A/N: I tried posting a fanfiction earlier, wrote two chapters into it, and decided it was too OOC for me and deviated too much from anything related to the characters, so I deleted it. Hopefully this one will be a bit better for me. This is a Voldemort/Hermione fanfiction, centered mostly around the magical aspect.
Warnings: Mature, violence, bigotry, possible gore, and triggering scenes.
Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling owns and profits from all things Harry Potter. I just play in her sandbox.
She was slowly walking up the stone pathway, fog lapping in, around and about her ankles like small cats wanting petting. It should be dark, she thought to herself warily, pausing to look around the vast landscape, anything but what lay ahead of her. It should be dark, with werewolves and snakes and other terrifying creatures.
Surrounding the meticulously cared for pathway were rolling hills of beautiful green grass, so soft looking that she could imagine herself in another time and day sleeping under the warm sun. There was an easily distinguished from the grasslands to the forest, where she had first portkey'd in before walking the rest of the way. The stone pathway was outlined in simple round white stones, flanked by periodical bushels of blue roses: the first indication that she was where she had intended to be. Another violent tremor shivered through her body, teeth grinding in order to bear the pain, and she slowly moved on. She had wasted enough time, and time was something she wouldn't have if she didn't hurry.
Finally reaching the top of the hill, she could understand exactly where all the so-called pride had originated from. The Manor on the hill was surrounded by protective stone walls with carved murals depicting magical significance, all elegantly designed to establish that whomever lived there, lived lavishly. Next to the tall iron-fenced gate, neatly placed in the center, was the family crest she'd been looking for. She hazard a guess that it was made out of platinum, letting out a slight gasp as the newest tremor, stronger than the ones before it, rocked through her body. She wiped her hand across her mouth, tasting blood from where she accidentally bit her lip, and moved forward.
She could feel the magic in the gate, the magical power feeling weak when she touched it. It would be so simple just to destroy the gate, but by doing so would cause alarm and that was exactly what she wanted to avoid. Placing a palm on the center of the gate, her other arm wrapped around her middle in an instinctive manner to try and keep herself together, and by concentrating quickly pulsed her magic through the gate and disabling the selective system that would otherwise deny her access. The palpable relief she felt from releasing some of the magic, even a small amount, gave her the energy to move on. The next tremor wasn't as bad as the one prior, but in her exhausted mind, it was agony.
Finally getting a good look at the Manor, she was impressed. Tall and reeking of power, it had to have been three to four stories tall, and it was so wide she had to crane her neck both ways to see the end. The Gothic theme resonated strongly here, she absentmindedly agreed that it suited them, though the white color of the manor was certainly shocking. The door was a mere ten meters away, black and flanked by black marble statues of serpents, of which in front the the statues had alternate stone paths that she could only assume deviated to outer buildings that were behind the Manor.
Black marble columns lined the pathway, with an overhanging vines weaving above to make a crisscross patterned design, peppered with black and white roses, and she had to lean against one of them the moment another tremor took her: a nearby plant pot shattered, and she grimaced. She took another deep breathe before stumbling against the door and pushing herself through.
She doubled over, her hands bracing themselves on her knees as she felt the gentle breeze of cooling charms that were built into the wards and walls of the home. The pain in her core was excruciating and she could feel the stretching and tearing that she wasn't very sure she could control or hold back much longer. It made it that much easier to do what she was about to do.
"...I do say, the Dark Lord is not pleased that he has to re-do the wards on the gate, Rosier was the last one to check them and he assured him that they were strong."
Her ears perked slightly. Lucius Malfoy, the voice was unmistakable: snobby, precise, and smooth. From the sounds of the echoing footsteps on the marble flooring, he wasn't alone.
"Father, I was with him." Draco Malfoy's voice echoed out in the hallway coming from her right. "The wards were fine. As if the Dark Lord had just put them on." The voices were getting closer, and she knew that, at this moment, it was do or die. Luckily it was the Malfoys, who would question first and curse later, and not Bellatrix. They were almost upon her.
"Well, the Dark Lord says the wards are gone on the gate and we must..." Lucius Malfoy had stopped abruptly, and she hadn't needed to look up to know that he was in the room with her. She didn't have the energy to look up. The sleek dragon-scaled boots, the hem of a robe that was perhaps the finest quality she'd ever laid eyes upon, and the sharp ease of magical power that had floated into the room with him. The magic was as sharp as his eyes were surely upon her form.
"What...do we have here?" She didn't bother answering.
"Granger?" The shock in the youngest Malfoy would have made her chuckle under different circumstances. A violent tremor took her off guard and a strong hand was suddenly gripping her wrist tightly. She began wondering when exactly she had started clawing at her arm, but looked up regardless at the cool gray eyes of the head of the Malfoy family. Long, pale blonde hair loose did not hide the sharp looks within the patriarchs gaze. He was touching her, but with gloves. She idly wondered if he would burn them later.
"What are you doing in my Manor, Miss Granger?"
She found it odd that he was so calm about this. She ignored Draco's astondishing look at his father, no doubt he was wondering why he hadn't killed her already. She was banking on this. The elder Malfoy was not stupid. She had a purpose here tonight. She swallowed, her throat scratching and sore.
"I seek your Master, Mr. Malfoy."
Whatever answer he was expecting, it was not that. Eyes widening, he pulled out his wand and flourished it silently. She could feel the magic pour over her, no doubt looking for a wand or weapon, or otherwise device that would transport here away from here. Her body shook involuntarily once more, and she felt a little more blood run down from her lips. Whatever he saw or whatever the magic told him seemed to satisfy him, and so he turned with a small gesture.
"Draco, walk behind her and ensure she keeps up. If it is the Dark Lord she wants to see, it is not our place to decide whether she can." He added, sensing a confused Draco. She saw him nod, and Lucius sheathed his wand into the cane and began walking down the hall he and his son had came from. Hermione braced herself and began slowly trailing behind, feeling the questioning gray eyes on her back.
The hallways were dreary, at least in Hermione's opinion. Lined with various portraits looking curiously, and in some ways disgustedly, at her along with various ornaments throughout the ages sealed along the walls. There were many doors, and at another time and place she would've killed to know which one contained the famous Malfoy library, but there were other things preoccupying her mind.
Like surviving the night. She pushed down the inner rage she felt at the situation and followed the tall patriarch towards an enormous set of double black doors. Her insides throbbed painfully; it wouldn't be much longer now and if she waited too long, it would be too late.
He looked back behind himself, his eyes looking questioning on her small, pitiful form before opening both doors.
The room would be close to a ballroom, Hermione hazard a guess in her mind. Tall glass windows flanked the walls, on her left was what looked to be a massive garden outside. The room stretched back all the way up to an elevated platform where there stood a tall, black comfy chair. No, not a chair she corrected herself. A throne. The owner of the throne stood with his back to them, tall and pale in long pitch-black robes. She could nearly taste his power that radiated off of him. He wasn't at all how Harry described him, and instead resembled Ginny's description. Thick black hair was evident.
However, her observation of the man was deviated by the loud gasps and rippling silence that echoed across the ballroom at her entrance. She could almost imagine how this looked: a mudblood, Harry Potter's best friend no less, stumbling into a Death Eater stronghold that housed the most powerful dark wizard in the world. She supposed her torn black robes, disheveled curls, the dirt and blood caked on her face, hands, and legs were certainly a sight to be held as well. This wasn't really a planned event.
"How dare you allow a filthy little Mudblood into the Dark Lord's presence?!"
Hermione nearly smiled. She was surprised Bellatrix Lestrange hadn't said something immediately. Instead, she chose to break the silence with her annoying shriek. Curls not unlike Hermione's, blacker than the night and skin paler than the moon, the dangerous witch looked two seconds away from cursing her off the face of the planet. Hermione held back an outward reaction to the next tremor through her body and stared blankly at the tall figure who had yet to face her.
But Bellatrix was on the move. With four great strides, she met Hermione's position in the middle of the ballroom and, in one great gesture, yanked a handful of Hermione's hair in her grasp.
Whatever Bellatrix was expecting as a response, it definitely hadn't been the simultaneous shattering of every window in the room and the accompanying burn that licked at the dark witch's hand that had been holding her hair.
Within what seemed minutes to Hermione, who had shrieked as soon as Bellatrix touched her, causing another, even worse tremor to ripple through her system, had been just a few seconds. When she looked up, her body still shaking, Bellatrix had her wand out and had resumed her position at the foot of the platform, her eyes now cautious and thinly disguised rage. The surrounding Death Eaters who had been on the edges of the ballroom had already begun repairing the windows, while some that Hermione recognized, like Dolohov and Rosier, had their eyes and wands equally trained on her. Lucius Malfoy strode to the platform and bowed his head.
"My Lord, it is you whom the Mudblood seeks."
The hall quieted down, and the wands trained on Hermione dropped suddenly. The lone figure she had momentarily taken her eyes off had turned without her noticing and had already begun to make his way towards her. His eyes were red. So red she guessed that even in the dark, one would be able to still see his eyes. His robes swayed smoothly around him as he approached her. She trembled, fearing another tremor would make him think she was trying to attack. She felt her core stretch and tear again, and tears leaked down her face.
He stopped, a mere step and a half away from where she stood, and stared.
"Now what," he began quietly, his voice high and cold. "Could possibly bring Potter's Mudblood to the most prestigious Pureblood gathering uninvited?"
Her insides throbbed again, and she knew it was a matter of time before her chance to explain herself came and went. She reached into her robes, holding the parchment that forever changed her life, and extended it towards him weakly. Her eyes never wavered from his. The parchment floated away from her, opening in front of him. His eyes moved quickly, and she wondered if he read it as fast as she had, if he'd come to the same conclusions. She blinked.
And his tall form was centimeters from her. He did.
The tremor was coming, her eyes met his, his widening, before she dropped to the ground. A wand was out, and then she felt it. A hand grabbed her right hand, the tip of his wand tracing a runic pattern she'd never seen before. Through the pain, which was lasting longer than any other tremor before, she idly wondered if he was going to kill her or suspend her in this pain until he'd had everything he wanted to know.
Then came the sheer magical power that flooded her. It wasn't her own, but it was healing her core. The tears and damaging stretching that she'd accumulated over the past week were healing on their own, but miraculously, her core remained the size it had unnaturally stretched to in such a short period of time. It grew further and further, until finally Hermione shoved the lid over the magical core, and his magic sealed the tremors away. The bright blue light from the magic glowed briefly in her hand, and as her heart rate began to come back to normal, when the impending death never came, she noticed her hand still had the active rune.
Voldemort wasn't done. When she looked up, he had grabbed her arm again, his right hand reflecting the same rune he had drawn on hers, and then promptly meshed their hands together. His hands were smooth and surprising warm, she noted, and then she was shocked into being once more. Her magic was in the air with his, and she could almost feel the physical purr it was emitting once it collided and danced with his. Gasps filled the ballroom. She'd almost forgotten about them.
On the floor, Hermione focused on her breathing, trying to accommodate herself to the sensation of how much raw magical power she now possessed. She looked up at the Dark Lord, his eyes unreadable as he gazed at his hand, presumably at the rune, and then he surprised her by throwing his head back and emitting a high, cold laugh.
The room was silent. He turned, his back to her, gesturing to his Death Eaters.
"What you see here, my loyal subjects, is what we fight against every day." He began, slowly circling Hermione's position in the center of the room. "We fight against those who would taint the traditions, the magical ways, and here is a living, breathing reason before you." She could feel the confusion in the air, but her eyes were on Voldemort, who looked nearly exhilarated.
"We have a new friend in the fold, betrayed by the old man who so easily lied to her and denied her the power that is entitled to her." His hand smoothly extended towards her, and she took it gladly, feeling his magic soothe her system once more. "Not only is Ravenclaw's heir among us," additional gasps of shock permeated the room. "But she has suffered at the hands of Albus Dumbledore from birth, where he has been sealing away her magic since she first displayed signs of it, removing her from her rightful Pureblood home into a house of filthy muggles." She could feel all eyes on her now.
"The old fool is dead, and could not renew the bonds. Her magic has broken free and her magical core could not sustain the damage and sudden accommodation of raw magic she should have naturally grown with. It is only I, her magical equal, who could fix it and restore her power." He smirked before turning his red, foreboding eyes onto her small form. "After all, it's not every day that the most powerful wizard in the world has the opportunity to be presented with his magical companion."
There was a pause, a twist of events even she hadn't anticipated, and then she collapsed.
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