Lucius had always intended being part of the group that broke into the cottage where the Order were hiding their secret prisoner, but a few days before the planned raid he'd been injured in a minor scuffle with some of the Order. The injury had been to his right shoulder, and while it wasn't serious, it was enough for Lucius to rethink his plans on joining the raid. The last thing he wanted was for his shoulder to play up at an inopportune moment and he ended up seriously hurt, or worse, killed. Fortunately, Rodolphus and Rabastan had no problems taking over the helm at the raid, while Lucius had everything prepared at the manor.
On the afternoon of the raid, Lucius was feeling slightly nervous as he double checked who was guarding the mystery prisoner. The hope had been that there was just the one guard, but as luck would have it, they'd picked a day when there were two guards at the cottage. In this instance the werewolf, Remus Lupin and the young Auror, Nymphadora Tonks. However, Rodolphus and Rabastan were confident that along with the three Death Eaters they'd selected to go with them, they could take the pair and take both of them and the prisoner into custody.
Since they had no idea who the prisoner was it had been decided that everyone in the house would be transferred to the dungeons of Malfoy Manor. The dungeons were where the dark side kept all of their prisoners, and everyone knew once they were down in the dungeons, they weren't getting out again. Once everyone was settled, it was then Lucius's job to identify the prisoner, find out why they were being kept prisoner and determine if they would be useful to the dark.
Voldemort had trusted Lucius with everything, and he'd left specific instructions that he didn't want to be disturbed until Lucius had some solid information for him. Lucius knew The Dark Lord had left the country a few days ago, apparently to see Draco wherever it was he was at the moment. He'd also been accompanied by Bellatrix, and according to Narcissa her sister had hinted that she and Voldemort would be enjoying a couple of days alone time once The Dark Lord had sorted his business with Draco.
Lucius knew that meant he would have a few days to get to the bottom of the prisoner mystery before Voldemort was even back in the country. He had hoped the mystery would be solved as soon as he spoke to someone who had been at the raid, but Rabastan was the one who informed him that the three prisoners were in the dungeons, and he didn't even know which one was the prisoner.
"There was two women there," Rabastan explained when Lucius asked him about the prisoner. "I know one of them is that Auror, but damn if I know what she looks like. Isn't she some sort of metamorphmagus?"
"Yes," Lucius replied. "Maybe your brother can help. Where is he?"
"Rodolphus stayed behind to check we hadn't missed anyone," Rabastan answered, clearly unhappy that his brother hadn't trusted his word that the cottage had been empty before they'd left. "I'm sure he'll be back before you know it."
In actual fact Rodolphus was back less than five minutes later. He confirmed the house was empty, and he informed them that the Order were already on the case and that three of them, including Harry and Dumbledore, had arrived at the cottage just as he was leaving.
"And the prisoner?" Lucius asked. "Do you have her identity yet?"
"No," Rodolphus replied with a shake of his head. "One of the rooms looked to be used full time and is filled with female clothes, but there was nothing personal to divulge her identity. The other room looks as though it's used by whoever is guarding her, and there was nothing of any interest in there either. I saw two women at the cottage, but I can't say either of them meant anything to me. They both looked familiar, but these Order members just tend to blend in together when you're fighting them."
"I know what you mean," Lucius said with a nod. In the midst of battle it was hard to keep a personal track of who you were fighting and more often than not faces blended together and you were left unsure of the identity of everyone you'd fought.
Praising the Lestranges for a job well done, Lucius turned down their offer to join them for a drink as they left the manor. With everyone else also having left, Lucius headed down to the dungeons to see if he knew who the mystery prisoner was. Unlike Rodolphus and Rabastan he was fairly sure he would recognise Nymphadora Tonks, so he would at least be able to tell which one was the prisoner, even if he couldn't identity her.
Reaching the dungeons, Lucius quickly located the cell he'd prepared for their visitors. The cell in question had a hidden stone in the wall which pulled out, providing a spy hole into the cell. Wanting to get an idea of what he would face in the cell, Lucius removed the stone and peered through the gap. The first thing he saw was two people shackled beside each other – one of whom he recognised as the werewolf, Lupin and he was ninety percent certain the other one was Tonks. Knowing the other person in the cell was the prisoner, Lucius let his gaze wander over the rest of the cell. When his gaze came to rest on the third person in the cell, Lucius let out a gasp of surprise and jumped back from the hole.
"It's not possible," Lucius muttered to himself as he shook his head to clear his thoughts.
Once his thoughts were clear, Lucius once again looked through the spyhole into the cell. This time he focused straight onto the woman the Order had been holding prisoner, and yet again he recoiled in shock at the sight. A third viewing confirmed that he wasn't seeing things. The woman the Order had been holding prisoner was none other than his son's dead girlfriend, Hermione Granger.
Not sure what the hell was happening, or what he was going to do, Lucius replaced the trick brick in the wall and slowly left the dungeons. Making his way back towards the residential part of the manor, he found his wife sitting in one of the back rooms, gazing out over the back gardens of the manor. It had been lightly snowing all day and the grounds looked stunning, but he doubted Narcissa was appreciating their beauty when she was so torn up with worry about Draco.
"You look like you've seen a ghost," Narcissa remarked as Lucius perched on the chair opposite her.
"I have," Lucius replied in a whisper. "We've got some prisoners on our dungeons, Narcissa."
"A couple of the Order and their mysterious prisoner," Narcissa replied. She knew all about what her husband had been up to recently, but given her concern over Draco she wasn't overly bothered by what the Order had been up to and who they had been hiding.
"I know the prisoner," Lucius said. "I just don't understand how it can be her."
"Who?" Narcissa questioned with a frown. It wasn't like Lucius to speak in riddles, but she could see that something had seriously rattled him.
"Hermione Granger," Narcissa gasped. "The witch Draco loves? The one who was killed months ago?"
"Yes, her," Lucius answered. "Right at this minute, she's downstairs in one of our dungeons."
"How is that even possible?" Narcissa questioned with a shake of her head as she tried to get her thoughts in order.
"I don't know, but the girl downstairs is very much alive," Lucius replied.
"Draco," Narcissa exclaimed with a gasp. "We have to tell Draco."
"And what about The Dark Lord?" Lucius asked. "She's a muggleborn, Narcissa. How do you think he's going to react to having her back in Draco's life? Because do you honestly think Draco will carry on the way he has been with the Granger girl alive? I can't see The Dark Lord encouraging this reunion."
"And what happens if we don't tell Draco?" Narcissa demanded. "He'll find out one way or another, and if he finds out we knew about this, we'll lose him forever. Our son comes first, Lucius. Now go and get that girl out of the dungeons so we can get some answers. I want to know how she is alive when my son has lost himself to the darkness in mourning for her."
Knowing that Narcissa was right, and that despite Voldemort's presence in their lives, their loyalty was to their son, Lucius headed off back down to the dungeons. He still had no idea what was going on with Hermione, or what the outcome of her return from the dead would be, but he knew they had some time before Voldemort returned to get some answers. He only hoped the answers wouldn't lead to The Dark Lord slaughtering them all.
Back in the dungeons, Lucius didn't bother with the secret brick as he pulled back the bolt on the door and swung it open. Instantly Tonks and Lupin sprang to their feet, but they couldn't get anywhere near to him thanks to the shackles on their ankles. Lucius gave the pair a brief glance over, before turning and focusing his attention on Hermione. She was still sitting, but when she felt his eyes on her she slowly got to her feet. Instantly Lucius could see she was hurt as she cradled her wrist against her body.
"I must say, you're looking awfully spry for a dead girl Miss Granger," Lucius drawled.
"I thought the same thing when I found out I was dead," Hermione replied, glaring over at Tonks and Lupin.
Lucius didn't miss the glance, and it told him that there was tension between the trio. Hermione's remarks also led him to believe that Hermione hadn't been in on the plan to fake her death. In a way it was a relief, as he would have hated to think of his son getting involved with someone who could callously let him believe she was dead.
"You can come with me," Lucius said as he waved his wand and released the shackles on Hermione's ankle.
"Don't trust him, Hermione," Tonks warned. "The Malfoys are not your friends. We're the ones you should be trusting."
"I did trust you Tonks, and that was my mistake," Hermione replied frostily. "Trusting you resulted in my death being faked and being held prisoner for months. You set us on different paths, and now you only have yourselves to blame that we're enemies."
"We're not enemies, Hermione," Lupin pleaded.
"Yes, you are," Hermione said firmly. "And I am going to see to it that everyone involved in my 'death' will get exactly what is coming to them."
Lucius chuckled in appreciation of Hermione's lust for vengeance. He didn't know the full story, but he did know that she hated the Order with a passion. Any allegiance she may have felt to the light had died the day they'd faked her death. And now she was free, she was clearly out for vengeance, and Lucius couldn't help but wonder if joining The Dark Lord would be the way for her to get it. Although he could worry about that later, right now he wanted to get Hermione out of the dungeons and upstairs where he and Narcissa could talk to her properly.
Placing a guiding hand on Hermione's back, he ushered her out of the cell and locked a still pleading Lupin and Tonks back inside. Once the cell was secure, he turned back to Hermione and gently fixed her injured wrist.
"Thank you," Hermione said as she flexed her hand.
"I'm sorry you were hurt," Lucius said, surprised to find he genuinely meant it. Now he was faced with Hermione, he couldn't help but think about the positive effects she could have on Draco. Maybe she could succeed where everyone else had failed and return Draco to them.
"I've suffered far worse than a sprained wrist these last few months," Hermione replied with a snort. "Not physically," she corrected when Lucius gave her a surprised look. "But there are far worse pains than physical ones."
"Indeed there are," Lucius agreed. "If you don't mind, I'd like to take you to my wife. We've got a few questions for you."
"I'm sure you do," Hermione said as she followed after Lucius as he turned to leave the dungeons.
Even though Draco had never been mentioned it was obvious that Lucius knew all about them, she just couldn't work out how he felt about his son getting involved with a muggleborn. Then again, given that Draco was now a Death Eater she suspected that his love life was the least of Lucius's concerns.
Lucius took Hermione back to the room Narcissa had been settled in and he found that in his absence, his wife had sorted some refreshments from the elves. On the table was a tray of tea, sandwiches and a selection of mini cakes. Although to be honest, Lucius felt more like having a large glass of firewhisky to help him deal with the shock of conversing with a girl he'd thought had died months ago.
"It really is you," Narcissa said quietly, gasping slightly at the sight of Hermione. She'd never met Hermione in person before, but after what had happened with Draco, she'd studied the reports on Hermione's death and taken in what an exceptionally pretty girl she was.
"Take a seat," Lucius offered to Hermione, gesturing to the chair nearest to the roaring fire.
"Would you like tea, or something to eat?" Narcissa asked as she bustled around pouring cups of tea from the ornate teapot. "If the sandwiches aren't enough, I can get the elves to whip you up a proper meal."
"It's quite alright Mrs Malfoy, the tea and sandwiches are ideal," Hermione said with a smile as she took the cup of tea Narcissa handed her and helped herself to a delicious looking chicken salad sandwich.
"I have to admit, I'm not sure where to begin," Lucius said as he and Narcissa settled down on the sofa opposite Hermione. "I've got so many questions."
"It might be better if I just explain things," Hermione said. "But before that, I've got a question of my own. Where's Draco?"
"He's not here," Lucius replied carefully. He knew Draco deflection to the dark would be a big shock to Hermione and he wasn't sure he was the one who should be breaking the news to her. "He's away on some business."
"Death Eater business?" Hermione questioned. "Don't look so shocked, I know all about Draco's new life," she said with a wry smile when Lucius and Narcissa exchanged a shocked look at her question.
"Yes, he's doing something for The Dark Lord," Lucius confirmed. "But before you judge him, I can swear to you that when he received the mark he was overcome with grief. He never could have gone down this road if he knew you were alive."
"I know that," Hermione whispered sadly. "The second I found out he was a Death Eater I knew it had been my death that had tipped him over the edge. That's just one of the reasons I want to get revenge on every single person involved in the plan to fake my death."
"And is this where we get the full story as to what happened?" Lucius questioned.
"It is," Hermione replied with a nod. "But I warn you, it's a long one."
"We have time," Narcissa replied, settling back on the sofa and waiting for Hermione to relive her story.
Hermione finished her sandwich before she began to tell the Malfoys everything she knew. She started with the supposed threats Voldemort had made on her life and how Harry and the others had been so determined to protect her. She then moved on to explain what had happened at Hogsmeade the day of her supposed death, and how she woke up a couple of days later to discover what the Order had done to her. Hermione listed everyone involved in the plan, and described to Lucius and Narcissa how hopeless she'd felt stuck in that cottage knowing that the people she loved were going around thinking she'd died. By the time she got to the day's events, and how the Death Eaters had saved her, tears were rolling down her cheeks. Narcissa was also sobbing quietly as she contemplated the damage the Order had caused to Hermione, Draco, Hermione's parents and everyone else who had cared about her. For the so called light side they'd caused a lot of unnecessary heartache, and even though good intentions might have been their motivation, their actions were anything but good, and they were going to deserve everything that happened to them.
"I'm so sorry for everything you've been through," Narcissa said through her tears when Hermione finished talking.
"I'm not the only one who's been through a lot though, am I?" Hermione returned with a sad smile. "Something tells me Draco didn't join Voldemort lightly. Just what sort of a mess if he in?"
"I think you're going to have to prepare yourself, Hermione," Lucius said softly. "The Draco you remember is dead. These days he's cold and distant with everyone. Truth be told, I don't know if we're ever going to get the old Draco back."
"Maybe we can't get the old Draco back, but I'm not going to give up on him. He could be the darkest wizard alive and I would still love him," Hermione replied firmly. So far the Malfoys had been pretty accepting of her relationship with Draco, but she wanted them to know that she wasn't going anywhere and she had no intention of ending things with their son.
"And maybe that will be what finally gets through to him," Narcissa said with a small smile. "Why don't you come with me Hermione and we can get you settled into a spare room. I don't know when Draco will be back, but I do know that when he returns he'll want to see you, and I'm sure you would rather be freshened up before you see him."
"That would be great, Mrs Malfoy," Hermione said as she rose to her feet alongside Narcissa. "But what about Voldemort? Won't he have something to say about my return?"
"He's away at the moment, so let's not fret about him just yet," Lucius said reassuringly as he sent the two witches off to get Hermione settled into the manor.
Once they were gone, he poured himself a generous glass of firewhisky and settled down to think about everything that had happened. The last thing he'd ever expected was to find his son's girlfriend alive and well with the Order. He also never would have expected such a dark streak in Hermione, but what the Order had done to her had clearly affected her. Right now she was standing on the cusp of darkness and Lucius would bet every galleon in his vault at Gringotts that her desire for vengeance would push her into the darkness. The only question was, what happened once she'd sought her revenge? Would she remain on the dark, or would she then turn her attentions to Voldemort and getting rid of the dark wizard so the wizarding world could live in peace?