“Lucius, pick it up. I want to look at it.”
“But.. but My Lord, She’s cover in her filthy blood.” Lucius said with disgust.
Voldemort spun on Lucius pointing the wand at his face. Lucius cowered. “Do you want me to cover you in your own blood?” Lucius shook his head no and moved to the girl lying limply on the floor in the blue guest room.
It had been several hours since the Dark Lord had come responding to Bellatrix summons. He had sensed that Bellatrix had something important so he came as soon as he could but when he had arrived he found the Malfoy family in their parlor. The room was in a shambles. The chandelier had fallen and several pieces of furniture had been destroyed. Bellatrix was covered in blood and ranting furiously “how they could have escaped?” As soon as he glided into the room it was clear to him who they were talking about.
Lucius picked the limp body up around the waist and lifted her head by her hair so that his Lord could see her face. “Why is it unconscious still?” Voldemort demanded.
“My Lord, I believe that she was hit by a stunner as Potter and the Weasley boy were escaping.”
Voldemort looked at the girl in disgust. He pointed his wand at her and shouted “Rennervate!” The girl groaned in Lucius arms. “Your wand doesn’t respond well for me Lucius.” He growled.
Lucius frowned “I’m sorry, my Lord.”
The girl tensed when she heard whose voices were in the room with her. She tried to struggle against Lucius’ hold.
“Ah, so you are a wake.” Voldemort said sneering at the girl. She tried to struggle again as he approached her. Lucius tightened his grip on her body and dug his hand deeper into her bushy hair. “I want to know where Harry Potter has gone.” He said to her as he looked deep into her eyes.
“I won’t tell you that.” Hermione said defiantly.
“Oh but I think you will.” Hermione didn’t really hear him say the spell. She felt it whispered into her head. “legilimens” She quickly through up her blocks thinking about the butterfly wall that she had once seen with her parents. Harry, Ron and herself had practice occluding with each other while they were searching for horcruxes. She had become quite good at mind and memory spells and had even been able to read and organize some of the visions that Harry had been seeing from Voldemort. Voldemort pushed harder into her mind, putting more power into the spell. She could see her butterflies breaking away to reveal the flower covered wall. On the other side of that would be a brick wall that she was pretty confident she could hold even under this amount of pressure. Voldemort screamed in frustration as he withdrew from the spell and cursed her “crucio!”
Hermione cried out as every nerve in her body exploded into searing hot fire. Lucius almost dropped her to the floor but Voldemort still had his wand pointed at her. Lucius felt like a bit of a coward as he lifted her up again even as she was writhing in agony. He almost felt as though he were using her as a shield. Voldemort lifted the curse and pointed the wand at her head again saying out loud “legilimens”. Hermione was still reeling from the pain of the torture curse when she felt him enter her mind. She had read in a book once, when Harry was taking private lessons from Professor Snape, about creating false images when this type of spell was being used against someone. She began thinking of things that weren’t true. At first all she could come up with were thoughts of pain and how much pain she was in then she began thinking of other people who she saw that were in pain. Voldemort was picking through the images looking for something. She thought of Harry and how much pain the nightmares that he had been having were causing him. Voldemort latched onto that memory and tried to follow it but Hermione was able to lead him to a false memory of Harry taking a potion to cure that problem.
Voldemort withdrew again. He looked her in the eyes studying her face. Hermione could barely hold her head up. Her scalp was aching from where Malfoy Sr. was restraining her. He took the end of Lucius’ wand and tipped her head up and hissed in her face. Hermione smirked thinking that he looked crazy hissing at her like some deformed snake. He stepped back and cursed her again. Hermione began to scream and thrash in Lucius arms. Voldemort dissatisfied with her reaction ended the curse and began stalking around the room ranting about the incompetence of the Malfoy, Black and Lestrange families.
When Malfoy was certain that Lord Voldemort wouldn’t hear him as he was storming about the room he whispered into Hermione’s ear. “I swear to you if you cooperate I will do everything in my power to help you survive through this.”
Hermione tensed did he really just offer to help her. She couldn’t believe it. She shook her head ‘no’.
Lucius groaned “you must believe me.”
Voldemort turned his attention back to them “Tell me you dirty little mudblood where did you learn that trick from?” Hermione shook her head. “Lucius, do you think that Severus would have taught students how to occlude?”
Lucius shook his head “My Lord I do not believe he would have done that without your express permission. As you know, Dumbledore asked him to teach Potter and Severus intentionally failed at that task by your request. The only other person he has worked with is my own son, Draco. That was only necessary as you wished for Draco to be included in the inner circle meetings.”
Voldemort nodded his head thoughtfully. He paced the room a little more before pressing his wand to his arm. Hermione felt Lucius tense as he did so. She struggled again trying to free herself not knowing what was going to happen next. Voldemort sneered at her “there are no more house elves to save you girl.” She could feel Malfoy’s breathing change slightly but he didn’t make a move as Voldemort was speaking to her. “They are all dead. You will not be able to escape from us now.” He looked at Malfoy and glowered. “Put her down till Severus gets here.”
Lucius dropped her to the floor and began making a show of brushing himself off. Hermione slumped at his feet feeling exhausted and too weak to move away from him. After a few minutes she could hear the familiar steps of her former professor. She watched Voldemort in fascination as his demeanor changed. He seemed to lighten as Professor Snape entered the room and kneeled in front of him kissing the edge of his robes. She saw him glance her way before he was lifted by Voldemort.
“Severus, how good it is that you were able to come so quickly.” Voldemort practically purred to him.
“My Lord, I come as quickly as I can whenever you beckon me.” Severus said.
“Yesss, I know you do my pet.” He hissed to him stoking his head. Hermione always marveled at how good Professor Snape was at controlling his emotions. He didn’t even seem the slightest bit unsettled by the fact that Voldemort was stroking him like he was a puppy.
“My Lord, may I ask what has happened here?”
Voldemort continued to stroke his head and face as he spoke. “My pet your friends have greatly disappointed me today. They had the golden trio in their grasps and let them get away.” As he spoke his anger began to rise. “Potter and the Weasley boy escaped with the help of the house elves. Taking all of the prisoners they were holding in their dungeon.” He screeched and then turned to Malfoy. Pointing Lucius’ own wand at him he said “and this blundering idiot did nothing to stop them. Crucio!” Lucius crumpled to the floor on top of Hermione. Jerking as spasms of pain surged through his body. Hermione would have felt bad for him if his weight wasn’t crushing her already sore body.
“My Lord, if you will recall he is without a wand.”
Voldemort ended the spell and turned back to Severus. “I need a wand Severus. His wand will not obey me properly and after all the interrogations of Ollivander I am no closer to controlling the elder wand.”
Severus nodded his head in understanding. “Maybe another’s wand would learn to obey you?”
Voldemort growled at Severus “I have tried other wands and none have worked.”
“I know my lord. So it must have been some battle. I’m sorry I missed all the action.” Severus said evenly as he tried to lighten his Lords mood.
“There was no battle.” Voldemort roared. Malfoy was rising to his feet again as Voldemort was saying this. Hermione could swear she heard him sob before he pushed himself up the rest of the way. She could see Professor Snape flinch when he looked at Malfoy. She wondered what he had seen as he was walking through the manor. “Their house elves helped Potter escape, Severus.” This time she was certain that she could see him blanch. Voldemort returned to pacing. “The disgusting little creatures had to be exterminated.”
Hermione was horrified when she put all the snippets of the conversation together. “You killed their house elves? How could you? They were innocent.”
Voldemort spun on her. “I did kill them and I would have killed more of them but they fled the manor.” He turned his attention back to Malfoy “and I wonder how they did that.” He said spitting it into Malfoys face.
“Lord Voldemort. I can understand your anger but we are not lost. You have caught yourself the brains of the trio. Surely Potter won’t get very far without her.”
“And that is why I have summoned you. She has learned how to occlude and I was wondering where she learned that from.” He said as if he were accusing Severus of something.
Severus visibly gulped. Hermione saw it and suddenly felt as though things were going to get very bad. “Master.” Professor Snape started as he was bowing to him. “She is the brightest witch of her age. She probably read it in a book somewhere.” Hermione was nodding her head vigorously hoping she could defend her old potions master from this madman.
“She is no witch! She is a filthy mudblood who has dared to enter our world.” He roared raising Malfoys wand to her. She stared at him in horror. She could see the killing curse forming on his lips.
Severus stepped in front of him “Please Master, if you kill her now we won’t be able to use her to get to Potter. We can still use her but not if she’s dead.”
Voldemort shot the curse off towards the wall to avoid hitting his favorite advisor. He looked angrily at him “Severus, her blocks are very similar to yours. Tell me you haven’t been teaching occlusion to other students” he asked.
“No My Lord, I would not have done such a thing without your permission.” Voldemort nodded seeming satisfied with his answer. “I know that she is an intruder that she doesn’t belong here. The rest of the wizarding world will soon learn to bow to your greatness but in the mean time she has learned a great many things. I know it is unjust that she should be born with such a gift but yet she is here and is very talented. We could use her to further our cause.” Voldemort began pacing the room again. Severus waited patiently for him to work through his conundrum. On one hand he hated everything that she stood for and vehemently believed that her kind should be exterminated but on the other hand she did seem very talented and his favorite advisor was telling him to keep her alive.
“Severus, will they try to rescue her?”
He nodded. “When we are done with her we can let it leak out that she is alive and move her to a place where we can lie in ambush.”
Voldemort paused “I want to know where Harry Potter is now.” He looked at Hermione and back to Severus. “Do you think that you could torture a former student and get that information out of her? Or I should find someone else to do it.”
Hermione shook her head “Even if he does torture me I wouldn’t be able to tell you where he is. We never know where we are going next just in case one of us is snatched.”
Voldemort growled and raised Malfoy’s wand again. “Master, she’s probably telling us the truth. I can’t imagine they would risk a preplanned itinerary especially with Ronald Weasley along with them.”
Hermione jutted her chin out “Ronald Weasley is very trust worthy.”
“I’m sure he is. He’s also a weak minded fool.” Professor Snape replied.
Voldemort was back to his manic pacing again mumbling to himself this time. Hermione wondered if he had forgotten that they were still there in the room with him. “Severus I want you to try and read her. I want to know what that old fool Dumbledore has told her and why it was so important to him that she remain friends with Potter.”
Severus nodded “I can tell you that information. He had confided in me long before I killed him that Hermione was important to their cause because she had a talent for remembering things. He recognized that talent and in the beginning of her second year he gave her an old book of memory charms. I believe that she has been using those charms to help her in her studies. In her third year she was allowed to take on a heavier course load using a time turner and the only reason that she was allowed that was because she had proven to Dumbledore that she had mastered several memory spells over her summer.”
Voldemort growled.“Memory spells? Mind-games that’s all that old coot ever played was mind games.”
Severus nodded. “I was glad to be rid of him.” Snape approached Hermione and Lucius. He looked at Lucius trying to read him before crouching down and looking at Hermione. He lifted his wand to her head. Again, she didn’t hear him say the spell but more felt him say it directly into her mind. She tried to block him but he was very clever and worked his way around her walls. He began digging through her memories looking for something that he could tell his Master. Finally he came to the memory of her final day at her parent’s house. Hermione began crying and shaking her head trying to dislodge him so that he wouldn’t play the painful memory for her to see. Severus watched as she performed the powerful spell that would erase her from their memories and anyone who tried to talk to them about their daughter. He pulled from her mind. He felt bad for what he had done but knew he must tell Voldemort what he had seen. “She has worked a very powerful obliviate spell and erased her parent’s memories. Anyone who tries to talk to them about their daughter will most likely be wrapped up in the same spell and forget that her parent’s ever had a daughter. It’s very creative magic.”
Voldemort stood over them looking down at Hermione and Severus. “Something like that could be very dangerous to keep around.”
Severus nodded as he continued looking at her. She was sobbing. “She should probably be bound somehow.”
Voldemort crouched down next to him “Bound? How do you mean bound?”
“You could perform a guardian spell or a slave binding spell both would work. I have books in the library from a time when slaves were still created and bought and sold. I have a few books for binding children for foster care too.” Malfoy offered.
Severus grunted “who would volunteer for such a thing.”
Voldemort smirked. “Lucius just did. Malfoy, I am going to give your family one more chance to prove yourselves worthy of the position I have graciously given you in my inner circle. Will you find a spell and bind her so that she cannot use her magic.” Voldemort pressed the end of Malfoy’s wand to her chin and tilted her face up to look into her eyes.
Hermione thought of the elves and his anger towards them and then the horcruxes that Harry and Ron still needed time to find and whispered in her mind ‘obliviate’.
Voldemort blinked at her in surprise and then stood and pulled Severus to his feet. He stroked his hair and said to him softly “I miss you at night. My bed has been so cold without you.”
“I’m sorry Master but I have to remain at the school. The Carrows have no self-control. If I leave them alone at the school for too long they will end up killing the students regardless of their birth classes. Last week I caught one of them torturing a pureblood hufflepuff. She was only a third year student. They claimed that she was a DA member but they had no proof.”
“I know Severus and I’m sorry that you are stuck babysitting that lot of brats but they are the next generation. I will live with my cold bed.” He smiled slyly at Malfoy “or maybe I will find a young replacement.”
Lucius visibly paled. “My Lord, Surely you can’t be suggesting Draco. He has no stomach for this. He is too soft hearted like his loving mother.” Lucius began pleading for his son.
“You will send him to my rooms tonight.” Voldemort turned and stalked out of the room.
Hermione fell back to the floor that final spell draining her further. Lucius and Severus stood looking at the door that had just slammed closed waiting to see if the madman was really gone or not. Lucius grunted “Every time he comes or goes through the manor’s wards I feel like a whole is punched through my magical core.”
“What the hell happened?” Severus asked angrily.
Lucius sighed. “A group of the snatchers that I employ brought in the three of them only the boys looked disfigured. Bella asked Draco to identify Potter but he faked not knowing him. Then Bella decided that she wanted to play with the mudblood till HE got here. I’m not really sure what took him so long. Bella was torturing her for hours though. Before we knew what was happening, that house elf that was always causing problems, popped into the room with Potter and Weasley. They both had wands and disarmed Bella and Draco. Bella still had her arms around the mudblood.” He said motioning to the girl at his feet. “The elf dropped the chandelier on Bella making her release the girl. She tried to run for elf as it was clear they were going to disapparate but one of the men got off a stunner before she could make it to the apparition point in time. We thought the elf would come right back for her but Bella thinks the dagger that she threw might have hit its mark as they were going.” Lucius sank down onto the bed. “Lord Voldemort showed up minutes later. When he saw what had happened he went crazy and cursed all of us then started hunting down the house elves. At first he called them to him. I think Narcissa might have gone into the kitchen and freed them.”
Severus sighed and sat on the bed next to him “Lucius, I’m surprised he didn’t kill all of you.”
“I’m too valuable as a pureblood.” He looked over at the girl. “I’m pretty sure if I fail him this time he won’t care about my blood.”
“Ms. Granger,” Severus called. “Are you okay?”
She shook her head “I don’t know, do I look okay?”
“She needs a healer.” Lucius stated. “Bella did a number on her arm carving the word ‘Mudblood’ on it. She used a spell so that it will scar permanently.”
Severus knelt back down next to her. “Where’s Narcissa?” He asked while lifting her arm and inspecting the cut marks. The word ‘Mudblood’ was clearly scrolled in the inside of her right arm. Severus frowned.
“She’s probably taking care of his wounded. Once the elves were gone Voldemort turned back on to us. I had Draco carry her up here while he was killing the elves. She was unconscious and then I sent him to his rooms.” He sighed. “I’ll have to figure out a way to keep him from going tonight.”
Severus grunted. “I’m sorry Lucius.”
He chuckled and said “and I still don’t have a wand. How am I supposed to cast a binding spell without one?”