Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters. The wonderful talented J.K. Rowling does.

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Chapter One: A Plan is Hatched.

A small round man with a sharp nose was writhing in pain on the floor. "Please, my Lord. Please." He gasped.

Lord Voldemort raised his wand releasing Wormtail from the curse. Wormtail panted on the floor, unmoving. Voldemort then began to walk around the circle of hooded men. "I am tired of excuses," he said in a low even voice that sent chills through the group. "I want Potter and I want him now."

"My Lord, we have tried. But he is too well protected," said one man from behind his hood.

"Crucio," Lord Voldemort hissed pointing his wand at the man. He fell to the floor screaming. Voldemort waited several seconds before releasing the man from his torment. "As I said," he said raising his wand. "I do not want to hear any excuses."

"My Lord," said the cruel voice of Lucius Malfoy. "I believe there may be a way to get to Potter."

"I'm listening."

"It is true that Potter is well protected. As long as he is under the care of Albus Dumbledore we may not be able to touch him. But his friends are another matter entirely. We may not be able to take him, but perhaps we can chip away at his inner circle and draw him out. Once he is alone Potter would be easy to take care of."

"Yes, Lucius. That is an excellent idea. If he feels as if his presence is endangering those around him he may feel guilty enough to remove himself voluntarily." Voldemort turned and stared down at Wormtail. "You have spent the most time in his presence. Where are his weaknesses or should I say who?"

"My Lord, there is a boy and a girl. He is never far from them."

"Continue."

"The boy is Ron Weasley. Son of Arthur Weasley, who works at the Ministry and is a good friend of Albus Dumbledore's."

"And the girl?"

"The girl is called Hermione Granger."

"Who are her parents."

"My Lord," interrupted Lucius. "She is Muggle born. My son informs me that Potter has a particular affection for this mudblood. There have been reports that they may in fact be more than school friends."

"Excellent. I think we have a victim."

"Should I arrange to have her brought to you, my Lord."

"No, Lucius. She will not even have to leave the halls of Hogwarts for me to reach her."

Lucius smiled evilly fully understanding the Dark Lords meaning.

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Hermione Granger was leaning happily against a large tree watching her two best friends egg on their chess pieces in what was quickly becoming one of the longest chess games they had ever played. In the past, Ron would have easily beaten Harry, but after seven years of playing Harry was getting to be almost as good as Ron.

She was trying to read her Arithmancy book, but every time she started to get into it Ron or Harry would yell out, "Pound him, that's it." And then inevitably, "Hermione did you see that?"

Eventually, Hermione put her book down and sat contently watching them. As she watched them her gaze drifted to a figure across the lake. She had to squint to make the person out because the figure was slightly hazy. "Who is that," she whispered to herself.

"What was that," Harry asked not taking his eyes off the game.

Hermione stood and looked intently on the figure which was steadily becoming clearer. She then let out a small scream.

"What?" Exclaimed Harry and Ron jumping up.

"Harry!" Hermione squeaked. "It's him." She said staring at him in horror and grabbing his arm tightly.

"Who?" Said Harry staring in the general direction of Hermione's gaze.

She looked back, but could see nothing. "He was just there."

"Who?" Repeated Harry.

"Vol. Voldemort."

Ron stared at her. "What? Where?" He said frantically scrambling to his feet.

"Just across the lake. Come on Harry let's get out of here. Let's go back inside."

"Hermione, no one's there. Are you sure you saw him."

"I know what I saw," she yelled.

"Maybe we better go back in, Harry." Said Ron.

Hermione continued pulling Harry along and Ron scooped up the chess set and pieces and followed at a run.

Once inside the castle Hermione headed straight for the Headmaster's office.

"Hermione," said Harry in exasperation. "Do you really think we should bother Dumbledore?"

"I saw him." She said firmly. "We have to tell Dumbledore."

Harry looked to Ron for help, but the look of fear in Ron's eyes told him that he was not going to try to dissuade Hermione.

"Sherbet Balls." Said Hermione. As Head Girl, Hermione was given access to the password for Dumbledore's office in case of emergency.

She pulled Harry up the staircase followed by Ron. She knocked at the office door and heard the Headmaster call, "Come in."

Dumbledore was sitting at his desk reading through some rolls of parchment and seemed a bit surprised to see the three. "Miss Granger, I trust there's nothing wrong."

"Actually sir, there is." Said Hermione.

"Please sit down." Said Dumbledore waving at the three chairs.

"Sir," began Hermione. "I saw umm. at least I thought I saw." She paused beginning to doubt herself. She had been so certain minutes ago of what she saw, but now in the calm safety of Dumbledore's office she wasn't as sure.

"Please go on, Miss Granger." Said Dumbledore reassuringly.

"I saw Voldemort. Outside across the lake."

Dumbledore's sharp eyes darted to Harry who was sitting calmly looking back.

"I didn't see anything, sir. But," he began seeing Hermione's look of betrayal. "I'm sure Hermione must have seen something. She seemed umm. frightened."

"And did you see anything, Mr. Weasley."

Ron looked sheepishly at Hermione. "No, sir. I can't say that I did."

"But he was there," insisted Hermione. "He was there and then he was gone."

"I believe you saw something, Miss Granger, but it is highly unlikely that it was Voldemort."

Hermione looked frustrated, but then a thought crossed her mind. "Harry," she said. "You must have felt it. Your scar, it must have, you know, hurt."

Harry shook his head. "I didn't feel anything."

Dumbledore looked at Hermione in concern. "Harry's scar has always been a good indicator if Voldemort was near, but if you are not sure I can have the teacher's search the grounds."

Hermione shook her head conceding defeat. "No, you're right. If he had been near Harry would have known. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to alarm anyone."

"Think nothing of it, Miss Granger. It is best that we all keep alert. We are living in dangerous times and none of us is in more danger than Harry."

Hermione stood and Ron and Harry did the same. "Thank you, sir. And again, I am sorry."

Dumbledore smiled and the three friends left his office.

Ron and Harry stared at Hermione in concern. "Are you sure you're ok?" Asked Ron.

"Yeah. Maybe I'm just tired. It just seemed so real. I'm sorry if I scared you."

"Don't worry about it, Hermione," said Harry.

Hermione smiled weakly at the boys and started walking toward Gryffindor tower. Ron and Harry gave each other meaningful looks and followed behind her.

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Lord Voldemort raised his head smiling. "I have made contact."

"Excellent, my Lord. Your plan is proceeding perfectly," said Lucius Malfoy.

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Author's Note:

Ok, I know that was a short chapter, but I wanted to establish the story. I'll update soon. Please review.