Chapter 1 : Prologue
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DISCLAIMER: I don't own the characters, I just like to manipulate them =)
“You remember that night, don’t you Malfoy?” The cold hiss broke the long silence, as though continuing a conversation unheard by all but the one who had spoken.
“Which particular night do you mean, my Lord?” Lucius’s sleek voice almost covered his apprehension. Almost. “There were a lot of memorable nights, my Lord,” it was not wise to show ignorance before the Dark Lord.
“Surely this one stood out among all others. A truly majestic night, amidst many glorious nights.”
Voldemort was toying with him now, like a cat with a mouse, or a child tearing the legs off a spider, one by one, to watch it squirm.
“How could you forget it Malfoy? The firelight. Her aura. The power.”
Lucius watched the candlelight flicker, casting odd shadows around the drawing room of the old Riddle House. He looked at the dilapidated furniture and the many scuttling insects around the room, not daring to look at his master on the throne-like chair in the middle of the room, for fear his glance would be construed as impudence.
Of course he remembered that night. How could he forget?
The smell of burning as a whole village cowered before the wrath of Lord Voldemort. The ash raining from the sky like cursed snow, illuminated in the eerie orange glow of a burning building. A temple. People screaming as the Death Eaters hunted them.
It was sixteen years ago, at the height of the Dark Lord’s reign, and he could still hear the screams echo in the air as the men were tortured and killed, their wives and daughters beaten and raped, their homes destroyed, lives shattered.
It was sport.
But there was one person. One solitary woman who had stood in the face of the horror and destruction and tried to fight. She was special. She was chosen.
She was Voldemort’s.
“I see you remember now, Malfoy, the events of that fateful night all those years ago.” The voice intruded upon his memories.
“I remember, my Lord.”
“Good. Then I trust you also remember the power I told you of.”
“Yes, my Lord. Power such as has never been dreamed of before. Power that will cause even Dumbledore and the Potter boy to cower before it. Power even greater than…” here Malfoy paused, even repeating Voldemort’s own words back to him, he wasn’t sure such disrespect could be allowed, “…greater than your own. The girl’s power.”
“That’s right, Malfoy. I have left it too long already, it should have been taken care of years ago, before…” his cold voice trailed off as he once more retreated into his own private thoughts. “But it is no matter now Malfoy. It is time. Time to pay a visit to my daughter.”
Hermione awoke with a jerk as a crash came from the other bedroom.
Oh God, not now! Not here! She screamed silently, leaping from her bed and, without bothering to pull on a robe, grabbed the wand that was lying on her bedside table, well within reach should anything occur.
She raced out the door of her bedroom and across the landing to the spare room, where Ron and Harry were sleeping.
Bursting in, wand raised, her alert eyes took in everything in the room, from Harry’s groggy form on the bed, to Ron’s guilty face, to the heavy trunk on the floor.
“Sorry,” he whispered, “I dropped my trunk.”
She lowered her wand and let out a huge sigh of relief. “Ronald Weasley, do you have any idea how much you scared me?”
“Sorry,” he said again as Harry mumbled something about centaurs playing leapfrog and rolled over to go back to sleep. Honestly that boy could sleep through a stampede of dragons.
“I couldn’t sleep so I was looking for a boring book to read and make me tired, and I dropped my trunk” Ron’s ears had turned red, “I don’t suppose you have Hogwarts: A History lying around anywhere?” He looked hopeful.
Hermione just rolled her eyes at this slur on her favourite book, “Come downstairs, I’ll get you a cup of hot chocolate or something. You are so lucky my parents aren’t home.”
It was the summer holidays before the beginning of the golden trio’s seventh and final year at Hogwarts, and Hermione, having spent so much time at Ron’s house, had decided that for a change she would invite them all to hers. Especially since Ron and Harry would be taking Muggle Studies at school this year, as a crash course, so she’d thought it would give him a head start.
Her parents had been fine with the idea, having heard “so many good things about those lovely young boys” from their “sensible little daughter”. Luckily for Ron they’d decided to go to Wales for a week, otherwise he would have woken them up.
She wandered into the kitchen, automatically turning the light on and turned to Ron who was trailing behind her with an odd look on his face. “Right, fill up the kettle, I showed you how to do it yesterday, remember? What’s wrong?”
She looked down at herself, wondering why Ron was looking at her so weird, “I know I don’t exactly look my best at half 2 in the morning, but there’s no need to stare”
“It’s not that,” Ron seemed lost for words, “you’re not wearing a robe.”
“Oh,” she said, noticing absently that all she was wearing was a pink vest top and pink shorts with hearts on, “Well I thought we were being attacked by Death Eaters, didn’t I? I wasn’t exactly worried about putting on a robe, I was thinking about what my mum would say if she came back to find your blood all over the floor. She would make me pay to get the carpet cleaned you know!”
He grinned, “I know, but…” he trailed off, looking suddenly shy, “erm…how do I work this thing again?” He pointed at the kettle.
“Honestly, Ron,” Hermione slipped back into her “textbook” voice with practiced ease, “I only showed you it a few hours ago. You’re so lucky you’ve got me, otherwise you would fail Muggle Studies.”
She filled up the kettle and had no sooner taken two sachets of hot chocolate from the cupboard than the whole world shimmered slightly. She didn’t have a chance to do anymore than look at Ron in shock before she felt something rip in her chest and briefly watched her body fall to the floor before realising that she wasn’t in it any more.
She closed her eyes in horror, only to open them again to a scene from a nightmare.
Authors Note: Everyone knows I'm a review junkie!