AU: FIFTH YEAR. Implied pairing: as is expected. It's a one-shot to prove that I am not dead – TKWS. This is based on a trope that makes no sense. So the story shouldn't make much sense either.

It was late one evening in November 1995, when Hermione Granger, the cleverest witch of her generation, Prefect and Boggart of the Weasley twins, Ron Weasley's personal scolder and Molly Weasley imitator in Hogwarts, Neville Longbottom's personal and friendly in-House intimidator, protector, best friend and personal angel-cum-nagger of Harry Potter, 'frequent and book-respecting user of the library'-brownie-points-amasser and obsessive notes-and-lists maker, was to be found in her favourite haunt in Hogwarts – the library. She was of course, jotting down notes while rifling through several shelves-worth of books strewn on the table she had commandeered. The OWLs were coming up, damn it! She looked around covertly, though not too well, as if fearing that someone had heard her cursing even if it was in her head.


Hermione froze. This was the worst case scenario that she had feared. She was alone, in a castle where the authorities were singularly useless as far as protecting her and other muggleborns, and who had recently become even more oppressive with the Ministerial interference, and she was now cornered by her worst schoolyard enemy, one Draco Malfoy. Her wand was immediately in her hand as she turned to face him. Alone she could take him on quite easily, and twice on Sundays. Unfortunately, Draco was a coward, a dirty evil cockroach and a Death Eater in the making* who would always go around with his legion of bodyguards. She fervently wished that Harry's promised five minute checks on the Marauders' Map came by soon.

It was – once she was able to assert control over her fight-or-flight reaction – quite underwhelming to find the idiot alone.

"What do you want?" she growled.

"Please..." Malfoy beseeched submissively, with his hands raised and palms open. "I just need to talk."

"We have nothing to talk, you filthy son of a Death Eater!"

"When my father hears of this..." started Draco. That calmed Hermione a lot. So long as Draco made that threat, it meant he was going to be impotent and cowardly as always. Draco however shook his head. "Please, Granger...Hermione...I need to talk to you!"

Her calmness dispersed with the four winds, Hermione brought her wand up and pointed it at the blonde-haired ponce again. "I don't care what you want to say!" She just wanted to escape. She strained her ears for the sound of steps, ones that were distinctive for either of her best friends, as she held Draco at wand point, while surreptitiously inching away to a position from where she could run unimpeded by the library furniture.

"I m trying to be polite, okay, you mud..." sneered Draco. Once again he brought his reaction under control and shook his head.

"It seems your knowledge of the English language is just as lacking as everything else," scoffed Hermione.

In his anger, Draco made a gloriously stupid mistake. He grabbed her wand arm, making her unable to cast a spell at him. In the next, he was stunned and bound by an invisible pair of figures behind him. A rustle of a cloak being shed told her that it was Harry and Ron. "What took you so long?" she cried as she grabbed them both in a hug to hide her shakes and shudders, an attempt that was entirely doomed to fail.

Ron looked bewildered at the crying girl. He was a good friend and all, but worse than his best mate at calming any crying person, let alone girls. He just held her limply. Harry on the other hand rubbed her back, whispering soothing words into her ear till she finally calmed down.

"Now do you realise why we told you not to stay here for so long, alone?" Harry asked. He was angry, largely with Malfoy, and also a little with her.

"I am a big girl! I can fight back! I can decide..."

"You can, of course. But this isn't an ideal world where they take your security seriously. Umbridge will either sweep the matter under the carpet, or will have you thrown into Azkaban for attempting to trap the scion of a respected pureblood House!" Harry growled back. "And I am talking about safety in numbers. Having anyone from our class, girls or boys, would have been alright!"

"But the OWLs..." she protested. She knew it was a weak argument.

"Bugger them!" growled Ron. "They are about seven months away! They are not worth...this!"

"Don't you dare make it out to be my fault!" retorted Hermione, eyes flashing angrily.

"I am not. But security is not just a right! It is also a responsibility! You're so clever aren't you? Why don't you use those brains for a change?"

While once she would have upbraided Ron for chauvinism, the truth was that as bluntly as he had said it, he was right. The Ministry had brought the war inside Hogwarts. And ideals had no place here. She looked away.

"Ron is right, Hermione. This time Malfoy was miraculously alone. Can you count on that again? Even you can't fight back if he has his cronies hold you down physically or take you wand away. You're a great witch, but not as physically strong as they are."

Hermione had to back down in the face of her friends' rational fear and logic. They were capable of that as well.

Over the next week, Hermione was extra careful, which was good, considering that Malfoy had tried to accost her several times over. Thankfully, there was always someone with her to ensure that he couldn't do anything.

A side effect of this was that Harry's and Ron's paranoia was triggered. With a natural predilection towards distrusting the git, they were always shadowing Hermione to hex Draco at the slightest provocation. It was better to be safe than sorry. And hexing the git was admittedly fun. It was a way to get back at Umbridge and Malfoy and whoever else.

Harry went one step ahead. He needed to get to the bottom of this matter. He needed to talk to Sirius. The old dog would know the best way to handle this situation. Unfortunately, the fireplaces were out of the question. Dumbledore had done nothing to clip Malfoy's wings till the year before. He had his own clipped this year. Moreover, the old man wasn't looking at him. He didn't trust McGonagall enough to convince her of the gravity of the situation either, and Snape was out of the question. There was no way to contact Sirius through them. He had had no letters, Sirius had told him, because the Ministry, which obviously knew the address of the Dursleys well enough to send Dementors there, was tapping his mail. So sending anything by owl-post to anyone was out of the question.

It was as he pondered the question that he was disturbed by a being that turned out to be the solution. Dobby was still cleaning the Gryffindor tower. A quick description of the problem had Dobby pointing out to him that he could go to the steps of Grimmauld Place by elf-express on a Saturday, once he was out of the castle's bounds. Well, he had the Marauders' Map for that. A quick discussion with Ron helped keep Hermione in the tower. The twins were wonderfully deviant when given the task.

While Dobby dutifully waited on Harry, the following Saturday, the green-eye boy and his godfather had a solemn discussion. In the end, Sirius suggested a very clever idea. Harry or Ron could disguise themselves as Hermione using the Polyjuice Potion. There were several places in Knockturn Alley where one could get it. He promised to have it delivered someway.

"How am I to know when you are going to deliver it?"

"Hmm...I was going to give this to you around Christmas, but you need it now." He handed Harry a communication mirror and taught him how to operate it.

"You could have given it to me before, you know?" whined the godson.

"Well I had to enchant it first, you know? It was James', and it had a few of the enchantments, but most had worn off."


Suddenly, there was a sound to the side. Kreacher was creeping around. Draco had done them a favour by kicking his paranoia into gear. "Call him here, Sirius! And make him stay here! He could be spying on us."

The elf grumbled as it was forced to stand in front of its hated master.

"Who's he going to spy on us for?" scoffed Sirius.

"You said that Narcissa Malfoy is your cousin, as is Bellatrix. Can he choose to do their bidding if, when you tell him to get out, he goes to their place?"

Sirius rapidly lost his colour. He sharply turned to look at the elf which was snarling at his godson with undisguised malice and seemed about to attack him. With such hatred as he had ever felt, Sirius aimed a kick at that thing. It was ironic how the girl for whom they were making protection plans and was passionate about treating elves well, could be betrayed by one of them. Of course, he wasn't indicative of the general house-elf populace, just as Sirius' reaction was not indicative of his nature. He was looking at the elf as a person capable of decisions and treachery, and was reacting as he would to Peter Pettigrew. The elf, of course, cringed away.

Sirius grabbed him by the throat and shook him violently. His mind was working a mile a minute. Somewhere along the line, his anger combined with his predilection towards vicious pranks. Kreacher was under his command. "Listen here, you little shit. From now on, you will take orders from only me or Harry. You will not find a loophole in my orders. You will not try to circumvent my orders. I know you're too intelligent for your own good, so you understand what I mean. You will follow all orders exactly in the spirit in which they were meant. You will never meet any Malfoy from now on. You will not meet or take any Orders from the Lestranges. If you ever see the Lestranges, you will strip them of any possessions including clothes, burn them in my presence, and then hang their dead bodies upside down in Diagon Alley." He dragged the miserable elf to the family tree and with it as the witness burned the Malfoys and the Lestranges off it. By the end of it, Kreacher was attempting to kill himself by banging his head on the walls and the floor as hard as he could in protest.

"You will not harm yourself!" Kreacher stopped mutinously. "You will not take orders from the portrait of Walburga Black!" continued Sirius with his tirade. "You will not support Voldemort..."

"...also known as Tom Riddle," prompted Harry.

"...also known as Tom Riddle," agreed Sirius. "You will be loyal to me and Harry only. You will collect every Dark Artefact that my parents might have collected, that Regulus might have collected, or which may have belonged to Voldemort or Tom Riddle and bring it to me, TODAY! We will go to an open field and destroy EVERYTHING!"

When Sirius finally stopped, he had expected Kreacher to drop dead, instead of going into peals of ecstasy. Instead the elf hugged him crying about the bad Master helping him destroy the bad locket as Master Regulus had ordered, before turning and disappearing. Within minutes, everything started appearing on the table in front of Sirius.

"Are you as confused by that as I am?"

"Absolutely," answered Harry. "Well, you know, if it works, you can order him to fetch Pettigrew from wherever he is. Just make sure that those branded idiots don't know that elves can be used to kidnap people."

"That's brilliant!" beamed Sirius. "But I won't let him off the hook!"

"Give him his wish and put his head on that wall for all I care, Padfoot."

The following week, things were the same. Draco followed Hermione like a lovesick puppy. The thought made all three of them cringe. Finally, after ten days of dogged attempts at getting her to talk to him, Draco left it. Or so it seemed.

The very next day, Hermione received a summons from Umbridge. Knowing not to trust the woman, Ron scurried off to alert McGonagall. Hermione checked the Map. Sure enough, Malfoy was sitting in Umbridge's office. Harry drank the Polyjuice.

"Don't peek at me, Harry," scolded Hermione, though she had blushed deep red.

"I can't not peek!" protested Harry. Neville, climbing down the stairs saw Hermione swatting herself, and then decided that he needed a nap since he was hallucinating.

As he...she reached Umbridge's office, Harry-Mione prayed like never before. He – She was already having problems with her sight. Thankfully, McGonagall and Ron were already outside Umbridge's office.

"Remove those glasses, Potter!" McGonagall snapped. Obviously Ron had told her about the plan enough for her to understand.

Harry could have slapped Hermione's forehead. No wonder he couldn't see. He removed them and knocked. Ron gave him a bracing look as Minerva strode up next to him.

"Come in!" came the sickly sweet voice of Umbridge. "Minerva, thank you for escorting..."

"I am not escorting her, Dolores. I am sitting in on this meeting which is not a detention. Ms. Granger doesn't feel safe with either of you and in particular around Mr. Malfoy," snapped McGonagall curtly.

"That's preposterous!"

"It is also non-negotiable. I would like you to know why exactly you are colluding with Mr. Malfoy who has by pursuing Ms. Granger over the past weeks – and I have several individual testimonials from not just Gryffindors to verify that – and having her sit alone with people she doesn't feel comfortable."

If pushed, it seemed, even McGonagall had a backbone. And Ron had done much more than just going and getting McGonagall. He would have to tell Hermione to get the redhead extra chocolates when they next went to Hogsmeade.

"Hem hem," coughed Dolores to pass the moment along. "Ms. Granger, Mr. Malfoy here only wants to talk to you."

"Well he may, but I have no intention whatsoever of complying with his wishes." Harry-Mione glared at the pair. He had to ensure that he spoke in a very prim and proper manner. Hermione didn't swear out aloud.

"Please Granger, just hear me out!"

Harry gave a sidelong glance to Minerva who nodded minutely. "Three minutes," Harry-Mione responded.

"You are in no position..."

"It is alright, Madam Umbridge. I am not uncomfortable around Professor McGonagall. I would prefer some privacy. I can deal with the matter in three minutes." Umbridge gave a foul, simpering smile and left. "Granger, I am a male Veela. We are very rare, and it happens only when a couple with Veela ancestors marry and have a son. That's pretty rare. Now my Veela side has recognised you as my mate. I need you to marry me by Christmas, or I shall die."

"Don't be absurd, Malfoy. There are no such things as male Veela. And you are so severely delusional if you believe that I shall do anything as asinine as marrying you upon hearing that story, that you need to be admitted into the Spell Damage Ward at St. Mungo's."

"Ah. So there is something that the know-it-all doesn't know."

"On the contrary, I do know. I did have Veela friends, you know, last year."

"I am not lying."

"Professor, you must be able to corroborate what I say?"

"I am not conversant with this matter, Ms. Granger." Minerva looked away. Harry-Mione seethed.

"I need proof. You give me proof. My answer will still be no. It will be a very resounding no."

"There's no need to be so hasty, Ms. Granger. It may end up being a question of someone's life."

"Well it is. It is a question of life! And I won't come within ten feet of him. Try supporting him again, McGonagall, and you will both find the business end of my wand!"

He stalked out of the room and rushed off to the Gryffindor common room, where Ron and Hermione were seated. After a good, long bath, he related the entire incident to an incredulous Sirius and his equally incredulous friends.

"We have no Veela among the Blacks to start with, Harry, irrespective of whether or not this Male Veela malarkey is true."

"It is bloody effing bull shite is what it is, Padfoot."

"We need to do something." All the three Hogwartians agreed.

"She actually said that?" Hermione asked in a small voice.

"She did. I wish I could show you the memory, but Dumbledore is almost blushing if I am around these days," Harry replied drolly.

"And you said no?"

"Of course I did."


"Oh?" asked Ron flabbergasted. "Did Harry disappoint you?"

"No. But he was a bit hasty."

"You don't believe it, do you?" asked Harry horrified.

"Of course not," snapped Hermione. "We need to know why. Maybe that was why McGonagall wanted Harry to talk more and listen more. She too wanted the motive known."

That made the boys feel slightly relieved. "That's easy. They want to break you before the annual meet-and-greet I have with Voldemort each year. With you destroyed, he knows that I can be destroyed," Harry replied seriously, cupping her face. "He knows, somehow, or through Malfoy, that you are essential for me to exist."

Hermione's brain had stopped working for a moment as she comprehended what Harry was saying. Then she blushed and leaned a bit into his hand and towards him.

"Er... that's all cute and all, but we have got a real problem here," Ron and Sirius broke in awkwardly.

The two broke apart hurriedly, blushing.

"He is right," conceded Hermione after a minute.

"That still doesn't solve the problem."

"Well, how do you think his father will react when he hears about that?" she asked innocently.

"Ooh, wookie!" cackled Sirius. "Ickle Hermy has a plan!"

"Can we hex him through the mirrors?"

"No. I tried."

When she was called into the Headmaster's office the following day, Hermione was absolutely unsurprised to see Lucius Malfoy there with his son.

"Ms. Granger..." sneered Malfoy Sr. sibilantly.

"Nice try, Death Eater," she answered lightly. "I have heard Harry speak Parseltongue. You are a poor imitator."

"Don't speak you mud..." started Draco. "I am sorry my mate."

"Please catch your mouth, you ferret, before it runs away."

"You are being very proud and brave. We shall see..." Lucius answered with a sneer.

It was at this time that Dumbledore opened the door to Amelia Bones, who entered into the room with Cornelius Fudge and Amos Diggory, the bereaved Head of the Department for the Control of Magical Creatures. There was also a woman who looked like Bellatrix but was actually Andromeda Tonks with them. It certainly threw the Malfoys off their game.

"Hello Lucius," blubbered the Minister. "I'm here to marry the girl to your son!"

"Not so fast, Cornelius," cautioned Amelia. "I have an affidavit here by Mrs. Tonks who categorically states that the Blacks have NEVER married and mated with a Veela."

"What would she know? She married a mud... a muggleborn!"

"And yet I have purer blood then yours, Malfoy," sneered Andromeda. "My sisters really were stupid. One licked the boots of an idiot. The other licks the boots of the man who licks the boot of the same idiot."

"HE IS NOT BACK!" hollered Fudge.

"Just as you are bereft of a functioning brain," retorted Andromeda calmly, leaving the Minister to try and decipher the meaning of her words.

"And Amos as well says that what Mr. Malfoy claims is impossible unless young Draco is secretly a female," Amelia continued unfettered.

"But Lucius said," protested the Minister plaintively.

"It may be wrong."

"I think there is a way to prove that Mr. Malfoy is right," Hermione interrupted.

"There is?"

"Yes, Minister. He only has to give me an Unbreakable Vow."

"But that is dangerous!" protested Cornelius just as Lucius asked the 'mudblood to shut up.'

"Is it more dangerous than being proven to be a liar and losing his honour?" asked Dumbledore, eyes twinkling. "It might seem that our Minister doesn't care for solid proof." Now that Hermione had given him a way out, he intended to manipulate Malfoy into admitting that Voldemort was back and that he was a Death Eater.

"I am not a liar Dumbledore! Nor is Lucius one!"

Amelia grinned like a loon. The girl had Malfoy in a scissor. If the Minister agreed, then Malfoy died. If he didn't then she would still arrest him for attempting to force the marriage bond if the girl refused it.

"Ms. Granger, wouldn't you like to join such an old, respected House," the Minister begged.

"Would I like to join the House of a man who just called me a mudblood, whose son has tormented me for four years and has racially abused me for all that time, and who, in spite of your protestations that it isn't true, is a Death Eater – an active Death Eater? No. And you can't make me, unless you are willing to make a law that destroys your career. You are no more a Minister for Magic than Voldemort, that idiot, is dead."


"Get these shits to give me an Unbreakable Vow as I have written it, and I will accept it. I will even marry Malfoy."

"Your honour and that of your advisors is at stake here, Cornelius," cautioned Dumbledore. "I want proof as well." He was happy to just back Ms. Granger up. She was performing wonderfully on her own.

"Amelia, this can't be legal!"

"What the Malfoys are asking for isn't. What Ms. Granger is asking for is."

Hermione, for the first time in her life, saw a man getting punctured like a tyre.

"You can prove it of course, Lucius. Let's show them that they are liars."


"Liar, liar," sang Hermione, uncharacteristically.


"Yes!" exulted Hermione, very quietly.

"Now, I must insist on a Vow," demanded Amelia. "Cornelius, you have heard it."

"Yes." He seemed close to tears.

"Give her the Vow, you idiotic oaf," cried Andromeda.

"I want to see the Vow in action. I believe that this reticence shows that You-Know-Who killed my son," growled Amos. He then physically forced Malfoy to his knees.

Hermione just extended her hand daintily, with a smile. "If you'd consent to be the bonder, Madam Bones, or Mr. Diggory, I'd be very obliged. I would request the others to not interfere. Failing that, I will fire reductor curses at you."

"I will," agreed Amelia, even as Fudge purpled.

Lucius intended for this to be a proverbial shotgun wedding to destroy the mudblood. He was instead being shepherded into a shotgun Vow. It was just a set of three Vows.

"Lucius Malfoy, do you, henceforth, promise to answer every question without a lie and without prevarication?"

The wand of Amos Diggory was subtly pointed at his head. He was required to say yes.

"If by the end of that questioning, you are proven to be a supporter of and helper of the wizard called Voldemort, you will give up all information regarding all the other Death Eaters and then have your, your son's and your wife's magic bound, before you are sent to Azkaban? You will go to Azkaban as a muggle? You will not attempt to save either your wife or your son? You will have them accompany you to Azkaban?"

"Yes." He was dead, as were Draco and Narcissa. Either way they were dead.

"In that case will you sign over all the Malfoy wealth to Remus John Lupin? Will you submit, to Madam Bones personally, the entire information regarding the bribes you or your associates have given to any Ministry official of any position?"


They unclasped hands. Cornelius looked at them horrified. The Malfoy wealth could pass into the hands of a werewolf? Worse still, he would be going down! Lucius and Draco on the other hand looked at Hermione with sheer hatred.

"Are there any male Veela? Why was I supposedly the mate?"

"No. We just wanted to destroy Potter by destroying you."

"There we go. See, Minister? Next question. Are you an active Death Eater?"


"When did Voldemort rise? Was Harry telling the truth?"

"Yes. The Dark Lord is not dead. He was resurrected on the 24th of June this year."

"Who killed Cedric Diggory? Has this person committed any crimes with reference to Potters and Sirius Black?"

"Yes. Peter Pettigrew helped resurrect the Dark Lord. He betrayed the Potters to him and framed Sirius Black. He was the one who killed Cedric Diggory."

Cornelius Fudge fainted. Amos Diggory snarled at Lucius. Amelia shrieked triumphantly.

"Who sent the Dementors to attack Harry Potter?"

"Dolores Umbridge did. It was my idea."

"Is it possible to accept the Dark Mark under the Imperius Curse?"

"Yes. But it has to be reapplied every week. It doesn't hold otherwise."

"Who gave Ginny Weasley the diary of Tom Riddle?" Behind her Dumbledore choked on a sherbet lemon.

"I did."


"I wanted all you mudbloods dead, you BITCH!"

"That ends the questioning."

Amelia ran up to the girl and despite being an inch shorter physically lifted her and twirled her around before kissing her forehead. It was official. Madam Bones was in love.

"Why?" cried Draco. "I had done nothing!"

"Because you sought to hurt people very precious to me," replied Hermione with a cruel smile. "And because if I leave you free now, you will try and seek revenge for your father, while thinking it to be a massively righteous thing to do. You brought the war to the school. I am ending it." She turned to Madam Bones. "Did you know that Dolores Umbridge tortures Harry with blood quills?"

*Hermione is rational for the most part, and doesn't believe in Malfoy having a 'good' side, a la HBP. Or rather, she is the real pre-HBP Hermione.

*Yes, Sirius is abusive towards Kreacher. He was brought up a pureblood and is superimposing another traitor onto the miserable elf. The two facts together do not make for a good Sirius, in that situation.

*Please remember that this is a crack-fic. In Crack-fics people don't necessarily do what they usually would. This is fun poked at the stupid trope.

*This is just something till I come up with the next chapter of The Great Manipulator.