"Do you have any information regarding today's occurrence?" Dumbledore said, barely beyond a whisper in volume. He had his head cupped in his hands, but as he finished speaking he looked up at them imploring them with sparkling yet saddened eyes and a solemn expression. Dumbledore would never and could never look vanquished, but at this moment he seemed almost shattered.
Hermione paused in thought; "Ron told me that Harry was to meet Snape to work on potions after class. You may want to speak with him about that though." She knew that everything was relevant to this, especially if it had to do with one of the people involved. So she added reluctantly, "Also, I was supposed to be meeting Draco in the library today at 4:30, he wasn't there, obviously."
"That is quite puzzling. Did you wait for long?"
"Almost an hour I think." Hermione said, trying to conceal the scarlet flaming in her cheeks.
Ron bustled in the door, completely out of breath. "Hermione! What's going on! The whole school's going on about Malfoy and Harry killing each other."
"Please calm yourself Ronald." Dumbledore said soothingly. "Something terrible has indeed happened but rash action will not solve anything. Maybe it would be best if you took a seat." He said as a chair was pulled out towards Ron. Ron walked to the chair and sat with no hesitation. "To be honest, we're not entirely sure what happened. As to my knowledge, Harry went to meet Professor Snape in the dungeons. Somehow he ended up very seriously injured with evidence of dark magic having been performed on him. Professor Evans was the one that discovered the situation. When I arrived, Draco was standing over Harry, blood streaming from his leg, an antediluvian blade lying next to him. By my view of things it seemed as if he were trying to help Harry but quite obviously it would not seem that way to most people."
"Bleeding hell. Is he all right? When can we see him?" Ron said, completely stunned.
"It's too soon to say for sure. Now, am I right in assuming that Harry discussed meeting Professor Snape with you?"
"Yeah. Last night he got a note saying that he had to meet Snape after classes were over. He couldn't make it to Quidditch practice. Harry didn't say much else about it but it did seem rather odd that Snape would send Harry an owl instead of just telling him in potions."
"If not for more recent events, it would have been more believable to think that Draco Malfoy could have done something like this." Hermione nodded in agreement while Ron sat with a puzzled frown. "The only other aid we may have in this puzzle is Professor Snape. We have been unable to locate him for the moment, but I am sure he will be returning to Hogwarts grounds shortly. For now though, if there is nothing else that you can add to what you have said, I think it best that you go straight to your dormitory. I would ask that you stay here until some of the bustle of the news has dies down but I must speak with Professor Evans. Be sure to get some rest tonight and I think it best that you attend all your regular classes so as no to alarm the student body more than can be helped."
"We will. Please tell us when we can see Harry." They said as they began to leave.
"Hermione may I speak with you for a moment please?"
Hermione walked back towards Dumbledore as Ron left the office alone and feeling a familiar pang of worry and guilt for Harry. He should have realized that something strange was going on when Harry mentioned the note. He should have gone with Harry to wait for him until he could practice for Quidditch. Then maybe this wouldn't have happened or maybe he could be helpful in some way.
"Hermione, I think it's time that we bring Ron officially into the Order. I would like to do the ceremony on Thursday night. I would like you to be there if that's all right with you."
"Yes of course. I'm glad he'll finally be included in it. It's been difficult to for Harry and I to hide it from him." She paused in thought over Harry and left Dumbledore's office soon after to find Ron.
"You failed me Rhea. Not only did you fail to complete the ritual, you stabbed one of my most prized Death Eaters' descendants and you attempted to kill Harry Potter after you realized you would not succeed in your task."
Rhea opened her eyes to find herself with a ring of Death Eaters surrounding her. She stared foolishly wondering what was happening. She saw movement in the corner of her eye and swerved her head to look. It was another potential, another soul such as hers, wishing and trying desperately to become a Death Eater. She had been given another chance! If she could beat this man in a duel she would have another task and if she could complete that successfully, she would become a full Death Eater! She began to shiver with excitement. She wiped the drool from her chin and took the opportunity to make the first attack. It was too dark to see anyone's face but she could make you the man's silhouette. She put on a good show for the hungry-eyed spectators in hopes of gaining some good ground. Finally, dripping with blood and more drool at her certain win, she cast the final spell that took the life a young man that she had never met before.
"You will be given another task, if you fail to complete this you will be at the mercy of the Death Eaters who stand before you. The evening is done Death Eaters, you may leave! As for you Rhea, your task is to watch and report to me anything you can about Draco Malfoy. Now be gone.
When Rhea returned to Hogwarts she immediately repaired the damages caused by that night's duel. She was so pleased with herself! As she was finishing up, she noticed that her owl, Birgitte, had brought her a message. Dumbledore wished to speak with her. "Thank you Birgitte, she said kindly as she patted the owl gently." She really was in the best of moods. She would have to try extremely hard to appear broken by the day's earlier events.
She reached Dumbledore's office in no time at all, and headed up the spiral staircase to face the Headmaster's questioning.
"Please sit, Professor Evans." Dumbledore said warmly. She sat and ate the muggle jelly candy that he offered her. "Obviously, we are having some difficulty figuring out exactly what took place here this afternoon. I would like you to go over exactly what happened once more, if that is alright."
She nodded and proceeded to tell Dumbledore the blither of lies that she had concocted after leaving the dungeons earlier. She had only gone to the dungeons to see if Snape was free to give her a potions lesson, which they had been having for a short amount of time when she discovered the pair. Before that, she had been planning her lessons for the next day and before that she had had a class.
Dumbledore asked her a few more specific questions like the timing and the way she had gone to get the classroom, which of course she answered perfectly. "Well I don't want to take up all of your time, thank you and if there is anything else that you remember please come and tell me right away."
"I will, I just hope we can figure this all out." Dumbledore nodded in agreement.
"Oh Severus it was dreadful! Why did I have to be the one to find them? Dumbledore is suspicious of me, but what else can I do to prove myself?" Rhea said breaking down into sobs.
Severus wrapped himself around her; a warm and comforting presence enveloping her and soothing her pains. She was at first shocked by this abrupt action but soon melted into him. They stayed there silently, enjoying each other's presence until suddenly, in one swift moment, Snape grabbed onto her and pushed her against the wall of his bedroom. He kissed her forcefully and began to tear at her clothes in hunger for what lay beneath. He stopped himself as if awakening from a trance. He shook his head slowly and said, "I'm sorry, I was out of line. I shouldn't be taking advantage of you like this." He picked up her torn garments and handed them to her solemnly. He kissed her gently on the cheek and promised to meet her the next day for dinner. Rhea stood there completely stunned. She had never known a man to be so honourable. It was strange to think that a Death Eater could have even a thought of stopping those particular urges. Any man she'd ever been with had been unspeakably rough and selfish in terms of sex. If a man had wanted her, there was nothing to do but let him take her, in any way he wanted. She had no idea it could be different.
"I was expecting a good round or two and now there's nobody to satisfy my appetite. I shall have to find someone." She said quietly to herself. She had a quaint smile across her face. She changed her outfit to something more fitting; a leather top that was more of a bra than a shirt, which allowed a generous amount of cleavage to pour out, a shockingly short miniskirt and a pair of high cut boots. She made sure to forget her panties.