Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. I make no profit from this work of fiction.

AU. Post-Hogwarts.

The "news article" is based on three actual events. If you want details, you are welcome to contact me via Facebook.

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Author harassed by thief – death threat issued

Throughout the years, various heinous acts have been reported in the news. We've seen stories about many crimes and other disgusting affairs. Even so, it is rare that we see such irony as the following.

While most people do not find any humor in theft – and those who have been victims find the act absolutely intolerable – it is uncommon for the thief to retaliate by threatening the person calling them out on the horrible act.

Or, at least, we previously thought that it was uncommon. With the recent events with respect to a Utah author, it seems that this is more of a regular occurrence than we had previously thought. It seems that it has become acceptable across the internet for people who commit wrongdoings to attack their accusers. This is an abominable reality, fostering an attitude found in slums where citizens are afraid to acknowledge that there are any unlawful occurrences in their vicinity.

It is something which we find unconscionable, but one thief took the matter to another level, stating:

"you have no point in living, you cold fat piece of s***. go die a slow painful death. nobody loves you. youre a wast of time, space, and air. But i wouldnt kill you. No, you wouldnt be worth wasting a bullet."

(All misspellings and lack of punctuation are as exactly as they originally appeared.)

That it has become acceptable to treat others in this manner is incredibly revealing. This example of an apparent lack of basic social graces has led numerous fan writers to consider whether they should continue in their efforts. Such statements have reportedly led to the suicide of at least one individual.

We recognize that those who have no understanding of common decency will not comprehend that we lament the reality - "common" has become "uncommon".

((As a legal requirement, this paper is forced to print that editorials do not reflect the opinions of the owners or affiliates of the paper.))

"Whacha readin', 'Mione?"

Folding the Muggle newspaper, Hermione set it on the table beside her plate. "At least I've managed to get you to stop talking with your mouth full," she muttered. Picking up her fork, she began to pick at her salad, nibbling on small pieces as she pushed the chunks of chicken to the side.

"If you didn't want the meat, why'd you order it?" The red-head sitting across from her shoved an overflowing fork full of barbecue into his mouth, causing her to roll her eyes. "N' f oo nn waa i' caa I haa i'?"

Glaring for a brief moment, she could not help but burst into giggles at his antics. He passed a bread plate to her, eyes wide and soulful as though he were a beagle asking for dinner. Her giggles continued for several moments after she handed him back the plate, filled with chicken.

Swallowing audibly, Ron used his fork to point at her. "It wasn't that funny."

"No, it's not that. I was picturing you with a deep red dish in your hand when you gave me that look." Another giggle forced its way up her throat. Looking down into her plate as she stabbed some small lettuce leaves with her fork. "Standing outside a small red house with a curved hole for a door..." She set down her fork, her shoulders shaking with her mirth.

The bell over the door rang, announcing another customer. Hermione's giggles carried over the sound of the newcomer declining the seat that the hostess had offered him as he headed their way.

"Well, well. What's so funny, Granger?" Sobering, she stared at the man who had the audacity to sit down in the vacant chair beside her. "Finally get a good look at Weasley?"

"Nah, Malfoy. Someone took a picture of you nude and published it in the paper."

Hermione was unable to keep a straight face for very long. Ron's broad smile only encouraged the pink tinge blossoming on Draco's cheeks to grow. He snatched the paper up angrily, quickly skimming through the pages. Snarling, he tossed the paper at the red-head. "Very funny."

Ron shrugged. "'Mione thought so."

Finally able to stop her gales of laughter, Hermione turned to face Draco.

"What are you doing here, anyway? Slumming it a bit for you, isn't it?"

Smiling broadly, Draco leaned closer to her. "Why, I wanted to see your smiling face, darling."

"Ugh." She pulled back from him, covering her nose. Rifling in her purse without looking, she managed to clasp her hand onto a peppermint. She brought her hand up swiftly, tossing the wrapped candy at him. He caught it reflexively, sitting back slightly as he brought the hand forward to examine the small projectile. "Please put that in your mouth – after you take the wrapper off. I don't know what you've been putting in that cavernous hole at the bottom of your face, but it lacks a pleasant aroma."

Draco glared at her as he unwrapped the mint, placing it on the flat of his tongue. The three sat in near-silence for a moment, the sounds of Draco's suckling and Ron's chewing hanging in the air. The blond shifted the candy to the inside of his cheek before opening his mouth to answer the pair seriously.

"I came because you sent a summons to be in your office, Granger. Or do you not recall the note that went home with Scorpius? Why you couldn't send such a thing by owl..."

Hermione was barely able to keep her mouth from falling open as she stared at him. "That note told you to be in my office two hours ago, you prat!" The sound of chair legs scraping against the floor distracted her momentarily. Looking up, the pair noticed that Ron had moved a distance back from the table, his plate settled firmly in his lap. Giving an exasperated sigh, Hermione turned back to the presumptuous wizard.

He simply waved his hand, dismissing her complaint. "What was so important that you could not risk an owl losing the message?"

Hermione stood from the table, grabbing the paper and her purse. Walking to the cashier, she pulled the bill from her bag and handed it over. The incessant tapping of the blond man's boot against the tile floor grated on her nerves a bit, but she was determined to make him wait as she counted out exact change in Muggle money, using the smallest denominations she could. Smiling at the cashier once the till rang again, she held her head a bit higher as she walked outside. The rush of cool air caused her to shiver slightly and stop, forcing the tall blond to run into her.

"Oh, good grief, Granger."

Rolling her eyes, she rounded on him. "No one asked you to come and ruin my lunch out with Ron."

He grinned in response. "Granger, Weasley ruins meals all by himself." He puffed his cheeks up with air. "Or 'id 'oo 'ot 'oti' i'?" She could not help the laughter that erupted at his display. He composed himself while she snickered, fighting the grin that tried to push forth on his own face. "So why am I standing in the middle of a Muggle street?"

She snorted. "Because you can't be on time to appointments and hunted me down?" Draco frowned at her. "All right. I sent the note because I felt you should know what's been happening in classes." The pair walked down the sidewalk, the space of another person separating them. Several moments passed in silence as they walked before Draco finally demanded an answer.

"Well, spit it out, witch! Unlike you, I have places to be."

"This from the man who was two hours late," she muttered. "One of the Slytherin students was caught cheating –"

"Shouldn't have gotten caught."

Hermione smiled. "That's what your son said. If they were stupid enough to get caught at it, they should simply accept their punishment and learn how to be a bit more discreet." Draco allowed himself a congratulatory grin. "That's when the trouble started."

The grin immediately faded. "What trouble?"

"Other students have been attacking him in the halls. He's gotten several anonymous howlers, some of them even telling him to kill himself." Hermione steeled herself before turning to look at the wizard.

Draco had inherited many traits from his father. The Malfoy hair, the Malfoy sense of entitlement, the Malfoy arrogance. Until that moment, Hermione had not realized that the protectiveness Lucius had shown for his son was an inherent Malfoy trait. Draco truly appeared to be considering his own retaliation. She placed her hands on her hips as she stared at him, the pair stopped in the middle of the Muggle sidewalk making an interesting tableau to passers by. Her movement caught his attention.

"I have every right. A threat to my heir is a threat to me." Looking down to her feet, Hermione shook her head. Gently placing his gloved hand underneath her chin, he tilted her head back so her eyes met his own. "I can promise you one thing, Granger. I won't get caught." She sighed. "I suppose I'm now to have a lecture on how Muggles are so much better because they don't react in such ways."

A fire he had not seen in her for a long time entered her eyes. She thrust the newspaper back at him, thumping him roughly in the chest with it. "I can hardly say such a thing truthfully, now can I?"

Angered, she stormed down the street, leaving him to read the short column she had thrown at him. His eyes narrowed as he reached the end of the editorial. Rushing to catch up with her, he reached for her arm, spinning her roughly to face him.

"The difference here, Granger, is that words can actually kill or maim in our world." She pulled her arm from his grasp.

"Malfoy, you missed the point entirely. They can do that in any world." He watched her walk to the apparition point and vanish.

"No, Granger. Muggles let themselves believe in the words. They can cause pain, but they certainly can't kill." Dropping the newspaper, he tread down the walk himself, not taking note of the young woman who had been sitting on the bench, listening to their conversation. She picked up the paper, shaking her head as she read the column. Reaching the end just as her bus arrived, she tossed the paper onto the bench and thought no more of the vile happenings it had mentioned. After all, what effect did they have on her?