blink in surprise.

" Don't you dare touch me," She hissed furiously, " You think I did something? You're the one with the wand!" she yelled at him, " You broke mine remember? Don't blame your utter stupidity on me, you prissy little retard!"

He snarled. She thought it had been a spell? So the little bitch didn't know what a Portkey was, huh?

" You ignorant muggle!" he spat, "A wand didn't bring us here. A Portkey did!"

Her eyes widened, "A portkey! But… You dope! I don't have a portkey!"

He stared at her.

She didn't have a portkey?

Quickly, he played through the last few minutes in his head. He had thought she'd rushed him with the portkey in her hand, but now that he thought of it, she'd shoved him with both open palms. Then they'd fallen into the crates…and everything had come crashing down on their heads.

Had there been a portkey in that pile of trash? Had he fallen on top of it? Had it fallen down on them when the pile crashed?

It wasn't impossible that some moron had forgotten their portkey or thrown it away without taking the enchantment off. He'd read about instances of it happening before. But if that were the case then it was a problem easily solved.

His eyes flicked to Granger.

Her eyes were distant with thought but she looked at him then, "You're sure it was a portkey?"

He said nothing, only held perfectly still, not wanting to give away his intentions.

" And…you don't have one…do you? So that means it must have been in the crates…HEY!"

He'd lunged past her, diving into the pile of wood, sifting through it quickly, touching everything within reaching distance as fast as he could. She must have realized in that instant what he was doing because she darted over and shoved him.

" Don't you dare!" she screamed.

But he ignored her, eyes scanning the clearing quickly.

There was a portkey somewhere around here. Neither one of them knew what it looked like. But whoever found it was going home.

And she could be damn sure that if he found it first, he wouldn't be coming back for her. Once he was home he'd personally dump the portkey in the deepest, darkest hole he could find.

What followed was a mad rush. Both of them tearing through the remains of the crates and digging their fingers through the dirt, touching everything they could.

But neither of them found anything.

" Ooh!" Granger moaned, in despair, "It could be anything! A rock, a stick, a…a bead!"

Suddenly she stiffened, "Oh no.."

He looked up at her and saw her staring at the stream.

Oh shit.

He'd pushed Granger into the water. If the portkey had been on her, it could have gone into the water as well.

They both scrambled into the stream, splashing, soaking their shoes and the hems of their robes, trying to remember the exact place she had fallen in. The water burbled on, cheerfully indifferent to the pair's growing anxiety. The stream was only about ten feet across and probably four feet at its deepest, but the flow was swift and it was impossible to see the bottom clearly where the shallows splattered over rocks. They dug through the water, overturning rocks and running their hands along the bottom.


In total frustration and with a mounting feeling of certain doom, Draco reared up, " You bushy-headed, Gryffindor skank! This is all your fault! If you hadn't pushed me…"

" How can this be my fault!" Granger interrupted him, practically screaming, "You followed me! You bothered me! You made me feel like I had to defend myself! This wouldn't have happened if you weren't such a… a prick!" she flushed slightly as if embarrassed at using such a dirty word.

Pathetic. Not even fifteen minutes and he was already corrupting her.

The thought was vaguely titillating but he was in no mood to enjoy it.

" You needed to defend yourself so you figured the best way to do it was to get us both lost in the middle of fucking nowhere?" he screamed, "Brilliant! I can see why they made you Head Girl! Hogwarts will be charred ruins by the end of the year!"

" Don't you dare threaten Hogwarts!" she shrieked.

" I wasn't threatening Hogwarts!"

" That's not what it sounded like to me!"

" I don't care what it sounded like to you! The fact remains that because of you and your little tantrum, we're both screwed!"

" I had no idea this was going to happen!" she shouted back at him, "And if things had worked out, it would have been YOU stuck here and not both of us!"

He went utterly still, face going pale, "You did plan it….You fucking whore, you planned this!"

" N..NO!" she stuttered, " I just meant I tried to push you down. I didn't mean to fall on top of you!"


" I SAID IT WAS AN ACCIDENT!" she shrieked, "I had no idea there was a Portkey there. And WHY are we talking like this is my fault! You came after me! You pushed me into the alley! How do I know you didn't set this up?"

" Oh yeah!" he snapped sarcastically, "This is my dream, stuck in the forest with a hideously ugly and obnoxiously loud Mudblood chit! I've been planning for years to get you alone and have you annoy the fucking hell out of me."

There was a sudden frightened, speculative look on her face and he rolled his eyes in sheer disgust and frustration.

" THAT WAS SARCASM!" he screamed at her, "If I had a plan to get rid of you, I'd make damn sure it worked!"

" You're really really sick, you know that? I hate you!"

" I hate you more!"

" When we get back home, I'm going to take so many points from Slytherin, they won't be in the running for House Cup for the next thirty years!"

" You think I give a shit about that?!"

" I dunno, I still remember the look on your face at the end of first year. I thought you were gonna cry! I had my camera ready and everything." She sneered.

" You fucking Gryffindors stole the cup that year! It was ours!"

" So you do care!" she mocked.

" Bloody bitch!" he screamed, and sloshed out of the water to flop down on the ground and sulk.

Thirty minutes later they both sat silently on the damp, sandy shore, staring at the rushing water.

" A…are we stuck here?" Granger seemed to be in shock now that the anger had worn off.

He ignored her, staring bitterly straight ahead.

His father was probably going crazy about now. Probably cursing and seething and wondering where his no good child had wandered off to.

He was going to get the hell beat out of him when he got back. He'd screwed up again. Like always.

" What happened to your wand?" Granger asked.

" Gone." He snapped.

And you'd better be glad because if I had it right now, I'd be using it on you.

He lost himself for a moment in that pleasant fantasy.

" We're lost in the woods and we don't have wands…" the girl said faintly, seemingly to herself.

Draco shivered, suddenly feeling his wet clothes acutely.

It was getting colder…and darker. Night comes early to the forest.

He had to think of something. He was a little more anxious, a little more scared then he liked to admit. He wasn't exactly an avid camper. He considered himself way too civilized. And ever since his little adventure in the Forbidden Forest with Potter his first year, he hadn't exactly been a nature lover.

Sure he'd gone hunting a couple of times with Ryan Nott and his friends, but they'd had every luxury with them. Plus they'd been fairly close to civilization and Ryan's father had been there. Not exactly roughing it. He had no idea what forest they were in now, or even what region of the world, though he was damn sure it wasn't London. There could be monsters here ten times as dangerous as the freaky shit in the Forbidden Forest.

Not a pleasant thought. But then that was a worst-case scenario, wasn't it.

Maybe he was just thinking the wrong way.

There was always the chance that things weren't as bad as they seemed. Maybe they weren't that far from civilization. After all, what idiot would have a portkey to the middle of nowhere? Or where there were really dangerous monsters?

He stood up and began prowling the clearing.

The area did seem pretty neat. Clear of rocks and big sticks, as if someone had been there not too long ago. It was an ideal spot for camping.

He felt a rush of excitement when he found a small circle of rocks surrounding a pit of black ashes about halfway through the clearing.

Campfire remains!

So someone had been here and had built a fire, maybe even stayed the night.

Well, then there had to be other campers! And where there were campers, there were lodges, and little tourist towns with food and bathrooms!

He wasn't sure which direction to go, but if he sort of circled this area, he was certain he'd figure it out.

Because it was useless to stay here. Sitting around on his ass wouldn't accomplish anything.

Without so much as a backwards glance, and with a little more spring in his step, Draco started off into the trees.

" Wh…where are you going!?" Granger called after him in surprise, scrambling to her feet.

" Away from you. Nothing stinks like wet Mudblood." He snapped, not looking back. Not caring whether or not she followed.

Scratch that. He hoped she didn't follow.

" But.. but… you'll get lost!"

He said nothing.

" Malfoy! Its going to get dark soon! I think we changed time zones. You shouldn't go exploring!"

" I'm going to find people. There's gotta be a town around here."

" What? We're in the middle of nowhere!" her voice rose in incredulity.

" You don't know that."

" So…you're leaving?!" there was the tiniest note of panic in her voice.

" That's right."

" But everyone will be coming to find us soon!"

Is that what she thought? Poor deluded thing.

Draco grinned wickedly and turned around to see her pretty face strained and anxious, "And just how will they find us?" he asked sweetly.

" There are plenty of spells! A Location charm…" she broke off, remembering that the spell only targeted a person's wand and that theirs were back in Diagon alley, "Um, there's…"

" Finder's spell." He said helpfully, "But that requires blood and hair," he frowned, "which, in all honesty, my parents might actually have, as disturbing as the thought is. But I doubt your folks have a bottle of your blood sitting around in their mud hut, or whatever primitive dwellings muggles live in. They could also try a Seeking charm but then those don't work in magic forests and, if you haven't noticed, this is a magic forest. So you see, I have no choice but to go looking for civilization which I'm pretty sure is right around the corner. Goodbye Mudblood."

She took a couple steps after him, " There's got to be another way! We don't know that many spells, after all. They'll find us!"

" Keep dreaming, Mudblood."

" I'm serious! The Ministry or…or Dumbledore! They'll think of a way to find us."

Dumbledore. Every Muggle-born's wet dream. Their savior. Yeah right. Her precious hero couldn't help her now.

" No one's going to come for us."

" You can't be serious about this! You're just going to walk off alone into the woods? Because I'm certainly not coming with you!" her voice turned petulant at the end.

" Oh that's too bad."

She blinked in surprise, " You…you'd really just leave me here?"

" You bet."

" You're crazy!"

He could hear the beginnings of desperation in her voice and smiled, savoring it. She was terrified of being left alone here but she wasn't willing to follow, not that he'd let her.

He continued on his way, ignoring her.

" Malfoy, you complete idiot! You're going to get hurt!" she yelled it more like a curse than a warning.

" I can take care of myself."

She dashed to the edge of the clearing, not daring to go any further.

" Hey! Don't be stupid! We should wait here! When you're lost you're supposed to stay put!" her voice wavered between fury and fear.

" Goodbye bitch! Maybe we'll get lucky and something will eat you!" he shouted back cheerfully, chuckling to himself as he sauntered away, leaving the clearing behind.


His grin widened.

He hoped she was scared, he hoped she w… Продолжение »

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