Chapter 4 : Talk With Death
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“Draco Malfoy!” she screamed turning to face him.
“Yes, it’s good to see you know my name, but do you know your own,” the blonde boy smirked with a look to his eyes that showed far more joy than she was used to. She lost her nerve and took a step back.
“What,” she began in a level but nasty voice, “do you want?” His smirked widen and her took a step closer to her.
“You’re not afraid of me, are you?” He raised a blonde eyebrow with more pleasure than suspicion. She saw this as well, but could not explain it. Instead she took another step backward and fell into the swing. She sat there looking up into the eyes of a person she now loathed worse then anything, and she felt unafraid and completely calm, and it scared her.
“Never,” she whispered which caused his expression to change drastically as his wand whipped out of its spot in his pocket.
“You should be.” The wand poked her skin on her throat but even as he showed every sign of killing her in the next second, she was calm. Even as his eyes turned murderous, she looked back at him.
“What do you want Draco Malfoy?” His shock was quite clear; he had expected her courage to falter then, and for her to scream and cry for mercy before he sent the curse.
“And it’s not what I want that you should be worrying about, but what the dark lord wants.” Hermione, with all her courage, was indeed afraid of that. The Dark Lord wanted her….
“What does he want then?” Even though her voice held her confidence, she knew by Draco’s smirk that her eyes had given her away. Her hand shook against the chain of the swing as she sat defenseless and cornered on its plastic seat.
“He wants to see you… Are you going to come with me or will I have to call some friends for help?” Draco’s voice was calm and full of enjoyment as if his words were stripping her of her every essence.
“Do you know?” Hermione’s voice shook, but not with only fear. Draco smirked and leaned close to her face, right next to her ear. She could feel his cool breath on her check and could smell odd spices. Her heart skipped a beat in her chest and she’d half expected him to kiss her. She’d even raised her hand off the metal of the swing to slap him.
“You are to marry me, Virginia. You mother wanted it, but I know for a fact your father would have hated it. Of course I know. It’s not easily to treat one of such Pureblood in such a fowl manner but I’ve manage to keep the illusion whole for three years.” As he said it shivers ran down her back and she closed her eyes. For a second they sat there inches away in the cold night air. Then Hermione opened her eyes and Draco was standing in front of her, his wand touching her throat again. Her face felt warm but she was hoping that was just because he’s cold breath was no longer resting above it.
“Will my life be in danger?” Hermione asked her voice shaking yet again. She knew all too well that, unless Draco only had one Death Eater friend waiting to help take her in, she stood no chance. She knew that it would be less dangerous and less painful to walk quietly into his hands. She also knew it’d be insane.
“No, and I’m willing to make an unbreakable vow upon it,” his voice was as cold as his breath had been but it was serious. Some how she knew that he wasn’t lying, but she didn’t want to trust him. She wanted to believe that he would stab her in the back the first chance he got. She didn’t want to take the risk of trust him. She wanted to have Ron and Harry there to help her.
“Very well,” Hermione voice shook with fear as she stood up, “I will go with you.” The defeated tone she held made Draco smirk widen.
“You are smarter than you look.” Then he grabbed onto her arm and they Apparated away.
The world was dark. Everything was lifeless and colorless. She felt like she had been blasted into a world that had never seen light. Each step took deeper in the depths of darkness. A pale hand clutched her arm, kept her going through the darkness, made her step forward. Fear spiked to its peak in her brain. Every step took her closer and closer to an evil thing, an evil thing she’d thought she’d never have to meet. As she laid her foot back upon the ground it slipped from underneath her. The world seemed to melt away; nothing existed but the fact that she was falling through blackness. The pale hand stopped her fall though with its tight grip. It, amazingly, brought her back to reality, back to the ground.
“We do need a little light, don’t we Granger…” the voice was just as cold and eerie as ever. A faint pale light penetrated the darkness. Though that light was weak it prevented her from tripping again. Or was that perhaps her embarrassment?
A metal door loomed nearer and nearer as they walked. She closed her eyes for a second, trying to pretend she was not moving closer to what she wanted to run away from. Her eyes shot open as if they were on fire, she’d seen the flash of green from behind her eye lids and now she saw it at the edge of the door.
She knew the person was dead before she heard the thud and then the hissing of a snake. She swallowed. What had possessed her to come so quietly? She wasn’t going to die. She was a Pureblood. The dark lord wouldn’t kill her. He wouldn’t spill blood so pure…How pure was her blood? Would she ever know? What if this was a trap? What would Harry say if he knew she’d walked so willingly, so easily into Voldemort’s clutches?
Fear warmed its way into her body in a way it never had before. Perhaps the sorting hat had been right, maybe she wasn’t cut out for Gryffindor. Maybe she should have been a Ravenclaw? Self Doubt planted itself far deeper than the fear could. Could this really be the end? Could she have let it end like this?
She gripped her wand in her pocket. If Voldemort was to kill her she would at least go down fighting for her life.
“Enter.” Hermione did a double take. The voice sounded like a snake had been speaking. So was that how Voldemort really sounded? The pale hands opened the door but before she could even take a step toward it she felt the icy breath on the back of her neck.
“Be careful. I wouldn’t want my fiancé to get killed before we’ve even kissed.” Hermione was unsure which gave her shivers, the cold laugh or the words. A hand gave her a gentle push forward and she knew there was no other option. Walk forward. As she stepped over the threshold of the room the door slammed behind her.
“Virginia….” Hermione was not used to being called that, but it was happening more and more often. After all, it was her name. The Dark Lord sat facing away from her. He stared into a fire as he sat straight backed in an armchair. A bony hand gestured to an empty armchair on the other side of a small table. Upon the table sat two glasses and a bottle that looked to be filled with very strong Fairyrum. With shaking legs and downcast head Hermione managed to sit upon the chair without passing out.
Now in the presents of the Dark Lord her fear had reached incomprehensible highs. Her teeth chatter in the cold of the room and her hand had gone numb on her wand. Even with the fire her breath seemed to turn to ice as she breathed. If the Dark Lord chose to act here it wouldn’t matter how much will she had, her body was too cold to fight.
“Virginia…” the Dark Lord said again in his snake like voice. Shivers ran down Hermione’s back but she continued to look at the fire and not let her fear control her. “I knew your mother quite well.” As interesting as the facts were Hermione was too cold and too scared to show her interest. She was just hoping that he had simply wanted to talk to her.
“Wormtail!” the sudden change in the Dark Lords voice made Hermione jump. Her eyes drifted to the man the Dark Lord had screamed at. He was hunched over in the corner cradling something silver. His beady little rat eyes met with Hermione’s for just a moment before he hurried over.
“Yes Master?” he asked evidently. Hermione expect him to kneel before the man and kiss his feet. Wormtail stay on his feet though, waiting for his orders with respect and fear.
“Get our guest a coat…I am afraid she is cold.”
‘Get our guest a coat…I am afraid she is cold’ The words echoed through Hermione’s head. ‘Guest…afraid…’ She blinked but dared not look toward to great man of power. The seeds of self doubt that had planted themselves earlier spoke to her now. What if Voldemort was not so bad? What if it was Harry who was wrong?
As soon as she thought it she shook it away. She had seen the flash and heard the snake eat. She knew that she had witnessed some murder in the faintest of ways. Wormtail returned quickly with a coat covered in fur.
“Thank you,” Hermione was surprised by the meek quiet told of her voice as she took the coat and quickly warmed herself with it.
“Now that is fixed, I shall go on.” For as cold and snake like as his voice was, it held the tone of kind conversation. For the first time, since Hermione had Apparated with Draco, she felt no fear. It was as if it had been soaked into the coat along with her cold. She closed her eyes just to listen to voice that seemed to grow less terrifying and more human with every word.
“I knew your mother, when she was alive. Her family as well. They were loyal to blood.” Behind her eyes, Hermione pictured herself in the Gryffindor common room, sitting in the armchair facing the fire. Voldemort sat in one next to hers, which was where the couch had been.
“Did…Did they work for you?” Hermione dared herself to ask in that small meek voice she had suddenly obtained. It was as if she was a different person, two people. In her head she heard the sounds of spell work, pages turning, talking students, and a phoenix song in the background.
“All but your mother had joined my cause, yes. I have faults I will admit. It was those faults that both of your parents could not overlook, no matter the cause.” Hermione dared herself to open her eyes again and she almost gasped with fear.
The dark dungeon room had melted away and she sat in the Gryffindor common room. She looked all around the room it was perfect to the exact detail. The phoenix song still echoed through the background. Her eyes drifted upward to Voldemort. She expected the man to look as Harry described him. She expected to look away in fear and in disgust. Instead she looked upon the face of a young man, probably fresh out of school. Lord Voldemort sat before her looking much like the Tom Riddle he used to be.
“I see my spell has surprised you. I wanted you to be comfortable for our talk. Most people will not even listen when they are afraid, cold and in an unfamiliar place. If there is anything you need while you are here please do not be afraid to ask,” his voice was much like Harry’s, expect Harry’s had almost always held anger. Voldemort’s was calm and pleasant.
“How long will…will I be staying?” Hermione voice shook and she had to swallow midway through. Was she still afraid? Or was it something else?
“Just until our talk is over, I do not want your friends to know of it. As pure as Weasley’s blood it is a shame that he has betrayed us all.” Hermione was shocked. How could Voldemort say such things?
“Sir,” she mumbled it out as fast as she could, “how could Ron have betrayed us?” Voldemort smiled at her. It was unexpectedly charming.
“In this world, Virginia, as with many others, we all take orders from those more powerful than us. We are not meant to questions those orders. You are told to go to school, so you go. You may ask why, but wither it is answered or not you know that you will go to school. It is basically the same throughout all aspects of life.” Hermione nodded but she did not believe that Voldemort was saying this to her. “Even if you are not aware of the orders you still follow them. It creates an order to the world and a balance. There are, however, people like your friend, who wither they realize it have disobeyed the orders. With the orders messed up, balance is wrecked and people are given the impression of good and evil. There is no such thing, only power.”
“What about Harry?” Hermione asked her voice shaking only slightly. “Has he broken out of the order?”
“No.” The single word took all her breath away. Something in her clicked with relief as if the fact that Harry was still following this ‘order’ that Voldemort was crazily making up. “No, he is doing his part…he will kill me in the end.” As if what had already been said wasn’t enough! The conversation kept making Voldemort more and more human. It scared her.
The man she had always seen as someone with no morals, no soul and no reality was suddenly turning out to have all of those things. Her eyes drifted around the room. What about all the deaths? What was he saying earlier about her parents?
“What about my parents? Did they stay inside the order?”
“Your mother did. Unfortunately your father only slipped once, but it was that chance that caused much to go wrong in the universe. The orders change when someone breaks… and when that happens sometimes we are forced to do things we wouldn’t enjoy… Thus evil and good seem to have formed an image on a figure.” Voldemort set his graze upon Hermione rather than the fire.
“Virginia, your mother, if she was here, would have loved to see you go along with your arranged marriage. She never joined me, in fact she fought against me, but she left a message with me to give to you. Even though she fought against us, the battlefield always seemed to be a different place than the threshold of her home or the walls of her school. It hadn’t mattered to her who you were on that battlefield, when you were off of it, you were not an enemy.” Hermione gaze drifted toward Voldemort and those teenage eyes locked with hers. “You look like her, and her mother.”
With that second Hermione’s brain seemed to freeze on so many conclusions at once. She knew what Voldemort would say next and she knew what she must say. She also knew what she would have to do. Even as she didn’t want to, she knew what must be done. Whether Voldemort lied or not she would have to do one thing. It was the orders she was given. In that same second the Gryffindor common room melted away into the cold stone of the dungeon.
“I have but one final thing to say to you, Virginia.” Voldemort had turned back into his current self and Hermione looked away fear spreading through her veins with the sudden sight. His voice was as rough as a snake’s again. “Will you join me in my cause to purge the world of all those with no magical blood?”
Hermione swallowed with the fear and strangeness of the situation. She knew she must say no, but she knew it meant the risk of death.
“No. I will not.” The worlds were strong and clear. Apparently, her voice was back to normal.
“Draco! Show her out…” Hermione’s hand finally let go of her wand as she stood. Draco opened the door and held out his arm for her to take. She did, begrudgingly. When the door closed again it was a world of pitch black sea.
The preasure on her neck was unmistakably a wand. Shivers from his ice breath were unavoidable. She closed her eyes knowing that now was when she would die. It would be ironic that Draco would do it. That the man she was supposed to marry would be the one to kill her.
“Will you ever speak of this?” His cold sneering voice held it’s silent threat. Her heart beat faster than she ever knew it could. Her body shivered with cold she never knew existed. So this was what war was like?
“Never,” her voice was hardly louder than a breath. It used no more energy than blinking. It hardly reached his ears.
“Do I have your word?” The light pressure on her neck increased until it dug into her skin, deep enough to leave a mark.
“Yes.” For the fear rushing through her body she was surprisingly collected. The pressure was removed but the breath still breathed onto her back. It moved slowly until she could feel it on her ear, in her ear. She could almost feel his skin it was so close.
“I will pick you up at seven. Meet me at the end of the road. Be sure to be alone.” Each word caused lips to brush against her ear and butterflies to flutter unwanted in her stomach. “Wear something nice, and Muggle.”
The cold breath withdrew, and did not wait for an answer to lead her on down the hallway. Hermione knew that she would be there for the date she had never been asked on, and she knew that with in seconds she would be Apparated back to park. As she felt the grip of Draco on her arm she looked back toward the big metal door, quite unsure what to think.
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