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A Difficult Assignment

By Morgan Roberts

Other

Natural

Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs not to me, but to J.K. Rowling. I'm not getting any profit for writing this book, especially since Rowling would never, ever try to pair up Hermione and Lucius.

Note: This is not compatible with Deathly Hallows or Half-Blood Prince, but really, why would I want it to be? Then Voldemort would be dead, and how boring would that be?

Chapter One - Natural

Acting natural wasn't a talent a Malfoy just received at birth. They had been brought up with the knowledge that blood was everything, and that if you had the surname of Malfoy, you were entitled to what others weren't. All of this combined makes them conceited and bigoted and at the same time cunning enough that they feel inclined to walk about feeling pretty damn sure of themselves.

Because of that, you wouldn't think a prized trait in a Malfoy would be to just blend into the background. To act like you were just like another ordinary citizen. In fact, you could assume that a Malfoy with that sort of quality would be disowned in less than a heartbeat.

So who in their right mind would think that the man leaning against a wall, his face and hair obscured by a hooded cloak, was Lucius Malfoy? It couldn't be, Malfoys have to be seen and heard. And respected. And no one can respect him when he's hiding near the back of a swarming Muggle bar.

He held a half filled glass of scotch, his second one that night, to his lips and took a quick sip, smoothly concealing a grimace at the taste. If there was one thing that irked him, it was cheap scotch. After he scanned the crowds, he shook his head, unsatisfied, and ambled towards the bar. He had been staking out this location for the past two weeks, and he had yet to even glimpse the girl he was looking for. Could the tip he had gotten been wrong? Or, even worse, had he been lied to?

Well, nobody lied to Lucius Malfoy and got away with it. Angered, he slammed the scotch glass onto the bar and walked off without paying. A low-class bar full of Muggles didn't deserve funds anyways, not that he would even think about carrying filthy Muggle money such as that. He weaved through the crowd of people jumping up and down in a drunken attempt to dance, narrowly avoiding contact with a woman with curly brown hair. Smirking in satisfaction, he followed her swiftly across the dance floor, trying to get a quick look at her face before making the assumption that she was the girl he had been searching for. She was stumbling as she headed towards a hallway in a dimly lit corner, and Lucius made sure he kept his distance to around 10 feet so no one would get suspicious. Just as he turned to the hallway, he saw her trying to open a bathroom door, but with no luck. Pulling his wand out from his cloak pocket, he snuck quietly behind her then reached around to clamp a hand over her mouth while at the same time whispering,

"Don't…move…"

Squealing, she tried to writhe free of his grasp, but he was much stronger, and carted her down the hallway and out the back door without a problem. He shoved her against the wall, pushing his wand against her throat.

"Who the hell do you think you are?" The girl spat, glaring up at his intimidating frame, her blue eyes flashing with anger. Wait, blue eyes, Lucius cursed silently, realizing this was the wrong girl, well, the hideous wench is a Muggle anyway,

"Avada Kedavra," he muttered, watching as the green light hit her and she fell to the ground, the life slowly leaving her eyes. Sneering down at her with unsympathetic eyes, Lucius glanced around the alleyway, and then disappeared.

He angrily kicked open the door to his hotel room, and slammed it shut. Quickly he scanned the small room, barely taking in anything except when his eyes zeroed in on the fireplace.

Lucius had hardly been in this hotel room since he arrived in New York City, but the times he had spent locked inside the dreadful place was not spent cleaning, which explained the chaos the room held. Obviously he had told the maid service not to come up; this was a Muggle city if there ever was one, and he hadn't wanted them to poke around and find his store of poisons or his Foe Glass. The single bed was unmade, and very dimly visible seeing as the only light source was from the solitary lamp sitting at the far edge of the room. Luckily he had had the good sense to transfigure something into a fireplace so that he could still communicate with his fellow Death Eaters by Floo powder, which was what he planned to do right now, regardless of the time.

He tossed some Floo powder into the fire, quickly spoke a name and waited for the man's head to appear.

"Lucius," Severus Snape said slickly, "Having a pleasant time in America, I hope?"

"Not as pleasant as I'd hope, Snape," he replied softly, but that didn't keep his voice from sounding menacing, "Maybe you'd like to explain to me how I've yet to see the retched mudblood after being here as long as I have?"

"I don't know, Lucius," Severus regarded Lucius' tone with one of his own, "Perhaps you're losing your touch," he added pointedly, "After all, I told you exactly where the Order says she's hidden, and I know for a fact she's working at that bar like nothing more than a common Muggle."

"I think the Dark Lord would be quite interested if you were to, say, be lying about her whereabouts to shield your precious Order." Lucius threatened, his eyes narrowing.

"Ah, yes, well you're wrong about that one, because I was just speaking to the Dark Lord earlier and he has no questions about my allegiance."

"Well maybe he would after he finds out who you're protecting," Lucius was beginning to get frustrated and wanted the correct information right now.

"If you can't handle this assignment, just Floo the Dark Lord and tell him. I'm sure he'd be very…" Severus paused, the intention of his words very clear, "understanding."

"This assignment would be a lot easier, if you were to tell me where she has taken up residence."

"Fine, if you need help," he smirked slightly, "then I would be glad to oblige. I'll talk to Dumbledore come morning and get back to you."

Lucius nodded curtly, "Goodbye Severus," he replied, standing up. Once he pulled off his cloak, he headed over to his bed.

As the weak and defective springs in the bed squeaked at his weight, Lucius closed his eyes but did not sleep for hours; for Malfoys could never have a good night's sleep in substandard hotels with unsuitable beds.

Lucius awoke when the sun came streaming through the diminutive windowpane. He rolled out of bed and meandered over to his open trunk, grabbing a pair of black pants and an equally black shirt, before heading into the vile looking bathroom. He set his clothes on the counter and turned the dial on the shower to turn on the flow of water. Once he pulled off his clothes from the night before, he stepped into the shower, ignoring the blackish looking mold forming on the ceiling.

When he left the bathroom twenty minutes later, he deposited his dirty clothes in his trunk before noticing that Severus was leaning against the far wall.

"What are you doing here, Snape?" Lucius asked, crossly. Severus pushed himself off the wall and strode over to Lucius,

"I talked to Dumbledore," he told him.

"And yet I don't see this reason enough for a visit from you," Lucius snapped, glaring at Snape with annoyance.

"That's not all, my friend, you see, I also spoke with the Dark Lord," Severus smirked when he saw that Lucius noticeably tensed, "he wasn't at all pleased to hear about how poorly you are doing with your mission, so he sent me to tell you--or warn you perhaps, that if you don't find the girl by tonight, I will be taking over the assignment."

"I didn't know that you so badly wished to get your hands on the Mudblood, Snape," Lucius mocked, "if you were to get the assignment, I doubt the two of you would ever leave the bedroom."

"Highly tactless of you to say, Lucius, this is just a mission, nothing more."

"Yes, it is my mission, and I would appreciate it if you don't try and take it from me."

"It is the Dark Lord's wishes that I take over the assignment if you don't have the girl by midnight tonight."

Lucius' lip curled in displeasure, "Well, then I shall find her by then. Now, what did Dumbledore tell you?"

"She's living in an apartment complex not too far from here," Severus stated, "it's across the street from a bookstore, and I'd hurry if I were you." With that, Severus disappeared.

Lucius pulled on his shoes and cloak before grabbing his wand and heading out of his hotel room. He ambled purposefully down the hall and out onto the sidewalk, squinting as his eyes adjusted to the sun compared to the dim lights of the lobby. Since he thought he remembered seeing a bookstore a few blocks to the right, he started in that direction, knowing that he couldn't properly Apparate without the exact location in mind.

But he was right, he found out a few moments later, seeing a sign with a book on it right across the street from an apartment building that looked shabbier than his hotel. He was about to over to the apartment when he thought of something. The bookstore, he thought, smirking as he realized how Snape had been trying to trick him, but luckily the man had failed miserably. Lucius entered the little bookstore, looking at the bookcases full of books, the cheery looking cashier and finally, the back corner, where he saw that tables had been set up and only one was occupied. Perfect. He strode noiselessly over to the back, placing a silencing spell over the area just in case the girl was unwise enough to try and cross him.

She was sitting in a normal desk chair, a thick red book sitting on the table in front of her. Her head was inclined slightly downward to read, just enough so that she didn't see his approach, even though she was facing in his direction. She had her curly brown hair pulled back into a bun, and she was wearing ordinary Muggle clothes; jeans and a long sleeved brown sweater. Lucius assessed her, trying to see where her wand was hidden, for surely she wasn't naïve enough to walk around without one, but at a distance he couldn't see it. When he reached her table, he pulled the chair opposite hers out a little, sitting down just as she glanced up.

"Miss Granger," he said, smoothly, smirking as she tried to grab for her wand, "happy to see me?"

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