Castaways on a Sullen Sea
DISCLAIMER: My handiwork is based on the works of J.K. Rowling and her Harry Potter series of books. I am not affiliated with Rowling, Scholastic, AOL/Time Warner or its companies, basically anything having to do with the World of Potter. All rights reserved, but hopefully they won't yank this off of the web. Not written for my personal gain, but just because I'm a sick puppy who loves May/December romances.
I have many people to thank. First, I'd like to say thank you to my hub, Robbo the Magnificent, for putting up with my weirdness. Thanks to my pal, satanslut, who doesn't read Harry Potter, for her continuous confidence in my abilities (and for helping me decide on a title!). Thanks to Gaslight for your support and advice. (And read her great LOTR stories here at ff.net!) Thanks to my friendly beta, LadyTuesday (whose great fic can be found at fictionalley.org's Dark Arts section). Finally, thanks to the merry band of fellow Sev/Mione 'shippers, the S.S. Prudence and Potions for the witty banter and for letting me know I'm not the only one who thinks Snape and Hermione are perfect for each other!
Author's Note: This is rated R for a reason. In the following chapters, you will find discussions of murder, rape, adult language, premarital sex, etc. If you don't want to read about that, please don't progress any further. Thank you.
It was unusually hot. Skeletons of trees stood lifelessly, their autumnal leaves fell to the ground in a last ditch effort to sacrifice themselves to Nature's whims. Heat lightning had set the dried vegetation on fire. The moon was clouded over with the smoke of burning wild grasses. In the middle of the flames stood a withered man, wearing a diaphanous robe and ill-fitting black trousers underneath, his arms raised in a ritualistic salute. He laughed with satanic glee.
"Soon. Very soon, I will regain my strength and I will once again be master of all!" the man screamed.
A tall man with long, blond hair stood outside of the fire. He choked on the vapours. "My lord, tell me what it is you desire. I will do anything to bring you back to your glory."
The man in the filmy robe smiled. It was brittle and frightening. "I desire nothing but your service. You've already proven yourself to be devoted to my return to greatness."
His apprentice bowed low. "I am yours," he rasped.
The wizened man shivered. He stepped out of the blaze and walked toward the trees. He turned, muttered a curse, and a light mist hung over the heath, extinguishing most of the fire and causing a thick, woodsy fog to cover the area.
The blond knelt in front of his master. "How may I help you, sire?"
He held a photograph in his bony hand and pointed to it. "Murder him," he hissed.
The tyro paused. He stared at the item in his master's hand; mouth gaped open in slight horror. "But, my lord, he was your most trusted…"
"Silence!" The emaciated man snapped. "He was; was being the operative word here, Lucius. He betrayed me, and when you betray the Dark Lord Voldemort, you die. It is quite simple. I thought you knew that."
"How am I supposed to go anywhere near him?" Lucius asked. "I'm supposed to be in exile. I can't just show up there and kill him. If I go anywhere near him, I will be placed in Azkaban. Surely you don't want my son to be fatherless?"
"Of what concern is that to me? Better yet, can't you send your worthless son in your stead?"
Lucius sprang to his feet. "I cannot have my son live the same fate I have! Please, please, my lord, have…mercy on him."
Voldemort laughed, cold and violent. "Mercy! What is mercy, when I, the most powerful wizard to have ever held a wand…when I am stuck in this worthless body, kept alive by hatred and a burning desire to reclaim my rightful position as ruler of the world? Murdering Muggles isn't fun for me anymore, Lucius, because they can't fight back. Mudbloods? Sure, I love to watch them squirm in agony, to hear their pleas for life. 'Mercy! Mercy, Lord V-v-v-Voldemort!' they stutter, as I force them to bow to me. Mercy," he drew the word out, "Ha! They will all beg for mercy when I am restored!"
Lucius bowed again at the feet of the Dark Lord. "But, sir, how am I to perform the task you've set before me?"
The dark wizard looked down his long nose to Lucius. "You know what I demand of you, Lucius. Ultimate loyalty."
Lucius 's shoulders sunk low, as if he resigned himself to his fate. He murmured his acceptance of Voldemort's command. Voldemort cackled. "You have passed my test. You are truly worthy of being my right hand. No, we will wait until it is the appointed time. The traitor is still useful to me. I think I shall toy with him, Lucius, use him to my advantage. Perhaps he'll make a mistake, one I can profit from. But I will wait. It will be much sweeter then.
"I am still weak from my last encounter with Potter. I must regain my strength. But, I swear to you now, before the year is over, I will reign over all." He started to cough, his shoulders shaking violently. Lucius draped a thicker cloak around the man's frame.
"My lord Voldemort!" He dropped the photograph on the ground. The last of the blaze licked around the object, and it was consumed in the embers.
Voldemort's breathing, still laboured, seemed to echo through the moor. He softly started to laugh, then the noise grew louder and louder until the reverberation seemed to drown out the sound of anything else in the countryside. The dark lord stood boldly in the middle of the field, almost daring Nature to do her worst to him. "We must be patient. Patience is a virtue, my son," he jeered. He drew himself to his full height, his frightening visage mirrored in the destruction all around him. "We must bide our time. After all, what is time when you will have eternity?"