A/N – Welcome (finally) to the Goddess Sequel. I'm sorry it's taken so long to start, but as you know I got totally sidetracked by the Darkness trilogy (which will resume at the end of this story). I am still working on this story, so I can't yet give a total amount of chapters. At this moment in time I've written 27 chapters, and know exactly how the story will end, but there is still more I need to write. However, that's more than enough to enable me to start publishing.
Updates will be the usual dark Mondays and Fridays, and it's rated M for a little bit of sex, but mainly for precautionary reasons. And even though this is a Dark Hermione, I just want to point out that she's not as dark in this story as she is in others. In keeping with her character in Vengeance, Hermione's darkness stems more from her need for revenge, and in the sequel, in keeping the people she loves safe. This isn't a dark Hermione who wants to rule the world and will stop at nothing to achieve it. Her darkness is much more subtle.
I hope people enjoy this story and it's not a disappointment after such a long wait.
It was a warm summer's evening and Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy were enjoying a quiet evening together. A few days ago their son Draco had headed off to their villa in Sardinia with his girlfriend, Hermione Granger. After the eventful year the young couple had just experienced they'd been wanting a break after Hermione finished avenging the people responsible for her parent's deaths. With Draco and Hermione abroad, Lucius and Narcissa had been hoping to enjoy some time together, but the day after the young couple left the manor Narcissa's sister, Bellatrix arrived with her husband, Rodolphus. Luckily the couple had made plans for that evening, leaving Lucius and Narcissa to enjoy a nice peaceful evening together.
After a romantic dinner, the couple had settled in the front room together. Narcissa was curled up next to Lucius with a book in her hand, while Lucius was content to sit with his wife while she read. However, just sitting allowed Lucius's mind to wander and he was soon thinking about events of the last twelve months. In the space of twelve months they'd been reunited with Athena and the Order had been brought to its knees.
Lucius knew Voldemort would be proud of his daughter, he just wished his old friend could witness what she'd done for him. Despite being raised in the muggle world and manipulated by Dumbledore and the Order since she started school, Hermione had embraced her dark side and delivered the Order a firm warning not to mess with her. She'd avenged her parent's deaths and messed up the lives of everyone involved in her kidnapping.
Of course Lucius himself had played a large part in Hermione's plans, and he couldn't help but feel wistful at the fact his Death Eater days were now firmly behind him. Running the Death Eaters and launching attacks on the Order had been just like old times, and he'd loved every minute of it. He knew a few Death Eaters had been hoping that Athena would take charge of them once they found her, and even though Lucius secretly wished it would happen, he knew it would never come to pass. Hermione had made it clear she wanted revenge, and that was all. She wasn't interested in fighting the Order and rising to power in the wizarding world, therefore she had no interest in taking the reins with the Death Eaters.
Lucius could have carried on orchestrating the Death Eaters, but he wasn't really sure as to what purpose he would be fighting for. He'd joined Voldemort to help purify the wizarding world and rid it of muggleborns, but carrying on with ideas like that would put him at odds with Hermione, and by extension Draco. Hermione had no problems with muggleborns, and considering Draco had gotten involved with Hermione thinking she was a muggleborn, he also didn't have too many problems with them. Even power didn't really appeal to Lucius as he already had substantial influence in the wizarding world. He was a leading businessman with sway at the Ministry, and if for some reason he wasn't being listened to, he had enough money to make sure people took notice of his opinions. Carrying on with the Death Eaters may not have been a viable option for Lucius, but that didn't mean he couldn't miss the action.
Lucius was suddenly brought out of his thoughts when he felt the wards around the front gates ripple to say someone had passed through that wasn't family. Narcissa had also felt the change in the wards as she sat up and put her book down. The basic wards around the gate allowed most magical beings access, but only people permitted could pass a second ward located a few feet away from the front door.
Making sure their wands were in easy reach, Lucius and Narcissa got up and headed to the front door. Pulling open the large front door they stood in the shadows, watching for whenever the person who'd breached the wards would come into sight. The couple were standing at the door for almost five minutes and Narcissa was just about to return to the front room when a figure hobbled into sight.
"Who is that?" Narcissa questioned in a disgusted tone. While the wards at the gates allowed most magical beings, they were supposed to bar entry for any unsavoury characters and the man wandering down their path looked to be nothing more than a vagrant.
"I have no idea," Lucius said as he stepped forward and onto the front step. "Hey you," he called to the old man. "This is private property, go away."
Unperturbed by Lucius's threat the old man continued to slowly make his way towards the front door. Muttering under his breath about rude trespassers, Lucius pulled out his wand and stalked down the remaining steps to the pathway. Shaking his head in disdain, he began making his way towards the old man who still showed no signs of backing down and leaving the property.
"I told you to go away," Lucius hissed as he approached the old man. "I promise you, I'll have no hesitation in throwing you out of here on your scrawny backside if you don't turn around and leave now."
Finally stopping the old man chuckled, before raising his head and looking directly into Lucius's stunned grey eyes. "You've still got a way with words I see, Lucius."
"Tom?" Lucius whispered, what little colour he had in his features draining away as he came face to face with a dead man.
"It's me Lucius," Voldemort said.
"Prove it," Lucius said suspiciously. His gut told him he was looking at The Dark Lord, but logically he knew it couldn't be true.
"So suspicious, Lucius," Voldemort chuckled. "I like it. Now let's see how I can prove it's me. I could tell you our children were bonded when Draco was just four months old. I could tell you that you came to me asking for the mark before you'd even left school. You were my youngest ever Death Eater Lucius, and the one I'm the most proud of. You're my right hand man, my good friend, and the one person I trust more than anyone. Help me, Lucius."
Voldemort barely managed to choke out his last words, before his knees buckled from underneath him and he went crashing to the gravel pathway. Lucius was at his side immediately, pulling him back to his feet and placing a steadying arm around his waist.
"Don't worry My Lord, we'll help you," Lucius said as he began slowly making his way to the front door.
Narcissa had been standing watching the entire thing, and although she couldn't hear what was being said or make out who their visitor was the fact Lucius was helping them to the manor was a sure fire sign they were a friend. Rushing forward to help her husband, she stopped and stared when she saw the haggard old man was a practically unconscious Voldemort.
"Help me get him inside," Lucius said to his wife.
Narcissa helped Lucius manoeuvre Voldemort inside the manor. Shutting the door behind her, she immediately called for some elves. She sent a couple of them to prepare one of the spare rooms, while she sent another couple to make some food.
"You go and call the healer," Lucius told his wife. "I'll get Tom settled in his room."
"No healers," Voldemort whispered.
"Don't talk nonsense Tom, you need help," Narcissa said firmly. "I'm contacting out private healer, he's discreet and won't mention anything that goes on here."
Not waiting for a response, Narcissa left Lucius to get Voldemort up to his room while she went to contact their healer. Within five minutes Healer Janson, the Malfoys private healer, was emerging from the fireplace. Narcissa stressed to the healer that everything he would see was not to be repeated, but he was an old friend of the family and both Narcissa and Lucius trusted him implicitly.
Narcissa took Healer Janson up to the spare room where Lucius had gotten Voldemort settled on the bed. Either Healer Janson didn't recognise the man in the bed, or he was good at hiding his emotions as he didn't react when faced with Voldemort. All he did was place his bag to one side and asked what had happened. Without giving a name for their friend, Lucius explained that their friend had unexpectedly shown up and collapsed before entering the house.
For the next ten minutes, Healer Janson carefully examined Voldemort. When he was finished, he packed his things away and scribbled out a prescription which he handed to Narcissa. As with all prescriptions their private healer gave them, the Malfoys collected them directly from his offices and no questions were ever asked.
"Your friend is weak and suffering from malnutrition," Healer Janson said, addressing Lucius and Narcissa rather than the man in the bed as he wasn't sure how much the man would understand in his weakened state. "Follow the instructions on the potions I've prescribed, and make sure he ups his intake of food slowly. Don't feed him too much at once or he'll not be able to keep it down. Start with simple things like soup and broths and slowly add more solid food into his diet."
"Will he be okay?" Narcissa questioned.
"It'll take time, but he should be fine," Healer Janson replied. "As his physical strength returns, so should his magic. I can feel the magic in him and it's quite powerful, but for some reason it's been lying dormant for a number of years. If he struggles with his magic, I recommend you see a specialist. I can give you the details of a few very discreet healers if that course of action is required."
Lucius thanked Healer Janson and walked him back downstairs as one of the elves appeared carrying a bowl of chicken broth for Voldemort. Once Lucius had seen the healer out, he rushed back to the guest room to try and find out what was happening. He needed to know how Voldemort had come back from the dead. However, explanations needed to wait for a short while as Narcissa insisted Voldemort ate his broth before he could tell them what was going on. Finally the broth was devoured, and Voldemort was ready to talk.
"If you get tired, just let us know," Narcissa said as she took a seat beside the bed next to her husband. "We can continue this anytime, there's no rush."
"There's every rush," Voldemort said with a snarl. "That bastard Dumbledore stole my daughter. He's been taunting me about her for years. We need to get her back to safety, according to Dumbledore he had her living with muggles and consorting with the Order."
"Before we begin, we can assure you Athena is safe," Lucius told his old friend and master. "She's not with the Order or anyone associated with them. She's with Draco in Sardinia."
"Thank Merlin for that," Voldemort said quietly, a look of relief passing over his face before confusion set in. "How is she with Draco? Has she been with you all this time and Dumbledore's just been lying to me?"
"It's a long story and we've got a lot to tell you, but first let's start with how you're alive," Lucius replied. "Your house burned to the ground. We've also seen what happened that night, you and Adelaide were both hit with the killing curse."
"I don't think I can answer all your questions. I doubt we'll know the full truth until we can get Dumbledore to talk," Voldemort said. When Lucius and Narcissa shared a slightly concerned look he frowned, but pressed on with his tale while he still had the strength to talk. "I think the first thing I should tell you is that I can't be killed the normal way, at least not until all my Horcruxes have been destroyed."
"You've got Horcruxes?" Lucius gasped, wondering why he never knew about them. With Horcruxes being dark magic, he knew about them and what it took to create them but he wasn't aware Voldemort had some.
"I started making them when I was just a teenager," Voldemort answered. "I've got a few scatted all over the country, but I hadn't made any since meeting Adelaide and settling down with her. My guess is that Dumbledore somehow found out about my Horcruxes and knew I couldn't be killed. That's probably why he faked my death and imprisoned me for all these years."
"Actually, we're fairly sure he was after Athena," Lucius said, briefly outlining the prophecy the Order had possession of. "We have a set of memories pertaining to events surrounding the night you supposedly died, and it's definitely Athena that's top of their agenda."
"But she's okay?" Voldemort checked.
"She's fine," Narcissa said giving Voldemort a reassuring smile. "But for now, let's get back to you. How did Dumbledore fake your death?"
"Luckily the old man liked to taunt me, and he told me everything I needed to know," Voldemort replied quietly. "The butcher we used betrayed us and allowed Dumbledore access to our meat order. Dumbledore slipped a strong sleeping draught into the meat, meaning Adelaide and I went to bed and slept so soundly that we never realised intruders were in the property. Because I couldn't be killed without first destroying my Horcruxes, Dumbledore merely shot the killing curse at me. It injured me rather severely and I couldn't move for months, but it didn't kill me."
"But they killed Adelaide," Narcissa whispered quietly. She still missed her friend and she hated to think of the awful way in which she died.
"They did," Voldemort said soberly, although his eyes were full of pain and both Lucius and Narcissa could see how devastated he was by the loss of his wife. "When I awoke, she was lying beside me dead. I knew I wasn't at home, but I was in too much pain to move and my magic wasn't working. I must have lain next to her body for two or three days before Dumbledore turned up gloating over what he'd done. When he was supposedly checking we were dead, he cast a spell on our bodies that would transport us away from our house and into a cottage he'd prepared at a specific time. Most likely, just before the fire took too strong a hold on the house."
"That's why there wasn't any remains to be found," Lucius declared, understanding dawning as he thought back to the morning after the fire. "I searched for hours, and could find no sign of you, Adelaide or Athena. It was only when I got back home that we realised Athena wasn't dead because her bond with Draco hadn't broken. With everything that was going on, it slipped my mind that we couldn't find any remains. I should have known something was wrong."
"Don't blame yourself, Lucius," Voldemort said quietly. "Only one man is to blame, and that's Dumbledore. He orchestrated the whole thing, he left me to wake up next to my dead wife and then he turned up to taunt me. After taking Adelaide away to be buried, he returned and told me he'd placed Athena with muggles. Over the years he'd turn up and taunt me about how my daughter was being raised by muggles. He would taunt me that she was friends with the Order and thought I was evil. She grew up hating me."
"She didn't," Lucius told his old friend. "It's true she grew up with muggles, but she didn't even hear about you until she started school. She heard the stories the Order spread about you, but she's told me that they never sat right with her. She never hated you."
"That's a relief," Voldemort said, leaning back against the pillows and briefly closing his eyes.
"Do you want us to go and let you rest?" Narcissa queried, seeing how weary Voldemort looked.
"Not yet, I still have some questions," Voldemort replied, forcing his eyes open.
"So do I," Lucius said. "Where was Dumbledore keeping you, and how did you escape and get back here?"
"As I said when I first woke up I was in too much pain to move," Voldemort recalled. "I was bed bound for months, but he made sure I had just enough food and water to survive. When I was strong enough to get up and explore, I found I was trapped in a small cottage. There were strong wards preventing me from using any magic, and I was kept in a physically weakened condition the entire time. Dumbledore made sure I had enough nourishment to meet my needs, but never enough to build my strength up. I tried everything to escape, but he'd planned it all too well. I was stuck at his mercy as he regularly turned up and taunted me about how he'd stolen my daughter and was raising her away from the dark. As for how I escaped, a few weeks ago the wards suddenly dropped. I had enough magical awareness to know the wards had dropped, but I still had no magic to escape. Eventually I broke out physically, and manually I escaped. I managed to summon a bit of magic to apparate me part of the way here, but mainly I walked."
"What an ordeal," Narcissa remarked in horror. "I can't believe anyone could go through such torment."
"When I get my hands on him, that's exactly what'll happen to Dumbledore," Voldemort said darkly. "I'm going to make him pay for everything he's ever done to me and my family."
"I'm afraid you're a bit too late for that," Lucius said. "He's dead, which is what I'm assuming led to the wards being dropped where he was keeping you a prisoner."
"Dead?" Voldemort's face dropped as his plans for vengeance disappeared in front of his eyes. "How did he die?"
"Your daughter killed him to avenge your death," Lucius answered with a smirk. "You'll be proud of her Tom. Athena is a very strong, determined young woman. She killed Dumbledore and destroyed the Potters and Weasleys."
"Tell me more," Voldemort said, intrigued. "I want to know everything."
Settling back against the pillows, Voldemort listened with pride as Lucius and Narcissa told him everything that had happened the previous year. Lucius was right, he was immensely proud of his little girl. However, he wanted to meet her. It was time Athena knew her father was alive.