As I open the door and see the manic-looking brunette on my doorstep and the elegant blond man at her side, I know it could be only one thing. The Death Eaters had come calling. "Hello, Bellatrix, Lucius," I say politely, standing to the side. "Please, come in. Make yourselves comfortable," I wait as they walk through the door, the hooded figure behind them following as though they were there to guard him, nothing more. If that is, indeed, the case, I know who it must be. "And welcome, my Lord," I intone humbly. "Please, let's go to the sitting room, it will be more private than out here." They follow me to the sitting room, the hooded figure that I believe to be Lord Voldemort taking one of the two comfortable green chairs in front of the fire, Lucius and Bellatrix sitting on opposite ends of the matching green settee. I take the remaining chair opposite Voldemort, folding my hands as I wait for him to speak, and watching his snake poke her head out of the hood of his cloak before sliding down into his lap, his long, pale fingers stroking her scaly green head.
"I take it you know why I am here, Miss Hersemann?" The Dark Lord begins. "After all, I very seldom leave the Manor that Lucius has so graciously provided for my stay except on very important business."
"Yes, my Lord. I know why you have come. You have come to recruit me to your cause, have you not?" I smirk a little, thinking they must be very desperate to come to me, a witch with no exceptional talent for wandwork, whose talents lie more in the greenhouse or next to a cauldron.
"Yes, I have. After all, you are a talented herbologist and a pureblooded one, as well. It would do us good to have you on our side." I think I hear a hint of a smile in his voice, as though he is expecting me to respond right away.
"May I have a minute to think it over, my Lord? For though I have no desire to join the side of the Light, my life is here, on my estate. My greenhouse is here, as well, and if I were to join you at Mr. Malfoy's estate, I would have to abandon all of my work here, as well as the job I have working from my home selling my plants." Upon seeing the look of shock on Lucius Malfoy's face at the thought of me joining him at his estate, I have to suppress a laugh.
He seems to have forgotten that all of the Death Eaters have been living at his home and in the guest houses on his estate, bar three. Fenrir Greyback, the werewolf, prefers to spend time with his own kind, keeping them in line, and of course Severus Snape has to spend the school year at Hogwarts. When school is out, he stays at his own home in Spinners End, accompanied by the most irritating creature on the face of the planet. Peter Pettigrew, better known as Wormtail, spends his time with Severus, mostly to keep out of everyone else's way. I, however, make it my business to know where threats to my safety are, which means keeping an eye on Greyback, and where my competitors for any jobs relating to Potions are, which means keeping an eye on Snape. Wormtail is just an unfortunate annoyance.
"Of course. However, Miss Hersemann, do remember that we will be remaining here until you make a decision."
Making a conscious effort not to roll my eyes or speak in a sarcastic tone, I respond to this information very carefully. "Of course, My Lord. It's only good sense, as I have no other way to contact you," I say, rising to my feet and heading to my kitchen for a cup of tea. As I drink, I consider. Why would they come to me? Voldemort had mentioned my talent as a herbologist, true, but he could just send a follower every now and again to buy from me; they certainly have the money. He had also mentioned my blood status, though technically he was incorrect. I am a half-blood, not pure, but as my father had been a half-blood wizard and my mother a pureblood witch, and I carry my mother's name, he may believe I am a child of my uncle, who did marry a pureblood witch. I very well won't correct him on that! Since he did mention my blood, he may want me to join his little breeding program with the other Death Eaters. It might not be so bad, I guess, so long as I don't have to sleep with Amycus Carrow. Once I finish my tea, I realize I don't have much of a choice at all. If they've come to my house, and he came along, I either join...or I die. After placing my cup in the sink and calling Lotus, my house elf, to clean up, I walk back out to the living room. Looking straight at Voldemort, I lift my head high and smile a little. "My Lord, I will join you."