Chapter 3 : Questioning
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The gloomy corridors reflected Hermione’s mood perfectly: pensive and disheartened. As she followed Lady Malfoy through the confusing maze in silence, Hermione fought her hardest to harness her terror and lock it in an impenetrable room along with all of her secrets about Harry, Ron, the Order, Dumbledore, and her parents. Anything could be vital to Voldemort, so she must not disclose whereabouts or plans of anyone, especially those that were closest to her. He could use them to drive her into unwilling, but necessary submission.
Her own rhythmic footfalls began to calm her. Then Mrs. Malfoy spoke. “Straight through those doors.” Her terror rapidly returning, Hermione placed a trembling hand on the golden handles of the doors. Several seconds passed as she worked up the courage to enter. A male voice breezed past her ear. “Go.” Oddly calmed, she opened the great maple doors and stepped softly into the room. A group of darkly clothed figures stood around a bone white and forest green throne-like chair. The chair’s back was facing the doors from whence she had entered.
“Ah, Miss Granger. How nice of you to join us,” reverberated Voldemort’s hissing voice. “We were just discussing your… potential.”
“I’ll never join your little murder club,” Hermione spat.
“Oh no, my dear. I would never expect that of you.” The emerald chair turned so the occupant was facing her. “I have much greater hopes for you.” His red eyes shone with malice as his fingers glided over the intricacies of his dreaded wand.
“I’ve heard that you are the top in every class, except maybe Potions in which young Draco seems to excel."
Draco stepped out from behind the high-backed chair to stand by his lord’s side. His usual smirk was still plastered on his face, though his stiff stance betrayed a hint of uneasiness, or perhaps fear. His eyes darkened at the sight of her. “Mudblood,” he sneered.
She jerked her head in response. “Malfoy.”
“Draco has offered to brew some potions for me if the need arises. In fact, I believe he already has a truthful little one on the cauldron. Don’t you, Draco?”
“Yes, my Lord.”
“Good boy.” His gaze returned to Hermione. I would prefer to do this the easy way, but if not…” There was a pregnant pause. “I expect you to cooperate and answer truthfully. Now that the rules are set, let us begin. Are you really Hermione Jane Granger?”
“Yes,” she replied.
“Good. When were you born?”
“September 19, 1979.”
“Where do you live?”
Irritation flashed across his face, but he quickly regained control and calmly asked, “No, where is your summer home?”
“25 Pincock Street, Peterborough.”
“Thank you. Where are your friends, Harry and Ron?”
“I don’t know.”
“Yes, I haven’t seen Ron since right before the battle, and the last I knew, Harry was with Dumbledore.”
“Do you know where Dumbledore took Harry?”
“No, he didn’t tell me.”
“He must have told you something; perhaps he mentioned a place that was in the memories?”
“How do you know about that?”
“Let’s just say that a close friend of yours is not as good at Occulemency as you are.” He released a low chuckle, if the chilling sound could even be called that.
“Ron! What have you done to him? Where is he?”
“Dear, dear. I do not know where he is. That is why I’m asking you. And all I did was read his mind while he was passing me. The miserable fool doesn’t think of much more than food and Quidditch, but I managed to extract a few useful memories. Now where did Dumbledore take Harry?”
“I told you, I don’t know!”
“Yes, you do.”
Her furious mind began racing even faster. Where was a likely place for them to go? “Your old orphanage. Looking for something you may have left behind,” she stated matter-of-factly. She hoped he would buy her lie.
“Hmm… You have given me much to think on. You may go… for now.”
She let out the breath she had been holding and turned away. He noticed her release of breath. “Stop her! Draco, get the Veritraserum.”
She picked up her pace, trying for a full sprint, hoping to get past the maple doors. Two pairs of strong hands clasped her arms, inhibiting her progress. Kicking at her captors, she was led back to stand stiffly in front of the Dark Lord.
“You foolish girl! You thought you could trick me; lie to me! I will have no more of this nonsense! Draco!” The blonde teen handed his lord a small bottle of clear liquid. Voldemort’s skeletal fingers uncorked the bottle as their owner stood, towering above her petite figure. “Open your mouth.” She disobeyed. “I said open your mouth!” Still, she refused. “OPEN IT!” She kept her lips tightly sealed. His wand appeared and with a small wave, magic held open her protesting mouth. The bottle tipped slightly, getting closer to releasing its contents every second. She thrashed about wildly, attempting to free herself. Closer. Closer. Completely horizontal. Tipped just a tiny degree more. And drip. Drip. Drip. Three drops of the potion fell into her mouth. Drop. Drop. Two more. The contents of the bottle descended into her mouth and unwillingly she swallowed.
“Now, I’ll ask you again. Where did Dumbledore take Harry?”
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