A/N – Thanks to everyone who read The Dark Lady Rises, I hope you enjoy The Dark Lady Rules. This story is a lot longer than part 1 and has 42 chapters in total.
This story takes place over the course of sixth year and seventh year. Given what happened at the Ministry at the end of part 1, things run very differently. In this part Hermione's future plans begin to reveal themselves and the difference between how she and her father approach things becomes clear as the story develops.
In the large dining room at Malfoy Manor the Death Eaters began to assemble. For the first time since The Dark Lord's demise they had been summoned by The Dark Lady. Lucius Malfoy had summoned them shortly after Voldemort's death for a quick meeting, but this was the first time their mark's had burnt in months.
"This is bloody ridiculous." Bellatrix Lestrange complained loudly. "The little cow calls us here, only to make us wait."
"You can't call her that, Bella." Her husband, Rodolphus Lestrange hissed. "If she hears, she'll be fuming."
"Yes, she will." A voice from the doorway said.
The whole room's attention turned to the door as Lucius Malfoy walked into the room. As he walked to the head of the table, Lucius ordered the Death Eaters into place. Most of them obeyed the man that used to be Voldemort's right hand man, but Bellatrix remained standing in front of her brother-in-law.
"And what gives you the right to issue orders?" Bellatrix sneered.
"That would be me." The Dark Lady, otherwise known as Hermione Granger, announced as she walked into the room and made her way to Lucius's side. As usual she was wearing her long, blood red cloak that hid her identity. "Is there a reason you're not in your seat, Bella?"
Bellatrix glared at Hermione for a few seconds, before turning round and stomping to her place at the bottom of the table. Much to her chagrin she still hadn't managed to move any further up the table and was still stuck near the bottom of the table which reflected her lowly standing within the Death Eaters these days.
"First things first, I am taking over." Hermione announced. "Your loyalty is now to me. Does anyone have a problem with that?"
Hermione watched as a few of the Death Eaters grumbled to the person next to them. While most of them had accepted her and had no problem with her taking over, Hermione knew a handful of her father's followers still resented the fact she'd seemingly appeared from nowhere and was now taking charge.
"Well I'm not standing for it." One Death Eater that sat at the bottom of the table announced as he stood up. "I'm not taking orders from a woman, especially one I haven't even seen."
"Then I suggest it's time for you to go." Hermione responded coldly.
As the Death Eater turned to leave, Hermione took her wand out of her cloak. Pointing it at the Death Eater she waited until his hand reached out for the doorknob.
The green light shot from Hermione's wand, hitting the Death Eater in the back. There were several shocked faces and gasps around the room as the assembled Death Eaters realised what had just happened.
"Does anyone else have a problem with me?" Hermione asked, looking around the room.
Everyone either shook their heads or murmured a quiet 'No My Lady'. Hermione slowly turned her attention towards Bellatrix and waited to see her response. Hermione knew she wanted to argue against following her, but she also knew her display had made the older witch uneasy. Bellatrix valued her life far too much to try and walk away when she knew she would likely be killed.
"Good." Hermione nodded, when there was no more complaints. "First things first, I want to set a few rules. When I call a meeting I expect everyone to be on time, latecomers will be punished. If you don't show up, I need a valid reason why." Hermione paused to let her words sink in before she turned to the Carrow siblings that sat in the middle of the table. "Alecto, Amycus, how would you two like a special assignment?"
"We'd be honoured, My Lady." Amycus replied.
"Good, you two will be in charge of dealing with people who fail to attend meetings." Hermione told the twins.
"How do you want us to deal with them?" Alecto asked.
"I'll leave that to your discretion. You can deal with people based on what reason they have not to show up." Hermione replied, knowing the duo had a reputation as being particularly cruel and not many of the Death Eaters would want to cross them.
"Thank you, My Lady." Amycus grinned wickedly. "We won't let you down."
"I'm sure you won't." Hermione chuckled. "Now onto the next order of business. It's time to make our presence felt again. Since my father's death we've been lying low, letting the Order think we've gone. It's time to let them know we still mean business and we're as deadly as ever. In the following week we're staging an attack on Diagon Alley. Lucius is in charge and he'll contact you in due course if you're part of the attack."
"And what if we're not included in your plans?" Bellatrix asked, her distaste for Hermione evident in her voice.
"If you're not involved in this plan, you carry on your life as normal. There's a role for everyone in this room, but sometimes you have to be patient and wait your turn." Hermione answered. "I also want to announce that Lucius is my right hand man. I will not always be attending meetings and Lucius will often be in charge. While I may not always be present I will always know what's going on, so anyone who defies Lucius will answer to me."
After her earlier display with the Death Eater who wanted to leave and an incident months ago when she'd tortured another Death Eater, the assembled group knew she wasn't kidding and she wasn't someone to be messed with.
"That will be all for now." Hermione announced. "You may leave."
Without waiting for the Death Eaters to leave, Hermione rose and swept out of the dining room. Hermione heard the chattering Death Eaters exit the room after her, but she paid them no attention as she headed towards Lucius's study. Once in the safety of Lucius's study she shed her robe and hung it in a cupboard where the blond man stored his own Death Eater outfit. A few days previously it had been decided that Hermione would leave her cloak at the Manor for when she was attending meetings.
Once her cloak was hung up Hermione walked over to the mirror and cast a few glamour charms on her appearance. Her curly brown hair that was currently hanging loose down her back turned a deep shade of auburn and she clipped it at the nape of her neck with a silver pin. She then changed her eyes so they were green and changed her eye make-up so it matched her freshly changed eyes. With a final sweep of her wand Hermione changed the clear lip gloss she was wearing to a deep shade of plum.
Hermione had just turned away from the mirror, satisfied with her appearance when the study door opened and Lucius entered. Behind Lucius was the figure of her Potions Professor, Severus Snape. Hermione had asked Lucius to bring Snape into his study after the meeting as she wanted to talk with the wizard.
"Severus, please sit down." Hermione said to the wizard. It felt extremely odd to be referring to Snape by his first name, but she knew she could hardly go around calling him Professor or Sir.
Snape took one of the seats opposite Lucius's desk, while Hermione settled down next to him. Lucius pulled his chair around from behind the desk and joined them, forming a rough circle with his seat.
"I want to discuss your role in things." Hermione began. "I know how things worked with father and on a whole I want to keep that up. Although instead of private meetings with me, they will be with Lucius."
"May I ask why?" Snape asked, studying the young witch in front of him carefully. The only other time he'd met her was at the masquerade ball over New Year and he knew she was currently wearing a series of glamour charms, leaving him to wonder if he knew her since she was taking such care to hide her real features.
"It's precautionary." Hermione answered. "As much as I would love to say I trust all the Death Eaters, I don't. I have to accept that there's a possibility my presence as leader will leak to the Order."
"I wouldn't tell." Snape interrupted immediately. "I haven't mentioned you so far. I was loyal to your father and I will be loyal to you."
"I know you haven't told and I appreciate your loyalty." Hermione smiled. "But this actually hasn't got anything to do with you personally, I want to protect your place within the Order. If they find out about me, I don't want you jeopardised by the fact you've never mentioned me."
"Surely it's too late for that." Snape said.
"Not necessarily." Lucius said. "If your main contact is me and you only attend meetings when I'm in charge you can claim not to know about The Dark Lady."
"As far as you're concerned, Lucius is the one in charge." Hermione stated. "The Order know the arrangement you had with my father excusing you from meetings in term time, you just claim Lucius gave you the same arrangement."
"I can make that work." Snape said thoughtfully. "But do you really think the Order will learn of your existence?"
"I hope not, or at least I hope it's not anytime soon." Hermione replied. "For the time being it suits me that people think Lucius is the one running things. But my father always told me to prepare for every eventuality, so I'm being cautious."
"I understand." Snape nodded. "I'll keep you informed of any whispers I might hear."
"Thank you Severus." Hermione smiled at her Potions Professor once again. "We appreciate your loyalty. Speaking of which, do you mind if I ask you a personal question?"
"Go ahead." Snape said.
"Why are you so loyal to the dark?" Hermione asked, getting straight to the thing that had been bugging her for months. "Father told me all about Lily Potter and your feelings for her. Why are you supporting the dark, when my father killed her?"
"He didn't." Snape answered, shocking both Hermione and Lucius.
"I don't understand." Lucius said. "Everyone knows the story of the night the Potter's died and The Dark Lord lost his powers."
"Like you, I was under the impression The Dark Lord had killed Lily and her wretched husband. Until The Dark Lord returned last year and we spoke for the first time since that night." Snape said. "He told me what really happened."
"And what did happen?" Hermione asked, wondering why her father had never told her what had happened with Harry's parents. Like everyone else she was under the impression he had killed them to get to Harry.
"When he arrived at the Potter's, Lily and James were in bed. They never woke up as he went into the nursery and tried to kill Harry." Snape explained. "When he tried to kill Harry that was when Dumbledore's curse struck and robbed your father of his powers."
"What curse?" Lucius asked. "What does Dumbledore have to do with anything?"
"The day of the Potter's deaths, I overheard The Dark Lord saying he knew where they were and he was heading out that night to kill Harry. I knew he would kill Lily to get to Harry, so I went to Dumbledore and begged him to warn them."
"Why didn't he?" Hermione frowned in confusion. She didn't get why Dumbledore hadn't moved the family if he'd known her father was coming for them.
"He had another solution." Snape spat, clearly disgusted with the headmaster and whatever he had done. "He'd been researching a spell that would rob your father of his powers and he spotted the opportunity to use it. The day I warned him about your father he went to visit the Potters, but he didn't tell them anything. Instead he cast the curse on Harry which would defeat your father when he tried to kill him."
"How do Potter's parents fit into this?" Lucius asked. "How did they die?"
"The same way The Dark Lord lost his powers, the curse Dumbledore placed on Harry. While it cost The Dark Lord his magic the curse cost Harry his parents."
"Dumbledore was responsible for their deaths." Hermione gasped in shock. "But how do you know all this?"
"After your father told me what happened that night, I went to confront Dumbledore. I'd seen your father's memories and I know he didn't touch Lily. She had to have died somehow and her body placed in the nursery, so I went to the first person on the scene." Snape paused to compose himself as talking about Lily's death wasn't the easiest thing for him to do. "I was furious and demanded answers. Dumbledore told me everything I've just told you. He also showed no remorse, in his eyes sacrificing Lily and James was worth it to incapacitate your father."
"What did you do?" Lucius asked.
"I'd already promised The Dark Lord I would remain as a spy for him so I let Dumbledore think he'd talked me around." Snape answered. "I told him I would keep quiet on the proviso he backed off from Harry and let him make his own decisions."
Dumbledore's bizarre attitude towards Harry the previous year was suddenly making more sense to Hermione. She'd always felt there was something else going on, but just couldn't work out what.
"But, they're back to normal now." Hermione said, suddenly remembering how close the pair were once again. "He's stopped backing off, why?"
"With your father gone I don't have his memories, meaning it's my word against Dumbledore's." Snape replied. "Dumbledore made it clear that if I ever tell Harry the truth, he'll claim I'm lying and the memories I've got were planted by your father in a bid to cause trouble."
"That sounds like Dumbledore, the manipulative old git." Lucius grumbled. "Do you think this information can help us any?" He asked, turning to Hermione.
"Maybe, but we can discuss it later." Hermione said. "I just needed to understand why Severus was loyal to us."
"I'm loyal because your father didn't kill the woman I loved." Snape said quietly. "Dumbledore did, and I want to see him pay."
"He will." Hermione grinned evilly. "Don't worry about that."
Snape smiled briefly before nodding and rising from his seat. After saying goodbye he left the study, leaving Hermione and Lucius to contemplate what they had just discovered.
"I've got the file you asked for on the new Minister." Lucius said after a few minutes, breaking the silence in the room.
"I'll take it with me, but give me a brief rundown." Hermione said. "What's your opinion on him?"
"He's exactly what the public wanted right after your father's defeat, a Minister who openly backs Dumbledore and Potter and condemns Fudge for his stubbornness." Lucius answered. "However he's not good enough for the job. Without Dumbledore whispering in his ear he wouldn't know what to do."
"I want rid of him." Hermione declared. "We can't have a Minister who's so easily influenced by Dumbledore."
"Do we want one of our men in the job?" Lucius asked. "We have several Death Eaters within the Ministry."
"It doesn't matter, as long as they're not in Dumbledore's fan club they'll do." Hermione replied. "I've got a long term plan, but for now just get rid of the idiot in charge."
"Consider it done." Lucius smirked.
Hermione nodded as she stood up and stretched. "I really should be going, good night Lucius."
"Good night, My Lady." Lucius smiled. "Send your father my regards."
"I will." Hermione said, taking the file Lucius had prepared for her about the Minister and heading for the fireplace.
Hermione flooed home and landed in her father's study, which was actually now her study. Dropping the file on the table she removed her glamour charms and went off in search of her father. Despite now having no magic he was still alive and thanks to the potions Lucius provided him with every week he was still able to get about the house with relative ease.
"Hermione." Voldemort smiled widely as Hermione entered the front room, where her parents were sitting talking quietly. "Your mother was telling me all about the meeting. It sounds like you handled things perfectly."
"I hope so, I was so nervous." Hermione admitted.
"It didn't show." Kathleen reassured her daughter. "You were brilliant."
Hermione smiled at her mother as she settled down next to her father and told him about the meeting. Despite Voldemort not wanting to get involved with the Death Eaters, he was still interested in hearing how his daughter was handling things and the plans she had in the pipeline.